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New Escapist Column! On the Cynical Honesty of “Terminator: Genisys”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Terminator: Genisys turned five years old this month, so it seemed like the right time to take a look back at the third (of four) attempts to make a sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Genisys has been largely forgotten, even overridden by the next film in the saga – Terminator: Dark Fate. This makes sense. Genisys itself overrode the previous two films on its own terms. Still, Genisys is an instructive and informative piece of blockbuster cinema. It’s a messy film, but in that messiness there’s an honesty. Genisys is a film that is naked in its ambition and its intent, in its efforts to reiterate and regurgitate the past while erasing any potential evolution. It’s a film that captures the emptiness of modern franchise filmmaking at its most cynical, and its most honest.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

Watch! Terminator Genisys Trailer!

Well, I guess Dawn of the Planet of the Apes demonstrated that Jason Clarke is the guy you go to for your post-apocalyptic franchise films.

To be fair, Terminator films not directed by James Cameron feel like a risky proposition – it feels like so much of the first two films was tied up in Cameron, that any subsequent attempt is imitation rather than innovation. It is, perhaps, quite telling that the most surreal sequences in the new trailer for Terminator: Genisys featured a version of the T-1000 not played by Robert Patrick.

And, nevertheless, there is something interesting here. A story about how time travel has muddled and muddied a narrative universe so much that the story seems to reboot and remix itself feels like a self-aware take on the contemporary fascination with reworking and retooling classic franchises. Terminator: Genisys looks like a self-aware cocktail of the most iconic bits and pieces of the first two Terminator films.

That self-awareness could be the key; after all, trying to mimic James Cameron feels like a fool’s errand. However, a more playful approach just might work. Terminator: Genisys probably has an uphill battle ahead of it, but this trailer’s not a bad start.