Adding to the, “What year is this?!” (see what I did there? 😉 ) feel of 2015 (alongside Mad Max and Jurassic World), the Terminator franchise gets a new installment. It overlaps – at least to begin with – the original movie, and indeed reproduces several of that film’s opening scenes. Time travel makes all things possible – a blessing and a curse in stories. I’ve read that this one was inspired by the recent Star Trek reboot, where going back (even earlier) in time allows for a story reset. It works, too – at least, I think so. We start where we started, but nothing is quite the same…
That goes especially for the cast. I loved the way Jai Courtney, as Kyle Reese, replicates Michael Biehn’s arrival in 1984 near enough exactly – it’s very well done. Alas, he has too much of a buffed, action hero look, matched by the performance, rather than the original’s feral, hunted creature feel.
Sarah Connor is now played by Emilia Clarke, best known from Game of Thrones these days. She has an odd take on the role, somewhere between the hard-ass fighter from the second movie and the innocent from the first – indeed, some of the biggest flaws for me were inappropriate moments of the latter showing up at key scenes and getting a little over-emotional. Hey, Sarah – world ending, remember?!
Of course, Arnold Swartzenegger IS the Terminator, and it’s good to see him back (eep!). Indeed, we get three ‘ages’ here, from the CGI ‘original’ through to grey hair – the story works it all very well.
Said story starts out strong, then gets a little convoluted as it goes, but the pace is as relentless as the title character. That does lead to a few plot holes – like, why time travel to right before the key event, and not just a tad earlier? – but the aim was clearly action. And when that’s good, the movie is a lot of fun! A few elements seem a little underserved, but I get the feeling some of these things will also ‘be back’ in the two planned sequels. Personally I think it could have stopped here, and my favourite moments were more the nods to the past than what’s next. Still, it’s fun-filled adrenaline action, just don’t think too hard!
Released: 2nd July 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
My rating: 6/10 – I enjoyed it more than it deserved