Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Terminator 2: The Sequel That Changes All the Rules

In Movies on September 7, 2009 at 10:26 am

Sometimes a movie does a few things to mislead the viewer to make the whole experience more satisfying.  Setting up a big twist or presenting a red herring (and not the kind from A Pup Named Scooby Doo) are examples of this kind of thing.  Terminator 2, a pretty great movie for some of its flaws, attempts to do this with the presentation of the two terminators in the beginning of the film.  Arnold shows up like last time and violently acquires clothing and transportation just like last time.  A smaller, less threatening man shows up and tangles with the police like the last movie, too.  Clearly, the movie wants us to think Arnold is the baddie and Robert Patrick is the new Kyle Reese.  Only, there is a problem.  It was pretty well publicized prior to the film release that Arnold was going to be the good guy this time around, ruining the deception that the film puts in place.  Unfortunately, this setup also messes up a hard and fast rule in Terminator lore.

The big thing about the Terminator universe is that no non-organic material can go back in time.  The only way the first terminator can go back in time is to be surrounded by a barrier of living tissue.  So far, so good.  My question is how can the liquid metal, entirely inorganic T-1000 go back in time?  It appears to have zero living parts on it.  So, it’s coming through time poops on one of the most basic rules of terminatorhood.  I can’t think of a good way to get around it.  So that’s that.  Fine, I can get over it.

Secondly, if you are entirely metal and can look anyway you want, why appear in the past naked?  It’s all the same metal whether you make it look like skin or clothes.  This goes back to my original point.  The T-1000 comes back in time naked because it wants to mislead the audience.  It is trying to manipulate the audience, not for any logical narrative reason.  I think that is some flawed screenwriting in a work I generally respect.

Show me the organic material on this robotic nudist.  Better yet, don't bother.

Show me the organic material on this robotic nudist. Better yet, don't bother.

Oh, and here is a possible No Prize.  The T-1000, due to its advanced mutability, is able to simulate organic material.  By appearing naked, it’s entire surface simulates living skin so completely that it fools the time travel machine into accepting it.  Nice?  Well, no, actually.  The T-1000 is incapable of creating complex machines or devices.  The creation of artifical DNA, blood vessels, skin cells, etc. is clearly beyond its technology.  The T-1000 can create an illusion, plain-and-simple.  So, again, kinda silly on Cameron’s part.  What say you?

  1. I gotcha covered here, SB. Originally they thought that you could only send back organic material. Then they realized COTTON and WOOL are organic materials and they couldn’t be sent back, so maybe that wasn’t the ticket. Between the making of the first two movies, Cameron actually discovered how time travel works. A thing can only be sent back in time if you can reasonably fool a time lord into believing that its a naked human. Otherwise you need a Tardis.

  2. are you suggesting cameron is dr.who? the only explainable reason for titanic’s success?

  3. Maybe Reese was speaking for Cameron when he said, “I don’t know tech stuff.”

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