Terminator Genisys (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 29-Oct-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Family Dynamics
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Infiltration and Termination
Featurette-Upgrades: VFX of Terminator: Genisys
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 125:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alan Taylor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Jason Clarke
Emilia Clarke
Jai Courtney
J.K. Simmons
Dayo Okeniyi
Matt Smith
Courtney B. Vance
Byung-hun Lee
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Lorne Balfe

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† It has now been six years since the abortion that was McGís Terminator Salvation was met with substandard box office and critical mauling, posing a challenge for any filmmaker bold enough to pursue further sequels. There were not many logical places for the series to go, thus 2015ís Terminator Genisys functions as both a sequel and a reboot, avoiding another future war movie by forcing a story set before Judgment Day to return the series to its roots. Genisys is barely a movie at all - itís a concept of a movie; a vague mishmash of half-baked ideas and potentially interesting scenes strung together not to tell a worthwhile story, but to fill out a balance sheet. Indeed, it solely exists to plot a workable new path for the franchise, paving the way for more sequels to allow Skydance to keep beating this dead horse for all that itís worth until the rights revert back to James Cameron in 2019. And with a soft PG-13 rating in place forbidding the visceral delights of the first two Terminator movies, Genisys feels safe and generic.

††† In the apocalyptic future war, human resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) spearheads an attack on Skynet headquarters with help from right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), in the process delivering a devastating blow that may finally end the war against the machines. But it is discovered that a T-800 Terminator has been sent back in time to 1984 to kill Johnís mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), to ensure that that he is never born. Kyle volunteers to serve as Sarahís protector, but upon arrival in 1984, he discovers that Sarah is already aware of the situation, locked in warrior mode and able to protect herself, aided by her lifelong Terminator guardian "Pops" (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Aiming to prevent Judgment Day, Sarah and Pops have created a time machine of their own, planning to travel forward in time to 1997 to stop Skynet before it goes live. But apparently the timeline has been altered and Kyle has memories of a future which hasnít happened yet, and they need to travel to 2017 instead. And on it goes.

††† Every time an R-rated franchise is continued with a PG-13 instalment, the press strategies are identical, with the studio, actors, and even the blind fan-boys wanting us to believe that PG-13 is no big deal, because it will (somehow) still be violent, and what matters the most is the script and story. Funnily enough, Arnie actually satirised such blatant lies in Last Action Hero back in 1994, with his character explaining that ďIn this movie we only kill 48 people. In the last one we killed 119. But we make up for it with a good story, emotions, depth, dimensions.Ē Big surprise: Genisysís PG-13 rating is a much bigger deal than we have been led to believe. Perhaps it could have worked if it did have a smart screenplay, but Genisys is a dumb action film, lacking the smarts and heart of the original Terminator. Itís a numbing succession of brainless action sequences, and without the visceral punch of an R rating, there is not much to see here.

††† Genisys is not just a Terminator reboot, but a DC Comics-esque multiverse reboot. Itís a poor excuse for the filmmakers to create a grab-bag of every single element that people liked from the previous movies; Sarah is already a badass, thereís a T-1000 (played by Byung-hun Lee), thereís another de-aged Arnold T-800 (with improved CGI), and theyíve recreated the main plot thrust of T2, with the heroes trying to destroy Skynet before Judgment Day erupts. Genisys also copycats another notable aspect of T2, with a relationship between Sarah and Pops. A more appropriate title for the movie would be Terminator FanService. But then again, this is a PG-13 movie, so they cannot even do the fan service thing properly. Also, turning Arnieís ruthless T-800 into a sidekick for a wise-ass kid was a bad idea back in 1990, and having him as a gentle father figure is just as ill-advised here. I miss Arnie the hardcore killer.

††† Genisys is easy to follow, but examining the narrative too closely is a bad idea, with paradoxes and unanswered questions. The question of who sent Pops back in time is a real head-scratcher, and the script politely refuses to answer the query, with the T-800 explaining that his files were erased. But the biggest head-scratcher is the need for Sarah and Pops to build a time machine to go forward in time. Time-travel exists in the Terminator franchise in order for people and cyborgs to go back in time to change things, which is understandable, but why use it to travel forward? Time goes forwards in the first place! Instead of jumping ahead thirty years, Sarah, Kyle and Pops could have spent that time improving their tactics and arsenal, keeping an eye on the Skynet situation, remaining one step ahead, and could have even destroyed Skynet whilst it was still in beta. But instead, they go for the ticking clock of Terminator 3 (hey look, another idea stolen from a past movie), even though itís incredibly idiotic that they aim to show up with limited time on their side, and just wing it.

††† The marketing campaign for Genisys is one of the poorest in recent memory, with the bargain basement posters, and the trailers which spoiled all of the movieís surprises. The big ďtwistĒ is that John is now the villain. But rather than the villain being a Terminator who looks like John, it actually is John Connor whose genetics were tampered with, and now heís Skynetís guardian to safeguard his own future existence. Frankly, this concept is unforgivable. John has always been mankindís saviour in the future war, but now itís all for naught. Perhaps this decision was made to sidestep the need for a sex scene between Kyle and Sarah, because PG-13. There are some interesting thematic undercurrents in the screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis and executive producer Patrick Lussier - particularly in regards to our growing reliance on screens in a modern world dominated by Google, Microsoft and Apple; and with Sarah standing up for her right to choose a mate rather than letting her supposed fate dictate that she must climb into bed with Kyle - but the movie is more interested in prolonged action scenes and terrible humour. Heavens me, the attempts at comedy are woeful, especially a hideous running joke that Pops cannot smile properly despite repeated attempts. Pops even makes a comment about Kyleís endowment, while another scene involves Pops getting a mugshot while the Cops theme plays in the background. It's just...awful.

††† At least there is colour to the movie. One of Terminator Salvationís many, many flaws is its desaturated cinematography which rendered it monotonous and visually drab. With Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) at the helm, Genisys retains a far brighter colour scheme, and to its credit it is more watchable than its immediate predecessor. However, the action scenes are a mixed bag. The 1984 sequences are surprisingly proficient, but the bigger set-pieces are boring, even with the mammoth budget. Genisys goes far too over-the-top, sapping humanity and intensity from the material. A certain bus crash is incredibly overdone and should have left people seriously injured or dead, but Kyle and Sarah, who were inside, walk away without a scratch on them. Even the special effects are a mixed bag; the T-1000 looks worse than it did in 1990, the flashy CG-riddled climax looks like vomit, and so on. The young Arnold does look impressive initially, but when he begins fighting Pops, he suddenly looks phoney.

††† Terminator Genisys does have one benefit to elevate it above Suckvation: Arnieís participation. The Austrian Oak is getting old, but heís still a welcome addition to the cast, keeping the flick watchable even during its worst patches. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast (not to mention the film itself) fail to serve him. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) is hopelessly out of her depth here, exuding minimal screen presence, coming across as a very passionless Sarah Connor. Sheís nothing compared to the powerhouse that was Linda Hamilton in T2. I do not hate Jai Courtney, but he makes so little of an impression here, and itís painful to watch him attempt to fill Michael Biehnís formidable shoes. Jason Clarke (no relation to Emilia) does what he can as John Connor, but heís just not a believable badass - he looks more like an office worker. The only bright spot (apart from Arnie) is J.K. Simmons as a detective whoís caught up in the battle. And itís heartbreaking to see former Doctor Who star Matt Smith caught up in this garbage.

††† Can this please be it for the Terminator franchise? We as viewers have suffered enough, and even though Genisys is an improvement over Terminator Salvation, we are still far away from the groundbreaking brilliance of Cameronís 1984 masterpiece which started it all. Characters are uninteresting, thereís no tension or sense of stakes, the script struggles with a needlessly convoluted narrative, and attempts at comedy are painful. The seeds of a half-decent movie are here, but the potential could not be found in the hands of this creative team. It has been a week since I viewed Genisys, and I am hard-pressed to remember anything I liked about it. Anyone seeking a glossy, expensive studio blockbuster may enjoy Genisys, but give me a violent, bone-crunching í80s sci-fi action-thriller like 1984ís The Terminator over this guff any day of the week.

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Transfer Quality


††† No surprises here: Terminator Genisys looks sensational on Blu-ray, with Paramountís beautifully-minted AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition transfer ticking all the boxes and approaching reference-quality. Framed at 2.39:1 as per its theatrical presentation, the Blu-ray transfer maintains an average bitrate sitting around 25 Mbps, which is middling, but there are no visible compression artefacts stemming from the encode and the transfer still looks exceptional. Whereas all previous Terminator movies were shot on 35mm film stock, Genisys was captured digitally using Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras, and completed digitally at 2K resolution. To put it simply, this is a razor-sharp, eye-catching visual experience, even eclipsing other productions from the same year like Avengers: Age of Ultron in terms of sheer, refined crispness.

††† Genisys opens with an extended Future War action sequence, and the transfer hardly falters, handling the darkness without falling victim to crush, and resolving the purple laser blasts and orange explosions with precision. Admittedly, a few moments look a touch muddy and soft, but this is likely attributable to the limited colour space as well as the limitations of 1080p Blu-ray, and at least such moments are fleeting. Genisys is thankfully a more colourful movie than the misfire that was Terminator Salvation, which looked dreary and depressing with its desaturated cinematography. The visual style during the Future War scenes here is more in keeping with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which is much more agreeable. The 1984 scenes also look impressive despite being set at night, and the attempt to replicate an í80s filmic look comes through effectively. The colours are faithful to the movie's theatrical presentation, and though the palette lacks the definitive "pop" that High Dynamic Range can provide, colours look nicely saturated and vibrant throughout nevertheless, while contrast is frequently spot-on.

††† Detail and sharpness are top-notch for the most part. The visuals are intricate and the transfer brings out facial complexities, while the elaborate sets and costumes look highly detailed. You can also make out all the ins and outs of the meticulously-designed Terminator endoskeletons, thanks to the high level of texturing and the consistently impressive sharpness. Of course, the presentation does fare best in brightly-lit moments, while close-ups are best for resolving textures. Well-resolved, light source-related noise is visible from time to time (see a flashback at the 55-minute mark), but it's never distracting, and most people won't even notice it. Admittedly, since this is a digital production, the presentation does look a touch smooth and flat, particularly under low-light, but again this likely traces back to the limitations of 1080p Blu-ray, rather than representing a fault of the encode. Although it does look as if light digital noise reduction might have been applied in post-production for a cleaner image, there is no edge enhancement, nor are there any encoding anomalies like ringing, aliasing or macroblocking. Luckily, too, the video never looks smeary - it's stable from start to finish. The movie may be subpar, but the video quality is close to flawless. Of course, this Blu-ray is not quite as refined as its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray counterpart, but it's still very good on its own merits.

††† A number of subtitle options are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† Paramount upholds the newest popular audio trend, imbuing the latest Terminator with a Dolby Atmos track. Not being Atmos-compatible, the audio defaulted to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track, and I cannot complain about the resulting aural experience.

††† As to be expected from a big-budget summer blockbuster, the sound is crisp and dynamic, almost effortlessly so. All explosions and gunshots sound booming thanks to the active subwoofer, while flying vehicles in the opening action sequences sound like they are in the room. The surround channels are put to exceptional use as the Hunter Killers seem to be flying overhead and the sounds of war are all around you, making for an all-encompassing experience that will thoroughly delight even the most finicky of audiophiles.

††† The dialogue, which mostly comes through the front channels, is well-mixed against the roaring sound effects during the action scenes, retaining a welcome clarity. The soundtrack, generic as it may be, also blends into the experience seamlessly. The filmmakers may not have cared about acting, plot or scripting, but itís impossible to fault the polished, professional technical presentation.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


††† This single disc edition comes with three featurettes. There is a bonus disc edition available which adds another two hours of video extras.

Family Dynamics (HD; 15:51)

††† An overview of the casting process of the movie. Many members of the cast and crew talk enthusiastically about everyone involved, and the producers are quick to point out the fact that the majority of the actors come from overseas.

Infiltration and Termination (HD; 25:29)

††† A detailed look at filming some of the major sequences in New Orleans, where the filmmakers had more freedom to close off streets and highways than many other places around the world. Location filming is covered here, as well as the various sets. Plenty of interviews are present throughout, too. Worth watching.

Upgrades: The VFX of Terminator Genisys (HD; 15:07)

††† An almost obligatory visual effects featurette, with plenty of VFX comparisons and tonnes of interviews with the producers and the visual effects team, discussing the extensive work that went into creating the movie. James Cameron even chimes in to talk about the evolution of CGI since his groundbreaking Terminator 2: Judgment Day in the early í90s.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The vanilla edition of the movie is identical to the Region A version. Another edition with a bonus disc is also available both in Australia and overseas. It's a draw.


††† Terminator Genisys may not be the SyFy Channel-level disaster that I had predicted, and it is watchable to an extent, but it's incredibly forgettable and generic, which is just not good enough in this franchise.

††† Paramount's Blu-ray is of good quality, however. Reference-quality video and audio, while the extras aren't too bad, slight as they may be. A rental at best.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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