Terminator Genisys – My Judgmental Bitch Review


I saw Terminator Genisys last night. Before I start into my review, let me give you a little background on my love of the Terminator series.

I very clearly remember watching Terminator 2 for the first time when I was young. I remember being fascinated and terrified by the idea of a computer taking over and trying to kill humanity. I remember loving the strength of Sarah Connor. And I remember crying for the Terminator as he was lowered into the steel. Sarah Connor immediately became one of my role models. I watched and loved the first Terminator movie not long after, though it still didn’t replace T2 as my favorite. The music was immediately added into my small collection of cds at the time. And I’m fairly certain I wore out 2 copies of the first movie’s score by the time that I hit college. My love of the franchise extended to the point where, during my first year of college, I made a horrible movie called “Terminator: The Musical?” with some friends. This movie still exists in various personal collections around the world.

When Terminator 3 came out, I was excited and hopeful. Only to have that hope shattered. The movie was TERRIBLE. Then came the Sarah Connor chronicles. I gave them a hopeful try and stopped partway through when it really felt like they lost the overall meaning of the series. The fourth movie, Salvation, was better but the horrible score (it’s the only thing by Danny Elfman that I’ve ever said that about) and the plot that I really just didn’t care about left me thinking that the series might be better if left alone. After all, no one would ever make movies of the T2 book trilogy that I so love (by S.M. Stirling. Give them a read!!).

All of that to say, I love the Terminator franchise. I do. And I’m weirdly protective of it. I don’t hold back discarding movies and scores made in the franchise that are awful and don’t keep to the high standards set by the first two movies. I’m very picky about my Terminators.

And now, Genisys. The initial reviews from my friends were primarily negative. I was told that as such a big fan, I would likely be okay with it but it wasn’t great. I was already hesitant as I knew the movie was going to be messing with timelines. Which can lead to horrible things if the story isn’t told well. But I went to watch it, still harboring some tiny flame of hope.


I loved it.

The movie isn’t perfect by any means. And there are plenty of things that are left open for sequels (of which two are planned from what I’ve read). But it was wonderful.

The sequences in 1984, when the first Terminator and Reese show up were recreated so well that I was whispering the lines right along with them (hey, when you make a bad college film based on the original script, you learn all the dialogue). I clapped my hands with delight seeing the new Reese still grabbing a pair of shoes and holding them up to his foot to estimate size on the fly. And then the one foot down and the other in the changing room, and the velcroing of the shoe. I mean, that was perfect recreation of the first movie. And I hadn’t realized how much I loved it till my face hurt from grinning.

The movie does take twists. Like Pops, the Terminator sent back to protect Sarah at the age of 9, from a T-1000 that was somehow sent back there. Who sent them? Pops says that the files of who programmed him were wiped deliberately (my theory is that he’s programmed by himself, Sarah, and Reese). Seeing an already battle-hardened 20 year old Sarah was a change, but one I could accept the way the story was told. The taking of John Connor by Skynet (I’ll never look at Matt Smith’s Doctor without hating him for being the face of Skynet), the changing of the timeline, Reese being able to remember multiple pasts. All of those things are okay. Time travel is weird that way. And the movie shows one theory of time travel that I love….but you have to watch the mid-credit scene to get it (that time is a rubber band….you can push it and mold it, but it will want to snap back. Skynet and Judgement Day and the eventual defeat of Skynet will happen, one way or another.)


Did I ever mention that my greatest fear is that a computer program will become sentient and decide that in order to protect itself, humanity needs to die? Ever since watching T2, that fear has been there and has been constantly reinforced by the crazy leaps in technology that keep happening in our world. I’m not scared of robots. I’m scared of the programming that might eventually be self-aware and inhabiting their systems. Yeah, terrified. Seeing the new way that Skynet was going to come about in 2017 (New date to fear, October 2017!!), a program called Genisys that would link all your technology together so you’d always be connected, no matter where you went or what you used. It’s not that far off. We’re already so dependent on technology and our connection between our devices and to the internet. It makes me shiver. And want to repack my bug out back right now.

The Guardian Terminator, Pops, was also wonderful. Of course he’s learned more on interaction, to a point. Sarah has been with him for 11 years. Then he spent 33 years on his own, preparing, even working at Cyberdyne, waiting for Sarah and Reese to appear from their time jump. He was like a more awesome version of Uncle Bob from T2.


Let me also mention the score. This score actually felt like a Terminator movie score again. And you could hear the motifs that had been presented in the first two movies woven in beautifully, working to create a new and unique experience that blended with the movie. Brad Fiedel will always be the music of Terminator for me, but I have to admit, this new dude paid him homage and didn’t just disregard the groundwork that had been laid. I will own this score.

The only part that hurt my soul a bit was John Connor. Watching him get taken down by a new type of Terminator and seeing who he was be replaced by an unfeeling machine version of himself. As he told Sarah (and as Kyle told Sarah in the original movie), he can’t be reasoned or bargained with. He doesn’t feel pity or remorse. And he absolutely will not stop coming. Until she was dead. Those words, coming from John about himself were chilling to this Terminator fan. While it was always a possibility that John would die, hopefully it would be in the future, after sending back the protectors for Sarah and himself. Instead he had a fate worse than death and I hoped that there was no part of his own self left to rage in horror at what he had become. Sarah had it right, her son was already dead. That thing that was walking around, calling her mom, was no longer her son. Definitely hurt to see that.

But the ending gives me hope that maybe a different future can be created. It’s 2017 and John hasn’t been born yet. Maybe things will be different. Skynet will happen. Judgement Day will happen. But maybe humanity will be better prepared this time. So that when Skynet eventually falls, it will happen sooner while more of humanity still lives.

Gotta love that smile!

Gotta love that smile!

Like I said, it’s not perfect. But I wanted a Terminator movie that felt faithful to the first two. And this did it. I loved it and I’ll probably have to pre-order it. YMMV, but to conclude,  my Judgmental Bitch opinion is that the movie is most excellent.

~ by rumielf on July 14, 2015.

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