Here’s a headline over at Collider right now: “New TERMINATOR: GENISYS Trailer Finally Makes the Film Look Interesting.”
A more accurate headline would be: “New Teminator: Genisys Trailer Oddly Gives Away the Big Plot Twist, Lessens Your Need to See the Movie.”
As such, my advice to anyone reading this is to not watch the new trailer – a trailer for a hot mess of a movie which might manage to be passably entertaining if you lean back and just go with it. If the trailer comes on in front of something you’re seeing in an actual movie theater between now and its July 1st release date then you’re pretty screwed, but you can choose against watching it on YouTube. Exercise that choice.
Well, that covers that. Let’s watch a funny Terminator cartoon:
A Back to the Future/Terminator mash-up? I would pay to see that. Alas, we’re getting Genisys, and I guess I have to actually address the spoiler from the trailer because it’s going to either win you over or completely turn you against this movie. So, screw it, SPOILER WARNING, the rumors were true: John Connor becomes a Terminator in this movie. That’s the big reveal in the trailer.
Here’s how it breaks down: John Connor, played by Jason Clarke, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to save his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from being terminated. So far, so good, a faithful repeat of the 1984 original film, with the primary difference being that Genisys will actually depict Connor and company overtaking Skynet and sending Kyle back in time. Upon arrival, Kyle’s experiences almost immediately differ from the Michael Biehn Kyle Reese, who started his journey by stealing shoes and clothes from a homeless man as well as a nearby clothing store. Once the Courtney version of the character does that, a gun-toting Sarah Connor will actually show up to save him from a T-1000, revealing that we have entered an alternate timeline in which Skynet sent a terminator back to kill Sarah when she was just a baby. Although her parents perished, she survived, raised from that point forward by a T-800 model Terminator programmed to protect her, resulting in a very, very different version of Sarah from the one Linda Hamilton played in ’84. Kyle, Sarah, and the T-800 Terminator she calls “Pops” team up to try to re-set the future, traveling through multiple time periods and pursued by multiple different terminators.
That’s all perfectly confusing, but it doesn’t really give away the specifics of their ultimate plan or the exact nature of their primary enemy.
And then the script leaked. WhatCulture, in a post later taken down but summarized by io9, quickly spoiled the big twist, claiming John Connor surprisingly shows up in the past at the film’s halfway point, seemingly to assist his mother, Kyle, and “Pops.” However, he will actually be a human/terminator hybrid, the result of having been infected with some kind of Skynet nano-virus in the future. The second half of the film will then be a on-going fight between our three heroes and John Connor, which just sounds crazy complicated and odd from a time travel logistics standpoint since that means John will actually be fighting against his father and mother before they’ve even conceived him. It’s like Back to the Future if Marty was trying to kill George and Lorraine. Hey, I guess Back to the Future did end up being involved.
Now, Paramount has left little of that to doubt with this new trailer which appears to confirm everything WhatCulture said. Now, we have to suspect that everything else WhatCulture said was accurate as well, including the true nature of Matt Smith’s character and how the film concludes. I understand and appreciate the idea of making Genisys the first Terminator film to really play around with time travel, taking a 12 Monkeys/modern Doctor Who approach instead of the comparatively simpler “guy from the future travels to ’84, inadvertently helps create the future” approach. However, the John Connor twist sounds like one swerve too many for what was already a fairly complicated story, although it might play better in the context of the film than it does on paper or in the trailer. This ultimately looks like the type of narrative position a franchise contorts itself into when the financial imperative for continued existence has superseded the amount of compelling story left to be told. I am still seeing this movie opening weekend because I am a Terminator bitter-ender, but I now suspsect Genisys is going to be a “so bad it’s good” scenario.
As you’d expect from someone who was actually in this movie, Jason Clarke is pleading for patience, telling EW that his advice to any naysayers would be, “I’d say, just hang on. Don’t turn off too soon or you’ll miss the ride—literally, you know. Just bear with it. It does pay off.”
And yet I expect Genisys will end up making for hilarious episodes of movie podcasts like How Did This Get Made? and We Hate Movies.
Here’s the trailer for Genisys, which opens on July 1st: