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Terminator: Genisys

Terminator: Genisys

Rated PG-13 - for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language.
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J. K. Simmons, Matt Smith, Byung-hun Lee
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: July 1, 2015
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 10, 2015 (

Plot Summary

NEW MISSION, NEW THREAT, NEW FATE. "Arnold is back and better than ever" (Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV) in this explosive new chapter of the blockbuster Terminator franchise. In the war of man against machine, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney, The Divergent Series) is sent back to 1984 by resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke, Everest) to protect his young mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones). However, this time unexpected events have altered the past and threaten the future for all mankind. Now Reese must join forces with Sarah and her "Guardian" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to save the world and stop the next evolution of Terminators in "one of the best action movies of the year." (Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee) (from iTunes)

Film Review

It's the age of sequels, keeping franchises alive, and altogether reboots in Hollywood. So it should come as no surprise to have a new entry in the lucrative Terminator franchise this year (and even the same year as a new Jurassic Park, James Bond, and Star Wars - just to name a few). Even more amazing is the studio's ability to work the original Terminator into the story and bring a 67-year-old Arnold Swartzenegger back into the fold. In the same breath, Terminator: Genisys revisits the original 1984 film and gives a new spin on it, retelling the story at the same time as furthering it, serving as both a sequel and a reboot simultaneously.

I'll be honest, readers. As a child of the 80s, while many were watching Terminator, Rambo and RoboCop, this kid was watching Ghostbusters, Star Wars and Back to the Future. And to this day, this reviewer has never seen more than bits and pieces of the first three Terminator entries on TV. The movies were all rated R and pretty rough, so I wasn't permitted to watch them, and as I got older, my threshold for "restricted" violence, language and the like has remained relatively low. With that said, I did see the PG-13 Terminator: Salvation a few years ago and enjoyed it, and I was a little interested in this new entry (although the previews didn't totally sell me). Since I have a limited knowledge of the series - limited beyond the basic details, that is - it was tough to compare this film to the first three, but I've heard that, supposedly, this film works better as a Terminator 3 than the original third film did.

Genisys has a twisty, curvy plot that starts in the future during the war of the machines and then takes us to 1984 and back to future times. It's a little convoluted as it hops around a few decades in attempts to change the past and future, etc. The big plot difference here is that Arnold's reprogrammed "Terminator"--the T-800--had been sent to Sarah Connor when she was 9 years old to protect her, and after the death of her parents, ended up raising her. This makes Sarah quite the fighter when she meets Kyle Reese in this film, and she calls the aging T-800 (since its human-like skin ages like real human skin) "Pops." It's a little weird, but as a standalone film, all of this is quite interesting. As a follow-up to the first two films, I can imagine it's a bit weird, especially as it takes the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot approach of kind of changing history and re-writing things a bit within the familiar universe (and incorporating a familiar franchise talent, like Arnie's Terminator and Nimoy's Spock).

The main criticism I've seen from fans online is that the franchise has been dumbed down some for the PG-13 audiences and for a more summer blockbuster affair. The film does still have its violent moments--especially with human-looking characters, who are really machines, having holes blown through them time and time again. The other thing it does, too, is give viewers a rather "Hollywood ending," in which a lot of things are wrapped up more nicely and more "happy" than the previous films seemed to. That didn't bother me much, but I can see that being a real sore spot for fans. Furthermore, the film just has that fast-paced, "let's keep the action coming" feel that tends to forsake a deeper story just for entertainment purposes. It actually works to entertain, and it does take cues from the original story, but there isn't a whole lot of depth to be found. The story does slow down enough to have some good character moments between Kyle and Sarah, though. It's a fun sci-fi action film--which is frightfully relevant in today's smart phone, tablet-wielding society--but as someone who hates when Hollywood unnecessarily messes with franchises (for the record, I'm not on board with the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot... at all), I can understand why this reboot/remake would ruffle some fans' feathers.

I enjoyed Terminator: Genisys as a fan of good sci-fi and good action movies. While this film feeds the feeling that Hollywood is fresh out of original content, I also think it proves that these films don't really need the R-rated content of their predecessors. I've enjoyed Arnold Swartzenegger on screen when he isn't making such films, and it's fun to see him in a role like this again. Emilia Clarke made a pretty good Sarah Connor, while Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Jason Clarke plays a pretty versatile version of John Connor in this film and Jai Courtney is surprisingly good as Kyle Reese. Add in a little humor from Spider-Man's J.K. Simmons and I just found Terminator: Genisys to be good fun.

As you might expect, the content of Terminator: Genisys is pretty edgy. I thought Terminator: Salvation was grittier and perhaps more gruesome, but Genisys was overall lighter, despite the violence. Arnold's T-800 has some of the classic moments where pieces of his face have been scraped away to reveal the machine beneath his skin, but it's not focused on, nor is it very gory. The T-1000 and the film's main villain, the T-3000 are frequently impaled with things or shot in the head and torso, many times with holes blown right through. We then see those holes close up. It's violent but not bloody or gory (but I'm sure aspects of it would have disturbed me more as a teenager). When Kyle goes back in time, he has to go naked, and we see long, distant shots of him that's kind of obscured, as well as similar shots to the young T-800 and Sarah Connor later in the film. All shots either crop out their lower halves or use lighting to dim their bare butts or crotches. As such, we just see the tops of their bare butts at different times or faint, obscured views of their bare butts in the dark. It's never sexual or all that explicit. There's also some language, including an "F" word spoken by a punk who first encounters the T-800 in 1984, and a handful of other language, including a few uses of the "S" word and some blasphemy.

I'd heard mixed things about Terminator: Genisys, and in the end I found myself enjoying the film. It's certainly not perfect, but I thought it was a strong summer popcorn flick and a better entry than the previous sequel. It seems to be polarizing the diehard fans, but if you're open to the idea of change within the Terminator universe, you might find yourself really liking Terminator: Genisys.

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 11/7/15)



Blu-Ray Special Features Review

Terminator: Genisys is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and in a 3D Blu-Ray / 2D Blu-Ray combo pack with a digital copy. Along with the feature film in high definition are the following extras:

Family Dynamics (15:51) - The filmmakers talk about casting here, and continuing the franchise with new actors in these now-iconic roles. They also talk about bringing Arnold back. It runs down each new cast member -- from Emilia to Jai to Jason to J.K. -- and how they fit into the Terminator world. (1 "S" word in an interview, 2 "g*dd*mn" from a film clip)

Infiltration and Termination (25:29) - This featurette covers the production of the film, shooting in New Orleans and Los Angeles. There's some great on set footage, including the crew building physical sets (like the underground T-1000 trap and the time machine) and shooting on location (including closing down a highway in New Orleans for the San Francisco scene). They also address the recreation of classic scenes from the original movie and giving it a new spin. We also hear from Arnold about the cast, including how much he loved Jason's performance and from Byung-hun Lee about being the new T-1000. It's clear from the way they talk here that everyone had a blast making the movie.

Upgrades: VFX of Terminator: Genisys (15:07) covers the visual effects of the film, opening with several "effects passes" that show different layers to the visual effects. They talk about recreating a young Arnold digitally and having to find a bodybuilder with a similar frame to Arnold to use as a reference. James Cameron even pops up here to talk about the past and present of the T-1000. They also discuss the new effects of the T-3000 and how they created the look for the film, showing the original footage and then the finished edits.

- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 11/8/15)


Parental Guide: Content Summary

. Sex/Nudity: When the T-800 lands in 1984, we see his bare butt and crotch dimly lit to obscure nudity. At most, we see a faint outline of his butt in the dark; Kyle has to time-travel naked, so we see the top of his hips as he walks nude into the time machine. We also see the top of his bare butt when he lands in 1984. His nudity, during the time travel sequence, is mostly obscured by light and things in the foreground; Pops tells Sarah that she can still mate with Kyle in this timeline; Sarah undresses for time travel and we briefly see her in her bra. Kyle then looks over after she's taken off her bra and sees her nude, shadowed silhouette on the wall (there's no detail though); Pops asks Sarah if they've mated yet (they haven't); We see Sarah's bare back as she gets into the time machine; When Kyle and Sarah arrive in the future, we see parts of their nude bodies in the street (and parts of their bare butts briefly).
. Vulgarity/Language: 1 "F" word, 7 "S" words, 1 "J-sus," 5 "g*dd*mn," 2 "a**h*le" (1 written), 1 "d*mn," 8 "h*ll," 2 "a" words, 1 "S.O.B.", 1 "suck"
. Alcohol/Drugs: We see a brief shot of miscellaneous people with beer at a picnic.
. Blood/Gore: We see some flesh missing from Pops and T-800 after a fight; We see a slightly bloody cut on Kyle's chest after being sliced by the T-1000; Kyle wakes up to see the torn face of the defeated T-800 (with a hole in its face); Kyle has some blood on his head after a fight with the T-800; We see some scars on Kyle's chest as he prepares for time travel; We see some bloody scrapes on Pop's face; Sarah has a bloody cut on her shoulder, Kyle has one on his head; We see a closeup of the cut on Sarah's back and they use surgical staples and a stapler to close it; We see a pool of blood under a man who's just been shot, but it then turns mechanical and he gets back up; We see a flashback of a room of dead soldiers as another man's face appears infected with nanites and metal liquid; Sarah shoots a hole through a man's head (the T-3000) and it heals up; Pops has some bloody cuts on his face after going through a police officer's windshield; Kyle has some blood on his face; O'Brien has some blood on his shoulder after getting shot; We see blood on some cops who've been shot and on O'Brien's hand; We see Pops' torn-up face, revealing metal beneath.
. Violence: We see missiles that Skynet has fired blowing up San Francisco and lots of other widespread destruction; We see a flashback of John shooting up a terminator; We see soldiers shooting the machines; Rebels open fire on the machines during a battle sequence. There's an air assault on Skynet. A group of soldiers are also shown getting riddled with bullets from the machines; Some street punks break a telescope lens at the Observatory; Pops fights the new T-800 in a brawl on the street. We see some flesh missing from both of them in the process. A hole is blown in the T-800's face; The T-1000 attacks Kyle and grazes his chest with its blade; The cops hit Kyle and cuff him; Cops shoot T-1000 who impales him with knife-like arms; The T-1000 gets shot repeatedly. When an armored car crashes into the storefront, he is sent flying; Kyle panics when he sees Pops in the truck and shoots at him, blowing the door off the truck. They then lose control and crash. Pops then knocks out Kyle; Pops shoots the T-1000's tracker off their truck; The trio shoot at the T-1000 who pursues their truck in a police car. Kyle shoots a grenade launcher at it, blowing up the car; The T-1000 bursts through a wall, shooting everyone in a room and stabs Pops. He then reactivates the T-800, which pursues and beats up Kyle--who ends up shooting off its head; Sarah shoots at a ceiling which releases acid onto the T-1000, melting it. It also melts the skin off of Pops' arm; Sarah holds a gun on Kyle; Sarah and Kyle's arrival in the future lands them on a highway which causes several car accidents, and they're hit by a car as well; Pops kicks the chair of a security guard, throwing him into the console, knocking him out; Pops shoots the T-3000; We see a flashback of a room of dead soldiers as another man's face appears infected with nanites and metal liquid; Pops fights T-3000 and they end up destroying quite a few walls in the process; A large magnet pins the T-3000 to the machine and pulls at its metallic traits; Sarah shoots a hole through a man's head (the T-3000) and it heals up; Sarah blows up their home base with the T-3000 in it. We then see the metallic skeleton walking out of the fire and then turning back to human; The T-3000 pursues them on top of a school bus. Pops shoots at him through the roof. He's then pulled out the bottom by the T-3000 and through a police officer's windshield; We see cars flipping and the bus flips and rolls with vehicles crashing on the bridge; The T-3000 poses as a woman who shoots a room full of people dead. Another cop gets shot in the arm; Pops and the T-3000 shoot at each other; There's a helicopter chase through the city, we see many explosions as well; The T-3000 impales a security guard and raises him up in the air; T-3000 is shot repeatedly, showing holes in his head and chest. Pops then impales him with what looks like a piece of the helicopter; T-3000 stabs Sarah in the neck with a sharp finger. Then Pops and T-3000 have a big fight; We see Pops with an arm missing and pretty beat up; There's a huge explosion when the time machine overloads.


Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

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