Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Terminator Genisys [2015]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB ()  ChicagoTribune (1 1/2 Stars) (2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

Terminator Genisys [2015] (directed by Alan Taylor, screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier based on the characters created by James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd) is the fifth installment in the Terminator story/franchise.

The series throughout has gloried in appropriating Biblical / Christian concepts and recasting them in IMHO often fascinating / thought-provoking ways.

The basic story line was outlined in the first Terminator [1984] film (which came out when I was a college student).  In that film, both a "Monstrous" mechanical "Terminator" (played by young Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an "Angelic" (though human) warrior figure named Kyle Reese (played in the original film by Michael Biehn) were sent back from the Future to Los Angeles of 1984 to find a lowly waitress named Sarah Conner (played in the original film by Linda Hamilton), note Sarah's "Biblical name."  The monstrous mechanical "Terminator" (as fierce as ANY DRAGON, like that of the 12th Chapter of the Book of Revelation) was sent back to FIND AND KILL Sarah Conner, while the "Angelic" Kyle Reese was sent to PROTECT HER by her Son, John Conner (note the initials "J.C.").  Why?  Because, Sarah's son, John ("J.C.") Conner would grow up to SAVE HUMANITY in an Apocalyptic battle with interconnected sentient machinery which, born of human arrogance, that is, Sin, had decided (in a "monstrous nanosecond") to destroy Humanity, its unpredictable maker.  (Readers note here that my thesis paper at the end of my seminary years was based On the Marian Imagery of the Terminator (1996)).  

The rest of the subsequent Terminator series continued with explorations of the relationships between (1) Humanity and Computers / Machinery and (2) Humanity and (Super) Humanity, that is, something approaching Divinity: Would a person arriving from the future to a previous age be perceived by people of that previous age to be at minimum "angelic" / "superhuman" or perhaps even "Divine"?  Could a super-intelligent, super-capable machine or perhaps an "machine enhanced person" begin to appear "Superhuman to Divine"?

The current film certainly continues to explore these questions as well as some of the paradoxes of time travel (If one were to go back in time to change an event in the past, could one, "poof," just destroy one's own future existence, or would one continue to exist then in the "new present" ;-)

In any case, in the current film near the end of the climactic battle with the machines, Kyle Reese (played now by Jai Courtney) is sent by John Conner (played by Jason Clarke) back to 1984 to find / save Sarah Conner (played now by Emilia Clarke) as in the first movie ... BUT ... the circumstances of Sarah (and really of the world) have been changed by the time traveling interventions that have occurred in the intervening movies (YES dear readers, keeping track of the effects of time traveling thoughout the film-series is enough to make your heads spin ;-).  Indeed, an Arnold Schwarzenegger-playing cyborg is a now "Guardian" PROTECTING Sarah Conner rather than seeking to destroy her (something that poor Kyle Reese, who's spent his whole life battling machines, had a difficult time wrapping his head around).

Still the basic goal of Reese / Sarah Conner (by now very well informed about the future battle with technology) is to find the point in which the Machines would lash out at Humanity (Judgement Day) and STOP IT.

That day turns out to be in 2017, when a new GeniSys ("Killer") Ap is supposedly going to be lauched which promised to "seemlessly link together all the gadgets of the world" to form a universal (or at least world-wide) "SkyNet."

So Kyle Reese and Sarah Conner have to then jump from 1984 to 2017 to stop this ... and ... much then ensues... ;-)

AMONG that which ensues is an exploration of a new "interesting quasi theological question" (in the context of the whole Terminator storyline / franchise): If John Conner, born of a human mother (and of an "angelic" human father from the future ...) could be understood as a (Christ-like) "Savior figure" for humanity, what would an "anti-John Conner" look like and how would he come to be (created/conceived)?

Anyway, all the "Apocalyptic" violence aside (something that has also been part-and-parcel of the whole Terminator franchise...), I continued to enjoy some of the more thought provoking aspects of the story ;-)

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