Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s there was no bigger event then seeing a new film from the king of action movies Arnold Schwarzenegger. Certainly his breakout role was that of the titular character in James Cameron's The Terminator in 1984. Now, over 30 years later we have the fifth film in the franchise and The Austrian Oak is back doing what he does best, playing the Terminator yet again.
Terminator Genisys sees John Connor, leader of the human resistance, send Sgt. Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor and safeguard the future, but an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. Now, Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian, dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future...
Long-time fans of this franchise will be wondering if this is simply a remake of the original film, and there are indeed elements have have been recreated, often very faithfully. But it's not a straight remake as many films are, but after a few familiar scenes it's clear this story takes a new twist with a much different Sarah Connor then we've come to expect from the first two films. Admittedly reading early reports about the film gave us some concern about the old 'pops' version of the Terminator but his aged appearance is explained that while the machines don't age, their living tissue does. Ultimately we were more then convinced by this explanation in the film.
When it came to casting our major concern revolved around those playing Kyle Reese and John Connor which in Terminator Genisys sees two Australian's, Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke, take on the roles respectively. Both put in solid performances beyond what we expected, with Jason Clarke in particular impressing as John Connor. Surprisingly, or perhaps not really, the standout of the supporting cast is J.K. Simmons who really knocks his performance out of the park and despite his limited screentime, really brings some levity and relief to the action in the film. We only wish he had a more prominent role in the film rather then a few brief sequences.
Of course much of the enjoyment of this film comes from the action sequences and this film is loaded with them as one would expect from a film with a $150+ million budget. Not only is there great action including car chases, fights and plenty of Future War action as we've always hoped to see, but the CG visual effects
One more comment too before I wrap up. Unfortunately it was a crying shame that Paramount's marketing department saw it necessary to include one of the biggest spoilers in the trailer for the theatrical release of this film. Whatever you do, don't watch the trailer before watching this film.
Fortunately those without a 3DTV will be more then please with a gorgeous AVC MPEG-4 encoded 2D version of the film. The transfer exhibits a wonderful level of fine detail, deep blacks and great contrast levels.
One thing is certain, the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (24-bit/48Khz) soundtrack on Terminator Genisys is absolutely cracking with ample use of surround sound channels during the many action sequences. Dialogue is crystal clear and sound prioritization is excellent while the music composed by Lorne Balfe includes plenty of the classic cues from the original film as created by Brad Fiedel.
When watching the 3D Blu-Ray version of the film there is a different soundtrack option with a Dolby Atmos 5.1 track - which on our equipment dropped the audio format back to Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps. That's a disappointing drop from the lossless track on the 2D Blu-Ray, but it's still a pretty impressive soundtrack overall which still has aggressive use of surround sound channels.
Infiltration and Terminaton (25:29/HD): This featurette focuses on Shooting on Location in New Orleans and San Francisco and includes plenty of on-set footage, interviews and detail about shooting this film. Starting with a look at shooting the Future War this includes some previz sequences, recreating Griffith Park in a parking lot in New Orleans for a 1984 sequence, before moving onto other sequences in the film including shooting around San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a fantastic documentary well worth checking out.
Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys (15:07/HD): There is no doubt that the visual effects in this film are mind-blowing and this sequence focuses on the visual effects in the future war, recreating a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new T-1000 model and some other aspects of the film which we won't detail for spoiler reasons. Needless to say it demonstrates the phenomenal amount of post-production work that went into the film.
Resetting The Future: Constructing Terminator Genisys (1:39:04/HD): Now this is what you call a great documentary about the creation of a film. This feature runs or a whopping 99 minutes and is split up into segments titled "Paradigm Shift", "Old, Not Obsolete", "Tactical Apparel", "A Once And Future War", "Manipulating Matter" and "Exiles In Time". Interviews with cast and crew, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, are fascinating and flesh out the amount of work that goes into making a big-budget Hollywood film. There is also plenty of on-set footage as well as footage from the pre and post-production offices. This is fascinating, and essential, viewing.
Review By: Dave Warner