How does he look, the old Gubernator, back in the cybernetic saddle again? Well, for starters, the first time we see Schwarzenegger, he’s a CGI screen effect who looks exactly like he did in 1984 when James Cameron first invented this complex dance-in-time-with-the-threat-of-rampant-technology thriller. You might remember him, a murderous monster back then. Like Godzilla, however, the Terminator’s returns have all been as benevolent protector. Instead of killing John Connor and his scrappy mom, Sarah, he violently nurtures them toward their destined postapocalyptic hero roles. The second time you see Ah-nuld in this movie, he’s the cuddly Terminator, and his name, believe it or not, is Pops.
Leave it to the academics to work out the Freudian roles of fathers (both real and mechanical), sons, mothers, and lovers here — though this movie, essentially a reboot, has both the family-romance-complexity and a multiple-time-stream-vortex-singularity thingy going, too. You could fill a whole legal pad figuring it out; though it’s probably best to trust the screenwriters. Also, as a matter of faith, you can believe mass destruction and robot damage ensue, including acid showers and gnarly weaponry.
What you won’t get from these screenwriters, however, is decent dialogue. Besides trotting out the old “I’ll be back” and “Come with me if you want to live” chestnuts, this film’s talk-y, explain-y, and boring-y chatter is so bad I wanted not to live through the first 10 minutes. On the one hand, we can watch our ex-governor not embarrass himself. That’s good. And there is Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) playing Sarah Connor, so who cares what Pops looks like anyway? If you watch this film in 3D with your ears plugged, it’s okay summer fare.