Who is ready for a fifth Terminator movie? No one? Well it’s coming anyway, folks, so gird your loins because soon it will be time to sit through another installment of the continuing adventures of a our favorite time-traveling cyborg murderer and his many replicas. And with the Governator vacating politics a few years ago and jumping head first back into acting, the time was ripe for a new Terminator movie featuring an old Terminator. So now here we go with the first piece of marketing for this movie, and it gives us an idea of how they are going to pull this off. Here are my thoughts.
First off it is worth noting that the title is simply terrible. ‘Terminator: Genesis” would have been bad enough, but apparently the producers feared that people would mistakenly think this would be a Terminator movie about how Cyberdyne brought sin into this world and how Sarah Connor and John Connor found two of every animal and how the T-800 turned into a pillar of salt when it looked upon Los Angeles getting nuked by Skynet for their many sins, so they figured if they misspelled the title, this would somehow be better. “Terminator Genisys” was born. And this is not a problem at all because apparently it isn’t important for people to be able to spell the actual title of the movie. To wit, you know how Google will automatically fill in your search queries for you based on other peoples’ searches? Look at this mess:
Now with that out of the way, I’d like to point to some things that I liked about this trailer. The stuff that impresses me the most are the big action shots, like the ones showcasing the bit of Future War that we get to see (presumably this is a scene opening the movie in which grown up John Connor leads the human resistance into a Skynet controlled bunker to get to the time displacement device so they can do the whole time travel thing this franchise is based on), and hopefully these scenes will be not only exciting but also gorgeous to look at. I mean, look at these shots:
Looks epic and awesome. But it is also a small part of the movie, and really not why we are here. Still this should still be a fun opening. During the beginning of the trailer we also get a close up look of one of the T-800s skeletons firing a gun, and as a still image it looks pretty awesome. Check it out:
Were the Terminators always smiling like that? Looks just a little goofy but I also kind of like it. However when you watch the trailer and you see this guy take a step forward, raise its weapon and fire, you can’t help but notice the extreme smoothness of his movements, which is a result of it being a computer created image, as opposed to the more herky-jerky, stiffer movements of the on-set practically-created robots of the first two movies. Now I am not saying that they should have gone with the stop-motion animation approach of “The Terminator,” but I still admire that kind of filmmaking over this kind of computers-first special effects work. Now this movie is about 7 months away from being released, so while most of the special effects look just a little wonky in this trailer, I am willing to give these people the benefit of the doubt, as special effects in movies like this are usually rendered right up until just before the movie is due to come out. So most of these effects are not completed, they are just good enough to put in the early marketing, and I get that.
Now this moment is a little weird. You see that? That’s Australian actor Jason Clark as John Connor (a fine choice), shaking hands…well, forearms…with Kyle Reese, played by fellow Australian actor Jai Courtney (also good casting). They are saying goodbye as Kyle Reese has volunteered to travel back to 1984 to save Sarah Connor from the Terminator. So basically the plot of the first movie. Why is this moment a little weird? Because as we, the viewers, know, and which John Connor must know at this point, is that he is sending his buddy Kyle Reese back in time to have sex with his mother so they can give birth to John so he can grow up, lead the resistance, and then send his own father back in time to sire him. A chicken or the egg scenario if there ever was one. Just imagine Jon saying to Kyle, “Good luck in banging my mom” and Kyle responding “I can see myself in your face already” or something creepy like that. This is almost out of a time traveling David Lynch movie (a movie about time travel by David Lynch, not a movie about time traveling David Lynch, though that would be dope, and not a movie about a David Lynch movie that time travels, though that would be intriguing).
A quick word about Sarah Connor: she is being portrayed by Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones” and she is all over this trailer, which includes her driving a truck like an action hero and firing guns while yelling things like “run,” you know, like an action star, and based on the trailer, I just can’t buy any of this, and I think it has to do with fact that Emilia Clarke looks like a teenager. Hard to imagine a freedom fighter or warrior who can’t even drink legally, especially one that will eventually have to go up against human-killing robots. And I know there are child soldiers all over the world and teenage rebels in places like Syria, but that’s real life and this is a movie, and she just doesn’t come across as an adult like Linda Hamilton did in “The Terminator.”
Ignore the bad actress making the crazy face and look at feather haired Linda Hamilton. She looks like an honest to God adult in that movie. So color me surprised when I decided to do a modicum of research and discovered for myself that Emilia Clarke is practically the same exact age as Linda Hamilton when she did “The Terminator.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a requisite for the casting of the character. So Hamilton may have looked her age in that first movie, but Clarke is the same age so I’m just going to have to look at that baby face and accept that she is some sort of trained bad ass ready to take on all sorts of Skynet created baddies (the same ones that wiped out most of humanity in the future, by the way).
Easily the most intriguing part about “Terminator Genisys” is how they are interjecting themselves into the plot line of the original 1984 film, but then found a way to change things. Without really explaining it, they state in this trailer that while Kyle Reese was expecting to save Sarah Connor from the Terminator in 1984, this was somehow altered when another Terminator also ended up in the past and for some reason became Sarah’s Guardian, looking out for her and protecting her. That means this Terminator meets up with the 1984 Terminator and destroys it somehow. A moment from that is seen above. Apparently we are going to get to see a CG 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger (a la “Terminator Salvation“) kill those three punks again for their clothes, while a much older looking Arnold rolls up on him to kill him. I am sure this will all make more sense when we see it in context in the movie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it still doesn’t make much sense at all. Also, are we going to get a CG young Bill Paxton? I hope so.
When explaining this in the trailer, there are two quick shots, a wide and the above close up, of the back of the Terminator walking away with a rocket launcher in one arm and a girl in the other. We can assume this is young Sarah Connor. Which means Skynet sent a Terminator even further back in order to get her when she was younger? Is that what happened? And it malfunctioned or something? Cause the debris on the ground in the wide shot would indicate that the rocket launcher was used to full effect. Worth noting that the back of this guy so obviously does not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also this image of a leather clad dude walking away with a little girl like that is kind of creepy. ALSO, how did this Arnold get the same biker outfit that the T-800 got from the 1990s in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day?” Is this actually the T2 Terminator sent back somehow before he melted himself down? Oh boy, this movie is going to get confusing.
This shot upsets me the most of anything in this trailer. In “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” we had an awesome scene in which Arnold took a knife, cut into his own arm, ripped the bloody flesh off in one piece, and then extended his robot arm, flexing it and holding it out, and it was a practical effect and it looked AMAZING. Like “how the hell did they make that look so real” amazing. And now over twenty years later, we get a special effect of the same thing, Arnold holding out his uncovered robot arm, and it looks like PURE SHIT. Especially in motion, the way the hand flicks out and the way his eyes and face never really seem to be actually looking at the damn thing, it just looks bad, like a “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” version of the Terminator, and it makes me unreasonably angry when big budget movies like this take obvious steps backwards in the special effects. If you can’t do it better with a computer, then don’t use a computer. Folks are using CG just because they could without stopping to think if they should.
This is the truck flip from “The Dark Knight” to the next level. It looks insane and silly all at once. A sign to come for the movie as a whole?
Oh yeah, and during the trailer they do that thing where they throw giant words at the screen to tell you the tag line or whatever between shots, and let me put this to you: this tag line makes absolutely no fucking sense.
Yes? Yes? The rules? They what? They do what? Did something happen to the rules?
Wait…what? The rules have been reset? What the hell does that even mean? How can rules be reset? Scores can be reset. Games in general can be reset. Other things that can be reset include: egg timers, alarm clocks, wonky cable boxes, and The Matrix. You know what can’t be reset? Fucking rules. Now rules can be rewritten, but they can not be reset. Unless you are rewriting the rules and then resetting them back to their default rule settings.
You see? What the hell, guys. You put absolutely no work whatsoever into coming up with this tagline, and that makes me nervous for the amount of thought put into the rest of the movie. It is like when you walk into a restaurant and you check out the bathroom and you see it is dirty. If they can’t keep that clean, you know everything is a damn mess and you better get out of there. To me, nonsensical advertising is the dirty bathroom of the movie. Not a good sign of things to come. The fucking rules have been reset. Jesus.
Yes, that is an incredibly grey haired Arnold, which is off putting. I do not want to see a super old Terminator. But we’re getting one. And he’s going to turn himself in a human-looking cyborg missile. Yeesh.
I’m calling it here, folks. This trailer coupled with the PG-13 rating tells me this movie is going to suck more than not, so let’s keep expectations low, because we all know we’re going to be seeing this thing opening weekend anyway. Hell, if I saw “Terminator Salvation” I can sit through this thing.
Genesis Genysis Genisys” comes out July 1, 2015.