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Terminator Genisys: How Impressive Special Effects Saved a Doomed Film [Blu-ray Review]

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From Paramount Pictures and director Alan Taylor comes the next instalment of the Terminator film franchise – Terminator Genisys. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-Hun, J.K. Simmons and Matt Smith, the film is available on Blu-ray November 10th.

John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.

Review

Terminator Genisys wasn’t NEARLY as bad as I assumed it would be. The trailers actually did a disservice to the final product, wrecking plot twists, showing stupid out-of-sequence action scenes and one-liner after one-liner. What makes the film work and work well, is how it really gets back to the roots of the franchise and makes the time-travel component a more important factor and how messing with it can lead to drastic changes in the future. I was genuinely surprised and taken back at times by the way our story here unfolded and paid tribute to the original films while still screwing with the formula of past storylines.

Arnold Schwarzenegger steals the show and when he delivers most of his robotic one-liners, like the ones about mating and whatnot, they really do work and make you chuckle in order to break up the dead meandering from Emilia Clarke — who is robotic herself but not on purpose. I can’t stand her and her version of Sarah Connor was just as dreadful as I had worried it could be…

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Jai Courtney does a solid job as our leading man Kyle Reese and he has more range than I would have given him credit for from a movie like that last Die Hard sequel. But Jason Clarke…. Man oh man is he good….. Clarke has quickly established him as one of the finest performers on the planet right now and his placement in popcorn flicks such as this almost feels out of place. He’s so good, that most of the big budget action films he’s placed in — can’t keep up with him.

The pacing was out of whack throughout much of the film. I appreciated the re-working of the original two movies, having a new T-1000 was fun and Lee Byung-Hun looked badass on the big screen, but after so much initial intensity – the movie slows to a crawl halfway through before it reignites again at the end. J.K. Simmons was a welcome addition but not even his comedic relief could elevate some of the second half shortcomings. This film would have been a whole lot better without that fucking idiotic helicopter chase too. Holy shit – was that ever a bad idea. It was atrocious and made the dizzying action from the Transformers flicks look like arthouse filmmaking.

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What saves the movie, is how it manages to do a more than solid job with time-travel and those effects — are actually damn impressive. The CGI- Arnie was awesome. The last time they pulled that shit it didn’t work but it was so convincing this go-around they could’ve let young fake Arnold walk around way more and I’d be OK with it. I did not expect to say that but I was pleasantly surprised. The scale of action was huge, the film was surprising in it’s scope and I had a good time watching it in spite of so many glaring problems. Terminator Genysis is better than Terminator 3 but I’m still one of those guys who thought the Christian Bale one wasn’t that bad, so take this review with a grain of salt because maybe I’m seeing it differently than the rest.

Rating:

Special Features

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  • Family Dynamics – I loved the J.K. Simmons moments here and the stories he told where he got Jai Courtney to record a birthday video message for his 13-year-old girl was great. This segment was quite solid and they did a good job showing the cast and crew and how much fun they had making the film.
  • Infiltration and Termination – It was nice to see how much work went into sequences like the initial future battle. That scene in the film was epic and by far the largest of the war scenes to ever grace this franchise.
  • Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys – See digital Arnie. The effects of Genisys were extremely impressive, so much so that I actually forgave many moments which could have failed any other film that I’d be reviewing.
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