Terminator: Regenisystems Overload

Terminator: Genysis

I'm a fan of the Terminator series. Heck, I've written a few reviews of the movies. Admittedly the third and fourth movies suck (even if there are glimmers of decent flicks in each one), but the first two movies rock enough to blot the lesser movies out, and the TV series so amazingly good. So good.

The new trailer for Terminator 5 (Terminator Genisys, which is dumb, so lets all call it #5, please). looks like, largely, a return to form. Sure, Arnold still can't act, and there are a few hokey jokes thrown in (all due to his contractual obligation to make dumb jokes, I'm sure), but from the few scenes that can be seen, the action seems spot on. And it's nice to see a proper T-1000 again (and not that weird TX bot from T3).

Fans have already complained loudly about Arnold returning to play yet another T-800 because Arnold is old and the T-800s are supposed to look like him from back when he was in his 20s. "How can that work?!"

I will admit that the producer's solution -- "Let's make it so the Terminators age!" -- is a little weird, but does it make any more or less sense than some of the other shit in the series? Terminator flesh aging (because it's flesh, after all) seems just as probably as being able to only send flesh (and flesh-covered robots) through time, and then magically sending back a all-metal liquid robot because "why the fuck not?". The second movie already fucked with the rules (and every loves it), so another gentle tweak to the system (for robots that have, up until this point, only lasted about a week anyway) is fine. They came up with something plausible. I'll buy it.

What I have issues with, though, is the core premiss of the movie (and I recognize this is from a trailer, so who knows what bits of story we're missing that explain shit). Basically, as we can see it, Kyle Reese (doomed beau from the very first movie), is in the future, being an awesome soldier (as Kyle Reese does, son). As in the first flick, John Conner sends Kyle back in time to protect Sarah Connor (John's mother) because a Terminator (a deadly robot) has been sent back in time to kill her before John is born, thus deleting John from the timeline (and, since John is a successful leader of the human rebellion against the robot uprising, that would kinda screw the humans and give the robots and unfair advantage). So Kyle goes back.

In the original movie, Kyle goes back and finds Sarah right before the Terminator does. He protects her, trains her, gives his life for her (and, in the process, gets busy with her so that can have a son -- because time travel). However, as the new trailer shows us, soon after he gets back in the past, Sarah comes and saves him from a liquid metal T-1000 (a super deadly machine). We then find out that, at some point between when Kyle is sent back in time from the future and when he actually shows up in the past, another Terminator, one reprogrammed by John to act as a good guy (which is fine, since Terminator 2 did that as well) was sent back to Sarah's distant past to act as her mentor and protector.

I will admit that the concept almost works for me. I like the twisty logic of the idea, how with time travel people can just keep jumping through time, adding more and more confusion to the whole time matrix (which is, specifically, what I liked most about the TV series, the Sarah Connor Chronicles). That works great for me.

Plus, I have to admit that the movie hit a bit of a geek spot for me by fixng one issue I always had with the core concept of the film series -- vis-a-vis, if the robots can keep sending machines back, over and over, to any point in history, why not just keep sending them back to the same point until you've finally eliminated the one threat you have to your world. Just keep throwing Terminators at the problem and then, EVENTUALLY, the problem will go away, right? They seem to be doing that in the new movie, and I'm happy to see it.

But lets get to the fan wangsting. If Kyle is sent back, and he's the first (which we have to presume because, otherwise, why send him at all when you can send TERMINATORS?!), then how can anyone else already be there before him without changing the future we've already seen? The new movie goes out of its way to re-film scenes from the first movie, but shit shouldn't go down the same way if the whole history of the series has changed (especially since they're apparently going to try and prevent Judgment Day once again).

Now, I can explain myself back into and out of this problem over and over again -- Kyle was able to go back because time was fluid and if it was an instant change then Sarah would have died when the robot went back first before Kyle went back, since otherwise the future would have been changed and there'd be no reason to save some nobody...

But still, that's an issue that irks me because it just shouldn't work that way. It's flaw with this movie specifically, but it can be leveled against the series as a whole (except the TV show because they actually operated under a certain understanding that every time you jump back, the future is changed immediately). Time travel is inconsistent in the series, and I just have problems shutting my brain off about it.

(Let me just finish this by saying that I've also seen the Star Wars trailer and couldn't give two shits. It's pretty, sure, but it's Star Wars and I've never been the biggest fan. I've actually been irritated by all the people needlessly picking it apart, in my head going "it's yet another movie in the Star Wars series. Who cares?". So I see the irony in the fact that I picked apart the trailer for a different "yet another sequel" movie.)