Terminator Genisys trailer – reaction

It’s hard to believe, but it is now thirty years since The Terminator was unleashed on the world, a film which secured Arnold Schwarzenegger as a major box office star beyond his previous success as Conan and also launched the career of writer/director James Cameron whose astonishing resume includes Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009). The T-1000 also thrived, with a further two sequels, Rise of the Machines (2003) and Salvation (2009) and spin-off television show The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-9).

Now only fifteen years away from the apocalyptic robot-dominated future depicted in the first film, the series is to undergo a radical change of direction as the narrative enters a Möbius strip of reinvention as the first trailer for the part remake/part reboot Genisys is revealed starring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke as the new Sarah Connor,  A Good Day to Die Hard‘s Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Jason Clarke as John Connor and Schwarzenegger himself.

Dario Persechino – As someone who grew up loving Terminator and Judgement Day I have lived with the disappointing sequels and my initial thoughts going into a trailer for Terminator “Aren’t we cool spelling it with a Y” Genisys are “oh no, not another one” and “didn’t Christian Bale’s one finally kill the franchise?” It still hurts that they threw out the strong television show in favour of that awful movie.

The trailer starts with future John Connor as an excessively scarred John Conner sending Kyle Reese back to save Sarah Connor essentially appearing as a prequel/reboot of the original movie, at which point my brain is screaming “oh dear, god why!?”

Then we see Sarah Connor, not Kyle Reese kicking open the door and saying that immortal line “Come with me if you want to live!” Ok…more interested.

This is Sarah Connor as we know and love her from Judgement Day but younger, perhaps less damaged but just as much a fighter. This is a new timeline, again trying to stop Judgement Day from happening but with an older Arnie-Bot having apparently gone back sooner, trained Sarah into the person she would become and ready for the machine’s first attack. It is an interesting take on it that actually has some potential. Old Arnie-Bot going to take out the eighties Arnie T-800 looked good.

Having been there since Sarah Connor was young gives Old Arnie-Bot a reason to look older as well, which is a nice touch.

I’m not won over, but I am interested, which is more than I expected. Having a real good solid kick ass Sarah Connor played by a good actress is enough to make me want to see it. The rest of the cast I’m more unsure of. We’ll see when it opens and we’ll all have our Judgement Day.

Owen Williams – When they announced the Terminator reboot I had mixed feelings. I have quite large problems with the lack of originality in cinema: everything seems to be a reboot, reimagining, sequel, prequel, expanded universe or based upon this comic/novel.

A quick look at the top ten grossing movies for this year shows a trend that started at the dawn of the 21st century and has become dominant, a rehashing of the same thing over and over again because people are utterly stupid and will pay good money to watch movies like Transformers or the Twilight Saga. And, if you’re one of the people who paid to watch those movies without a damn good reason such as having kids, having lost a bet, having lost a bet to kids, an obligation to review it or you hoped it might result in sex, then yes you’re stupid.

Coming along with the reboot announcement was the news that Ahnolt would also be returning in the titular role. “Now how the hell are they going to make that work?” roughly 70% of geeks worldwide asked each other, along with slightly more inflammatory statements about his age and the fact that no one could replace Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. No one bemoaned the lack of Edward Furlong.

Then, when it emerged that Ahnolt would be playing an aged Terminator because he/it arrived when Sarah Connor was a young girl and raised her… well, let’s say the geek privilege raised its head. I didn’t mind it, in fact I quite liked the idea. If you are going to reboot it then reboot it. The Amazing Spider-Man was a bad reboot (not that it was a bad film – I quite enjoyed it) because it didn’t fundamentally change anything. Star Trek was a good reboot because it changed everything, it increased the threat and changed the characters. This is why I still have high hopes for the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, despite the negativity that currently surrounds it.

The opening of the trailer, with the desolate future of humanity, is already better than anything done in the travesty that was Salvation. John Connor looks like the badass leader of humanity that we hoped would arise from the first Terminator and T2. There’s a room full of (presumably) T-800’s! We finally get to see the time travel machine only alluded to for the last thirty years!

“You’re going back to when she was scared and weak. Take care of her for me, Kyle.”

Of course, then the rather buff Jai Courtney has to be rescued from the only non-Caucasian actor in the trailer, who is also a T-1000, by Sarah Connor herself. Gone is the timid waitress from the original, replaced by a commanding woman who already knows her destiny. This is what I wanted. Not a retelling of the original, but a new film that plays with the time travel possibilities that The Sarah Connor Chronicles began (and a series that should be as mourned as Firefly).

The cynical reviewer in me wants to complain about the effects. The T-1000 doesn’t look as good as the Robert Patrick version. Old Ahnolt versus 1984 Ahnolt just isn’t quite there, but I can forgive that because there’s plenty of time to tweak those things.

I like the look of the plot, that Kyle has been sent back to save a woman that doesn’t need saving. We already know that the T-800 can learn and I want to see what it’s like growing up with him/it as a father figure. Clearly they took the original concept, but realised that fans like the T2 version of Sarah Connor and merged the two (right down to the black vest), along with a good excuse to have the sixty-seven year old version of the Terminator in on the story.

I do think that they revealed a little too much in the trailer. I’d hazard a guess that there’s a big chunk at the beginning of the film set in the future, which means the reveal of Sarah Connor not being a “weak woman” is a little ruined. Sticking “come with me if you want to live” in there could easily have been held back in favour of “move it soldier!” Also, and despite the fact that everyone knew Ahnolt would at some point deliver his most famous line, I’d rather have waited to see the moment on the big screen.

I loved the trailer – it made me excited for the film. It excited me more than the Star Wars trailer but I don’t think I can quite bring myself to call it anything other than Terminator Gen*sis.

Matthew Rutland – It is hard to imagine that the sci-fi Horror which was The Terminator would leave such an indelible mark on film history when it came out in 1984. Amongst many others of the era, such as RoboCop, Total Recall and The Thing, it set many impressive benchmarks, and there is much in the film which has become almost iconic, resonating in popular culture from this day.

However, most of these, from the stirring theme by Brad Fiedel, the T-800 endoskeleton designed by James Cameron and Stan Winston and the amazing cinematography of the original, were all outdone by its award-winning and record breaking sequel. It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty three years since T2 came out, a film that defined our generation and set the bench mark for action-adventure films, and we’ve still not had a worthy successor.

I have enjoyed every Terminator film.  T-X Kristanna Loken notwithstanding, I liked the bleak inevitability of Terminator 3 and the idea of trying to move the series on without its key protagonist Sarah Connor, which was always going to be a tall order considering the superlative performance of Linda Hamilton in the first two films.

The last reboot in Salvation also had its moments, although half of it felt like an apology to the fanboys with so many moments looking back to the second film, with a cast that included Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Worthington and Christian Bale, it hardly lacked star power. But now we reach Terminator 5, not including the much maligned television series. So, what can we expect?

Judging from the third big “teaser” trailer (I’m starting to doubt Hollywood understands actually the word teaser, but that’s another story), it looks like yet another throwback movie which attempts to erase the two previous films from the timeline and canon.

I did ask Arnold if this was the case in his online Q & A but didn’t get a response, so it looks like a wait and see. What is clear is that this franchise is stuttering and is looking to return to its roots in order to regain its original fanbase.

The fact Arnold himself is included, in both live action and CGI form worries me. I’m not sure why they didn’t hand the torch to a more current actor; Dwayne Johnson as a model 102 would have made sense, but they are still having to rely on the draw of Arnie, and that doesn’t bode well. That is not to say Emilia Clarke is a poor pick by any means, as Game of Thrones fans can attest.

The blue/grey camera filter is so popular these days is present, ironic in that it really came from T2, and the action sequences featuring another T-1000 look well shot even if not as authentic as Robert Patrick’s version. A lot of the scenes shown, such as the dive into the helicopter and the school bus flip make this feel more like a modern by-the-numbers action flick as opposed to the might that was once the premier franchise in science fiction.

Considering what has happened to all other franchises, RoboCop, Predator and Alien, I guess it is no surprise. The scope and imagination of the original films seems to have been abandoned in favour of for CGI effects  and 3D these days, and one can only hope this film forgets the more politically correct attitudes of T2 and returns to the original Hallowe’en-esque style of that unrelenting pursuer who cannot and will not be stopped which gripped the world thirty years ago.

If it can’t, then maybe its time to say Hasta La Vista, Baby.

Michael Flett – I’ve never seen any of the Terminator films, I’ve never felt the need. I don’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger, never have, about the only thing I could stand him in was Conan the Barbarian which only worked because of Basil Poledouris’ brilliant score (I actually thought Jason Momoa was infinitely better in the part despite the failings of that film), and to me they always seemed like boys and guns and explosions.

Count me out. I have no interest.

And similarly, this… fails to move me. I know enough about the films to know that they’re playing it clever and doing a role reversal, having her in the know and playing the saviour rather than the target, but why give the game away? We’re a year and a half on from Star Trek Into Darkness, so I think it’s safe to say this now as anyone who wants to see that and be surprised has had ample opportunity to do so by now.

That film did the remake-which-isn’t-a-remake perfectly, because it spun all the expectations, but crucially it didn’t tell anyone it was going to beforehand.

This, I’ve seen the trailer, I know the twists they’re going to give us, I’ve seen effects which I know from a twenty year old Guns n’ Roses video, why do I need to see the film?

Jai Courtney naked? Actually, that’s a hell of a reason! He was the only thing I actually enjoyed in the last Die Hard… I’m sure Emilia Clarke will be great as the new Sarah Connor, but despite her only being a couple of years out from Linda Hamilton when she first played the part she looks too much like a child.

But other than that, it looks tired and embarrassing, especially that leap out of the helicopter. The fact that they’re playing the time paradox out in the trailer makes me think the story isn’t going to be the thing, it’s going to be the backdrop against which they’re going to play out nothing more intellectually involving than car chases and explosions.

For the hope of a smart time travel film next year, I’m pinning my hopes on Predestination.

Terminator Genisys is scheduled for release on 1st July 2015



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