There are lots of burning questions regarding Terminator Salvation that we will get definitive answers to, one way or another, the moment the flick starts to unspool on screens this weekend. Questions such as: Is Aussie actor Sam Worthington worth all the hype he's been getting? (Equal billing with Christan Bale? Shocking!) Is McG totally hopeless as a director? How cool is it that Anton Yelchin gets to portray Pavel Chekov and Kyle Reese in the same summer?
Other questions are more mysterious, and likely to become even more muddled after yet another installment of the time-tripping Terminator saga. Or perhaps they'll be ignored entirely (which is probably the best bet for a film that probably doesn't want its audience thinking too hard). I refer to conundrums such as:
1) What the hell is the chronology, anyway? Is all the time travel rewriting the future -- and the past -- or are alternate universes being created? If it's alt-universes, then what's the damn point? Wouldn't that mean that nothing ever changes for some versions of John Connor and Co., and he just keeps making the mess bigger and bigger?
2) When is Judgment Day? Can it be postponed indefinitely, and if it is postponed indefinitely, doesn't that mean that the Terminator saga never happens because then there would be no need for old John Connor to send Kyle Reese back in time to save his mother and become John's father? (See Conundrum 1.) Isn't John's fight against the machines really a fight to prevent himself from being born? Is the Terminator saga really just John Connor's time-jumping, alt-universe creating attempt at his own prebirth suicide?
3) When was Skynet invented and turned on? And, oh yeah, who invented Skynet? Or is that gonna keep changing too? Can it be Microsoft in a future installment?
4) If Nick Stahl and Claire Danes ride out Judgment Day under that mountain (in T3) and Lena Headey and Summer Glau fight metal in Los Angeles (in Sarah Connor Chronicles) then how long does it take for a time machine traveling from 2015 to 1984 to create its first paradox?
5) How many more actors can possibly play John Connor? Has it been contractually obligated by the new poststrike SAG rules that every male member of that union must be allowed to portray the character at some point in his career?
6) Isn't it clear by now that the humans are gonna lose out to the machines and end up as batteries in a global Matrix?
Inquiring minds, and all that ...