termgenWhy Do Robots Have Teeth?
Terminator Genisys
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, Lee Byung-hun, J. K. Simmons, Matt Smith and Courtney B. Vance
Director: Alan Taylor
Scriptwriters: Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier (based on characters by James Cameron and Gayle Ann Hurd)
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Cinematographer: Kramer Morgenthaw
Rating: R for violence and themed material
Running Length: 127 minutes
Yes, indeed, why do robots have teeth? They don't eat, yet there they are, in pristine condition, too. Do be aware that in “Terminator Genisys” you may have to take notes to keep track of the characters-in-time-travel and just who is chasing who. This film is kind of a reboot of the series, but not in a way you would expect.  In fact, if you haven't seen any of the “Terminator” films, see the first one “The Terminator” and then you will know the basic plot line that has gone through the rest of the movies. There are several variations of a “terminator” (robot) and also several actors who have played the main characters of Sarah Connor, John Connor (her son) and Kyle Reese (John’s father). The robot who once tracked Sarah in order to kill her, now is a peaceful one (Arnold Schwarzenegger does well here) and time lines cross and probably cross again, too. No one can be trusted and the word “shape-shifter” has new meaning. This movie was meant to be entertaining and that it is.
The main actors, except for Arnold Schwarzenegger, may be new to some audiences. There is Emilia Clarke (Mother of Dragons from “Game of Thrones,”), Jai Courtney ("Divergent"), and Jason Clarke "Child 44," and worst make-up job, probably was last in line in the make-up room.) There have been rumors of miscasting, but I think not. This is a revision/different time line from other “Terminator” films with different situations to grasp. Emilia Clarke (Sarah) has the look of a young Linda Hamilton from the first film, and Courtney (Kyle) has a softer touch as befits someone who is there to protect a woman he likes, while Jason Clarke (John) is a leader with eyes like lasers. Robert Patrick was the other Terminator in the first film, but it is played with different actors here, once again, a shifting timeline.
The movie begins in the future with a battle of humans against machines (“Skynet”) and trying to prevent  this war from ever happening---the machines winning. By using one of the machines against them, Kyle is sent back by his friend, John, to find Sarah and save her from a lethal machine Terminator, and with no clothes on. In the meantime, Sarah and The Guardian called Pops (Arnold) find a Terminator sent back to destroy Kyle and kill it, then rescue Kyle and away they go on the first of several chase scenes. The police think these people are just plain nuts, but one retired police officer (J. K. Simmons from “Whiplash”) recognizes one of them who saved his life long ago and really believes there may be time travel involved. Time after time, Terminators come after Sarah, a prime commodity here, and Kyle and Pops go into action, each time, Pops becoming more disabled and showing his age. The good guys are trying to locate Skynet and destroy it, but just exactly where is it? Shades of  television‘s “Person of Interest” and their machines. This is an ingenious plot and just when you think you know what will happen, it does so in a different way, or is skipped over to something else. Kyle has to work hard to keep up with the action and any thought of an easy rescue is lost. Pops is more like McGyver in putting together things for defense and the fights between Terminators (good CGI work, editing and accompanied by appropriate music) is like a sports event.
There are two stories going on here.  One is the protection (physical) Pops gives to Sarah and he has been with her most of her life. Can steel have emotion? The other is the protection (emotional) Kyle gives to Sarah to keep her alive. In a life of running away from danger, even a glance can mean a great deal and keep one going. It all boils down to---can you trust a machine? Those trying to start a car in mid-winter, sometimes wonder about this.
I was pleasantly surprised at “Terminator Gynisys” and the tongue-in-cheek attitude the script has taken. The opposite of the former “Terminator Salvation” with Christian Bale. The sets are imaginative, though some chases and harrowing situations are familiar from other action films. Just how many buses have to hang from something?  The idea of survival of the human race is a necessity and one can see how dependent we are on machines from phones to cars to kitchens. One misstep in electronics and your toothbrush is attacking you. 
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
PS: Remember to stay through ALL the film credits.
For more film reviews of the stars, see the following:
Terminator 3
Jai Courtney
Arnold Schwarzenegger