Friday, 5 December 2014

Terminator: Genisys Trailer Analysys (see what I did there?)

Everywhere I turn people are hating on the Terminator: Genisys trailer, so I’m here to provide a little bit of cautious and quiet optimism with this analysis of the first trailer. Watch it here:

Unfortunately my CG fatigue kicks in immediately with the opening shot. I hate it when every single thing on screen is completely computer generated. Give me Cameron’s old vision of the dystopian future any day. However, it’s a nice touch having the decaying Hollywood sign visible in the corner of the screen though. I’m guessing it’s not a deliberate comment on the state of the moviemaking capital of the world but it would be nice if it was. Three flying craft enter and head for a destroyed LA skyline.

Cut to Jason Clarke’s nastily scarred John Connor preaching to his fellow war survivors as Jai Courtenay’s Kyle Reese looks on. Was Jason Clarke just picked for his initials? Only Jesus Christ and James Cameron can answer that, but hopefully Clarke will prove himself worthy, though I doubt he’ll ever take the title of coolest Connor from Edward Furlong. On a side note though, imagine if they’d got Furlong back for the role. Have you seen him recently?

The future looks suitably bleak and it’s nice to see Connor and Reese fighting side by side because no matter how many times I’ve tried to watch Terminator: Salvation, it just never feels like I’m watching the version of the future that Cameron intended. So Genisys looks like it has gotten it a bit better but still not nearly as bleak as the vision offered up in the dreams of Reese in the first Terminator film.

 There is what seems to be a quick flashback to the best bit of Terminator: Rise of the Machines as Skynet sets off the global destruction of the human race as missiles strike targets all over our silly little planet. There are also a whole bunch of Terminators ready to be dropped off the production line at any minute, suggesting Connor and Reese are going to have their hands very full getting into Skynet in order to use the time machine.

And this is the point where it gets very interesting to me. What Genisys is going to have to do, is fill in a whole lot of little details that were glossed over in the original films. We finally get to see the time machine and Reese being transported back to the 80s (if indeed it will still be the 80s). After an incredibly homoerotic handshake between the naked Reese and clothed Connor, it’s all lightning and those familiar sphere things transporting Reese.

I will be interested to see how they explain how the resistance found out about the machines’ time travel scheme and if they attempt to justify why the machines decided to target Sarah Connor just before she becomes pregnant with John and why they didn’t just try to kill her when she was a child.

My favourite bit of the trailer is the recreation of those few shots in the alley from the original Terminator film of Reese emerging from his time travel sphere to immediately start being chased by the cops. It’s an interesting touch to have the Figueroa Lounge sign in the background featured quite prominently. I don’t remember that in the original film, but Don Figueroa is a guy who provided artwork for the Terminator: Salvation prequel comic so I suppose it could be a nod to him possibly.

And then we get the biggest shock of all! Sarah Connor comes crashing in, the cop is revealed to be another T-1000 and the roles are reversed as Connor demands that Reese comes with her if he wants to live. Now she is the Mother of Dragons, Sarah Connor is not so scared and weak and in need of saving as her future son thought she would be.

 Basically I’m a sucker for any part of the trailer where they seem to be delving into the first film’s scenes. So when we get the shot of the Griffith Observatory (which by the way I went on a pilgrimage to when I was in LA) and old 80s Arnie facing off against new (really old) Arnie, it gets me very excited. The fact new Arnie has been waiting for his other self and only thought to bring a shotgun doesn’t make a lot of sense but we’ll see how that goes.

 As Sarah says, everything’s changed but why the future hasn’t changed is a mystery to me. I don’t even want to get into the time travel paradoxes of these films as I’m sure they never made any sense in the first place but the films were just so damn good that it never really mattered.

There’s a quick shot of the T-800 saving a young Sarah Connor and a few tidy action beats but by the time Connor says ‘we can stop Judgement Day from happening’, you’re starting to think ‘yeah right, heard that before’.

And finally, the less said about the school bus flip and Arnie dive bombing a helicopter, the better. Let’s hope some of the action scenes have some vaguely practical effects and a real sense of threat instead of this OTT madness.

All in all, I’m quietly optimistic that this will at least have a really interesting new take. I’ve got to say I love the new even more badass Sarah Connor and the return of a liquid metal Terminator is very welcome. It’s never going to live up to James Cameron’s original pair but it sort of reminds me of Days of Future Past which can only be a good thing.

 What do you think?

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