Is the newest installment of the “Terminator” franchise, titled Terminator: Genisys, one of the most anticipated films of 2015 or among its most dreaded? Personally, I fall into the latter category. For one thing, look how “Genisys” is spelled in that title. It makes my eyes twitch.
I loved the first two Terminator films and even enjoyed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines because of its dark ending. The entire world and mythology involving Sarah Connor, John Connor, Kyle Reese, Skynet, time travel and killer robots sent from the future has always seemed fascinating.
But I really wonder just how many stories are left to tell with this premise. The last attempt, 2009’s Terminator: Salvation, confirmed that feeling for me. Yet movie studios (this time around, it’s Paramount) keep trying new angles to explore with this story and its characters. On Thursday, the teaser trailer for Terminator: Genisys was released online. Here it is:
The footage shown in the trailer looks really cool. And it seems to check off all the right boxes. Post-apocalyptic future in which the machines have taken over? Check. John Connor (Jason Clarke) leading the resistance? There it is. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) going back in time to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from the Terminators sent to kill her? You got it. We even see another (younger) version of the Terminator Schwarzeneggar originally portrayed and a new incarnation of the T-1000 liquid metal shape shifter that Robert Patrick portrayed in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, now played by Byung-Hun Lee (G.I. Joe: Retaliation).
Some could call this reverent to the past. Others might suggest it’s telling the same story over again.
Yet Terminator: Genisys is attempting to tell this story differently, and that’s where some controversy has developed. If you want to avoid spoilers, the next two paragraphs may be worth skipping over. However, if you watched the trailer already, the new story twist is given away. But spoilers can put people on edge, man.
So let’s put a SPOILER WARNING here, just in case. As revealed in an Entertainment Weekly cover feature at the end of October, this movie attempts a big change in the Terminator mythology with which we’re already familiar.
What’s different is this reimagining is that an Arnold Schwarzeneggar Terminator (known as the T-800 in the series) has been sent back to protect Sarah Connor from the one that was assigned to killer. This Terminator even raises Sarah, trains her to become a badass and she calls him “Pops.” If your head just exploded, please take this opportunity to wipe off your monitor. Oh, and END OF SPOILER WARNING.
“The time John sent you to, it no longer exists,” Sarah says to Kyle in the trailer. “Everything’s changed.” Those lines sum up this entire endeavor. Or at least that’s what everyone involved wants viewers to believe.
Since James Cameron’s original The Terminator came out in 1984, maybe a reboot is necessary for modern audiences. Movie studios believed that Spider-Man needed to start over 10 years later. Yet isn’t this also cashing in on the nostalgia long-time fans of the film and sci-fi hold for this property? If not for that, would this new movie — or for that matter, the previous two sequels, prequels or whatever you’d call them — even be getting made?
Terminator: Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World, Game of Thrones) is scheduled for a July 1. 2015 release.