So I went to see an early screening of Terminator Genisys. I don’t normally get to the movies on a Monday night, but as an afficionado of ballsy Austrian folklores and a devoted Arnocorps rescue team member (fan), I thought why the hell not.
This movie is the sequel that Terminator II: Judgement Day deserves. It’s the third film. NO ARGUMENTS. There were not another two terminator sequels.*
Why am I gushing lyrical about what should, to any reasonable expectation, be another Arnie revival vehicle / hollywood-juggernaut cash-in on an old franchise? Well, because (full disclosure) 1. Tee-two is one of the first films I ever got excited about, back in my booger-picking, BMXing days, and 2. because they appear to have consulted a REAL WRITER to handle the script.
You know, as opposed to letting some trained monkeys throw alternating fistfuls of poop and regurgitated terminator two scenes at a storyboard, and seeing what sticks (HINT: the answer is “poop”)
Things that I loved about it (and I’ll stay vague to avoid spoilers, but you might be smart enough to work things out. You’ve been warned):
- Sarah Connor. She’s got agency in spades. In fact, her getting to make decisions, to push back on the story in spite of all the time-travel predestination stuff, is central to the narrative of the story.
- Lovable characters. You want these people to win. Not just scared for them, not just wanting the baddie to get beat, but actually, I want to hang out with these characters. I want to have a beer with them.
- The lines. Nothing trite, nothing half baked, no over-saturation of witty banter, nor is there any heart-stringy mush (okay, a little bit, but nothing puke provoking). Any jokes that are there, they ring true, they have context, and they speak to the characters. Arnie’s one liners are utilised here to full effect, not in an Expendable way (see what I did there?) but always with a fresh twist, and plenty of respect for the original films.
- And respect these films have. The (alleged) third Terminator film felt like Michael Bay had sent a kid to watch the first two movies, take notes in crayon, and then he’d done his best to produce a script from the results. Genisys on the other hand nods to the source material, and flows so seamlessly from them that you could almost imagine it being acted out with the original cast…
- There’s purpose, and direction, and conflict, and disaster, followed by reactions, and dilemmas, then decisions get made, and the cycle repeats. It’s just good storytelling, because:
- we get what’s happening
- we see it going wrong
- we relate to the trauma and distress
- we cheer for their resolve
Nothing keeps you on the edge of your seat quite like this rise-and-fall, dunking-and-oxygen, disaster-and-struggle style of writing
So if you’re wondering whether this is just another re-boot, no. It certainly is not. This is a return to form, like Metallica’s Death Magnetic, or the USA’s Barrack Obama.
Arnie’s finally back. Trust me.
Hasta la vista, baby.
*I don’t know about the Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I’ll be sure to watch them someday, Arnie or no.