The Terminator franchise was one of a kind, introducing many ideas that have become overused Hollywood cliches. Black leather with sunglasses, liquid men who can change their shape and turn their arms into knives, desolate futures where humans and robots fight to the death constantly, “I’ll be back,” and the Winchester 1887 shotgun would never have come to the attention of mainstream media without James Cameron’s genius. A man with no money to his name at the time, he literally had to sell the franchise for a dollar in order to bring his dream to life. As a huge Terminator enthusiast, I mourn over what Cameron’s beloved dream has become. The first film was an excellent action-horror for its time, with nonstop suspense and constant lack of relief for its helpless protagonist. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a rare occurrence of a sequel surpassing its predecessor, with high-octane action, previously established characters being deepened, and a surprisingly tear-jerking ending for an action film from the late 80s and early 90s. After Cameron officially lost the rights to the franchise, the sequels have proceeded to soil the masterpiece that he created. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines would’ve been better as a parody of Judgement Day, Terminator Salvation was a sloppy writing mess, and Terminator Genisys can only be described as shooting a kitten in a bucket after promising to take care of it and raise it like your own child. Despite being mere millimeters away from an 80s action movie-esque murderous rampage, I was relieved to find out that James Cameron will earn his franchise back in 2019. Like all other movie buffs, I pray that he is planning to create a superior sequel to raise his dream from its own ashes.
With the recent disaster that was Genisys, one question seems to be on the minds of movie fans everywhere. Why is this movie so hated? Forget what makes it a bad movie on its own. Why does it fail as a Terminator installment? You really shouldn’t watch the movie, but I’m gonna warn you about spoilers anyway. For starters, anyone who knows Terminator should be aware of the time travel element. What made the first two films so great, however, was the focus on the chase. Time travel was only an excuse to have a cyborg in a modern setting, and people are fine with that. Genisys goes way too far, focusing on the time travel and having more BS sci-fi jargon than all of Star Trek. Even if the time travel techno-babble was even a bit understandable, it was left to the least comprehensible speaker in the whole cast. How can anyone be expected to understand what a nexus point in the timeflow is if it’s being explained by a once-beefy 68-year-old from Austria who is not only a bad actor on his own, but is also portraying a cyborg that has difficulty acting like a regular person?
Regardless of the stupid nonsense pseudoscience so gracefully delivered by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film fails on so many levels to try being the next big thing for the Terminator saga. I swear to God, there are way too many poor attempts at referencing the superior first two films. When “I’ll be back” was said in the originals, I couldn’t help but grin and anticipate the amazing action sequences that would follow. You wanna know what happened when I heard it in Genisys? I wanted to take a cold shower and contemplate my life choices.
The amount of fanservice is unbearable. So many elements from the first two movies were used to boost hype for the movie, with nearly all of them being wasted in the final product. When I saw the original two trailers to the movie, I thought that former glory would be restored. The T-1000 and repurposed T-800 were sent to find young Sarah instead of John? The T-800 raised Sarah to become a soldier? This guardian and Sarah looking for Kyle Reese in the events of the first movie? Sarah, Kyle, and old Arnold tag-teaming against the T-1000 and the original T-800? Sign me up! That sounds like the movie to bring Terminator back! But guess what? That idea is only one single act of the movie! They threw away what would’ve made a better movie as if all we wanted was the nostalgia, then something “bigger and better.”
What was this “bigger and better”? The T-800 and the T-1000, the two deadliest mechanical assassins in the world, the ones that took entire movies to destroy, were killed off in a single scene. Not only that, but John Connor, the leader of the human resistance, is now a terminator! Even better, his terminator form is now made of the most uninspired and overused sci-fi technologies of the 21st century: nanotechnology. Imagine the T-1000, but less interesting, overpowered when the plot wants it to be, and made of nanites. Hey, kids! Doncha just totally dig it when the big cheese is lowkey so groovy in the flickhouse?
That’s the biggest problem with this stupid movie? It tries too hard to pander to its old audience only to punch it in the face. Rather than putting out heart and effort, Terminator Genisys is the epitome of focus group-centered movie making. The creators of this atrocity only saw shotguns, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back,” chase sequences, robots fighting, and time machines. They didn’t see what James Cameron poured his soul into. They didn’t see Terminator.