Next month’s Terminator Genisys readies an intense retroactive reinvention of the classic franchise. Just as much a throwback to classic moments as it is a showcase of new elements, the film just got a big endorsement. The writer/director of the first two Terminator films, James Cameron, saw the new movie and gave it glowing feedback.
In an interview with Yahoo, Cameron, having just watched Genisys, bestowed upon it what might be considered the most important endorsement that the series can get: praise from its creator. Not being involved in any way with the Alan Taylor-directed franchise revival, Cameron confesses that, "I’m just a fanboy." Likewise, his review of the film was more than positive. According to Cameron:
I start to see things I recognize. It’s being very respectful of first two films. Then all of the sudden, it just swerves. And now I’m going on a journey. I feel like the franchise has been reinvigorated, like this is a renaissance.
Praise from Cameron is especially auspicious when considering just how much he has distanced himself from the franchise following his 1991 action classic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. As recently as last year, Cameron openly criticized the ensuing entries, 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and 2009’s Terminator Salvation, saying that they didn’t live up to their potential. He was hardly alone in the criticism of those films, especially with Salvation. Star, Christian Bale admitted the film didn’t work, and recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger bluntly said, "it sucked." However, it seems that Genisys may prove to be an exception in the post-Cameron era, at least going by his own words. Cameron continues:
If you look at why the films became classics, they had characters that you liked. The new film, which, in my mind, I think of as the third film, we see Arnold take the character even farther.
Of course, the events of Genisys take the series’ traditional time-travel tropes and alters the franchise to its very core. Reinventing the timeline, we see Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) we once again see her in 1984, but depicted as not the mousy damsel we originally met. This is due to the fact that the timeline was changed when an aged version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 was sent back to protect her as a child from a later/earlier attempt on her life and has been watching over her ever since. Now, traditional roles get reversed as Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), who still shows up, sent back to 1984 to save Sarah from the 1984 movie’s Terminator, now finds himself not quite knowing what’s happening as dangerous new threats arrive like Byung-hun Lee’s new T-1000.
Genisys also contains a radical plot "twist" that might have been considered a spoiler, had it not been included heavily in the film’s recent marketing. It seems that John Connor (Jason Clarke) will also make a trip to 1984 to reunite with Sarah and Kyle (his parents). However, as we eventually learn, he’s not quite himself, having been transformed into some bizarre Terminator/human hybrid with bad intentions. Addressing the severely spoiled storyline swerve, Cameron expresses approval when he states:
The idea of taking John Connor and flipping him to the bad guy. It’s pretty cool, because you got a rift against expectation. It’s all about the twist.
Originally looking to be just another cash-grab reboot brandishing the Terminator branding and little more, it’s now starting to become clear that Genisys might be more poignant than the naysayers may have thought. The film has certainly come a long way in changing perceptions, just in the last few months and this fantastic feedback from Cameron is bound to whet the appetites of fans looking to see the series restored to past glory. We shall see if the hype is real when Terminator Genisys bring its time-bending madness to theaters on July 1.