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In defense of Terminator Genisys

[I have intentionally misspell the movie title throughout the blog post]

For reasons I cannot really explain, I like all the terminator movies. I like the first one, and of course, the second one. Then the third one too, the two more they made after that. Today, I want to talk about the latest one, Terminator Genisys. (I might be spelling the title of the movie wrong but its definitely not my fault. I blame the movie folks for that). 

I like the Genisys movie because, the movie keeps me engaged. Not because how well thought out it is. Rather, I love the movie because no matter how many times I watch it, I always find something about the movie that simply does not make sense. In fact, Batman and Robin makes more sense than Genisys and that I believe is the reason why I love this movie so much. It's just, hilarious at every possible level. In this post, I am going to go through the many things that are outright funny in this movie and perhaps, others will find similar joy from this movie.  

Arnold 

I grew up watching the many, many movies of Arnold, and it's always fun to watch him. Rather than being an action hero, I think Arnold is best when he is being funny (intentionally or otherwise) and how he is convinced (at least his character is) that everything is super serious.  

For instance, in this movie, he is old. I have nothing against being old. We all get old (if we are lucky) and die. The thing is, for some reason, the movie insists on building his character as that of a 'Dad'. He's an odd kind of dad because he really wants her daughter 'Sarah Connor' to mate with her chosen guy, Kyle Reese. The movie is littered with scenes where Arnold has become like this Step Dad. He keeps constantly reminding her that, yes, by god yes, she has to mate with this Kyle Reese.  

On one hand the movie is clearly setting him up as her dad. Yet, can you imagine a dad, even a step dad, who is egging her daughter to have sex with dude who just time traveled? It's just bizarre and funny. As always, with Arnold's Austrian accent and his deadpan delivery, all this becomes even more funny.  

The Gore and Nudity 

Another thing that is funny to me is how the dreaded PG 13 rating is ruining all the movies in the series. If one were to go back in time (waa!) and watch the first terminator, it is straight up rated R. There is the typical 80s sex scene with boobs and everything. People and objects are not strategically placed to hide the leads nudity. Then there is lot of blood. At one point, the terminator even removes his eyes!! Lots of blood is filled and there are harsh language used throughout.  

That entire movie seems to do things straight. It's made very clear that the terminator is flesh over metal skeleton. Which means, muscle and blood. The terminator gets shot, hurt and it is reckless. Flesh is still flesh and blood will flow. It's natural. The same thing with the romantic scene. For some reason though, the terminator movies have continued to dumb down the gore. I don’t miss the nudity (I can happily get it elsewhere) but the gore is something that is so jarring. When the terminator is smashed, we immediately see the metal below. It's like there is no flesh. It's like the skin is painted on (like paint on a car) and the 'skin' gets scratched off! 

Now that is what pulls me out of the belief suspension. Based on the premise of the movie, I agree that time travel is real and robots are sent out to kill. However, the same premise has told me that there is flesh below that exterior. In fact, this movie goes that extra step, declaring that the tissue ages (a lame attempt at explaining the old Arnold) and hence blood must be involved. However, when the terminator gets hurt, there is no blood at all. Frankly, this is one of the things that make me cringe and immediately turn the movie into a comedy.  

Sarah Connor 

Then, there is Sarah Connor and the actress portraying her. I have not watched Game of Thrones, but I have started reading the novels. The internet tells me that she is a fine actress, this Emilia Clarke. Yet, in this movie, she is like a teenager. Acting like a teenager. I don't know who to blame. The writers, The directors. The actress herself. Any scene between her and Arnold is comedy gold. It's impossible not to laugh and if the movie was released with a laugh track, it would be that much better.  

One of things that always pulls me out of the movie is the way she refuses help from her pal, the dude from the future. When her character is introduced, we see her firing a sniper rifle. We see her in leather clothing. We see her daringly rescue Kyle Reese, drive a van and all that. So, as a viewer, I am convinced that she is a woman who is quite capable of taking care of herself.  

Yet, it seems like, she goes out of her way to stamp her 'I am a woman but I am not weak' thing. Why does she do that? Is all that jacket wearing and sniping just posturing? When Kyle Reese offers her to help, she rebuffs him. For some reason, despite being raised by a robot from the future, she wants to 'show' that she is tough. From where I am looking, Kyle Reese is the kind of guy who will offer help to anybody around him. He is not helping her because she is female. He is helper her because he looks at her as another soldier and he is offering assistance.  

Of course, as the movie progresses, this independent becomes completely independent on him, which is another jarring character shift. Special amount of funniness happens when Kyle Reese and she time travel. They find themselves in the middle of the road, and yes, she is all scared and surrounding my Kyle Reese's arms for protection. What happened to all that toughness? And then, only a few minutes later, he offers help and again she is acting up with all the toughness. Why? Why are you doing this Sarah.  

Boringness of Kyle Reese 

If Arnold and Emilia are not funny enough, additionally funniness comes from Kyle Reese and the actor portraying him, Jai Courtney.  

For some reason Jai Courtney is like that guy who is not really leading man material but he is not exactly a 'side role' man either. He's kind of there and he will fit into almost any role. More importantly, he seems to be the only one who is taking the entire movie seriously. He acts genuinely, to the best of his abilities, throughout the movie.  

Now, coming to the character of Kyle Reese, from the very first shot, it's impossible to take the character seriously here. In fact, it is difficult to take any soldier from the future, in this movie, seriously. Part of the problem is the gore issue I talked earlier. The movie refuses to show any blood. That means, every kill is clean. Death is never shown and explosions are just that, explosions without any consequences. Kind of like every Marvel movie ever made. People get upset, people fight with each other, but nobody ever dies or relationships remain as they are.  

Then, there is lack of scars on any of them. Except John Connor, all other soldiers look just fine. They are healthy, fine and look pretty good. Especially Kyle Reese, who looks like he just walked off the ramp. This is why the Kyle Reese in the first terminator movie looked so good. He look haggard and worn out. He really looked like he has spent his entire life on the battlefield. Kyle Reese in Genesis does not look like that at all.  

Then, there is Kyle Reese with Sarah Connor. Sure, Sarah has been trained from a young age to be tough and independent. That is all good but Kyle Reese has spent the same years in a battle. He has done it all, seen it all. He is hardcore. Yet, Sarah keeps refusing to take help and advice from Kyle Reese. Oh man, no soldier would like that. It has nothing to do with gender. It also nothing to do with opportunities. Kyle Reese had no choice but to become a soldier of war. Every time she refuses his help, it makes her look that much dumb.  

The Second Half of the movie 

The movie touches upon our constant need to be connected. That is an interesting thread of thinking. Then, the movie does not do anything with it. At one point, an executive announces something about 'killer app'. Wow! That is just lazy writing for the movie right there. I wished, they did something better than that.  

Then, there is the mess that is John Connor. This mess starts even before the movie starts, and that is where the trailers come in. For some reason, the terminator trailers are hell bent on spoiling key plot points of the movie. This goes back to the previous movies too. Terminator 2 was spoiled because a trailer showed that Arnold was the good robot (the movie tries really hard to hide that in the beginning). Terminator 3 had none of that twist so the trailers did not spoint (or could not spoil). Then, Terminator Salvation spoiled stuff by showing that Worthington's character was a robot. Once again, the movie really tries to hide that.  

Then, now, in Genesis trailers happily showed that John Connor was a robot. If you look in the movie, this is supposed to be a twist. Then, they spoiled it. And also at the end, Arnold's robot becomes like that metal robot from Terminator 2. I mean, that is like turning Arnold's robot into a Superman. How can they possibly write a sequel when the terminator is now all powerful. In fact, being limited and an older model is what made the T 800 model so good. He could be heart. He could be damaged and he was constantly outdated by the other terminators. Somehow, he would win, despite all these limitations.  

Now, Arnold has become so powerful, it becomes so much difficult for the writers to come up with a sequel. In fact, the writers hoping for a sequel itself is a joke. They have dug themselves so deeper and erased so much of continuity, how can they possibly recover from it? Then, there is the fact that Arnold is getting older and it would be difficult for him to reprise his role. Unless, they will do a reboot but I find that hard to understand. Arnold is the terminator and no one else can do justice to that role. The terminator is not like James Bond. Recast but still be awesome.  

There are some movies that are called 'guilty pleasures' or 'b movies' or so bad it's good. For instance, the Evil Dead 3 which was written fully in mind to be a good 'guilty pleasure movie'. The directors are completely aware that that is what they are targeting. That is one kind of fun. It’s like back in my college when I would intentionally flunk my tests, just to see how my faculties would react.  

Then, there are these movies that are aiming for something serious, but end up being 'guilty pleasures'. Terminator Genisys falls into that trap (and they have successfully managed to make me forget the real spelling of Genesis) and that is why it's comedy gold. I watch it whenever I have a couple of hours to kill and really want to keep myself entertained in a goofy way. 

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