Action Adventure

'Terminator Genisys' Blu-ray Review: A molten metal makeover for the iconic sci-fi franchise

November 16, 2015Ben MK

When Arnold Schwarzenegger first uttered those three little words — "I'll be back" — in James Cameron's The Terminator, no one could've possibly imagined that the phrase would still be ringing true three decades later. Yet, here we are; it's 2015, and despite the diminishing returns provided by the last two sequels, the franchise is back for a fifth installment.

Terminator Genisys is a movie that promises to redefine everything we thought we knew about the war between man and machine. However, director Alan Taylor begins it on very familiar footing: with the nuclear devastation unleashed by Skynet on Judgment Day, followed by scenes set in the resulting post-apocalyptic future, where resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) rallies the last vestiges of humanity in a last-ditch assault against the enemy. Surprisingly, they manage to bring down Skynet, though not before the evil A.I. can send a T-800 back in time to 1984 to try and kill John's mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke).

What happens next rewrites the mythology of the entire Terminator franchise. Because when John sends his top soldier, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), back in time to protect his mother, it's not the 1984 of James Cameron's tech-noir original that Kyle finds himself in. Instead, it's an alternate timeline, one where Sarah is already an accomplished badass thirsting to take on Skynet. As for the T-800 sent to kill Sarah, she and a Guardian T-800 she calls "Pops" (Schwarzenegger) make short work of him, paving the way for a new mission in which they must stop Skynet — now a "killer app" called "Genisys" — from ever coming online.

The screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier never does bother explaining who it was that sent Papa Terminator back in time. However, that's not to say the movie isn't enjoyable. Its time travel logic may be a bit fuzzy at times, but the film does manage to deliver a decent amount of fun, serving up a ton of homages to the first two Terminator films, and also providing Schwarzenegger with ample opportunity to poke a little fun at his own aging action hero persona. Still, if you don't like the direction the franchise is headed in, rest assured. Odds are that you'll only need to wait a few years for it to be rebooted again anyway.

Visually, Terminator Genisys is arguably the most impressive film in the franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And when it comes to image quality, this Blu-ray transfer doesn't disappoint in the slightest, allowing viewers to appreciate all the man vs. machine action in all its 1080p glory. Whether it's nighttime action scenes such as the Future War between the human resistance and the machine army or daytime set-pieces such as a harrowing chase along the Golden Gate bridge, the results are impeccably crisp, detailed and colorful. As for the disc's Dolby Atmos mix, it perfectly recreates every line of dialogue, every musical cue and every sound effect that comprise the film's action-packed soundscape, with gunfire, explosions and the reprisal of composer Brad Fiedel's classic theme from The Terminator making the most impact.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray release (also available as a three-disc 3D Blu-ray combo pack) includes a DVD and an iTunes/Ultraviolet digital copy, plus the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Family Dynamics (15:51) - A look at the film's cast, their characters, their chemistry, and what they bring to the film.
  • Infiltration and Termination (25:29) - A making-of piece that focuses on the construction of the film's main set-pieces, from the Future War sequence to the final battle, all of which were filmed in either New Orleans, San Francisco or at NASA.
  • Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys (15:07) - An examination of the film's visual effects, from its depiction of the Future War and 1984 Los Angeles to the CG artistry that went into the creation of the various Terminator models.

Terminator Genisys is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of November 10th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 6 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 1st, 2015.

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