Back again. Terminator Genesys lumbers onto the screen, this time with more life on his exoskeleton. Barely. But enough to provide for a tasty
meal snack. I went in with low expectations and was rewarded. This fifth installment was preceded by two largely lifeless sequels. Terminator Salvation could have been special but for a marketing campaign, which sabotaged any potential “ah-ha” moments. It was a shame. At least Salvation had potential. Terminator: Rise of the Machines is so bad, it will be on Mystery Science Theater 3000 one day.
The current film uses the considerable acting chops of Emelia Clarke, Jason Clarke (not related, but her son), JK Simmons (have you seen Whiplash yet???), and the surprising Jai Courtney to its advantage. Schwarzenegger hasn’t been this funny in years. Among the film’s strengths is director, Alan Taylor’s scene for scene recreation of the 1984 classic’s opening in the streets of LA. There were lots of giggles of delight in my theater.
While the many time travel plot problems stick out–way out–it is the lack of plot creativity that nearly dooms this installment. Can we break new ground or is there only one way to defeat SkyNet? It is also a lack of understanding of what made the original and the first sequel timeless: they were horror movies as much as they were SciFi flicks. While some might blame the film’s PG-13 rating for this miss, I believe it is possible to be scary, frightening even, without piles of graphic violence.
Despite all of this, I was entertained. It could have been my low expectations buoyed by a lifetime supply of Coca Cola or the good acting and well timed humor. I know it wasn’t the story. Yet, I am hoping for a Terminator Six in the near future.
*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave. It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement. Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.