No Salvation for Terminator

Yepp, last night I went and watched Terminator – Salvation. Just like so many others, my feelings are quite mixed about it. First, the movie isn’t as bad as some reviews will make you believe. Yes, Christian Bale‘s acting is terrible compared to what he’s usually able to deliver and definitely the whole story has very little to do with what some would expect from a Terminator movie, but all in all you still get what you paid for – an Armageddon movie. Needless to say that the effects are top notch (I’ mean, in this day and age home movies can have top effects…) and the sets and production design are in line with that.

The most apparent weakness is naturally the story. Of course that’s not uncommon, as pointed out in my comments on the latest Star Trek movie and several others, but the Terminator series has always been particularly bad. Every movie has attempted to re-postulate how events came about and then used wild time travel theories and invention of new Terminator models to bend it in place. What adds to this burden in this 4th installment, is the sheer ignorance of what we have come to know as the laws of nature in physics, chemistry and biology, a similar ignorance of current computer and military tech plus some severe continuity breaks that you just notice even when watching the movie for the first time.

  • Everyone wanders about like there never has been a nuclear war. Even with mild doses, long term exposure to radiation does make you not look so healthy. In addition, during the movie several nuclear charges go off about 100 meters away from the action and yet everyone never has even the slightest signs of radiation burns.
  • Obviously there are survivors and they try to hide, but nonetheless when there comes night, they all walk around with torches and flash lights and set up fireplaces to warm themselves. how does that match with the line “Those are Hunterkillers. They have infrared and can see you even in the night”? (paraphrased, I saw the movie in German)
  • The general overall density of Skynet air traffic leaves a lot to be desired. If I were the boss, you could be sure high-altitude surveillance drones of any sort would make look the activity of a military airport pale in comparison.
  • In movie 3, Skynet uses military satellites to spread itself. Have they all fallen out of orbit and it now has to rely on terrestrial communication, making it vulnerable to the rebels? Likewise, would it not use the eye in the sky (espionage and reconaissance satellites) to track rebels?
  • Isn’t it convenient, that Skynet never thought of creating its own fleet of submarines and the rebel headquarters thus are safely place on another u-boat?
  • I’ve been a long time fan of military aviation and did build scale models in my youth, and while an A-10 certainly is agile, it is nowhere near as speedy as portrayed in thee movie nor does it allow the insane turn rates shown. Even a MiG-29 or an F-16 couldn’t do that and their thrust to weight ratio is much better!
  • At one scene early in the movie, very clearly a T-600 pulls off one of Connor‘s shoes, yet only seconds later he runs with both.
  • As you can see from this little extract, there is a lot going on that falls into the category of the inexplicable and ominous. Ultimately that takes away a lot of the credibility and momentum. After all, the film is supposed to play in a post-apocalyptic world only 9 years from now and you have to give it some grounding in reality, if you want to sell it to people.

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