Movie review | ‘Terminator Genisys’ delivers best film of the franchise to date

Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator Genisys.”
Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator Genisys.” Melinda Sue Gordon

Terminator Genisys ****

The fifth film in a franchise spanning some three decades, “Terminator Genisys” delivers good ol’ fashioned sci-fi fun with stunning special effects, and the continuation of a story moviegoers have been enjoying since the first groundbreaking film, “The Terminator,” released in 1984.

Though the time-line can get confusing with who-beats-who in sending machine and cyborg terminators (assassins), and now humans, back from the bleak future, “Terminator Genisys” may be the clearest and cleanest of all. A 1984 version of Arnold Schwarzenegger populates parts of this release by using carefully digitized segments of the original films and GGI.

When a character notes that he “looks old,” referring to the current on-screen Arnold, his character explains that though his organic skin may age his metal and computer chip innards do not. “Old but not obsolete,” he deadpans on more than one occasion.

Created by Academy Award-winning director James Cameron, the man behind countless mega hits including “Titanic,” “Avatar,” “Aliens” and others, these characters; John Connor (the future leader of the human resistance), Sarah Connor (his mother), and Schwarzenegger as a sometimes bad, sometimes good T-800 101 time traveling cyborg, all play on our future-fear; primarily nuclear holocaust and the Internet, here called “Skynet.”

Great action, likable characters and a clean storyline make this one of the best in the franchise.

What do those stars mean?

* Really, really, really bad. Don’t bother.

** Pretty bad, with one or more redeeming scenes.

*** Pretty good, but maybe not great, worth seeing for most

**** Really great, a winning combination of story, casting, and directing

***** The rarest gem, an all-around perfect motion picture

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