After a failed sequel and reboot to Salvation, on 1st July 2015, Terminator Genisys was released to an eager and fluttering audience. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you an unusual phenomenon… the remake that walks like a sequel.
The elements of Genisys that resemble a sequel go thus. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and whilst there was a small description of the events of Judgement Day, most of the plot and the in jokes demand that the viewer have seen the previous films.
However, Genisys takes on the brave task of re-telling the original story of the first film. In this version, a Terminator was sent back to kill Sarah Connor as a child but was rescued by a re-programmed T-800 (Schwarzenegger). The Terminator or ‘Pops’ as he is known, trained up Sarah (Emilia Clarke) and put together an elaborate plan for the arrival of Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) in 1984.
Be aware, this plot goes a bit (as it’s known in show business) ‘wibbly wobbly’ as alternate timelines get involved.
When Reese goes back in time, John Connor (Jason Clarke, of no relation to Emilia Clarke) is assaulted by a physical representation of Skynet and the T-5000 (Matt Smith) and turned into the T-3000 or a ‘nanocyte infiltrator’, whatever the fuck that means. This event triggers an alternate timeline where John lives a completely different life where Judgement day never happened.
Now I will mention the scene in which every fanboy creamed themselves over. The scene in 1984 where present day Pops fights the original T-800 when it appears in the first film. Sarah seems to be wielding some pretty futuristic equipment as she shoots the T-800 with what seems to be an EMP bullet. I’m not sure those things existed in 1984. Then again, time machines didn’t either and Sarah and Pops have built. All they needed was a CPU from a Terminator. Well they’re in trouble because the T-800 was not alone. Along for the ride in the first act is another T-1000 (Byung Hun Lee). The trap set up by Sarah and Pops sure is elaborate as they lure the T-1000 into an abandoned building where Sarah and Pops dissolve the T-1000 in acid.
In terms of the time machine, Sarah wants to travel to 1997 so they can stop Skynet from becoming self-aware and they will be free. You see, this is a different Sarah who has been told her destiny from a young age and she wants to be able to choose her own fate. But as far as we know, Kyle is in love with Sarah because that’s how the story goes. Kyle on the other hand, wants to travel to the alternate timeline of 2017 to stop Skynet. This is where things start going a bit ‘wibbly wobbly’. When Sarah rescues Kyle, she tells him that ‘everything’s changed’. The version of 1984 that Kyle was sent to doesn’t exist anymore. The line ‘everything’s changed’ also means that Judgement Day has been moved forward to October 2017 when something called ‘Genisys’ comes online. Kyle says that he can remember a past where the bombs didn’t fall and it was his 13th birthday. Pops gives a vague explanation that is Kyle were exposed to a nexus point whilst he was in the quantum field (just before he travelled through time), then he would remember an alternate history, a history which is now their future. Confused? So am I. But anyway, Kyle wins and he and Sarah travel to 2017 whilst Pops stays behind so he can re-grow his flesh.
In 2017, Sarah and Kyle are picked up and taken to a hospital where they find out the ‘Genisys’ is an operating system that was designed by Cyberdyne which is run by Danny Dyson (Dayo Okeniyi as a grown-up in this film and played by the adorable DeVaughn Nixon in T2).
This time, there is a system core to Genisys but there is a race against for the trio to get to the system core, blow it up and stop Genisys from coming online and starting Judgement Day. But of course, there’s a problem. The trio are being followed by the robotic John Connor who has been programmed to protect Skynet.
Naturally, our heroes win the day. The Genisys system core is destroyed as is the T-3000 (John Connor). Also Pops gets ‘upgraded’ into a T-1000 when he is thrown into a vat of mimetic poly-alloy. The trio visit Kyle’s younger self and the ending is where I throw my biggest tantrum as far as the story goes.
When we meet our new Sarah Connor, she is very salty about having been told that she has to fall in love with Kyle Reese and give birth to the leader of the resistance for the upcoming war against the machines. She is initially hostile towards Kyle when he arrives in 1984 but gradually warms up to him throughout the film. Classic. But what pisses me off is right at the end, she speaks the line ‘I can choose’ and then snogs Kyle’s face off. Sooo…. you’ve just spent the last two hours lampooning the fact that your fate has already been decided, hating the fact that you’re being forced to fall in love with Kyle Reese and then when your future is all up to you, you go for Kyle anyway. Make your fucking mind up! Some might say that this ending proves that Sarah and Kyle were meant to be together but I call it indecision.
Overall, the film is enjoyable and even though I wasn’t exactly blown away by the new Sarah and the new Kyle and the whole alternative timelines confuse the plot a bit and I suspect that its only in there so that a vision of our present day can be written into the film, it’s a pretty good watch. Arnold Schwarzenegger is always enjoyable to watch and it’s nice to see him come back to one of his most popular characters.
Terminator Genisys had a gross budget of $155 Million and gained a reasonable box office taking of $440.6 Million. It was no secret that this film was meant to kick off a new trilogy and even a sequence in the credits showed that part of the Genisys system core survived the explosion. So yes, I’m in no doubt that more films to follow and I’m intrigued to see what they will come up with next. I believe that a new film is already in the works with Arnie and James Cameron on board. If it’s true, the return of James Cameron is a small relief. I know he’ll do his best to make sense of the tangled up nonsense that was the plot of Genisys. I have just one thing to say… Good Luck.