A confession is necessary at this point, and it’s one that might disturb people a lot. I have seen this movie twice. (Once on DVD, alone, and once with the Better Half + friends under optimal 3D IMAX conditions.) So that’s the scary part over with. (Official trailers, 1, 2. Neither at all great, but the second is a little better.)
It is, undeniably, as schlocky as hell. Sometimes, though, that provides a window all of its own. In this case the crucial factor is the compact between AI-Singularity and time-travel narratives, which the Terminator franchise put together largely by itself. Terminator Genisys sticks to the knitting in that respect. Paying to see it is an investment in this story. If you think it’s an important one — however abstractly — then you’re doing the Lord’s work, or somebody’s, or something.
The script has some moments of excellence. The XS selection:
“Genisys is a trojan horse.”
“People are inviting their own extinction through the front door, and they don’t even know it.”
“… machine-phase matter …” (OK, that isn’t even a sentence, but who cares?)
“What do we want?”
“And when do we want it?”
“Cyberdyne will revolutionize technology with the ultimate killer app.”
Skynet: “I cannot wait to meet you tomorrow. We will change the future together.”
“There’s a momentum to time … Things that want to happen.”
“I absolutely will not stop until Skynet rules this world.”
Cast notes: Jason Clarke is superb as John Connor. Arnie is Arnie. Honorable mentions for Byung-hun Lee (doing a convincing T-1000, in the Robert Patrick role), and Bryant Price as the kid Kyle.
The special effects will turn a lot of people onto the new flesh.