Updated: Feb 5
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
(1) The lethal T-1000 Terminator. (2) John Conner leads an assault on a Los Angeles work camp, camouflage for Skynet’s tactical time weapon.
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2015; PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief coarse profanity; streaming via Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes (4K), Vudu, YouTube
Best extra: "Infiltration and Termination," a behind-the-scenes look at the production filmed in New Orleans and San Francisco.
IT'S ABOUT TIME “Terminator Genisys” made its way onto 4K in the U.S. – especially since it’s been available in Germany since last summer.
When it premiered in theaters in 2015, it boasted ARNOLD WAS BACK!
Schwarzenegger, now 71, re-joined the "Terminator" franchise for its fifth installment – a reboot for a new trilogy, with the next film now in production with “Deadpool” director Tim Miller at the helm.
Arnie plays it as an "I'm old, not obsolete" T-800 android, with grey hair and a network of wrinkles, and wearing a hoodie with his trademark leather jacket. His mission is unchanged; he's a guardian for a younger, but tougher Sarah Connor, played by British actress Emilia Clarke, the mother of dragons in HBO's "Game of Thrones." "You can't do a Terminator without Arnold. He's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the series," Clarke says in the "Family Dynamics" featurette.
(1) John Connor (Australian actor Jason Clarke), and Kyle Reese (Australian Jai Courtney) discover Skynet's time travel machine. (2) Reese is sent back to 1984 via time-travel technology to rescue Sarah from assassination via Terminator. (3) Arnold Schwarzenegger is back for the fifth installment of the "Terminator" franchise. (4) A tougher Sarah Connor, played by British actress Emilia Clarke.
Writer/director James Cameron (“Titanic”) launched "Terminator" in 1984, and his central plot elements are still in play. Doomsday again looms as Sarah, her son, John Connor (Australian actor Jason Clarke), and Kyle Reese (Australian Jai Courtney) lead the resistance against the androids that would take over the world.
"Genisys" begins in 2029 after Judgment Day, with most of humanity dead. John Connor and his faithful lieutenant Reese are on the threshold of destroying Skynet, the company that created the self-aware droids. It's a gigantic battle sequence full of stunts, FX, and pyrotechnics filmed at night over six weeks in New Orleans. Director Alan Taylor, known for his work on "Game of Thrones," "Thor: The Dark World" and "Mad Men," retains Cameron's Hunter-Killer and Spider Tank designs.
Reese is sent back to 1984 via time-travel technology to rescue Sarah from assassination via Terminator. Instead, he encounters a lethal T-1000 played by Korean actor Byung-hun Lee (“The Magnificent Seven,” 2016). Its razor-sharp hands projected right out of the screen during its original 3-D viewing. The liquid-metal assassin was first made famous in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991) at the dawn of CGI. Now it's an "extremely mature art form," Cameron says.
A disruption in Reese's original time-travel continuum puts the plan off course. Sarah is not the naive young waitress he expected, but a well-trained soldier, raised from age 9 by the T-800 and waiting for Reese's arrival. Doomsday is now 2017, and Reese and Sarah transport themselves to the future to stop Skynet only to find that John Connor has also been transformed – and not in a good way.
American audiences and critics were lukewarm to "Genisys." The $150 million Paramount production struggled in the States, earning only $90 million gross. Overseas, it was a megahit, especially in China, pushing the overall worldwide gross to $440 million.
(1) Korean actor Byung-hun Lee plays the T-1000 assigned to kill Sarah Conner. (2) John Connor has also been transformed. (3) Just hours away before Genisys goes online. (4) Sarah, Reese and the T-800 are surrounded by California Highway Patrol and San Francisco police.
The second Blu-ray includes the 140-minute making of documentary broken into seven sections. Interviews with Schwarzenegger are a highpoint; he recalls how the original "Terminator" launched his career. Writer/executive producer Laeta Kalogridis admits the best lines were added by Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”), giving a lighter, more comical touch to his role as an L.A. cop. Producer Dana Goldberg tells how they enticed star Matt Smith (“Doctor Who”) – who declined three times – to take on the role as the personification of Skynet, who's 100 percent machine. His mother told him, "You're an idiot if you don't do this."
Originally captured on 2.8K and 3.4K digital cameras and mastered in 2K for its initial theatrical 3D release, saving costs and time for the abundant FX, was upconverted for the 4K presentation.
The 4K provides a nice uptick in clarity during the numerous dark scenes including the opening nighttime battle sequence. First, you notice more defined lettering with the overlaid title slides as Connor and Reese lead an assault on a Los Angeles work camp, camouflage for Skynet’s tactical time weapon.
HDR/Dolby Vision toning expands peak brightness during explosions giving a clearer view of the action, while the shadow detail is darker and more defined. The color palette is also richer throughout, including natural facial toning, which has less “orange” as found on the 2015 Blu-ray.
The 4K mimics the original Blu-ray, which has an active Dolby Atmos track; it has plenty of muscle for the subwoofer. Environmental effects to FX explosions and gunshots fill the room from rear to height speakers. When Lorne Balfe’s score borrows Brad Fiedel’s original five-note “Terminator” theme, it’s a sure thing Schwarzenegger’s T-800 has arrived.
Overall, "Genisys" is a fun ride, the best "Terminator" effort in two decades. With its new upgrade, it's a worthy addition to any 4K library.
― Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer