This fifth Terminator movie has a lot to overcome. There have been two weak sequels since James Cameron moved on from the franchise after T2, and a two-season TV show that didn't work for mainstream audiences. Naturally, people are now very sceptical about anything new from the long-running sci-fi franchise, and TERMINATOR: GENISYS hasn't had the best of starts. First there was that silly "misspelling" of Genesis, then came an array of shoddy publicity shots from EW that made it look like a direct-to-video parody, and most fans are alarmed the new movie's going to reboot the storyline (Star Trek style) and utilise Arnold Schwarzenegger as an aged T-800 who raised Sarah Connor as a surrogate father in an alternate timeline. You may have heard the "robo-dad" jokes?
Are there reasons to be optimistic? Well, while his post-Governor film career's hardly been a return to his 1980s heyday, Genisys will certainly feel more like a Terminator film with Schwarzenegger involved. The internal logic for not hiding his age also works (apparently suggested by Cameron himself, but who knows if that's true and not just marketing spiel). I'm also intrigued that Sarah Connor's now being played by diminutive Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, and they've managed to lure Jason Clarke (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) into the franchise as John Connor. Jai Courtney (Spartacus, Jack Reacher) is also playing Kyle Reese, in addition to the slightly bonkers casting of Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as a mysterious character most have predicted is a cyborg. It's also directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World).
So how is this first official trailer?
Intriguing, if oddly deferential to the first few movies. That's to be expected, considering the Genisys story revolves around the idea of rewriting history... but I really wasn't expecting the involvement of a T-1000 to be so prominent. The makers are clearly trying to stoke fan nostalgia (Jurassic Park and Star Wars sequels will be doing likewise next year, too).
They're even re-staging a few key moments from The Terminator, which will use a CGI'd Young Arnie, while including some sequences set in the future (where we finally see how man and machines are sent back in time). A few of the franchise's most enduring catchphrases are thrown out like catnip, I liked the return of the 'dun-dun-dun-dunnn' theme tune (let's hope it's actually used in the film), and the trailer reveals some fun reversals of expectation. In this version of the story, future-soldier Kyle Reese arrives in the past to find that Sarah Connor's already a bad-ass who doesn't actually need protecting. In fact, she's the one rescuing HIM!
Are occasional moments of freshness enough to excuse an obvious reliance on past glories? We'll have to watch the film to find out, but I'm more excited for this than I was McG's future-set Terminator: Salvation. The whole concept just works best when futuristic killing machines are sent back to our present-day, and there are some eye-catching moments here—like the school bus doing a flip on the bridge, or the new Chinese T-1000 chopping off its own sharpened-arm to use as a spear.
Weirdly, the fact Arnold Schwarzenegger's back in his most iconic role isn't treated with too much reverence. He's just sort of there in this trailer, and I didn't get goosebumps when he appeared or said "I'll be back". I think Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is responsible for that, alas.
What did YOU make of this trailer?
TERMINATOR: GENISYS premieres 1 July (US) & 3 July (UK) 2015.