The Terminator science fiction franchise follows the battle between Skynet and the human race…
It’s probably not a surprise to most, but they have their place in movie history as they carved out a career for Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron and pushed the boundaries of visual and practical effects.

Here’s my comments on the films that made the pulsing DA-DA-DUM-DA-DUM famous.

The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator remains one of the most enjoyable Science fiction films of all time. Bradfield’s pulse pumping score, nostalgic music from an array of obscure bands all adds to the lure of this timeless classic.

James Cameron’s direction is excellent giving the visuals scope and depth, and his above average story and screenplay stop it falling into B movie territory.

The time travel is logical; in as much as if Sarah had never met Kyle, John would have been the off spring of one of her dates. Either way it’s highly satisfying science fiction and not science fact.

The films cast include Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen who play it natural and straight, Bill Paxton and Brian Thompson briefly turn up. The leads Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor give flawless performances and keep you routing for their survival from the now infamous Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Terminator. The film has a gritty and edgy look, with some gore moments, even though some of the effects have dated, the practical effects from Oscar winner Stan Winston hold up to this day.

A defining moment for sci-fi action, Schwarzenegger and Cameron. The Terminator is compulsive viewing.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

A cyborg must protect Sarah Connor son from a prototype Terminator… Less grounded than the first gritty Terminator, James Cameron gives us a sleeker sharper sequel packed with fantastic effects, stunts and action sequences. I was blown away on its first release, however, over the years I have found it to be less personal due to its grander scale.

The score is outstanding, Robert Patrick is well cast at state of the art T1000, Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor but she is far removed from her innocent character in the first. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as The Terminator but is now the protector, whistle he is perfect as the ‘character’ in retrospect the edginess has gone that was set up in the first film.

The film is without a doubt a spectacular defining moment in movie history, notably the CGI effects and make up. I would urge anyone who hasn’t see it to see it. Nevertheless, it nothing personal but for me its not as satisfying as it was in 1991.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Fantastic third Terminator movie! It may not have the brooding atmosphere of the first film but considering James Cameron didn’t write or direct, it turns out very watchable.

T3 is close to the original concept and a nicely thought out sequel. It does disregard the notion of the T2 about the future not being set and sticks close to the first, in that, the future is set and things have to run their course.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is again excellent as the Terminator. The film is missing another Robert Patrick terminator, however, newcomer Kristanna Loken as the T-X is fantastic and the rest of cast are good. The effects and action scenes are impressive but the original music score is forgettable and the original theme turns up late at the end.

There maybe a touch too much humour in this instalment but the brave ending finishes the film fittingly on a serious note.

This film is certainly worth the watch.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

I enjoyed T3 but this is what Terminator should be like. It is reminiscent of the grittiness of the first film, from the computer like credits, to the title introducing 2018 – a real terminator fans dream.

Christian Bale is John Connor and without a doubt adds weight to the film with his acting ability.

Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright is the future; he will become a great star. Both he and Bale are the glue to this instalment.

Moon Bloodgood’s brief but pivotal appearance is very good and for once Helena Bonham Carter didn’t get under my skin and does a nice heartfelt cameo. My hat goes off to newcomer Anton Yelchin as he does a great job of ‘becoming’ Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese. The only negative remark I have is that Bryce as Kate doesn’t get enough to do and because of this is very detached from the character Claire Danes portrayed in the third.

MCG & the writers have constructed and crafted the film well and the music score by ever reliable Elfman compliments it nicely.

A welcomed voice from the past show up to add icing to the cake. The effects are great throughout apart from the showcase skin covered T800 at the end. It was nice to see ‘Arnie’ and I hope there’s more of him digitally in the future. It did look a little rushed but nothing could spoil this original and welcomed spin on this new Terminator movie that welcomely sticks close to the original subject matter.

This should please real Terminator fans and satisfy new comers.

 Kyle Reese travels back in time to save the mother of the saviour of mankind only to find himself in an alternative time-line.

Despite being void of the gritty feel, thematic depth, simplistic conceptual thrills of the 1984 scifi classic Terminator Genisys is fast paced and slick.

While surround by state of the art special effects, super costume and set design, Jason Clarke is solid in his functional incarnation of John Connor. Without drawing too many comparisons to the original actors who portrayed the characters Sarah & Kyle respectively both Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney do there best but are never given the staging or dialogue to stir the same believable emotions in this science fiction. Lee Byung-Hun, J. K. Simmons are great in their supporting roles but sorely underused.

The T-800 versus T-800 fight and Pops upgrade is a fanboy dream. You have to commend Schwarzenegger’s efforts here who is fine and the glue that tries to hold it all together as they travel from 1984 to 2017 to stop Skynet and yet another Terminator with higher stakes than before.

There’s some genuine relationship and heart buried in Genisys but it never explorers these themes or slows down for you to attach to the characters. Director Alan Taylor offers nods to the first instalment, it’s fun when its retreading and twisting past events but is less effective when it goes it alone becoming just another action going from one location to the next, mindless, car, van and helicopter chases, complete with a setup on the Golden Gate Bridge as every film needs to have one these days.

With its fan film like premise Genisys is crisp, glossy, with big set ups, great effects and a nostalgic score by Lorne Balfe to match but like many big budget contemporary films less is sometimes more. It leaves loose ends for another sequel with a mid end credit sequence but also makes you ask yourself, do you really want one.

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