The fifth installment in the Terminator franchise, Terminator Genisys, hits theaters this week. The sci-fi action movie has been described as neither a sequel or a reboot in the film series. Star Jai Courtney, who plays Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn's character in the original) in the film, said last year that it is essentially a "reset" for the franchise and you don't need to see previous installments before watching.
BUT, early reviews indicate that there are lots of references to the first two films (The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day), making Genisys a more complete movegoing experience.
As Matt Smith, who plays an ally to John Connor in the film, told Entetainment Weekly back in October, "It's like going on tour again if you're Pink Floyd-the audience always wants to hear some of the old songs. There are enough nods to the past that people will feel satisfied."
So while a viewing of previous movies isn't completely necessary, it's probably a good idea. Here's what you need to watch to enhance your Genisys experience.
The Terminator (1984)
The one that started it all. This inventive, lower budget sci-fi thriller was a modest hit in 1984. The film introduces the epic story with the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) being sent back in time from 2029 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son John would one day lead an uprising against the machines in the future.
Rent or buy The Terminator for a small price on Amazon or iTunes now.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day(1991)
If The Terminator helped launch the series, Terminator 2 solidified it as a cultural phenomenon. This film features Sarah and her now 10-year-old son John (Edward Furlong) on the run from a new Terminator, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Meanwhile, the T-800 is also sent back, this time to protect John. The movie would go on to win four Academy Awards and receive huge critical and commercial success.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is streaming on Netflix until July 1. If you don't catch it in time, rent or buy it on Amazon or iTunes.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation are not required viewing before Genisys but both are available on Amazon and iTunes as well.
Terminator Genisys hits theaters Wednesday, July 1.