Over 30 years after James Cameron introduced the world to The Terminator, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions return to the iconic sci-fi/action franchise for its fifth instalment, Terminator Genisys. Heralding the film’s release on 2nd July, Arnold Schwarzenegger presented a preview of selected scenes at Westfield in Shepherds Bush.
In the two sequences screened, fans were treated to much of the familiar fare seen in the series as the respective protagonists evaded the relentless pursuit of the indomitable Terminators, first the T-1000 and later a T-3000, the most advanced Terminator model yet, who can shrug off even the most devastating onslaughts thanks to nanotechnology.
Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back in time to save Sarah Connor, just as in the original film, only to find this time that she is far from helpless. Emilia Clarke steps into the role of the iconic action heroine, who no longer wants to have her fate dictated to her. Much of the first scene has already been shown in trailers, but the initial sequence in which Connor saves Reese from the T-1000 was screened here in its entirety. Following their initial escape from the T-800, some lengthy exposition directed at a bewildered Reese is used to navigate franchise canon and inform us all of the pairs new mission. A re-written timeline now allows the pair, along with Schwarzenegger as the T-800, another chance stop the rise of the machines by preventing Judgement Day.
The second segment screened showed Sarah Connor taking to the wheel of a school bus to escape Jason Clarke as the murderous T-3000. The Golden Gate Bridge has undergone some serious abuse in the past, being conquered by primates in Rise of The Planet of The Apes, and by Magneto in X-Men: The Last Stand and, as Connor hastily makes her gateway, the landmark is once again subjected to a serious trashing.
Reprising his role as the original T-800 Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance at the event to speak about his return to the sci-fi franchise. The star noted the significance of the occasion explaining, “I started my bodybuilding career here in London and this country has always brought me a lot of luck.”
It’s no surprise that the former Governor of California is a charismatic public speaker and his address was rife with laughs and insightful commentary: “In 1984 people thought it was absolutely crazy the world that James Cameron has created, it’s so futuristic that it is truly a science-fiction film, but little did they know that it actually would become a reality. Think about it, now we are there, now machines have totally taken over, machines are far in advance of our brain power. I play chess, and I play medium strength, medium talent. I get beat every second game! Imagine if I put it all the way up, you wouldn’t even have a chance for the first three moves, it’d be over.”
Later the Hollywood legend wandered into some self-indulgent fan service, telling anecdotes that allowed him to recite some of his most iconic lines. He detailed how it is film fans themselves that dictate which quotes become immortalised: “You never know when you do a movie which ones of these phrases will catch on. When I did the ‘I’ll be back’ line in the first movie, I had not the foggiest idea that this line would be said again by anybody.” The legacy of his career is now inescapable, as he added “I go to shopping malls and people go to me ‘get to the chopper!’”
The movie itself is a tribute to fans of the Terminator series, as Genisys is punctuated by a number of sequences lifted from the original, that involved sets and sequences being painstakingly recreated, only to be given a new twist. Fans of the ageing 80s action star have a lot to look forward to as Genisys pits Arnie against a younger version of himself thanks to the wonders of visual effects. Though a little biased, Arnie admitted: “When I read the script one of the things I fell in love with is the scene where I’m fighting myself. It’s a really great concept.” Although he wasn’t the only one, as he explained: “When James Cameron saw the movie, it was the first scene he brought up, he said to me ‘If I had done another Terminator that’s exactly what I would have done!'”
Terminator Genisys is the fifth instalment in the franchise, whose later entries Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines, and Terminator Salvation have been met with waning enthusiasm. Arnie himself noted the necessity of a great narrative to restore the franchise to its former heights: “We cannot just live off the reputation of the past, you must have a good script.” Ultimately the ambition of Genisys’ heroes reflects Schwarzenegger’s owns hopes for the franchise: resetting the past will lead to a more promising future.
Terminator Genisys (2015), directed by Alan Taylor, is released in UK cinemas on 2nd July by Paramount Pictures, Certificate 12A.