Terminator Genisys (Alan Taylor, 2015)

2015 is shaping up to be a fruitful year for those aiming to drown my fond childhood memories in an ocean of swill. Riding on the coattails of two similarly needless sequels, Terminator Genisys is an ill-intentioned love letter to franchise roots a la shitty expository posturing and the personality of dirty underwear. Even still, the prospect of another Terminator film excited just the right bunch to put this puppy on the fast track to middling success amid its money-grubbing contemporaries.

1984’s The Terminator was for all intents and purposes a borderline exploitative sci-fi horror yarn. It was deftly concise, well-written as such and pandered to James Cameron’s strengths as a conceptual storyteller and visual dynamo. Exposition was force fed as needed, however key plot points were just that – necessary. They were butter to the film’s bread, the Terminator’s relentless pursuit of its target ringing reminiscent of earlier Carpenter and the like thanks to effortlessly sustained dread. It’s because of these streamlined sensibilities that The Terminator was so successful and continues to find solace in its unprecedented singularity.

Many will undoubtedly argue that T2: Judgment Day is the poster child for the rare superior sequel. In expounding on base-level mythology outlined by its predecessor, T2 certainly has enough to talk about as John Connor becomes tangibly integral alongside his mother and a reformed killing machine. It’s intermittently hokey for sure, what with Sarah’s ineffectual ramblings, John’s bonding with Arnie and the like failing to age as well as the film’s straightforward narrative integrity. In intelligently providing expansion and (then) closure to his own brainchild, Cameron did so amicably to a considerably larger degree of blockbuster bombast.

This is the point where I can disavow the existence of Rise of the Machines and Salvation on account of how little they contribute to and thrive within the realm of potentiality. In their seldom represented defense, I can safely say that Genisys is truly and deplorably an unnecessary waste of studio resources at its most gratuitous, prompting me to ask both you and myself the following: Are the powers-that-be truly satisfied with this bullshit? After all, both entries laughably forgo intelligence to put forth iterations of different points along the same timeline, to little avail.

Bypassing a typical synopsis is easy to do for Genisys on account of how it merely puts the pivotal events of the first two films in a blender. In gathering and illustrating various details presented throughout the franchise’s superior origin stories, Genisys‘ self-assured alternate timeline conceit is the hottest bag of garbage I’ve had to handle in a long time. Not only is a bulk of the film’s first third purposefully (embarrassingly) familiar, but the all-encompassing vapidity exuded by lackluster key players entirely fails in making literally everything the least bit exciting.

“But what about the twist?!” the avid fanboy yells in protest. To be honest, I’m usually a sucker for cross-dimensional and/or time travel bullshit when it can assuredly work within a universe conceived around the concept. To take a preexisting legacy and tarnish it with rudimentary anachronisms is something mildly insulting and, in the case of Terminator Genisys, transparent in intention when compared to other entries into this most recent rash of sequels. Bland contrasting punch-for-punch machine bouts do little to elevate the stilted and CGI-laden bulk of it, and callbacks to the original films ring stale and serve to exacerbate just how inferior it is in general to the same groundbreaking inspirations that are responsible for all of its revenue.

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