Saturday, July 4, 2015

35mm: Terminator Genisys

Many years ago, when I was not yet in high school, I saw Terminator 2: the judgment day on TV. I didn’t know who James Cameron was but had heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Didn’t know how to pronounce correctly though.) He and Tom Cruise being the only Hollywood stars, me or my friends knew of till then. Then the movie happened! That was the best action movie I had seen till then. Nearly fifteen years later, it is still one of my favourites.

Terminator Genisys is not a bad movie. But as with any franchise movie, it bears the pressure of being compared to its predecessors. Compared to the ones after Judgment day, Genisys fares pretty well. But quite not enough. The best thing is that Arnie is back. As he puts it – old but not obsolete. Better machines/models with upgraded, refined powers have come. But no matter what, how many beatings he take, he will save the day! Writers have taken a quantum leap of logic to explain his aged look, relating it to his ‘living tissue over metal endoskeleton’ bearing the brunt of time! I wonder how the ‘living tissue’ is being fed. Terminator is the perfect role for Armies’ acting skills. He plays a machine. So absolutely no need to emote!

Judgment day was based on a complex premise. Machines vs man in the future, time travel etc etc. But basically it remains a very very simple plot. A good guy protects a weaker (read humans) kid and his mother, from a much powerful bad guy. The biggest problem with Genisys is that it’s anything but simple. And what is even worse is that there is nothing much new about the villains, provided no major change is possible for Armies’ character. So there is time travel, shape shifting terminators, altered time lines, cryptic warnings, nano machine hybrids, all thrown in to make it more complicated and a bit confusing. CGI is great. But then nowadays every other big budget action movie has great CGI.

Terminator is protecting Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and she calls him ‘Pops’! Terminator in turn goes Chappie and draws pictures of them together and keeps photos and all. Desperate attempts to tug that emotional cord with the audience. Emilia is great but it’s hard not to see her as the Khaleesi of The Game of Thrones and we kind of expect a dragon to pop in when she gets into a situation, and feel that would have been much more fun!

Genisys is fast paced, action packed with reasonably good writing. A good entertainer. But its place in my heart would only be till the next big action movie hit the screens.