TERMINATOR: GENISYS

A fifth Terminator movie? I was all in. No question I was going to be there to see it. I’ve seen them all. Even TERMINATOR: SALVATION which I like less every time I see it. TERMINATOR: GENISYS is better than that. Is it good? Hmm. I still don’t know. It has everything you expect to see, including Arnold Schwarzenegger back in real life and CGI version. The humans keep winning and SKYNET keeps trying to find ways to survive by going back in time to eliminate John Connor from existence. So the plot is the same, it’s all about how they execute it. Can they find a new twist, a new way to keep us interested. Mission barely accomplished. GENISYS refers to a new multi-platform operating system that will go online soon (you listening Google and Apple?). But GENISYS is really SKYNET. Oops, possible spoiler. It has all the appropriate nods to the the previous films. Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, the T-1000 and a somewhat cool new version that merges human and machine in an effort to get the job done. But this deals with several timelines, changes in the past changing the future and sometimes it just gets a little too deep into the weeds on that. I call it Star Trek syndrome. At some point the producers of Next Generation became all too fascinated with going into the past and not changing or changing it or something that got away from the heart of the series. GENISYS doesn’t go that far, but it dances on the edge. For me, what made the films work was the Sarah Connor character. Her fight to survive in the first movie, then her battle to prove she wasn’t crazy in JUDGEMENT DAY gave the story its center. It gave it humanity, rather than just about some computer trying to kill everyone. I was so looking forward to Emilia Clarke (the Mother of Dragons from Game of Thrones) taking over the role of Sarah. I just don’t think they gave her enough to do here. She kicks ass, but the internal struggle is missing. She is so singleminded that there is no room for any doubt. She even dismisses Jai Courtney’s (Kyle Reese) knowledge and truth as complete fiction. It was great to see Schwarzenegger in a role he was born to play. The set pieces are great, the CGI fantastic. Technically it’s a great film. Will there be a sequel? Count on it. They set one up. Should there be one? Maybe, if they can find a way to give it less flash and more substance. Will I be there on opening night. You bet I will. — Alan Yudman

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