Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
Lets face it: You’re probably not very excited about the new Terminator movie. And why should you be? The last two films were varying levels of bad, and this one doesn’t look much better. The marketing focuses on a much older-looking Arnold Schwarzenegger, who seems to be regurgitating catch phrases from decades past for what might seem to be nothing more than a paycheck. And maybe that works in Terminator Genisys‘ favor, as it is much easier to beat expectations when they are low.
I was pleasantly surprised by Terminator Genisys, and I think you will be too. So here is my (virtually) spoiler free Terminator Genisys reaction, giving you my thoughts and observations about the latest installment in the Terminator franchise. Read my Terminator Genisys review after the jump.
Terminator Genisys Is the Best Terminator Movie Since T2: Judgement Day
Just as Jurassic World was the best Jurassic Park film since the original, Terminator Genisys is the best Terminator movie since James Cameron‘s two original films. Finally, the Terminator series has a worthy sequel to T2: Judgement Day. What I like about Genisys is that it is a clever take on the idea of the reboot/sequel, which really takes advantage of the series’ time travel premise to make things fresh again. Genisys also marks a return to the humor and heart that Arnold brought to the series in Judgement Day. However…
If You’re Expecting Another T2, You Will Be Disappointed
Satisfying as this sequel may be, if you’re expecting a film on the level of Terminator 2: Judgement Day you will be very disappointed. T2 is a masterwork of science fiction action cinema which featured milestones in visual effects, and this film can’t compare, nor should it — I don’t feel it’s fair to compare this film with Cameron’s sequel. So no, Genisys doesn’t feature innovative visual effects giving us something we’ve never seen before. And no, Genisys isn’t a grand slam like T2 was, but like Jurassic World it is a fun Summer movie which does a good job of rebooting the franchise.
Genisys Honors the First Two Terminator Movies
It’s easy to see why James Cameron liked Terminator Genisys — it honors his Terminator films and uses them to respark the franchise. Cameron even said that Terminator Genisys feels like a real third film in the series, and you’ll definitely see why. And unlike other reboots and sequels, this movie doesn’t just reference the older movies but revisits moments we’ve seen before, allowing them to play out differently than we remember. Imagine if Back to the Future II rebooted the first film.
Revisit The Terminator Before Seeing This
And because of the connections to the first two Terminator films, you probably should revisit the originally movies beforehand. This is a film that will certainly play better depending on your memory of the first two films, as it features many homages and callbacks to those movies. This is especially true of the first film, The Terminator.
I feel like a lot of people believe they saw The Terminator, or saw that first movie so long ago and don’t quite remember it. When people remember the series, its usually T2: Judgement Day that they remember. Do yourself a favor and revisit The Terminator before seeing this new movie. You will definitely appreciate it more having done so.
The Opening Future War Sequence is Better Than Terminator Salvation
I didn’t hate Terminator Salvation. There, I said it. The first half of the film actually has some interesting action and visuals. The problem is it’s not the Terminator film we wanted and it lacks the humor and heart of Terminator 2. And yes, the second half of the film is a gigantic horrific mess.
Terminator Genisys begins after Judgement Day, and we get a better look at the future war against the machines and it is glorious. The opening twenty minutes of this film is better than all of Terminator Salvation. We see a laser-gun filled assault on a machine base by the resistance and it is pretty damn cool. It very much feels like what James Cameron was trying to show us in his Terminator films, but with a more epic expansion allowed by today’s modern day visual effects.