A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Terminator Genisys is the fifth movie in the blockbuster sci-fi/action series, with Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his star-making role. The sci-fi/fantasy violence is intense and nearly constant, with tons of shooting (both regular guns and laser ones), fighting, perilous chases, big crashes, and explosions -- but very little blood or death. Both male and female characters time travel naked, but no sensitive body parts are shown (just torsos, legs, etc.). Language is sporadic but includes one "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t" and "a--hole." This is the first in a planned trilogy, and teen sci-fi nuts will be eager to line up for it.
What's the story?
On the future night that John Connor (Jason Clarke) and his followers launch an assault on Skynet, they're too late, and the first Terminator is sent back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor. So John sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to protect her, but he unexpectedly arrives in an alternate timeline, where a tough, resourceful Sarah (Emilia Clarke) already has a guardian, a reprogrammed Terminator she calls "Pops" (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Armed with new memories from the time shift, Reese realizes that their next destination is San Francisco in 2017, where an operating system known as "Genisys" is about to launch. If they can stop that, they can prevent all the trouble from ever occurring. Unfortunately, Genisys has its own protector.
Is it any good?
The fifth movie in the series does well by ignoring the third and fourth installments, but after starting with a good idea, it devolves into a rather typical, monotonous shoot-and-smash fest. Far too much screen time is spent watching terminators shot at, bashed, dropped, and blown up ... only to reform again, with the whole cycle starting over. This might be fine if we hadn't seen it all before in the earlier films. And then everything comes down to a ticking counter, signaling the end of the world, that must be stopped.
Though Sarah Connor is a strong, resourceful woman, and all of the characters are appealing in a surface way (partly because of their familiarity from the earlier movies), they have little emotional draw other than the "business" they engage in between action scenes. Director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) keeps things looking good, but ultimately the entire movie feels more like a business transaction than it does an attempt to tell a solid story.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does it feel that the movie essentially ignores the series' third and fourth installments?
What's the appeal of time-travel stories? How does traveling through time affect a story's timeline?
- In theaters: July 1, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2015
- Cast: Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Director: Alan Taylor
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay througout, partial nudity and brief strong language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.