There is something that really bothers me when I come across it in fiction. It’s a little thing, but seems to crop up more and more, especially in longer series. I’ll admit that the problem happens less in novels and more in movies or television series. But when I see it, it just winds me up.
Narrative Inconsistency. It bugs the heck out of me when the writers just forget what has come before.
I realize that in some series that the stories have gone so long (and there have been so many writers) there is no possible way for every detail to be remembered, but what about movies? When there are only 3 or 4 earlier ‘episodes’ how hard it is to watch them and not screw things up?
Really hard, it appears.
To point out what I mean, I’m going to draw attention to the recent Terminator: Salvation movie. I saw this while visiting the Old Country, and though it was all right (because I basically wanted to watch man vs machine sci-fi) there were some departures from the previous mythos that were both annoying and, even worse, unnecessary.
Spoilers below for those who care…
Ok, so in this installment, not only does Skynet know who John Conner is, but it also knows who his father is. So it proceeds to attempt to capture said father so that it could lure John to his death.
Now, in the first movie we learned that Skynet’s sending multiple terminators back into time came about because John was just about to destroy it. It knew who the savior of humanity was because he had led the resistance for some time by that point, and was literally knocking on Skynet’s door.
Now, I realize that with this being the 4th movie, somethings might get a bit mangled, but Skynet didn’t even know who John’s mother was in the first film, how would it know who his father was?
And this is the part that’s really annoying. All of the ‘save my father’ subplot was unnecessary. John’s dad could have easily been captured just like all the other people were, purely by chance. Then, John’s new acquaintance could have said he wanted to save his friends, and dropped John’s dad’s name in the conversation. Boom, suddenly John has to rescue his dad, without any weirdness or foreknowledge by the big computer. Heck, even the back story of the second main character could have been explained by Skynet wanting to make a biological terminator, and not turning him into an elaborate trap that required the computer to become omniscient.
As it was, you wonder, ‘why bother to bring Conner to Skynet when you had his father?’ Surely Skynet has bullets lying around and that would solve its pesky paradox problem. No faffing, bam, the movie ends about 45 minutes earlier than it did.
So, yeah, by screwing around with the established canon, the writer/producer ended up making a more confusing product than it could otherwise have done, and left the giant logic holes that were unnecessary.
These people get paid to do this. There is no justice…