the silliness of the terminator movies

April 19, 2015

One of the “benefits” of western culture I’ve managed to avoid while on travel, until today, are the blockbuster trailers. Then I watched the Star Wars teaser trailer with a definitely old Harrison Ford and that opened the floodgates, as it were. What followed was a binge-watching session of all the trailers I’ve not seen for the past three weeks, and even a few going back even farther than that.

One of those binge-watched trailers is for the latest Terminator franchise installment, “Terminator: Genisys” (with genesis horribly misspelled). I’m now ashamed to say I’ve seen every terminator movie since the original. All four. Now with a fifth coming out they’re changing up the plot and introducing new faces for old characters. It still has Arnold Schwarzenegger as the original Terminator in something of a bridge role, just like they had Leonard Nimoy bridge between old and new with his original Spock character in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot.

Except this time Old Arnold/Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Terminator goes back in time a lot farther such that he raised a very young Sara Connor into something of a modern-day Amazon warrior. When this trailer shows Kyle Reese’s arrival, like it did in the first movie, Sarah shows up to rescue Kyle, rather than the other way around in the first movie. To top it all off we’ve got another T-1000 in this movie reboot (that didn’t show up the first time in this franchise until the second movie), showing up at the same time Kyle shows up. Whatever…

Here’s my issue: Assuming you could time travel and you knew exactly how near historical battles played out, then why would you go farther back in time before those battles to beat your enemy? If Skynet knew precisely how critical near-term historical battles (those where it was fighting the Resistance) that it lost would turn out then it would have made much better sense to analyse those key battles and then send multiple Terminators back to those specific battles, changing the outcomes from a loss for Skynet to a win. Do that enough times and you kill off the Resistance and possibly the rest of the human race. The whole idea of even having to go far back in time to kill the mother of your enemy’s key leader makes absolutely no sense: going back in time and trying (and failing) to murder Sarah Connor, Skynet wasted incredible opportunities to finish the job much more quickly and much closer to home, chronologically speaking.

Terminator shows how poor a story teller James Cameron is compared to Harlan Ellison, whose Outer Limits stories “Soldier” and “Demon With a Glass Hand” underpinned the whole Terminator franchise. Ellison’s stories are elegant and powerful, while Cameron’s Terminator is a very poor retelling of Ellison.

Nope. I won’t be shelling out any hard earned cash to see this one.

3 responses to the silliness of the terminator movies

  1. 

    Political leanings aside, I love your commentary and your photos. The images from Japan were superb and I found myself walking down those streets in my mind. I hope things are going well for you.

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  2. 

    Thanks. The way politics is played these days it’s now a zero-sum game, instead of a chance at constructive compromise. Writing is my only outlet; attempts at face-to-face discussions quickly escalate into one sided shouting matches, with me leaving. Both sides have become so polarized I’m now an Independent.

    I certainly appreciate your words of praise about my photographs and the bit of writing I wrap around them.

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  3. 

    My comment ‘political leanings aside’ was said in jest. I have always welcomed constructive discussions and I respect viewpoints that differ from my own. While I used to identify myself as a ‘Conservative’ I too have become weary of the polarized Conservative vs. Liberal warfare that seems to exist today. It creates gridlock where nothing constructive takes place. And don’t get me started about the flow of money and the control it has on the decisions being made.

    Enough of all that. Its time to put on my backpack and get out hiking:-)

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