Terminator Genisys (4K Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 4-Oct-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 125:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alan Taylor
Studio
Distributor

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 $32.95 Music Lorne Balfe
Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
German 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 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
Czech
Cantonese
German
Greek
English
Spanish
French
Italian
Japanese
Mandarin
Dutch
Norwegian
Romanian
Slovenian
Finnish
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† It has now been nine 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 other 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.

††† 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. Mere days after viewing Genisys, I was 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

Video

††† Terminator Genisys was captured at 2.8K and 3.4K resolution with Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras, and was only completed at 2K, which is pretty standard-order for blockbusters of this ilk. Therefore, this 2160p Ultra HD transfer presumably represents an upscale from the digital intermediate, with added High Dynamic Range to boost the colour palette. Retaining the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and making use of the HEVC/H.265 video codec, Genisys really comes to life on 4K Blu-ray courtesy of Paramount, providing a noticeable and welcome upgrade over the already solid 1080p Blu-ray. It's not exactly a day-and-night difference, but it's the best and most consistent presentation of the movie on home video, making it worth the purchase for fans. Paramount make use of a dual-layered BD-66 for this 4K Blu-ray, which is sufficient given that the movie has the entire disc to itself, with the extras being relegated to the included standard Blu-ray.

††† Despite its strengths, the 1080p Blu-ray was slightly held back by its average bitrate and limited colour space, but this 4K disc provides a more richly-detailed and more refined presentation, bringing out as much detail as possible. Admittedly, from a detail perspective, the 4K transfer is not a huge step up compared to the Blu-ray, and there is still noticeable smoothness in some shots, particularly under lower-light. However, it's likely that these shortcomings are source-related, given the 2K finish. As stated in my review of the standard Blu-ray, it does look as if minor digital noise reduction was applied to the movie in post-production, which is likely the cause of this. (The movie looked no better on the big screen during its theatrical run in 2015.) Nevertheless, skin textures and hairs are always on-point, while you can make out all the intricacies on clothing and the rest of the production design. The video is razor-sharp to boot - it never looks soft or muddy, while clarity is flawless. You can count the blades of grass in certain shots. As with the standard Blu-ray, source noise is visible during certain moments, such as flashback shots at the 55-minute mark, but it's always well-resolved and accentuates the texture of the image.

††† The disc's High Dynamic Range is encoded in HDR10 rather than Dolby Vision - a DV grade is only available to stream on iTunes at this point in time. The HDR is admittedly restrained, but it's nevertheless the big reason to upgrade to this 4K Blu-ray, as the colour palette is more vibrant and lifelike, leaving the 1080p Blu-ray in the dust. Blacks are deeper and contrast is improved, giving the image more depth. In the opening montage, colours are more saturated, making the standard Blu-ray look muted by comparison. The blue tint of the 1984 sequences is more pronounced, while purple laser blasts are more eye-popping. Naturally, the presentation looks best when not bathed in darkness; daytime scenes, such as the Golden Gate Bridge battle, seriously pop. I did notice from the outset that the presentation is darker than its SDR counterpart, perhaps a touch too dark, but this is likely the intention of the filmmakers and it's not distracting. The hospital scene at the 58-minute mark also doesn't look much better than the Blu-ray, but again this is most likely a creative decision.

††† Although I did detect the tiniest bit of aliasing on sharp lines, such things are negligible, and the presentation is otherwise free of crush, macroblocking and banding - the encode is excellent. With its nice use of HDR and better resolved textures, Terminator Genisys is not a demo-worthy 4K disc, but it's probably the best possible representation of the source.

††† Plenty of subtitle options are available, implying that the same disc is being distributed worldwide.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Paramount upholds the newest popular audio trend, imbuing the latest Terminator with a Dolby Atmos track. If your system cannot decode Atmos, the audio defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. It's the same mix available on the standard Blu-ray.

††† 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 audiofiles.

††† 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
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† The 4K disc itself contains no supplemental material. The included standard Blu-ray has a few featurettes, but not as much as the bonus disc edition.

R4 vs R1

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

† † It appears that all 4K discs worldwide are identical. However, reports state that the French 4K set comes with the bonus Blu-ray disc containing nearly two hours of additional video extras. That's the one to run with if you care about extras.

Summary

††† 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. Although the first act holds up, it trails off once the story moves to 2017, and the action is too CG-heavy and devoid of excitement. It's a missed opportunity, pure and simple.

††† With its more resolved textures and more lifelike colours, the 4K presentation is very good, though still slightly held back by the source. Is a double dip worthwhile if you don't especially like the movie and don't watch it much? Not really. But if you're a fan of Genisys and you're 4K-compatible, this is an easy buy at sale price.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, January 04, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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