Australian Council on Children and the Media

Terminator: Genisys

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Not suitable under 12; not recommended 12-14; parental guidance 14-15(Constant violence; Disturbing scenes; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Terminator: Genisys
  • a review of Terminator: Genisys completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 July 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to constant violence and disturbing scenes and coarse language.
Children 12 to 14 Not recommended due to constant violence and disturbing scenes
Children 14 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to constant violence and disturbing scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Terminator: Genisys
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction violence and infrequent coarse language
Length 126 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The latest film in the Terminator series opens in the year 2029 when resistance leader John Conner (Jason Clarke) launches an all-out assault on Skynet. During the assault John and his resistance fighters uncover a time displacement machine and discover that a terminator has been sent back to the year 1984. Its mission is to kill Sarah Conner (Emilia Clarke), John’s mother. In response, John Conner sends Sgt Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 in a bid to stop the terminator.

When Kyle arrives in 1984 he finds the past has been altered, with timelines merging together. The Sarah Conner in the alternate timeline is not what Kyle Reese was expecting. Instead of being defenceless and at the mercy of time travelling terminators, this Sarah is trained, ruthless and resourceful. And this Sarah already has her own Guardian - a reprogrammed T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Using a time displacement machine built by the Guardian, Sarah and Kyle travel to San Francisco in the year 2017 where Skynet, disguised as a new operating system called Genisys, is about to be launched.  This will ensure Skynet’s survival in the futures and the destruction of humanity. If Sarah, Kyle and Pops can destroy Genisys before it goes online, Skynet will never exist. However before they can succeed the trio must first overcome a significant problem - John Conner has been transformed into a prototype terminator and sent back to 2017 and his mission is to kill Sarah and Kyle.    

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel; fate; genocide; nuclear holocaust

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains intense sequences of violence, nuclear war, the depiction of battles and multiple deaths, and blood and gore. Examples include:

  • During global nuclear strikes, hundreds of nuclear missiles shoot across the sky and fall on populated cities. Large explosions destroy cities and mushroom clouds rise into the sky. We hear that three billion people died during the nuclear destruction. In later scenes we see the destruction caused by the nuclear strike, including cities levelled to a wasteland of rubble and the ground littered with hundreds of human skulls.
  • The film has numerous scenes of brutal battles between terminators which are humanoid robots. In one scene a terminator is shot in chest and the gunshot leaves a large gaping hole in the middle of the terminator’s chest. In another scene two terminators fight, punching and kicking each other, and slamming each other into the floor and through walls and glass panelling. By the end of the fight one terminator has pieces of flesh ripped from his skull, revealing a metal skeleton beneath. They bash each other with poles and pieces of heavy equipment and one terminator has his body repeatedly cut and slashed. One terminator is impaled on a metal pole thrown by a second terminator and in one scene we see a terminator decapitated.
  • There is also violence between terminators and humans. In one scene a terminator threatens to kill a lead character, holding talon-like fingernails to her neck. There are multiple scenes depicting gunfire between terminators and humans resulting in injury and multiple deaths. In one scene a terminator with a sniper rifle shoots and kills over twenty police. We see the ground littered with dead bodies and no survivors are left.
  • There is battle violence involving futuristic war machines that fire lasers. Dozens of soldiers are killed and multiple explosions destroy buildings and vehicles.
  • In one of the film’s more brutal scenes a terminator’s arm becomes a sword which is thrust through a man’s chest, lifting him off the ground.   
  • One scene depicts a woman with a long laceration on the back of her neck, and we see a hospital attendant using a staple gun to hold the wound together.
  • Two terminators attack each other on an out-of-control bus which crashes into traffic and then rolls over several times as the passengers are tossed around inside. The bus comes to rest hanging from a bridge. A man and woman dangle in mid-air while holding on to the bus by their fingertips until a terminator lifts the pair to safety as the bus plummets into the ocean.   

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that will scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A couple of scenes show the aftermath of nuclear holocaust with the ground littered with hundreds of human skulls.
  • There are many scary characters and disturbing scenes of transformations. Terminators resembling large metal skeletons with large human-like teeth are depicted throughout the film. Other terminators are made from liquid metal and have a human appearance. The liquid metal terminators are able to transform and we see arms and hands spontaneously transform into swords and stabbing weapons.
  • In one scene a terminator is engulfed in flames. The fire consumes its flesh and reveals a metal skeleton underneath.
  • In another scene a terminator is sucked into an MRI machine and appears to be slowly disintegrating, with the flesh being sucked off its bones.      
  • One of the film’s lead characters has a badly scarred face.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent and scary scenes and characters.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent and scary scenes and characters.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Nike shoes
  • Pepsi

Sexual references

The film contains occasional low-level sexual references. Examples include:

  • Repeated references are made in relation to a man and woman being sexual mates and having mated.
  • After a woman and man stand together naked, she tells him “Don’t think me holding on to you naked means anything because it doesn’t”.  

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A couple of scenes depict nude men but genitals are obscured
  • A man and woman remove their clothes, walk onto the platform of a time machine naked and stand facing each other. Next we see the naked pair tumbling onto a busy freeway (seen from behind).  
  • A man and woman kiss passionately for a brief time.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A man says that he would like a cold beer.
  • We see a man with a half smoked unlit cigar between his teeth.
  • A man is seen holding a brown paper bag, the inference being that the bag contains a bottle of alcohol.
  • Social drinking 

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “damn”; “Goddamn”; “hell”; “fuck you”; “arsehole”; “son of a bitch”; we’re screwed”; “shit”; “Jesus”; “perve”; “arsehole”; “moron”   

In a nutshell

Terminator Genisys is the fifth film in the Terminator series.   Rated (M), it is a familiar-looking science fiction action film that targets adolescents and adult fans of the series. It contains constant violence and some disturbing scenes and characters, as well as coarse language that may concern some parents. It is therefore not recommended for children under14 and parental guidance is recommended for the 14 to 15 age group

The main messages from this movie are:

  • We make our own fate. We have freedom of choice.
  • Old does not mean obsolete.
  • Technological development can been dangerous.     

Parents may also wish to discuss the strong female role model seen in the character of Sarah Conner.

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