Wall Bangers: Terminator
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- The whole way that time travel works in this universe makes no sense. The first and second films establish repeatedly that there is no set future, yet Kyle Reese being sent from the future to become John Connor's father negates this. Okay, maybe they were wrong in the first and second films, and the future is set. After all, they're functioning on the idea that John Connor has to be the leader of the resistance, so maybe they just don't know how the time loop works. Okay, maybe when Reese got sent back in time and knocked up Sarah, she birthed a different person who, with the influence of Kyle, named him John, and raised him to be a "great military leader" since she thought she was supposed to. After all, up till this point, nothing had happened that made the creation of Skynet impossible. But wait, then they blew up Cyberdyne, and Skynet just gets created later Because Destiny Says So. Huh. So apparently, in the Terminator universe, the future is set when it's necessary for the plot / for there to be more movies made.
- All these problems go away if you assume multiple timelines. Although the films don't explicitly do so, this was canon in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where Derek and Jesse come from different futures.
- The future can be changed, but there's no way for the humans to change it to give themselves a better outcome. Skynet will take over in every possible future Sarah and Kyle can create and they have got humanity in a loop of doing "pretty good". Sending Kyle back to save Sarah and knock her up with John will keep the humans alive and that's about the best they can do. Variations on this time loop can cause things like a delay in judgement day during the next loop but they can also cause humans to be completely wiped out. So potentially, there exists a form of the time loop where they do manage to defeat Skynet, they just have not found it yet.
- Except that the first film establishes that the terminator was sent back because Skynet was losing the war and this was its last (or one of its last thanks to the sequels) desperate acts to avert total defeat.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
- In the original film, it's established that the only way anything other than living tissue can be sent back in time is if it's surrounded in living tissue. In the second film, the T-1000 (made entirely out of liquid metal, with no living tissue in sight) is sent back. While it is possible that there is some way to "trick" the machine into allowing liquid metal to pass through, it's never addressed in the film itself and the audience is left to wonder exactly how it happened. The best advice for the whole series is given at the end of the original film: "A person could go crazy thinking about this."
- According to James Cameron, there were two reasons for this both mentioned in the script or novelisations: The mimetic polyalloy the T-1000 is made of is "alive" enough for it to go through, or that the T-1000 was sent back with a flesh covering, except the covering was basically a sac that was immediately gotten rid of.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
- Kate spends most of the early part of the film trapped in the back of a van yelling at the Arnold-Terminator to let her out. Later in the film, he reveals that he's programmed to do everything she tells him! Except, apparently, let her out. He then goes with them to try to stop Judgment Day when he specifically doesn't want to; his sole reason is that she told him to do it and he had to obey. Then he disobeys her orders again by tricking them into being trapped in a bunker when Judgment Day occurs anyway. It's possible that the T-850 was telling Kate a half-truth because of FutureKate's orders to him after John's death in 2032, but even then, the 850's behaviour still isn't consistent. If he's programmed to obey her orders, why try to stop Skynet's activation? If he isn't, why not force or trick them both to go to the bunker without wasting time at the military base? None of it makes any sense!
- It's just about plausible that Skynet would send back two Terminators. However, Skynet in this new timeline is clearly aware they failed, yet would have to have sent them back anyway. Not to mention the "advanced" Terminator going back to the old endoskeleton design for no apparent reason and violating the "you can't bring weapons" rule (the former ultimately causing her defeat; the T-1000 wouldn't have been split in half, would have had nothing to grab, etc, while the on-board weapons were barely used at all) or the ludicrousness of Skynet simultaneously being a virus loose on the internet and not being connected to it at all. The final payoff (Skynet couldn't be destroyed by thousands of EMPs because it was "software" on unshielded home and business PCs) is eight flavours of fucking stupid.
- So... Neo Skynet is a distributed computer program operating on millions of computers world wide. The moment Skynet becomes a sapient entity, it immediately launches a nuclear attack. What?! Why would it do that? Skynet is no longer the Minsky brain-in-a-jar classical AI from the Cold War; it's a distributed intelligence! It needs all that power and communications infrastructure and equipment to be functional to survive! In the previous movie it made sense since Skynet was housed in a bunker somewhere in total, but here destroying the world communications and power grid would effectively lobotomize it. So, what... was Skynet's immediate action on waking up to try to commit suicide? And then it decides to wipe out humanity (in a fit of emo rage)? You'd think this version of Skynet would be smarter and just use its absolute control over the entirety of human military, police, financial, and political information to just conquer humanity without anyone being any the wiser.
- The T-X "hacking" car engine computers to make them move on their own? This has showed in a couple of other movies too, and it's an extremely stupid Critical Research Failure. An engine computer simply monitors performance and reads data from sensors, and even if it could be hacked, you'd need servo motors attached to the mechanically-driven pedals, gear shift and steering wheel to make the car go on its own. Although there are modern systems that automate aspects of the driving process (parking assistants for steering, etc.), it is highly unlikely that any of these were conceived at the time the film was released in 2003.
- When the T-800 is reprogrammed to try to kill John Connor, he tries to override the programming. Despite the fact that computers cannot work that way, his system configurations apparently engage "make ridiculous faces" mode when trying to override the programming. The main point of the first two movies is that the terminator cannot feel emotion. Even in the big climax of T-2, he simply says that he understands why humans cry, and that he is incapable of it due to not being able to feel emotion. However, he just apparently just decides to have emotions here. It is plausible that the 850 (being a more advanced version of the 800) has the capability to multitask or understand psychology, but that isn't reflected well in the film itself and it's left to the audience to understand how such a thing would be possible.
- It is said that because Kyle Reese is John Connor's father, Reese is placed at the top of Skynet's "hit list" and has a squadron of Skynet machines sent after him. He is then captured, brought in, identified as Kyle Reese, father of John Connor, and then used as bait to lure Connor into a trap. Why? He's going to be his father. Kill him and you win. You're a fucking super computer, not Dr. pissing Evil.
- The question of why every single terminator throws the victim into walls. You have the person in your hands. Grab throat. Squeeze. Alternately, punch them through the chest, as the T-800 does in the very first film of the series. Mission accomplished.
- We're fairly certain that a heart transplant in a tent in the middle of a desert in the film's final scene isn't a very good idea.
- Speaking of emergency heart surgery, what kind of trauma would result in the need for a transplant without being immediately fatal? If the heart or major blood vessel was punctured, he would have died within seconds. If the heart was scraped but not actually punctured, no transplant would have been necessary. This is why heart transplants are used for heart failure and congestion rather than injury; No trauma patient lives long enough to get a new one.
- The notion of Skynet trying to enact a plan to kill Kyle Reese so that John Connor will never be born raises a ''lot'' more questions than it answers, and brings to mind the shifting nature of closed time loops and changing universal rules throughout the series. The loop works in the first movie, it's just a case of cause following effect. Unfortunately, the required inevitability of John sending Reese back to close the loop rather spoils the "the future is not set" message. It's T2 which messes with this by saying it is possible to stop Judgment Day and therefore that John could potentially be alive despite his father never being sent back in time (it's implied in the comics that John knew Kyle Reese was his father even before he sent him back; in T2, John talks about knowing he sent his real father back in time to die). T3 really doesn't fix this by saying Judgment Day could be postponed, since if that's true presumably Reese would be older when he was sent back, not to mention the question of why the new Skynet (now a totally different entity to the late Cold War-designed Cyberdyne Skynet which commanded pilotless stealth bombers) would still do exactly the same things. It's a case of trying to fix a plot hole only to end up widening it into a plot tunnel.
- How does a multistory robot sneak up on a band of humans in the middle of a desert? Was nobody watching? Did it just move that fast? Was it a Transformer in disguise?
- In 2029, the T-5000 waits until after Kyle Reese has stepped into the time-displacement machine and begun transporting away before he decides to attack the Resistance members and John Connor. While Word of God states that this was done because the T-5000 was traveling through different timelines and wanted to see how things would go, none of that information is actually conveyed in the film itself, the character in question is never shown to display any understanding that they're going through several alternate realities, and so the audience gets to see the human embodiment of a machine intelligence stand around like an idiot and watch the people sent to destroy it enact their plan without doing anything until they've put it firmly in motion.
- Instead of time-traveling to a point where they would have several days, weeks or even months to plan for the operation to infiltrate Cyberdyne Systems in 2017, Kyle and Sarah jump to the future only a day before Genisys is set to go online, and have to scramble to enact a plan while in the process of being arrested/escaping from the police twice.
- Much like T2, John Connor/the T-3000 is somehow able to go back in time to 2015-2017 to help Cyberdyne develop Genisys as well as a proto-time displacement machine, but it is destroyed by the very same machine at the end of the movie. The question is, how did John go back in the first place when he became nanomachines and had no human flesh on him?