Alan Taylor on Terminator Genisys: Family Dysfunction

Alan Taylor’s definitely drawn to dysfunctional families, which were a staple of his acclaimed TV work (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos), and that’s what attracted him to Terminator Genisys. Beneath the sci-fi, time travel, political tyranny, man vs. machine, shoot-em-up action lies a very trippy story of lovers and parents and guardians trapped in a continuous loop.

But there’s a twist in Terminator Genisys, Taylor’s first film since blockbuster Thor: The Dark World: roles are reversed and it’s hard to tell who’s human and who’s a machine anymore. “Dysfunctional family was the first thing that I could think of to describe this,” Taylor admitted. “T1 was a love story, T2 was a father/son story, and this one, because we have the same core lovers and very strange father figures, gets a dysfunctional family and some of the pleasures that go with it. The fate of the world depends on what you do, and things are blowing up, and it really comes down to a father’s resentment of a young man who presumes to step in and take his place with his daughter. So it’s about simple, relatable, intimate, human things. And that’s what I get excited about.”

John Connor (Jason Clarke), Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) are back again along with Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the past has been altered, the rules have changed and Schwarzenegger’s Guardian has aged 30 years. And Skynet has become the stand-in for the most nightmarish notion of the NSA bent on world domination.

“I think everyone’s a bit surprised that there hasn’t been more outrage,” Taylor said. “America prides itself on freedom and privacy. It’s not like the movie is saying ‘Beware!’ But it was definitely trying to tap into that kind of queasy feeling that we have where we know that we’re addicted [to technology], we suspect that it’s not entirely healthy, but we can’t let go of it. It’s the basis of the fear that drives this movie.”

Meanwhile, the biggest VFX feat (courtesy of MPC in Montreal) was recreating the opening of the first movie from 1984, in which the older Schwarzenegger cyborg fights the original T-800 model. The young-looking CG character is very believable, thanks to the latest tech for skin, hair and facial rigging (and a boost from RenderMan 19 and its ray tracing, which made it look physically accurate and naturalistic).

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

Add a Comment