3D Blu-ray Review Terminator Genisys: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

Ronald Epstein

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What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.







TERMINATOR
G E N I S Y S

Studio: Paramount
Product Release: November 11, 2015
Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: Dolby Atmos; Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Running Time: 125 minutes
Rating: PG-13


On A Scale 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4
3D Separation: 4
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3


I was expecting the worst when I finally had the opportunity to sit and review Terminator Genisys, the latest reboot of the film franchise. Having taken a peek at the poor ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, as well as the mixed opinions from our own HTF membership, I was going into this film with the lowest of expectations. Perhaps, for that reason, I rather enjoyed my viewing experience, though I must admit, my head hurts from trying to comprehend the film's explanation of timelines.

Of course, I am a huge fan of the first two Terminator films. Who wouldn't be. That being said, I never saw Rise of the Machines or Salvation. In fact, if not for being sent a review screener, I would have never watched Genisys. Once James Cameron moved on from his involvement with these films, my interest waned. I was pleasantly surprised to see that without having seen the prior two sequels, I was able to immediately jump back into the world of Terminators as Genisys pretty much bases itself upon the stories of the first two films.



The film opens in a broken world ruled by the machines of Skynet as we witness the last battle for human survival. The Resistance is led by John Connor (Jason Clarke) who finds that Skynet has just sent a T-800 Terminator back in time to kill his Mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke). Almost immediately, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) volunteers to go back to 1984 to protect Sarah from her pending doom. However, during Kyle's travel back 30 years there is a sudden twist in the timeline and he finds the machines have already prepared for his arrival.

Director Alan Taylor has faithfully recreated the 1984 timeline according to the original film. It was very interesting to witness the original appearance of the first Terminator (almost recreated to perfection by the effects team) as he faces off against Arnold Schwarzenegger, who returns as an aged T-800, now a good guy and protector of Sarah Connor, whom she lovingly refers to as "Pops." With various twists in the storyline that involve time travel and parallel universes, it rather becomes difficult for the characters to establish just who they are and what effect their existence makes for the future. In turn, this makes it even more cumbersome for the audience to keep up with the complexities as well. However, if you're like me, and familiar with the first two films, this just basically the same story being told all over again.



What saves Terminator Genisys from total brain lockdown is the fact that it plays as a rather decent action flick with some excellent over-the-top sequences enhanced by 3D. The film makes excellent use of the San Francisco landscape, appearing with varying degrees of depth that gives viewers an excellent sense of spacing. In both vast and closed settings, there is always a natural sense of deepness which keeps the audience immersed in the story. While the Golden Gate Bridge is seemingly used in just about every action film made these days, I was very impressed to find that Genisys provides one of the most dazzling action sequences ever lensed for that backdrop. Though the 3D was unconverted in post production, it remains a rather enveloping experience with its wide overhead shots of helicopters surrounding the bridge and the perilous waters beneath it. With various angles of perspective, the audience always has the feeling that they can actually reach in and touch what is happening before them. Though the film tries to throw gimmicks at the audience, such as the knived hands of a Terminator, or a barrel of a gun -- most all of it falls short of piercing the screen. Really, it's the little things that have the most profound impact, such as small particles of ember and ash that float before the face or shattered pieces of glass that appear to fall forward. In all, this is one of the better upconversions that I have seen.



Image quality is as as superb as one would expect with an immense amount of detail revealed within its imagery. Going back to the film's most notable sequence, it's easy to be stimulated by the gorgeous colors of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the yellow school bus that becomes the focus of attention. The darker, more dreary scenes of the future never lose their impact and remain just as sharp and defined as the rest of the film.

I do want to point out that there was a minimal amount of crosstalk present, particularly in the titles and other random objects. It's just slightly distracting but never a major problem.



Paramount has included a Dolby Atmos mix for this release. I am basing this review on the 7.1 mix instead.

I can count on two fingers how many times, in my various reviews, I have stated "this is one of the most impressive mixes I have ever heard." Naturally, Hollywood continues to make more dynamic and complex film mixes to astound its audiences. Terminator Genisys, even in 7.1, is one of the "most impressive mixes I have ever heard." In fact, it's completely off the charts with its ultra-powerful and robust presentation of an apocalyptic future filled with missile launches, laser warfare, flying debris and drones that hunt and kill from overhead (which I'm certain must sound even more incredible with Atmos ceiling direction). A wonderfully balanced full-stage offering provides gunfire that splatters bullets across the entire room as voices encircle the viewer according to their placement. There was always a presence of LFE activity and my I often felt as if my subwoofer were shaking my chair, particularly as I was witnessing the destruction of San Francisco. This a jarring soundtrack rhythmically driven by Lorne Balfe's synthesized score -- all of which never drowns out the film's dialogue as it remains quite distinguishable.

Terminator Genisys arrives from Paramount in a 3-disc set (Blu-ray 3D+Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital HD). Nearly an hour of bonus features are included such as casting the film, effects work and shooting on location.



CONCLUSION



I can certainly sympathize with die-hard fans of the Terminator franchise that were disappointed with Genisys. Like its title character, the film feels sort of "old and obsolete" with a screenplay that gives a nod more to nostalgia than advancing the story. Still, I can't help but say it's great to see Schwarzenegger back in play here, at the age of 67, even as his attempts of providing humorous one-liners all fall flat. What saves this film from being a complete misfire is its dazzling action sequences, effective 3D upconversion and reference soundtrack -- all of which make for a highly absorbing viewing experience.



Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.

Equipment

Sony HW55ES Front Projector calibrated by Gregg Loewen, Lion AV
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear side and back speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer
 
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Salacious Ackbar

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It still lacks Cameron's touch, but I felt this was mostly a worthy follow up to to T2 and Arnold really gave a fine performance. It didn't feel like he was phoning it in like he did for T3.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Exactly, Josh. And as you could probably tell, I thought it was a thoroughly enjoyable 3D watch.
 

TravisR

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Ronald Epstein said:
...though I must admit, my head hurts from trying to comprehend the film's explanation of timelines.
Time travel rarely makes sense in movies* so whenever it comes up, I've found it easier to just think "They're trying to fix [the problem]" and not get into the "Well, what about...".


*I always liked the simplicity of the TV series Lost rule of time travel where nothing can be changed. If you go back in time, you were always been there and there's no alternate timeline in which you weren't there. Whatever happened, happened.
 

Robert Crawford

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Yeah, with time travel stuff in films, I usually just go with the flow without trying to think about it too much. It helps with my enjoyment level for the film. I'm looking forward to seeing this again at home this time.
 

Richard V

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I was going to pass on this one, Ron, but after reading your review, I'm going to take the plunge after all. Am a HUGE Terminator franchise fan.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Richard,


I am probably repeating myself from the review...


I am happy you are buying this title. I don't know if you are buying the 3D or 2D version.


I am kind of leaning towards the opinion that I would not have enjoyed this film as much as I did if not for the 3D enhancement.


It did get a lot of negative reviews from die-hard Terminator fans.


I just hate recommending a title like this to a person like you.


...but please report back and tell us what you think.
 

Neil Middlemiss

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Ron - I'm working on my review of the 2D version today and you and I seem to have similar view on the film. I suspect 3D would have added nicely to the experience but have to say that I had fun even with this 2D version.


And the audio and video are spectacular.


I also have an interview with the VFX supervisor from MPC that worked on the incredible recreation of Arnie from 1984 that should go up tonight or tomorrow. The VFX in the film were top-notch all around.
 

TravisR

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Neil Middlemiss said:
I also have an interview with the VFX supervisor from MPC that worked on the incredible recreation of Arnie from 1984 that should go up tonight or tomorrow. The VFX in the film were top-notch all around.
Yeah, that 1984 CG Arnie was incredible. I like to think that, for a layman, I've got a great eye for spotting effects and that I have a good idea of how they were achieved and while on an intellectual level, I know that that Arnold was computer graphics, there was nothing that gave it away as CG. And I think everyone knows how badly CG people/creatures/organic things can come off which makes that it was front and center onscreen an even more impressive accomplishment.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Neil,


Very excited to read your viewpoints on this film as well as the VFX Supervisor from MPC.


I will look for it over the coming days.
 

LeeBob

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Neil & Ron,


I just finished reading both your reviews and have to say that it is refreshing to see some reviewers that can give a balanced review and honestly admit they enjoyed aspects of this film rather than jumping on the hate bandwagon.


I agree with some of the issues raised by the films detractors re: casting, plot holes etc.., but really am not ashamed to admit I really enjoyed the movie.


I would have preferred a single movie with a fully self-contained story, but at this point I will be disappointed if a direct sequel never happens. The sequel seemed clearly meant to answer some of the questions left hanging unanswered in Genisys.


Am awaiting the arrival via post of my 3D Blu-ray and will see how I feel upon a 2nd viewing.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Lee,


So nice of you to take the time and say that.


I think you will be very happy with the 3D Blu-ray presentation. It's a fun watch.


....and I am sorry this is coming a bit late, but welcome to our forum.
 

LeeBob

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Thank you Ron! Although I am a very infrequent poster (avg. < 1 per month), I am a frequent forum reader.

I find the forum to be a great source for balanced* reviews and great information.


* by balanced, I mean the reviews tend to present both the pros and cons of a release along with the reviewers personal opinions and/or reasons they liked or disliked something. As a reader, this gives me the opportunity to weigh the review against my personal preferences (and biases) and choose how to spend my limited entertainment dollars accordingly.


Also, as a fellow 3D addict :3dglasses:, I've been made aware of some great choices I may have missed otherwise.


Thanks - Lee
 
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Jonathan Perregaux

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The 3-D was spectacular.


Genisys worked best when it had a template to follow, i.e. recreating parts of The Terminator shot-for-shot. Once they got past this, the movie lost me. Not that I couldn't follow its convoluted logic and gaping plot holes. It just left me... wanting. The film's tone struck me as slightly cartoonish, a little bit dumb, and not at all threatening. I can't quite put my finger on it without spending more than 5 minutes of musing.


When I think about the original Terminator, it comes to fore as a true James Cameron fever dream. What a perfect mood the original had, including the relentlessly thudding musical score. It succeeded despite its many filmic limitations. Genisys, for all of its millions of dollars spent on jazzy F/X, had very little going for it.


Along with Terminator Salvation, I put Terminator Genisys right up there on my disappointment list.
 

Salacious Ackbar

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If you don't care for 3D, the Best Buy Exclusive has bonus disc with 140 minutes of featurettes that are very well produced. Best version, by far.
 
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Salacious Ackbar

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Got a chance to watch the movie again today. I've seen this three times now, twice in theaters and once on Blu-ray, and it really has gotten better each time and I really appreciate so much about how it gets the franchise and focus back on track. One of my favorites of the year, in fact. As for the disc, wow! The audio on this disc is simply outstanding - one of the best on the format. I saw it in two different theaters and both times felt that it lacked much punch. This disc sounds leaps and bounds better than it did in theaters and I'm only running 5.2! Can't imagine how immersive an Atmos setup must be. The bass is sick. Love the movie and the disc all around.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I just watched the 3D version… to me it seemed like a faithful reproduction of what the movie looked like when I saw it over the summer. Not the best of the franchise but far from the worst. I had fun watching it.
 

Richard V

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Ron, picked up the disc yesterday and just finished watching it. It is as you advertised. Thoroughly enjoyable 3D effects, in fact some of the best I've ever seen as you said. The 3D separation and depth added immensely to the enjoyment of the movie. I now wish I had seen it in 3D in the theater when it was released. Absolutely no buyer's regret, and thanks for your review which convinced me to buy the disc. :thumbsup:
 
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