Terminator Genisys (Movie Review)

There is NO REASON for “Genesis” to be spelt like that!!! It’s fucking bullshit!!!

Hey, if James Cameron approved it, it must be good, right?

Right?!?!

Sigh….Let’s just get through this.

 Terminator Genisys

Directed by: Alan Taylor

Produced by: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg

Written by: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier

Genres: Science fiction, action

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Lee Byung-hun, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith

Music by: Lorne Balfe

Plot: A retcon of sorts of the original series, Genisys (Ugh) kicks off right at the beginning of the Terminator series, with Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) getting sent back in time to 1987 by John Connor (Jason Clarke) in order to save the human race by protecting John’s mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a Terminator (Poorly CGI’d Arnold Schwarzenegger). Once he gets back to the era when Los Lobos ruled the earth though, he learns that things have gone completely nutty. Sarah has been hunted by a goddamn T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) for fourteen years, and has been protected by her own pet Terminator (Actual, live-action Schwarzenegger). What twists and turns await Kyle and Sarah in this bizarre reality?

Well, I won’t tell you, but I will tell you this: They certainly would’ve been a lot more impactful if I hadn’t had the big twist drilled violently into my head by the fucking trailers. God, the marketing team really dropped the ball.

In my opinion, the Terminator franchise should’ve ended with the second one (Unpopular opinion, I know). The Terminator is still an amazing movie, and Judgement Day is legitimately one of my favourite movies of all time. Rise of the Machines and Salvation, on the other hand, make no sense storywise (Skynet dies in T2, why are there still fucking Terminators???) and, quality-wise, the third and fourth movies left so little impact on me that I’m not sure how bad they actually are, which, I suppose, is kind of worse than just being a bad film.

Genisys, at least, is better and, yes, more memorable than T3 or TS. Does that make it a good movie, though?

Here’s your hint.

Getting right into the review, the one constant throughout this franchise, besides the constant need to manufacture some new disaster. illogical or not, in order to pump out a sequel, is the Governator (What a stupid nickname) himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Or whoever the hell this is supposed to be.

As much as people (Including myself) enjoy ragging on his limited acting ability (Though I’ve heard he’s good in Maggie, I dunno) I truly believe that his performances as the Terminator are legitimately great. It would be so easy to just be a stereotypical robot, but Arnie is downright terrifying in the first movie, and even seamlessly added comedic elements to his performance in Judgment Day, to terrific results.

Thankfully, despite it being twenty-one freaking years since his last genuinely good movie…

Well, “genuinely” might actually be pushing it.

… Arnold brings it to Genisys. He’s maybe not as intimidating as he used to be, considering he’s pushing seventy and is essentially playing Sarah Connor’s adoptive dad, but he still brings it in the action scenes (….Mostly), has some good comedic lines (Even if most of the comedy falls flat, what with the constant attempted shoehorning of repeat gags) and holds up his end of the bargain in terms of chemistry with Courtney and Clarke… Even if the latter two don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Oh… We’ll get to you two later.

But, with that out of the way, I just like giving credit where credit is due. While better than the third and fourth movies… Terminator Genisys is really bad. Not unwatchable, but… Yeah, still unmistakably bad.

The first warning that this was not going to be good was the fact that it was rated PG-13. I’m not saying that a Terminator movie has to be rated R to be good, but… It sure helps, doesn’t it? Terminator has always worked best as a scary, gritty sci-fi thriller and it’s hard to deliver on those fronts when you have a quota of blood and f-bombs that you can’t surpass. One would think they would’ve learned that with the last two movies, but on would be wrong.

And what’s with people’s asses getting blocked by shadow? Will kid’s retinas burn off if they glimpse CGI Schwarzenegger’s heavily muscled rear, or something?

This is all a poorly-veiled way of saying that I wanted Emilia Clarke nudity, by the way.

 So what if I’m shallow? We’ve established that. Sue me.

Genysis also falls into the trap of shoving in a bunch of callbacks to earlier films. Throughout the runtime, especially the first half, there are moments that are tailor-made to look exactly like scenes from the first two movies and, well, I guess it makes sense story-wise, and it’s not like callbacks are the worst thing ever, but these scenes are literally the EXACTLY the same. I don’t care if you’re ripping off Citizen Kane scene for scene, you CANNOT be that lazy. Even if you do make it similar, you can still do something new or creative with the locales and the dialogue (I think the only classic Terminator line that wasn’t rehashed is “Hasta la vista, baby”). Otherwise, you’re just being unimaginative, and fuck you for that.

Even the aspects of the film that should’ve improved from the last movies (The action and visual effects, specifically) show no noticeable improvement from T2, even. The action is completely forgettable, and seemingly built around Arnie’s inevitable semi-witty line, while the visual effects don’t look like they’ve come a long way from Judgment Day and sure, T2‘s special effects are terrific even today (Unlike the Arnie-Matronic in the first movie) but that doesn’t mean that we can’t improve on it, right? Isn’t that the whole point of a sequel (Or whatever the fuck this movie is supposed to be)? To build on the positives of the original?

Oh. Shit. Forgot who I was talking about for a second.

Since I’ve gone on enough about everything else, it’s time to get to bitching about the things that piss me off the most about the movie, the wasted characters of Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor. Sarah had a terrific arc in the first two movies, transforming from an understandably frightened sadsack into an intense, asskicking badass. In Genysis, she starts off as a badass and… Goes nowhere from there. The only other layer to her character that we get is that she’s unhappy with the fact that her life seems predestined, and wants to do whatever she wants. Wow, we’ve never seen THAT character archetype before!

Oh hi, most every Disney Princess ever!!!

And as great an actress as Emilia Clarke is, she really isn’t very good as Sarah Connor. It’s not like she isn’t trying, because she obviously is, it’s just not clicking. At least Sarah likes the Ramones. That’s gotta count for something, right?

“Take me to the airport and put me on a plane. Hurry hurry hurry. Before I go insane. I can’t control my fingers. I can’t control my brain, oh noohoohooohooohooo…”

For being a main character of the first movie, Kyle Reese is a surprisingly underappreciated character in the franchise. In terms of the popularity, he probably ranks under the T-800, T-1000, Sarah Connor, pre-complete and utter insanity Edward Furlong, and that punk stereotype that the T-800 murders at the beginning of the first movie.

When I heard that Bill Paxton was a punk, I translated that as Eric Bana in my mind. Weird, I know.

So, does Jai Courtney bring Kyle Reese back to the desired level of stardom? Your hint is at 2:40-2:45 in the video below. Also, spoilers for Se7en.

Kyle Reese is so fucking annoying in Genisys. Whenever he opens his mouth, it’s only to bitch and complain at Clarke and Schwarzenegger, yell frantically that Schwarzenegger can’t be trusted when that’s obviously not the case, and hit on Clarke. What a waste.

Speaking of waste, Clarke isn’t the only great, miscast or poorly utilized actor in Genisys. Jason Clarke is perfectly unspectacular as John Connor, Matt Smith appears for two seconds, Lee Byung-hun has nowhere near enough screen time and J.K. Simmons is completely wasted on a character that contributes nothing. What a spectacular comedown from Whiplash.

Fletcher is gonna be pissed.

Overall: It doesn’t usually bode well when Arnold Schwarzenegger gives the most emotional performance in your movie.

Rating: 4.5/10

Still a better actor than governor, though.

Thor: The Dark World (Movie Review)

I was going to review Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, for you guys, but apparently, the good people of Edmonton Alberta decided that today, of all days, was the perfect day, two weeks after the movies’ opening day, to wander over to Cineplex Odeon and fill up the goddamn theater to partake in the whimsical delight that is Wes Anderson (I assume. I’ve never actually seen a Wes Anderson movie before).

Which means I’m missing out on way more Bill Murray than is acceptable.

Anyways, since iTunes and credit cards are things that exist, I decided to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the next Captain America movie and Guardians of the Galaxy coming up. Time to bring the hammer down on Thor: The Dark World!

Get  it? ‘Cause he uses a hammer?

Ah, fuck it.

 Thor: The Dark World

  Directed by: Alan Taylor

  Produced by: Kevin Feige

  Written by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus,  Stephen      McFeely (Story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat)

  Based on: Thor by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber

Genres: Superhero, Fantasy

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo

Plot: Taking place two years after the events of Thor, and the title character (Hemsworth), accompanied by the Warriors Three (Stevenson, Levi and Asano) and Sif (Alexander) have just completed a campaign to pacify the nine realms of Asgard after they were destabilized following the destruction of Bifrost and the attempted alien invasion of New York, led by Thor’s step-brother, Loki (Hiddleston) in The Avengers. Loki has since been imprisoned by his adoptive father (And Thor’s biological father) Odin (Hopkins), the Allfather.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Dr. Jane Foster (Portman), Thor’s ex-flame, and her intern/best friend/effective comic relief, Darcy Lewis (Dennings) are in London, looking for their colleague, Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgård), who has been driven crazy by the experience of being possessed by Loki during The Avengers. While adventuring around London, they find an abandoned warehouse that houses several inter-dimensional portals. One such portal transports Jane to another world, where she is infected by the Aether, which is essentially a weapon of mass destruction in creepy liquid form. Her infection attracts the attention of Malekith the Accursed (Eccleston), a dark elf and ancient enemy of the Asgardians who aims to plunge the universe into darkness.

The plot sounds simple enough, but the reality is that it’s told in a way that had me kind of lost midway through. When the whole selling point of your movie is “Chris Hemsworth dresses up like a viking and beats the shit out of mythical creatures”, you don’t need to add a bunch of convoluted crap about the alignment of the realms, and then explain it in a way that bores and confuses me, to get me to watch your movie. But, as I just mentioned, this is not the case, and as a result, some parts (Cough cough, the climax) feel muddled and anti-climactic. It doesn’t help that a large part of the plot is built around a rather uninteresting villain in Malekith the Accursed.

Another plot problem is that the movie, at the beginning, tries to establish sort of a love triangle between Thor, Jane and Sif. The filmmakers went to the trouble of foreshadowing some sort of sexual tension, but we never hear about it again. What the hell was that all about?

While the cast does a great job, the one weak link among the whole bunch is Christopher Eccleston as Malekith. I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who in my life, but he didn’t exactly make a compelling case for my dropping Sword Art Online anytime soon.

Aside from Fullmetal Alchemist and Pokemon, it’s the only anime I’ve ever seen that doesn’t give off a rape-y vibe. Mostly.

Of course, it doesn’t help that his makeup looked like total shit.

Thankfully, the rest of the special effects are beyond phenomenal, especially the visuals of the city of Asgard. How this movie was excluded from the Oscar ballot in lieu of the Lone fucking Ranger  blows my goddamn mind.

Acting: Aside from Eccleston, the cast does a great job. Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki, who may be the best-written super-villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker. Chris Hemsworth is charismatic and fits the role of Thor like a giant, blond, muscular glove, and Natalie Portman has come another step closer towards erasing the memory of her role in the Star Wars prequels.

As much as one can try to forget, anyways.

What really made the characters shine is the dialogue, though. While the writers may have ignored minor details, such as a halfway understandable plot, but they nail the interactions between all the characters (Though, again, it helps that the actors did great jobs). the movie never really had a problem with tone, and managed to be sad, funny or tense whenever it needed to be, even avoiding the typical amounts of superhero cheese that comes with the territory of a movie like this.

Conclusion: I’d need to watch the first one again to decide whether I liked this one better or not, but what it lacks in terms of a coherent plot, it makes up for with its’ cast, dialogue, action scenes and especially the visual effects, and it all adds up to a very entertaining superhero flick.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10