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Terminator Genisys (2015)
#1
As a fan of the Terminator series, I found this the most solid entry since T2 and entirely undeserving of the hate it's getting online.

Because, I wrote what almost amounted to an essay on originaltrilogy.com. Thought I'd just copy it verbatim:

A Defense of Terminator Genisys

I wholeheartedly agree with Cameron and Arnold that this is the "official" third movie in the franchise, being superior to Salvation and the utterly abysmal Terminator 3. Visually, it hearkens back to James Cameron's films. The opening war scene set near Skynet's time displacement machine is a great spectacle. It's fulfilling to witness the 2029 victory that has been talked about since the first movie. You can see why Cameron considered using it as the opening of T2. Thankfully, unlike Terminator 3, there is no hamfisted inclusion of the American flag, which entirely belittles the fact that this is the struggle of a united race to survive. Independence Day, this is not. Jason Clarke did a good job as the weary, messianic leader of the Human Resistance, much better than Christian "Batman voice" Bale or Nick "paintball gun" Stahl. I appreciated that they resisted the urge to throw in a wife. Having a partner humanizes John Connor, and, for reasons I'll expand on later, the character should not be humanized.

Once Reese travels back in time, he finds, as I assume most of you know, the 1984 world of the first Terminator with marked differences. The editing and effects are markedly improved from the promotional material. I was worried by a lot of amateurish cuts in the TV spots, but none of those are replicated in the actual movie. Similarly, I was impressed by how the CGI young Arnold looked. Though superior to the instances in Tron Legacy and Terminator Salvation, it's not perfect, but I daresay we're only about a decade away from photorealistic replication of actors. Overall, it was exciting to watch this new Terminator flick, especially since it didn't adhere to the tried formula without adding anything new (Terminator 3, I'm looking at you.). Except for the well-known SPOILER that John Connor had been converted to a Terminator, I didn't know what was coming next most of the time, and, for fear of ruining anyone experiencing it for the first time, I think I'll stop divulging plot details here.

Alan Taylor is admittedly no James Cameron when it comes to action and suspense, but his directing worked for the most part. He, without a doubt, trumps McG, whose movie contained baffling lapses in logic (open heart surgery in a post-apocalyptic wasteland?). The rather large budget shows, making it feel more epic and like an open world, unlike the cheap looking Terminator 3. Until the end, the film continues to feel like the spiritual successor to the Terminator and T2, visually continuing with a color Cameron-like palette, staying away from dwelling in warm colors (Terminator 3) and desaturated ones (Salvation.)

I think the main reason that Terminator Genisys works much better than Terminator 3 or Salvation is that it fits the criteria for a good sequel, expanding on the themes of the last installment and growing the characters to create an emotionally satisfying follow-up. Despite being a fantastic movie taken in a vacuum and one I personally love, Alien 3 is a prime example of an unfulfilling sequel. With Hicks and Newt so unceremoniously killed off, Ripley is regressed, going from lone survivor (Alien) to mother of makeshift family unit (Aliens) to lone survivor once more. The audience at least partially rejected Alien 3 because they, on a conscious or subconscious level, felt cheated. Alien 3 makes Aliens useless, as it renders the extensive character development there inconsequential.

Amazingly, Terminator 3 does the same thing as Alien 3 but even worse and without the benefit of being a good movie on its own. In a nutshell, The Terminator was about maintaining the world's destiny. Kyle Reese ensures that John Connor is born, and the T-800 inadvertently (as shown by T2) ensuring that Skynet is also likewise born. Brilliantly, T2 alludes that the future may be altered, taking to heart- John Connor's iconic message— “no fate but what we make.” The ending is wonderfully open-ended, not stating whether or not the events did make a difference. But, then Terminator 3 completely betrays this! In stating that Judgment Day is inevitable, it not only completely disregards the hope of T2 but also John Connor's iconic message. On the other hand, Terminator Genisys expands on the idea that the future may be changed, and Judgment Day may be stopped. It leaves open the possibility that preventing Skynet from rising is possible, albeit really complicated. Yet, as the mid-credits scene shows, Judgment Day may still come. Ambiguity is essential in this franchise, as James Cameron and the makers of Genisys understand.

A running sub-theme of T2 is that man is becoming more machine-like in the name of victory. Sarah Connor, with her knowledge of the horrible future, teeters close to the edge of Terminator-esque merciless efficiency. This is particularly highlighted in the scene where she tries to kill Miles Dyson. The picture of the future John Connor is an even bleaker one; in the once scene we see him, he is emotionlessly scanning the battlefield like a Terminator. Those behind Terminator 3 thought the most interesting progression would be to turn John Connor into a hobo played by Nick Stahl, who gets bullied by Arnold for the length of a movie. They humanize him by showing that he has weaknesses and has qualms about violence, as shown with the paintball gun. Giving him a wife and “important,” assassination-worthy lieutenants undermines James Cameron's depiction of John Connor as a “Great Man” of history, who used his burdensome knowledge of the future to save the human race. John Connor is supposed to be distant and rather inhuman; having him be married and overly friendly with anyone but Kyle Reese betrays that. Like Salvation almost did beforehand, Genisys has the novel idea of making John's machine-like tendencies literal. This completes the progression of him slowly losing his humanity.

Terminator Genisys also is superior to Terminator 3 in terms of character progression. In their modifications to the timeline, the creators of Genisys ensure Sarah Connor is still a badass like we saw in T2, albeit one who has her humanity fully intact. It would be awful to have Sarah regress to being a waitress, a passive character, as she would be, had the timeline not been rebooted. They go on to explore the interesting possibility of Kyle Reese meeting this toughened Sarah Connor, which he didn't get to originally because of his death at the end of the first Terminator. The character who the Genisys filmmakers did justice most in terms of logical progression was Arnold's. Now, let me preface this by declaring that I understand Arnold is playing a different Terminator in every movie. Even so, because it's always Arnold, it's hard for an audience not to at least subconsciously think of him as a single entity. Between Terminator 2, he undergoes a radical character arc in the eyes of the audience, from unfeeling monster to benevolent compassionate surrogate father figure. It is unsatisfying in Terminator 3 to “regress” to unfeeling but benevolent, with occasional outbursts of physical violence towards John. Genisys instead continues along the natural arc set up by two, showing him turn to a more positive character— from the father figure in T2 to a literal father named “Pops,” who basically raises Sarah from the age of 9.

Sorry if this post has been long, but I really wanted to explain why I feel that Genisys doesn't deserve all the wanton bashing it gets throughout the Internet. To conclude, in no way am I saying that Terminator Genisys is better than T2 or The Terminator but it is the sequel I can put next to those classics without regret.
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#2
OK, I jumped this entirely because I'm afraid to read some spoilers... if there is any, please write it in the next post... I can't/don't want to know anything about the story before I have watched it! Smile
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
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#3
Go watch the trailer, it has so many spoilers you don't even need to watch the movie after that. Smile
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#4
As I've watched it, I can stay away from the movie, though! Tongue

Seriously, maybe we should add a rule: if there is some spoiler on the review - enough to reveal important parts of the plot - a SPOILER should be clearly written at the beginning of the paragraph...
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
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#5
(2015-07-04, 06:05 PM)spoRv Wrote: OK, I jumped this entirely because I'm afraid to read some spoilers... if there is any, please write it in the next post... I can't/don't want to know anything about the story before I have watched it! Smile

The only spoiler I discuss is the one infamously revealed in the trailer. Nothing more.

Though, if you don't know the spoiler from that trailer, I'd highly recommend watching the movie cold.

And, to sum up my monster post: this is the best Terminator sequel since T2.
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#6
Going to try to see T5 and hopefully Jurassic World this week. Can't wait.
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#7
(2015-07-04, 02:25 AM)The Aluminum Falcon Wrote: I think the main reason that Terminator Genisys works much better than Terminator 3 or Salvation is that it fits the criteria for a good sequel, expanding on the themes of the last installment and growing the characters to create an emotionally satisfying follow-up. Despite being a fantastic movie taken in a vacuum and one I personally love, Alien 3 is a prime example of an unfulfilling sequel. With Hicks and Newt so unceremoniously killed off, Ripley is regressed, going from lone survivor (Alien) to mother of makeshift family unit (Aliens) to lone survivor once more. The audience at least partially rejected Alien 3 because they, on a conscious or subconscious level, felt cheated. Alien 3 makes Aliens useless, as it renders the extensive character development there inconsequential.

I completely disagree about Alien 3. The studio-imposed theatrical cut is not great, but it's clear that the story holds together and stands on its own. What Alien 3 did successfully was to take the franchise back to the basics - one killer alien running about causing havoc. It also went back to being a horror film - whereas Aliens and Alien Resurrection are action films rather than horror pictures. This also gave a chance for Ripley to become the leader for pretty much the whole film, and allowed her to sacrifice herself to keep the Xxenomorph from being bred by Weyland-Yutani for military purposes. And best of all, Ripley finally gets laid!

Killing off Michael Biehn's character and "Newt" was necessary for the story. If Hicks had survived he would been a leader but Alien 3 hoists Ripley into the leadership role.

Quote:Amazingly, Terminator 3 does the same thing as Alien 3 but even worse and without the benefit of being a good movie on its own.

No T3 does not do the same thing as Alien 3, what it does is repeat the same story as T2 but with a different ending. T2 has a Terminator sent back to protect John - and it helps them attempt to prevent Judgement Day by destroying Cyberdyne Systems. T3 has a Terminator sent back to protect John and his future wife, and ends with him putting them in a bunker while Judgement Day commences.

Now here are my main criticisms of T5 (SPOILER FOLLOW - HIGHLIGHT TO C) ...

1. The biggest problem of all. John is converted into a Terminator by Matt Smith as Skynet and then sent back in time. He's nearly invulnerable, except that Pops manages to kill him by putting him into an incomplete time-displacement device that tears him apart at the molecular level. However John already travelled back-in-time as a Terminator through a time-displacement device and just like the mimeticpolyalloy T-1000 it didn't tear him apart. If it didn't destroy him the first time why would it destroy him the second time?

2. Reece is a completely different character to the first movie - why's he such a pathetic character now when compared to Michael Biehn? Also, he doesn't do anything. Pops is the one who takes care of John, not him. It's all a rather emotionless affair really, especially considering the character emotions in T1 and T2.

3. Arnie is playing a good terminator for the 3rd consecutive time. It's enough, we're over it. While it wasn't a bad idea to have the "Pops Terminator" to have a secret origin, the same thing could have been done by sending a different Terminator. And preferentially not letting him be the film's main hero.

4. The story is dull, and it isn't original. It should have gone back to the basics, and built a more suspenseful and less predictable story. Everyone knew what would happen from the start - John would be sent back and defeated by the Sarah/Kyle/Pops team. That's it - there was no suspense because we expected the outcome. Even T2 has this problem if you stop to think about it, although both Sarah and the T800 can die at anytime without jeopardising humanity's future.
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#8
Here's an interesting discussion on the Alien films...

Quote:Sigourney Weaver: Alien vs Predator really depressed me

It grossed $172 million dollars at the box office and spawned a sequel, but 2004 sci-fi crossover Alien vs Predator wasn’t exactly a hit with fans and critics – and it turns out Alien heroine Sigourney Weaver was among the disappointed.

When asked at London Film and Comic Con today if it was her choice to have her character Ripley killed off in Alien 3, the actress replied: “Well, yes – because I heard that Fox was gonna do Alien vs Predator. Which really depressed me because I was very proud of the movies.”

...

The actress also said that the crossover deterred franchise creator Ridley Scott from making another movie.

“In fact Ridley Scott was about to direct a third one, until this was announced, and he dropped out,” she said, “because he also wanted to do an Alien sequel.”

That job was instead taken by David Fincher, with a fourth Alien film (Alien: Resurrection) directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Scott only returning to the world he created for 2012’s prequel Prometheus. “I think it caused more problems than it was worth,” Weaver concluded.

Quote:Peter Briggs

I love “Alien 3”. Well; I didn’t on its theatrical release, but I find the recent extended DVD recut even more watchable than “Aliens”. I’ll also be honest that I’m less-than-wild about the two “Alien vs Predator” movies (particularly “Requiem”, about which less said the better) But I do wish Sigourney Weaver would stop beating on “Alien vs Predator” as her pet piñata in “ruining” the “Alien” franchise, and acknowledge that two standalone “Alien” movies she was actively involved with unfortunately managed that first, all on their own.

I don’t even know if Sigourney Weaver has read the “Alien vs Predator” draft I wrote. She’s never said she has. But, I was a fan obsessive of the “Alien” franchise, Sigourney. Big time. Particularly Ridley’s original, which is still unmatched. And “Alien vs Predator” — as a concept — is still killer, full of potential. Even its critically maligned first cinematic outing made $172,544,654 worldwide, compared to $159,814,498 for “Alien 3” and $161,376,068 for “Resurrection”. Hardly a financial “fail” there, Sigourney.

There’s a terrific “Alien vs Predator” movie still to be made by someone. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Weaver's comments just don't sound right in the first place. The Alien 3 script was unfinished when filming began, and it underwent continual rewrites through production. Fincher himself did much of the rewrite if I'm not mistaken. Weaver was happy to sign on for a movie with an unfinished script, yet hurls criticisms towards some other early script that was never even used for the final film of AVP!?
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