You have Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day committed to memory. The fourth Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation, nearly turned you off on the franchise for good. But what you don’t remember is the last time Arnold Schwarzenegger really played the Terminator. That was the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Back in 2003, our expectations were pretty high, just as they are for this week’s release of Terminator Genisys. Twelve years later and after the truly bad Terminator Salvation, you might find it better than you remember. If you want to get in prime Terminator mode with something different this week as you gear up for the latest effort, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines deserves a second look.
The story connects the dots between the past and future of the first two films. After Skynet failed to kill Sarah and John, it sends back yet another Terminator, the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken, to eliminate all of John Connor’s Resistance leaders, including his wife Kate, played by Claire Danes–who will one day be his second in command. The Resistance sends its own counter-attack into the past in the form of an outdated tech T-850, played by Schwarzenegger, and as with Terminator 2, Arnold is again the hero/protector. John Connor, played by the strangely cast Nick Stahl (he doesn’t look anything like John in T2), is living off the grid, but still the prize target, which the T-X encounters in a fated, self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts where John and Kate’s lives converge with the arrival of both the T-X and T-850.
We learn that Kate’s dad is a general in the military who is preparing to activate Skynet–and finally learn the reason why it was created, and how it all goes wrong–on the Judgment Day of the first sequel’s title.
So why is it a good Terminator movie?
Our Sci-Fi Summer previews seem like they are just getting started. We’re previewing eight new sci-fi series this week, saving our pick for what looks like the best for last. Next up: Humans, a new series coming soon from AMC, is the next take on The Stepford Wives. As with 2013-14’s brilliant but short-lived Fox TV series about a world with borgs fully integrated into society called Almost Human, this latest look at cybernetic organisms of the future focuses on the problems with these new servants living among humans. Eight episodes of Humans are coming our way this summer on AMC.
AMC (and England’s Channel 4) are having some great fun marketing the series. Below you’ll find several previews for the series (both U.S. and British versions) as well as spots from the company that creates the new technology within the series (much like we saw from RoboCop with Omnicorp here, and from Prometheus, the David 8 ad from Weyland Corp, discussed here). Just see the Persona Synthetics website here. Set in London, where every family wants the latest gadget for the home, a Synth, a highly-developed, artificially intelligent human look-alike.
What stands out immediately is the lack of special effects in comparison to a similar genre series idea like Almost Human. Almost Human was not able to survive with an expertly told story, a movie star lead in Karl Urban, and dazzling futuristic effects. The Synths are humans, seemingly unmodified except for contact lenses. It’s understandable that brilliant technology makes them look so real, and adds to the creepiness in the look of the show, but there’s definitely an element missing here. And the fact that each Synth is different, instead of several duplicates seems to point more to production budgets than a clever sci-fi story device.
We’ve already seen two previews for Disney’s Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie. The first, previewed here at borg.com, made the film look intriguing but wasn’t enough alone to get us to the theater. The second, previewed here, gave us a bit more to go on. But the latest trailer, released this past week, is enough for us to line up tickets for the opening weekend right away.
In fact, if you want to see an example of just what to put in a trailer, this third trailer released would be a good guide. It’s got some key features that make for great entertainment:
- sci-fi an fantasy elements
- well-known (and reliable) actors
- jet packs
- a reclusive genius (remember Dr. Stephen Falken?)
- a vision of the future
- cyborg bad guys
- a talisman (that nifty little pin)
- special effects showing us something entirely new
- inter-dimensional portals
- did we mention jet packs?
After the break, check out this nifty new trailer for Tomorrowland:
Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger promised in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he’s ba-ack, starring in another Terminator film. It’s the fifth movie in the series: Terminator Genisys, and yesterday Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures released a teaser for a trailer to be released later today.
The studios also released a digital poster showing Arnold’s famous cyborg, and you can watch it here:
Arnold’s Terminator has the rare distinction of being on both the American Film Institute’s Best Villains (for Terminator) and Best Heroes lists (for Terminator 2).
Busy as the Governator of California, other than brief glimpses of his image as the chiseled cyborg, Schwarzenegger did not make appearances in either Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), or the fourth film, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, Terminator Salvation (2009).
Okay, maybe Emilia Clarke does look a bit like a young Linda Hamilton.
Terminator: Genisys has an impressive list of genre actors in addition to Arnold: Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Jason Clarke, Jack Reacher’s Jai Courtney, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, RED 2 and G.I. Joe’s Byung-hun Lee, The Hunt for Red October’s Courtney B. Vance, and Law and Order and Spider-man’s J.K. Simmons.
After the break check out the teaser for Terminator: Genisys:
Vandroid is insane at every level. It’s a movie that never got made. It left behind a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack (and a really good one). It’s also an onslaught of some incredible promotional materials, miraculously saved from a fire that burned down the movie studio back in 1984. Trading cards? A model kit? Even temporary tattoos.
Vandroid is the ultimate B-movie action flick from the 1980s. Or it should have been. After reading the five-issue limited series re-issued as a trade paperback today from BOOM! Studios and visiting the movie website you may even remember seeing ads for the movie back in the 1980s. Only you couldn’t have. Why? Because none of it is real.
Vandroid is a graphic novel. It’s a concept about as clever as you get in comic book publishing today. Let’s create the legend of a movie, a bad production, film footage shot but lost in a fire and subsequent legal battle. What would have accompanied the film? How about marketing for an Atari video game? Slick movie posters? Got ’em. What would the video game have looked like? They’ve mocked up that, too.
And at the center of the story a humanoid robot who drives a van. And he possesses the memories of the guy that the technology took over, a washed-up mechanic named Chuck Carducci. Chuck creates Vandroid after meeting up with his old college roommate from MIT, a guy working on artificial intelligence at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Introduce a plutonium-ion battery and some high-octane performance van parts and you could only have… Vandroid.
In case you missed it, Marvel Entertainment released a funnier, longer version of their trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, after the first two trailers we previewed here and here.
Basically it includes an introduction where the Avengers takes turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer. Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson return with all the Avengers back together again.
As with the first, this second trailer again includes a boy singing Pinocchio’s “I Got No Strings,” a reference probably lost on most movie watchers. It just seems a little obscure, although Ultron makes a puppetmaster reference in his big reveal. Maybe use of the song was a matter of budgeting–Disney owns Marvel and perhaps threw Marvel the song from its archives? With Chappie, previewed here, the Pinocchio story may just be a common theme for 2015.
Ultron is of course that “living automaton” who is an inductee in our borg.com Hall of Fame. But the big question is how well siblings Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will be portrayed.
After the break, check out the longer preview for Avengers: Age of Ultron:
Not to be confused with Brian K. Vaughan’s successful alternate world comic book series, a very different Ex Machina will soon be on the big screen at a theater near you. From first-time director Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, comes what appears to be a very incredible looking sci-fi movie with a creepy, suspense-filled twist. And it will prep viewers for Star Wars Episode VII with two male leads who soon will star in that eagerly awaited film.
The latest borgs to be interpreted to screen conjure other recent attempts to show us our future via bipedal, human-robot beings. We saw similar, incredibly rendered borg with Spielberg and Kubrick’s A.I., Artificial Intelligence, with Will Smith in I, Robot, and more recently in the Bruce Willis pic Surrogates and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Now meet Ava, played by Alicia Vikander (The Fifth Estate), the latest wonder in sci-fi filmmaking, and the invention of reclusive CEO genius Nathan Bateman, played by Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, and Star Wars Episode VII).
Bateman plucks Caleb Smith, played by Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, and Star Wars Episode VII), a programmer at his company to test the humanity of Ava and we’re guessing some secret twists are hiding behind the curtain. Will she be an emotional Replicant or a deceptive fembot?
Check out this first trailer for Ex Machina:
Earlier than planned, Marvel Entertainment has just released the trailer for the second Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron. All your favorites are back: Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man, Hawkeye… plus Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch!
Better yet, we get our first look at borg.com Hall of Fame inductee and living automaton Ultron, who looks great in this first preview for the movie.
After the break, check out the full nearly 2.5 minute-long preview:
Review by C.J. Bunce
How did the Empire power all those Star Destroyers anyway?
The new, Disney era of Star Wars story continuity begins today with the release of the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn. Fans of the Star Wars tie-in novels shouldn’t be disappointed with this new story and completely new characters living in that galaxy, far, far away between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Its primary draw for those fans willing to give the new Star Wars a chance is the introduction of a trained Jedi named Kanan Jarrus and a mysterious Twi’lek named Hera. But its best success is in author John Jackson Miller’s world building (or galaxy building)–one with more lead female characters than male.
In the galaxy that George Lucas built, the rarest creature to be found was a woman, whether a human, a rebel, an Imperial, or an alien. Miller does not skip a beat to redefine Star Wars from chapter one. We meet a black female captain of a Star Destroyer named Captain Rae Sloane, a character who could be on her way to be the next Mara Jade. She’s young but smart, and exactly the kind of leader a government led by Emperor Palpatine would need to conquer so many systems. Unlike even the original trilogy, including its often bumbling stormtroopers and officers that fail to follow their Dark Lord’s orders, the personnel building the Empire in A New Dawn don’t make the same mistakes.
Sloane works for a typical Star Wars villain, Count Demetrius Vidian, a cyborg like Darth Vader and General Grievous, which would lend us all to believe a defining piece of Star Wars is a dark cloaked bad guy who has already been blown apart a few times. The word survivor does fit Vidian. He is a decisive imperialist, precise, unyielding and villainous–everything you want from your Star Wars bad guy.
Battlestar Galactica in 1880? As a graphic steampunk story? Steampunk Cylons? You bet. Today, Dynamite Comics launches its new series Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880, taking an alternate universe look at the popular 1978 and 2004 sci-fi television series characters. And for even more sci-fi fun, our favorite borg is back this month in a new issue of The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six–with some familiar “faces”.
If classic pulp noir reads are your thing, you’ll want to check out our preview of the new Dynamite Comics series Justice, Inc. The Shadow is back, this time with The Avenger and Doc Savage.
After the break, take a look at previews for each of these new books, courtesy of Dynamite Comics, available at comic book shops everywhere today.
Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880, Issue #1, features a story by Tony Lee with art by Aneke. The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six, Issue #5, is written by James Kuhoric and art by Juan Antonio Ramirez. Justice, Inc., Issue #1, has a story by Michael Uslan and artwork by Giovanni Timpano.