Yesterday, we got our first official look at the cast of Terminator: Genisys, the sort-of reboot, sort-of sequel from Paramount that takes place in an alternate universe in which (light spoilers ahead) Sarah Connor was raised by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. Yes, really. It’s a plot point the fan community has not reacted to very well, and the cosplay-ish, plastic-y EW covers aren’t helping matters any. Now EW has released a new batch of images, and while they aren’t much better, they might not be as bad as the new plot details that are revealed in the same article. Check out the photos first, and then meet me below for a breakdown of what’s to come.
Since this is obviously the same photoshoot as the covers from yesterday, I can let these slide. Obviously a photoshoot doesn’t matter when it comes to the final film – it’s just strange that someone at Paramount made the decision to have THIS be the first official look that we get at a movie that means so much to their long-term game plan (they’re hoping this film will kickstart another trilogy). So let’s talk about the other plot development, shall we?
In addition to Arnold raising Sarah Connor in this film, director Alan Taylor and his team are going to recreate one of the iconic scenes of the original Terminator film:
In what could be one of the most impressive technical feats yet, the filmmakers plan to re-create the memorable scene in the original Terminator when the T-800 lands at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory, complete with Schwarzenegger’s 36-year-old face and ripped, naked body. To achieve that, the special-effects team has created a “synthespian,” or synthetic thespian, using a body double plus scans of Schwarzenegger’s face from the first film merged with what his face looks like now. The result: an entirely CG head of the Terminator circa 1984. “It’s the holy grail of visual effects,” [producer David] Ellison says. “You create a walking, breathing human that doesn’t exist.”
The filmmakers are counting on that technology, and the movie’s villain—a man/machine hybrid they’re keeping under wraps—to be visual game changers. “Part of the challenge is to dazzle people with something they haven’t seen before,” Taylor says. “There are elements in our main villain that are straining the capacities of our brilliant visual-effects people. So that’s a good sign.”
That sounds like it could be really cool…in theory. But we’ve seen what happens when filmmakers try to digitally graft actors’ faces onto other bodies or create completely CG characters that are supposed to look just like humans. Remember how unsettling the digital Jeff Bridges looked in TRON: Legacy? They’ve even done it in this very franchise: Terminator Salvation included a sequence that put Arnold’s face on another dude’s body:
There’s just something off about these types of scenes, and unless our technology has advanced so dramatically that the Uncanny Valley has been totally breached, the end results are just going to be off-putting. I understand what they’re trying to do, and it’d be awesome if it looks perfect, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if our tech has progressed to that point when this movie hits theaters on July 1, 2015.
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