Sarah Connor. John Connor. Skynet. Terminator. Judgement Day. Shotguns.
The above statement sums up the last 10 days of my life.
A little movie called "Terminator Genisys" came out this month and it was the perfect excuse for me to catch up on a film series that has, for better or worse, become a prominent part of Hollywood. I watched the first two movies on DVD when I was 9 or maybe 10. I don't think I ever watched the third. I watched Salvation in the cinema when it came out and am pretty sure I slept through it. I had no memory of any of what happens in these movies apart from a few key scenes/plot points. To a large extent, it was as good as watching them all for the first time. Without further ado - here's what a 19 year old visiting these classic and some not so classic movies for the first time in 2015 thought:
Monday, 6th July - The Terminator
Good, very good - but not great. Although I see why it was the game changer it was when it came out in 1984. While I very much enjoyed it, I wasn't blown away by it. Although I do appreciate what it managed to do at the time and understand the influence its had on others for the years that have followed.
This was a fast paced, no nonsense action movie with a decent plot and some good thrills. Some of the effects (obviously) show their age today, but not nearly enough to take away from the film. Arnold was awesome and a perfect fit for the role, and Linda Hamilton made for a great Sarah Connor, pulling off the "ordinary woman suddenly thrown into extraordinary circumstances" act convincingly.
I feel like Kyle Reese's character could have done with some more development and him and Sarah falling in love was unconvincing. Minor flaws in an otherwise very well made film, that has stood the test of time and remains entertaining. 7/10
Tuesday, 7th July - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The internet had me believing this movie was the best thing since sliced bread. I was not disappointed. By far, T2 is the high point of the franchise and an absolute stellar film. Everything in this movie from John blasting "Gun's and Roses" to the T-1000 atop an elevator was dripping with awesomeness.
The "cat and mouse chase" is now simply a sub-plot in a grander scheme of events that revolve around "making our own fate" and it all works so well. Arnold delivers one of his finest performances and his chemistry with Edward Furlong (who also delivers an impressive performance) is a thing of wonder. Not to be forgotten, Linda Hamilton is a revelation as Sarah Connor in this film and could give Mad Max's Furiosa a run for her money. Robert Patrick's facial expressions do everything they need to and his showing up on the screen is enough to send a chill down one's spine.
Well acted, engrossing, entertaining, funny, emotional and boasting some of the best CGI of its time (that still holds up pretty darn well today), Terminator 2: Judgement Day earns every praise it's received over the decades. 9/10
Thursday, 9th July: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
I can understand the frustration on being delivered this film after a 12 year long wait and why it disappointed so many. Watching them in the manner I did however - it doesn't live up to the first two, but really isn't that bad.
Arnold is still as likeable as ever, and the constant "winks" and jokes at the previous films are amusing. He's having fun and so did I watching him. The problem however, is that Nick Stahl and Claire Danes are no Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton. While they're bearable and give decent if not good performances, they're just not as likeable and its harder to root for them. The T-X is indestructible, yes - but doesn't have the menacing presence of the last two Terminators.
However, judged on its own merits - the film has some good humor, is fast paced, features some very well choreographed action and does a fine job keeping the viewer entertained for its under two hour running time. 6/10
Sunday, 12th July - Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale is one of my favourite actors, he is wasted, as is pretty much all the other talent involved in this movie. Not a single character is well developed, and not a single performance is memorable.
The "post judgement day" setting simply didn't work for me, and the movie was severely lacking any "fun" whatsoever. I get it - its a "post apocalyptic" war film, characters can't be making jokes but when the story is so bland and so unnecessary and there isn't a single action sequence that even compares to its predecessors that came out years ago, a little fun would have helped.
This was the only Terminator film I was genuinely bored watching - I checked my watch multiple times and was waiting for it to end. There was no thrills, no fun, no engaging plot line, and eventually no point to this movie. 3/10
Tuesday, 14th July - Terminator Genisys
Well, this is what its all led up to. Much has been said about this movie over the last couple of days, the future of this franchise now dangling on the thread that is overseas box office.
It was OK. I did not hate it, I didn't particularly like it. Arnold is back and he's a delight to watch. Once again, his enjoyment in the role is infectious. The movie has plenty of nods to the first two films (I feel like I noticed more than most, having watched them so recently) and they all work well and never seem "forced". Heck, for the first half an hour of its run time - I sat there having a great time thinking to myself "Is this really the same movie that everyone on the internet has been watching?"
I jinxed it. The cracks started to show. This movie seems rushed. The plot at times, literally felt like it was being made up as they went along. After a while, I just stopped asking questions and "went with it", and had I not done that, then as this movie's Kyle Reese says "Time travel would be a headache". The quality of the action scenes is mixed, some are as ordinary as it gets while a few are actually quite impressive and made me flinch in IMAX 3D. Performances are all right, nothing memorable but passable. Emilia Clarke has shown on Game of Thrones that she can deliver some real intense performances and she seemed a little wasted here.
While the plot is muddled, the movie moves along at a good pace and never slows down to give you time to think too much over it. It doesn't get boring and while I wouldn't say it had me very entertained, it certainly held my attention. I feel like its a definite step up from Salvation and in more capable hands, perhaps this franchise could be restored to its former glory. There is hope, still. 5/10
And that's a wrap on my first post at Moviepilot.
I'll be back.