It’s the Terminator, but not as we know it.
Terminator Genisys attempts to be the Days of Future Past of the series, but only halfway succeeds in retconning the franchise.It was a thankless task to both live up to the legacy of the first two classics, whilst also making up for the last two, and although Terminator Genisys loses focus in its effects-driven latter half, it does provide some Jurassic World-esque nostalgia to begin with, at least thrumming the right, familiar, notes at the outset. Terminator Genisys initially invests its time paying tribute to former glories, and it mostly works. Whilst designed to accommodate new viewers aplenty, there's a much warmer feeling in store for classic 1984 The Terminator fans, as they see Arnold Schwarzenegger's name hit the screen - pre-credits - and watch various scenes from that classic refashioned, and expanded, to largely good effect. Ultimately the film goes off the rails, losing much of the goodwill it's forged through these nostalgic nods, and devolving into a messy internet-attack anticlimax with a lame Transcendence- like villain.Those who got caught up in the glory of seeing the park reopened with Jurassic World will likely still warm to that classic Terminator music; those beats; and those glowing red eyes behind the steely endoskeleton raging across the screen. There are some nice moments; some nice touches, and the time-travelling ideas – whilst overcooked – do offer some hope at reheating this long-stale meal, even if they all come in the first half and, ultimately, lead the script into a contrived hole which may well see the franchise finally buried. Still, at the end of the day, whilst not everybody warmed to Emilia Clarke’s Sarah Connor, and whilst nobody in their right mind got on board with Jai Courtney’s Kyle Reese, Arnie's arthritic old T-101, despite ostensibly playing second fiddle to the story and the flashy new generation of actors, is still – secretly – the star of the show. If nothing else, it’s a great relief to finally see him back.
2D/3D Picture QualityThe 1080/AVC-encoded High Definition 2D video presentation looks stunning in almost every way and provides a near-flawless core for its 3D counterpart. Detail is excellent, across the timelines and corresponding colour schemes that bring the various ages and stages to life, with (older) Arnie’s visage under particular scrutiny through such clarity. Skin textures, lines, clothing weaves and background textures are finely observed, albeit within the glossy realm of this shiny modern production. The colour scheme is broad and vibrant with striking primaries, as the various different realms take life – from the industrial future war stage to the electric 80s sequences through to the cool blue futuristic finale. Black levels are strong and deep, and with banding and other digital anomalies kept to the minimum, this is a superior presentation.
Terminator Genisys hits Region Free UK Blu-ray with excellent video presentations, both 2D and 3D.
On the 3D front, Genisys is arguably even more impressive, which may come as something of a surprise to many. It’s rare that you come across a production which promotes decent positive and negative parallax, and Genisys not only promotes welcome depth into the picture – with striking multi-layered vistas and setpieces like the Golden Gate Bridge affording plenty of far, mid-range and close-up scenery – but also some reasonably innovative (and thankfully far from gimmicky) in-your-face action. Everything from the T-1000’s blade-arm to munitions, debris bounced across the stage from explosions, or even that ridiculous vehicle-flipping piece of effects-work, is given that extra layer, coming right at you and, rather than irritating, actually genuinely impressing. It won’t exactly change your mind about the movie, but it does add an extra level to the experience.
Blu-ray Sound QualityThe Blu-ray of Terminator Genisys includes a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that can be listened to in 5.1, 7.1 or various Atmos configurations.
Cas Harlow reviewed the audio using a standard 5.1-channel setup - The Dolby Atmos soundtrack boasts an excellent Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core which is every bit as impressive as you’d have hoped it would be, kicking off with a hell of a bang with its future war mayhem, but maintaining a precise and enveloping atmosphere across the runtime, even when things aren’t blowing up. Dialogue is given firm presence across the fronts and centre channels, retaining clarity and coherence, whilst effects are finely prioritised across the array, allowing gunshots and phased plasma cannon blasts – with each weapon given a distinct sound signature – to tear across your living room. As you’d only expect, there’s a weighty LFE thrum beneath which only further underscores the track’s key elements. Even without it’s Atmos enhancement, this is outstanding reference audio through and through.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack means that everyone can still enjoy the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core.Steve Withers reviewed the audio using a 7.2.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup - Whilst the 7.1-channel TrueHD core within the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is excellent, those that are able to enjoy the full immersive experience are in for a treat. Terminator Genysis boasts a superb Atmos mix that immediately plunges the viewer into the middle of the action. The opening nuclear salvoes that herald the arrival of Judgement Day will give your entire system a serious workout but especially any subwoofers as San Francisco gets flattened. After that it's into the future war sequences with Hunter-Killers flying overhead and explosions all around you. The cavernous chamber where the time displacement equipment is housed allows for plenty of echoes to create a sense of a physical space, whilst the time travel itself is equally as enveloping. After that the soundtrack keeps pace with the non-stop action and whether it's acid pouring down from above or school buses flipping through the air, the object-based audio really delivers. Despite the mix being so active, the musical score remains distinct and dialogue is always clear and precise, resulting in a hugely enjoyable Dolby Atmos soundtrack.
Steelbook ExtrasZavvi's UK exclusive steelbook Blu-ray release boasts both the bare-bones 3D disc and the 2D disc which features all the extras. The extras themselves actually amount to just three Featurettes, albeit solid ones. Family Dynamics spends 15 minutes looking at the cast and crew; Infiltration and Termination spends over 25 minutes looking at the filming locations, the settings used to recreate the various time periods and the shooting of key sequences; and Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys provides a more detailed 15 minute look at the effects work done, including the particularly impressive job on Arnie's younger self.
This distinctive Steelbook release boasts both 2D and 3D versions of the film as well as all the extras currently available.
The steelbook itself is a mixed bag but, in the most, a strong, reasonably iconic design. Indeed the biggest disappointment comes from the fact that the original artwork design (which, ironically, is still the one used to advertise the release, and sports a slightly better shot of Arnie) wasn't used on the final version. Notwithstanding this last minute sleight-of-hand, Genisys's largely monochromatic offering - with only the title and Arnie's glowing eye giving it much-needed colour - features a nicely placed debossed title. It's nicely placed because it's layered over the black of Arnie's outfit rather than the white of the backdrop, allowing for that far better red-against-black pop. There's also some light spot glossing over the metallic features of Arnie's exoskeleton which are visible on the face and hand, as well as on the gun. Sarah Connor graces the back cover, with a spot gloss Terminator skull in her hand. None of the different Terminator releases really match up, so the different style here is not particularly irritating (although, rather strangely, it does match up to Warner's Premium Collection of steels, including Seven and Heat). Indeed, it's a nice looking steel, about as good as anybody could have expected for this release.
Genisys gets off to a good start, and brings Arnie back to the fold, but soon devolves into a series of silly CG set-pieces around a hollow, convoluted core.
Zavvi's UK exclusive steelbook release of Terminator Genisys boasts excellent 2D/3D video and audio - another Dolby Atmos title - housed in a nicely-designed steelbook case. Fans of the Terminator franchise should know what to expect by now; they've been burnt enough times. With that in mind, it makes for a strong release that's worth checking out.
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