(SPOILER WARNING: Turn back now if you don't want to know anything about the plot of Arnold's new "Terminator" movie. I mean, more than what the trailers have already spoiled.)
One of the most famous lines uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger's murder-powered cyborg is "I'll be back." And on July 1, the T-800 will once again be true to his word when "Terminator: Genisys" hits theaters.
The fifth "Terminator" movie aims to robo-punch you right in the nostalgia center, much like "Jurassic World" did, with its twisty, time-travel story that pays homage to the franchise's first two films (while completely, and wisely, ignoring the existence of meh entries "Rise of the Machines" and "Salvation.")
To prepare you for another trip to the land of Skynet, here are all the things you need to know about "Genisys," which picks up where James Cameron's original 1984 film left off.
1.It's a Reboot...Ish
After "Batman Begins," the word "reboot" became the hottest phrase in Hollywood. And "Terminator: Genisys" is the latest product of that craze.
Jason Clarke plays John Connor, a character essayed, in various points in the franchise, by Edward Furlong (in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"), Nick Stahl in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," Thomas Dekker in the "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" television series and Christian Bale in "Terminator: Salvation."
Emilia Clarke, from "Game of Thrones," plays Sarah Connor, a character most famously played by Linda Hamilton on the big screen, and then later by Lena Headey on the small screen in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." Jai Courtney plays Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn in "Terminator" and in a deleted scene from "T2." Most puzzling, South Korean dreamboat Lee Byung-hun plays the T-1000, a character originally portrayed by Robert Patrick in "T2."
But Schwarzenegger remains, as a variation on his original Terminator character. So yes, all your favorite characters from the series have been recast with younger models. But, like all things in the "Terminator" universe, it's a lot more complicated than that.
2. It's Also a Remake
Significant chunks of the film's first act are comprised of recreated scenes and sequences from the first film, with iconic elements from the second film also added in. It's basically a 2015 remix of key moments from the 1984 film; in fact, the film largely plays out like a very expensive "mad lib" to all things "T1" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
This includes Kyle Reese and the Terminator returning from the war-torn future to the comparatively war-free 1984 (full of cold blue lighting and that sequence where Reese, fresh from his naked trip through time, steals a hobo's pants.) It also includes a variation on the T-1000 mall battle from "T2." These sequences have some wrinkles and some additions/embellishments, but some of them are virtually shot-for-shot recreations from those earlier movies. What gives these scenes an extra trippy quality is that a photo-real, CG version of the 1984 model is used, and it battles an older version of itself (affectionately nicknamed "Pops"). Eagle-eyed "Terminator" fanatics will have a lot of fun looking at what the filmmakers recreated. There is, of course, a reason for all of this Xeroxing, and it has to do with the twisty, "timey wimey" nature of the "Terminator" franchise.
3. There's Actually a Reasonable Explanation for Why Arnold Is Old
At one point, Reese brings up the fact that "Pops," the Terminator model sent back to a time when Sarah Connor was a little girl, is, you know, old. ("But not obsolete," as Pops reminds us throughout the film.)
The explanation presented for why is, narratively, well-founded: Since the Terminator is a metallic robot endoskeleton wrapped in living human tissue, the outer tissue actually ages. So the fact that the actor is older is actually justifiable. What's more, Pops shows up in 2017 with silver hair. The "rules" in the "Terminator" universe are always sort of hard to pin down (particularly in this most recent installment) but this is one thing that does make sense. (Super-nerdy "Terminator" fans will remember that the flesh outside of Arnold's original robot actually decayed, like a corpse. Remember the landlord who banged on his door wondering what had died in there?)
Apparently, this model knows how to heal a lot better.
4.The Fewer Trailers or TV Spots You Watch, the Better Off You'll Be
When "T2" came out in 1991, all the advertising did a great job of hiding the fact that Arnold was John and Sarah's protector this time around. Audiences didn't realize it until more than 30 minutes into the movie, when they brainsplode'd over seeing the T-800 duking it out with the T-1000 to save young JC.
The marketing for "Genisys" threw all that preservation of plot twists out the window, with the late-in-the-marketing cycle reveal that a certain hero from the post-apocalyptic future becomes the most sophisticated Terminator ever made. This plot detail has been thoroughly ruined (it's even on the poster!), so you're enjoyment of the film will be greatly impacted by how little you now about this twist before buying a ticket.
If you have already watched the trailers for the movie, that's not exactly a deal-breaker; though it still sucks not to have that collective gasp felt more 24 years ago when "T2" was released.
5. The Terminator Will Be Back (Duh)
"Genisys" pulls a Marvel by adding a mid-credits tag that briefly sets up a potential sequel, just as the film's climatic scenes pave the way for a future where, for the first time in over three decades, Sarah Connor is free to choose her own fate.
The effectiveness of these scenes aside, it's up to the almighty Box Office Dollar to determine if Arnuld and Friends will get a sixth-quel. But based on the warmly nostalgic response to "Jurassic World," turning that once-dormant franchise into a money-minting machine, it's safe to say that "Genisys" will enjoy a solid opening weekend. Moreover, the narrative manages to set up new timelines for our characters, both old and new, to play in. (And the film's reliance on multiple time-jumps also serves a tool future storylines will likely use if given the greenlight.)
The mantra of the "Terminator" franchise has always been that there is no fate save for that which we make for ourselves. This despite the fact that, no matter how many times the machines are defeated, Reese, Sarah, John and Pops always find themselves doomed to repeat a different version of similar "save the future" events. With "Genisys," the timeline gets even more complicated and intensified. And while Sarah may finally be in charge of where her life goes, the future of her franchise is all in the hands of the movie-going public.
"Terminator: Genisys" opens everywhere July 1.