Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Terminator: Genisys (4 Stars)
This is the fifth Terminator film. My rating for this film is provisional. Despite being warned in advance reviews and interviews I wasn't prepared for how different this would be to the previous Terminator films. There were shock effects in the first half hour that knocked me back in my seat, and I wasn't sure how to judge them, positively or negatively.
Here is a very brief description of the plot. To say more would be unfair to people who haven't seen the film yet.
The film begins in 2029, shortly before the events of the first Terminator film. John Connor sends Kyle Reese into the past (1984) to protect his mother, Sarah Connor, from a T-800 Terminator sent to kill her minutes earlier. While Kyle is standing in the time machine he sees John Connor being attacked by a Terminator that has travelled back from the future (after 2029). This changes time and gives Kyle new memories, but due to being in the process of travelling through time he also retains his old memories from before the time change. Kyle becomes a man with two pasts. Are you confused yet?
Kyle returns to 1984. The events of the first film are repeated, but everything has changed, because there have been subsequent time jumps following the attack on John Connor. In particular, a re-programmed T-800 has been protecting Sarah Connor since 1975.
After watching the film I read detailed reviews, which I advise my readers against doing until after they've seen the film themselves. Too many spoilers! Most of the reviews were negative. I think this is unfair. The criticisms seem to come from purists who don't like the events of the first Terminator film being undone. Slow down a bit. Maybe the events have been changed, but we haven't been robbed. We still have the original film in our hands to watch as often as we want to. In time travel films the past is in a flux and can be changed repeatedly. This is because in the Terminator films there is a single time-line, unlike Marvel's parallel universe concept. In Marvel comics travelling back in time to change the past doesn't change anything, it just creates a parallel time-line with the changed events. (I don't yet know whether this concept also applies to the Marvel films, such as "X-Men: Days of Future Past"). In the Terminator films, once the past has been changed the future time-line has been changed and the old time-line has been permanently erased.
Just one small point in closing. You'll only fully appreciate this film if you've already seen the first two Terminator films. It isn't necessary to have seen the third and fourth films.