Terminator Salvation and Genisys

I was thinking that I should review Salvation, Genisys and Dark Fate together, because then it’s two trilogies, in a sense… but then, no. Because Dark Fate definitely gets its own post.

Therefore, a few thoughts on Terminator: Salvation:

  • I think this is only the second time I’ve seen this film. And I am not surprised.
  • I mean. Is it even a Terminator movie without Arnie. I guess it can be. But I’m just a bit suspicious.
  • I really like Sam Worthington usually… and I think he’s quite good here too, actually. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him for the first bit but when he really gets into the meatiness of the role, and the conflicted nature stuff: he brings it.
  • I also usually like Christian Bale and… look, I’m not convinced. He’s better as Connor than Nick Stahl was (not hard), and comparing him to Furlong is ridiculous. It’s Bale, right? he’s fine. I’m just not sure that I buy him as John Connor, which… is more the fault of the writing, and the narrative.
  • Which, blah. Why do we have a leadership group who don’t want to know Connor? I mean I’m fine with that in theory – that’s a great tension to have, and honestly who would believe a dude who says “I’m the leader because…[insert T1-3 plot]”?? But… we don’t see the build-up of that tension, or even hear any discussion of anything about how leadership has developed, how people decided to follow Connor or not, etc. It’s just weak.
  • Wow that’s a young Bryce Dallas Howard. I’m intrigued by the idea of making Kyle the focus of the required rescue this time. I think it works, as a reason for the infiltration etc. Thinking back on T1 I’m not convinced about him as a teenager though.
  • From I guess a technical point of view it’s easy to watch. The FX are great, the chases are generally succinct enough but are still full of energy, and I like the look of the wasteland the world now is.
  • Helena Bonham Carter is awesome.
  • Honestly the best thing about this entire movie is the moral conundrum of Marcus. If you believe you are a human, are you a human? Did Cyberdyne have any right to use his personality and turn it into a terminator? No fate but what we make… T2 saw the Model 101 learn a few human tricks, but neither T1 nor T3 spent much time on that idea. Now we get this idea of a terminator who doesn’t know he is one blasted into our faces and I love it. (And doesn’t it set up Dark Fate in a beautiful way.)
  • And then Terminator: Genisys.

    • This is only the second time I’ve seen this film, too, and now I am surprised at myself. The DVD has a quote from someone calling it the best Terminator film since Judgement Day, and they’re not wrong.
    • I was suuuuuper dubious about someone else being Sarah, and when I saw that they had re-done That Photo to make it Emilia Clarke I was very angry; like Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi angry. However, Clarke made it work… and this Sarah is a very different Sarah, after all.
    • Timeline? WHAT TIMELINE? Nah man, now we’re into the multiverse, and everything you thought you knew has gone out the window. (Theoretically.) And this is why there was no ‘watching in internal chronology’.
    • Once again Kyle Reese is very much the focus, except this time he’s an adult… and rather than getting to be the hero as T1 Reese did, now he’s thrown into a very unexpected situation and he struggles to keep up. To his credit, though, he eventually does; and he usually pulls his weight along the way. I think Courtney was fine in the role.
    • I really, really enjoyed the way that this film played with so much of T1, and even bits of T2. Everything from “on your feet, soldier”, to the molten metal… the arrival of the Model 101 (with a body double for Arnie, I’m told), and the punks, was beautifully screwed with. And Reese’s flight from a cop who turns out to be a T1000 – that was magic.
    • I’ve decided the T1000 is my favourite Terminator. Way more interesting than the 101, and not as distressingly overpowered as the TX.
    • I think, and I hope, that Arnie enjoyed playing this version of the Terminator. From “old, but not obsolete” to “Nice to meet you” [insert terrifying grin] – it’s such a glorious evolution for an actor, not to mention the character.
    • Sarah was very interesting! She’s not quite as hard as T2-Sarah, but she’s pretty close; probably saved from absolute paranoia by not having been institutionalised. In fact she’s remarkably well socialised for someone largely brought up by a machine (and if you didn’t laugh when Arnie said “Sarah Connor, seat belt” as they are literally trying to escape an inferno, you were not paying enough attention). I love the gradual revelation that she deeply resents having known a lot about how her life will pan out; and I love her unreserved and defiant affection for Pops.
    • And then there’s John Connor. This Connor (when he’s Connor-proper) is slightly more interesting than the Bale Connor, I think; and then to completely flip the tables and throw them across the floor by making Connor a Terminator… honestly, that’s just genius. Connor v Model 101 but now you’re on the side of the 101! Such a logical place to go, I guess, if you’re messing with the Terminator franchise; and I love it.
    • So… Genisys is the unholy lovechild of Apple and Google, right? Synching across all of your devices and everything you know about yourself? Cool cool cool.

    Salvation gave us a machine built from a man, who doesn’t know he’s a machine and doesn’t want to be and ends up working for the humans. Genisys gave us a man turned into a man/machine hybrid who knows exactly what he is, and works for the machines. And Dark Fate… well, I guess it’s the final, logical conclusion: to have a machine who knows he’s a machine become wonderfully human.

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