Looks like all that experience flying the TARDIS is about to pay off for Matt Smith: he’s just joined the cast of the upcoming Terminator: Genesis in an unspecified-but-important role. Deadline reports that the former Doctor will play a character with a strong connection to John Connor (Jason Clarke), who will also play a major role in the film’s sequels. Smith is the latest nerd-friendly addition to a cast that includes Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Divergent villain Jai Courtney, and Dayo Okeniyi from The Hunger Games. And of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back to step back into his signature cyborg armor.
The franchise is a good fit for Smith, who already has plenty of experience jumping from time period to time period and planet to planet on Doctor Who. In fact, Smith is so good at handling rifts in time and space that we could see him fitting in, no matter when or where in time you dropped him. To prove this theory, we’ve crafted a timeline of Smith’s possible time travel adventures, using the most iconic time travel-based movies and TV shows. We start, of course, with the first major civilization…
- 410 BC: Smith’s first trip goes back to Ancient Greece, where he hopes to sit in on one of Socrates’ lectures, only to find out from one of the other students that “So-Crates” had hopped into a time machine and set off for the future to help two slackers in their intellectual pursuits. (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)- 528 AD: Smith finds himself in Camelot, where he convinces the King to make things right with his people before Merlin and Morgan Le Fay manage ursurp him. But first, there’s a little matter of jazzing up all that boring old chamber music… (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)- 1400s: Climbing through a hole in the fabric of time, Smith arrives in Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited by Robin Hood his Merry Men, and a band of dwarves to help give to the poor. Well, he intends to, but once he finds out how insane Robin Hood is, he decides it might be better to head elsewhere and avoid getting killed. (Time Bandits)- 1621: Smith arrives in colonial America to find two talking turkeys scrambling around in an attempt to escape some hunters and put a stop to the first Thanksgiving. He decides to help them, thinking it will be funny, but discovers they’re just dumb and so he leaves it up to them to figure it out. How much trouble can two turkeys with a time machine cause, after all? (Free Birds)- 1920s: After he accidentally gets into the wrong car, Smith finds himself transported to 1920s Paris, where he hops from party to party with the Fitzgeralds and a fellow time traveler who wanted writing advice. He doesn’t remember much but he’s pretty sure someone actually had a lampshade on their head at one point. (Midnight in Paris)- 1955: There’s another mix up with cars, and Smith ends up crashing the Pine Valley prom, where he discovers that his best friend is actually his son. It takes a while to process, but his future wife is really pretty, even if there’s some weird tension there with their son. (Back to the Future)- 1959: Smith hops forward a few years, where he meets the smartest dog of all time and not-so-bright boy, and helps them work on a time machine of their own called the WABAC. They invite him to join in on an adventure, but Sherman accidentally hits the wrong button, and Smith is sent forward in time by himself… (Mr. Peabody)- 1981: To the early ‘80s, where he meets Alex Drake, who is determined to figure out how she ended up in the past (although if you ask Smith, he thinks she should be more concerned with the clown that’s following her around.) Luckily, he remembers a few things about Sam Tyler that should help nudge her investigation along, even if she probably won’t like what she discovers. (Ashes to Ashes)- 1984: Smith hops forward a few years, only to find himself caught in the crossfire of a murderous cyborg with an Austrain accent, and a human soldier who is trying to keep the cyborg from killing an innocent woman. Once he realizes that he will soon get to act out this scenario on a safe, closed, set, he hightails it out of there. (Terminator)- 1993: Somehow, Smith manages to jump to an alternate universe, and finds himself at Hogwarts castle, so he immediately searches out Harry, Ron and Hermione, and helps them save Buckbeak, then rides the hippogriff off into the sunset. It all goes smoothly, although Harry is confused as to why Smith keeps calling him “Dan.” (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)- 1994: The time turner can only turn so far, and Smith ends up a year in the future, where he agrees to help Max Walker investigate a crooked politician. He doesn't really care about the plot, he really just wanted the chance to hang out with Jean Claude Van Damme. (Time Cop)- 2004: After Smith and Walker arrive in 2004, he heads to a charming lake house to get in some R&R, only to find a guy staring forlornly at a mailbox, waiting for the flag to raise. It’s a little too sappy and maudlin for him, so he tells the guy to go chase after his love, or at the very least, to find a red pill that would put him in a more exciting sci-fi universe. (The Lake House)- 3000: Smith rockets forward to the end of the millennium, where he stumbles across a cargo-delivery company run by the most dysfunctional group of people he has ever met. Still, he lets himself get roped into drinking with the robot and his friends, and it’s the most fun he has on his whole trip. Too bad the accident-prone intern cut the party short by accidentally sending him forward in time. (Futurama)- 3978: Smith washes up on the beach of a weirdly familiar-looking planet, only to find that the natives – all of whom appear to be apes – aren’t thrilled with his presence. He manages to escape his capture and follows the shoreline in order to find a way home, only to discover, to his horror, the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. (Planet of the Apes)
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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