Terminator Genisys: Old but not obsolete

A still from Terminator Genisys

A still from Terminator Genisys  


Watching Terminator Genisys, the fifth episode in the Terminator franchise, is a bit like being tossed into a time travel machine and being spun dizzyingly around in the time-space continuum. You’re left hurtling from the far future (2029) to the distant past (1984) and then back to the near future (2017) in one breathless whirl of sci-fi action. The Inception-like quality to the narrative would probably leave you muddled, but old faithful Arnie fills in the comprehension gaps with some robotic regurgitation of scientific mumbo-jumbo. The scientific principles on which the storyline rests are on shaky ground, but hey, when Arnie throws in those sterling biff-bangs, and even manages some chuckle-inducing drollery, science can take a giant leap of faith.

Without giving too much away, the plotline of Terminator Genisys is centred around the classical time travel storytelling device of going back in time to fix a wrong turn in history. The ‘wrong turn’ being remedied here is the birth of Skynet, which began as an automated space defence shield, but over time, usurped power and turned on mankind, driving it to near-extinction. Kyle Reese (played with earnestness by Jai Courtney) is despatched from 2029 back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (a spunky Emilia Clarke, who is popularly known for her role in the TV series, The Game of Thrones) from being killed by the mechanised terminators before she can give birth to John, the future Resistance hero. But Sarah has a mind of her own, and leads Kyle and her guardian angel Arnie to the future to abort Skynet before it can become a Frankenstein. Along the way, many new strands to the narrative are revealed.

Genre: Sci-fi action
Director: Alan Taylor
Cast:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Byung-hun Lee
Storyline:John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor. When he arrives in 1984, nothing is as expected .

Director Alan Taylor is inventive in the way he addresses the challenge of repackaging the central characters whose life stories from the earlier episodes are intimately familiar to Terminator groupies. He fractures the time-space continuum, which wipes out much that we know of them and gives Taylor a fresh canvas on which to paint. He doesn’t quite bring the same flourish that James Cameron did in the first two instalments of the franchise, but he keeps the story moving fast enough to keep you distracted.

For me though, it’s Arnie who carries the story on his broad and muscle-bound shoulders. He’s gone grey, and is a little the worse for wear (much like the Terminator franchise itself). But as he reminds us repeatedly, he may be old, but not obsolete. With his deadpan lines and his comically strained smile — as part of an attempt to ‘blend in’ with humans — as much as with his trademark rough stuff, he holds the film together and infuses it with life. And with reports that the franchise will revert to Cameron in 2019, the Terminator appears ripe for a revivalist reboot.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 12:27:20 AM |

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