Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
“The Terminator” series paints a rather bleak picture of the future of mankind. What’s the truth? Is there HOPE for humanity? Answer
the concern that robots or computers will someday turn against on humans and try to exterminate us
importance of bravery, courage and self-sacrifice
Arnold Schwarzenegger … Terminator
Emilia Clarke … Sarah Connor
Jai Courtney … Kyle Reese
Jason Clarke … John Connor
J.K. Simmons … Detective O'Brien
Matt Smith … Tim
Byung-hun Lee … T-1000
Brett Azar … Young Terminator
Courtney B. Vance … Miles Dyson
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|Director||Alan Taylor—“Thor: The Dark World” (2013)|
The fifth film in the ongoing “Terminator” series, “Terminator Genisys” begins in the future with the resistance, led by humanities savior John Conner (Jason Clarke), on the verge of finally winning the war against the machines and the computer intelligence that controls them, SKYNET. The machines, realizing they are about to be defeated, send a Terminator into the past as a last resort measure to defeat the resistance before it even begins by assassinating John Conner’s mother, Sarah back in 1984.
As in the first movie, a volunteer is sent back to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), but as the soldier Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is in the process of being sent back, a Terminator appears next to John. Kyle is quickly whisked away, but, unlike in the original film, he now has more than one Terminator to deal with, and Sarah Connor surprisingly ends up saving his life during their first encounter. What is going on here?
Fans will recognize that this latest entry pays homage to the original film by returning to 1984, but then radically twists the story with multiple time insertions by both SKYNET and an unknown benefactor from the future who is trying to thwart the machines and keep Sarah, her progeny and humanity itself alive.
Aided by an aging Terminator she calls Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Sarah has had over a decade to prepare for SKYNET, and, armed with newfound information from Kyle, they embark on a journey back to the near future in order to prevent SKYNET from ever being born.
Violence: Heavy. Terminator vs. Terminator violence is pervasive, but, given the very nature of machines as ‘un-living,’ while extremely intense, they cannot quite be categorized as fatal. People, on the other hand, are killed frequently in the war of the future and die when shot, blasted, burned, crushed or blown up in battle. During the ‘present,’ people are seen close-up being impaled by the T-1000 Terminator (liquid metal, shape-shifting model), but the majority of the killing is implied, as when vehicles are destroyed or during the nuclear Armageddon flashback, wherein whole cities are laid to waste leaving nothing behind but skeletal ash.
The scenes of people being herded into work camps for eventual extermination harkenes back to the tactics used by the Nazi’s against God’s first chosen, the Jewish people, during the holocaust. The level of violence and dark imagery is geared for teens on up and is by no means suitable for younger children.
Language: Moderate. The f-word is uttered once during the initial Terminator meeting in the park, an apparent requirement for most PG-13 rated movies, as this is the maximum number allowed. Other curses included: sh** (6), SOB (1), as* (4), as*h*** (1), hell (8), damn (1) and the Lord’s name was taken in vain about five times—God (2), God-d*** (4), Jesus (1). Remarkably “Thank God” was uttered twice, and I don’t recall this being said in the other “Terminator” movies, though I may have missed it. Therefore, although this movie may have had the least bad language of the franchise to date, it should still be considered inappropriate for children.
Sex/Nudity: Mild. There is no sex shown or implied, however, as anyone familiar with the mode of time travel in these movies knows, it requires the traveler to be naked. Kyle’s nude backside and profile is seen during his two trips. Sarah disrobes down to her bra in preparation for time travel, and, when standing against Kyle during her trip, the upper portion of her breasts are shown, but nothing more. There is also some cleavage, a mention of “mating,” and a short passionate kiss.
Dealing with limited themes, amidst a sometimes non-stop action format, there was little character discussion of weighty matters, let alone their spiritual connotations, though a few themes stood out.
Liberty-John Conner speaks about how they are willing to sacrifice everything for freedom, and, in this work of fiction, where humans are actual slaves, he is justified in seeking this. According to the Word of God, we are all slaves to sin and only by believing and living for Christ can we be set free. The Apostle Paul speaks on both our sinful human nature and our very real hope.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” —Romans 7:15
Prophecy-In the future, people use words like “prophet” to describe John Conner, because of his uncanny ability to know what’s going to happen.
In reality, actual prophesies, as proved over the centuries, belong solely to the Judeo/Christian God, as revealed through the Holy Bible given to His people as both guide, assurance and promise for what would otherwise be a bleak existence.
Who will enjoy this film? Perhaps it might be over simplifying the matter to say that fans of the “Terminator” films will automatically enjoy it, because I know there will be those that don’t. Certainly, newcomers to this series will be thoroughly confused, and I recommend a prior viewing of the first two “Terminator” films in order to appreciate this one.
The science fiction aspect is of greater importance in this film, and the erasing of previous timelines will displease some fans. However, solid acting from the new leads in the roles of Kyle and Sarah reinforced the story’s credibility, and Sarah’s own informed resistance to her inevitable’ relationship with Kyle is a refreshing change of pace. Having Arnold back in the role as a senior ‘Guardian’ Terminator is believably explained and the icing on the cake.
In summary, the story is compelling, if often complex, and the frenetically paced action and special effects are excellent, almost to the point of requiring it be watched in IMAX 3D. “Terminator Genisys” is an exciting addition to the anthology whose weakest point may arguably be its tidy ‘feel-good’ conclusion, although you can overcome a portion of that if you stay for the extra scene during the credits. I enthusiastically recommend this latest entry, keeping the previous warnings and suggestions in mind.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate to heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.