Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Watched 20101103 (Netflix, Instant) 153 min.
Watched 20130714 (Netflix, Instant) 137 min.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) James Cameron.

Relevant Links:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (IMDb.com)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Wikipedia.org)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (RottenTomatoes.com)

The movie starts with Sarah Connor narrating events that have passed. It is now the present and Skynet sends a T-1000 back in time to kill John Connor. At the same time, a reprogrammed T-800 (Arnold Schwarzeneggar) is sent back in time to protect John. Sarah, having attempted to bomb a computer factory and believing in the unbelievable, is taken to be mentally unstable and placed in a psych ward and/or criminal facility. As such, John is currently staying in a foster home.

In any case, the T-800 finds John in time to protect him from the T-1000 and eventually the two escape. Well instructed by his mother on important survival skills, John recognizes the T-800 is a Terminator. The two talk and the T-800 explains various details to John. Subsequently the two go to rescue John's mother Sarah. While the Terminator expects the T-1000 will be looking for John there, the two go anyways.

Sure enough, the T-1000 is there. Luckily for Sarah, she happened to have been planning her escape and is on her way out of the building. While the T-800 is there with John to help her, she is initially alarmed by the sight of the T-800 and runs back towards the hospital workers. The T-800, however, shows that he is on her side by taking care of the guards. Still frightened, John comes in to reassure her that the T-800 is on their side. Unfortunately, they don't have time to relax, as the T-1000 has made its way to them and they must continue to run.

They manage to escape and drive off to a place where Sarah keeps a reserve of weapons. Learning more about the events leading up to the creation of Skynet, Sarah goes off on her own to eliminate the person most directly responsible, Miles Dyson. Almost successfully killing Dyson, Sarah can't go through with it. John and the Terminator arrive to find Sarah in an emotional breakdown and a non-fatally wounded Dyson. The Terminator proceeds to explain the future to Dyson and the group makes plans to destroy the research and data at Cyberdine.

You'll have to watch the movie if you want to learn more about the fate of John Connors, the fate of Sarah Connors, or possibly the fate of mankind.

As an action movie, great!

According to the final credits that appear, this might have been a Special Edition that I watched. Though I wouldn't be sure.

It's unfortunate I don't really approve of the plot to send these Terminator models back in time. I'd have to watch the first one again to confirm my disapproval. I would say there are roughly two choices: multiple timelines or consistent timelines. If there are multiple timelines, what would changing someone else's timeline do for your timeline? If there is a consistent timeline, anything you have done or will do was necessary for events to propagate themselves. As such, you will do it, because it already needed to be done. And the point is nothing will change as a result. Now typically, characters will feel they might be in a multiple timeline scenario and want to change their destiny. When in fact, they just fall into their own fate, a consistent timeline. Well... it's not worth thinking about. The point is, whenever time-travel as a plot device is used, I prefer it to give a story that is consistent and self-looping. Thus I don't like the end of Superman, I love Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), I don't like Back to the Future (1985), and I love the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score.

20110520 Comment:
So I watched the first movie The Terminator (1984), and I thought that the little explanation in the movie made things better. Then I read the above and started thinking about it some more. So to try to explain the movie, I would say the following. Perhaps there aren't multiple timelines, but a single mutable timeline. I assume the machines are practically living beings that have an interest in preserving their own kind no matter what. As such, their goal is to send someone back to change the timeline from a branch point, to ensure that their kind exists in a different future. Though its risky, because the change might result in their kind never coming to existence in the first place. But given that they were going to be destroyed in the current timeline, it's a risk they are willing to take.

Getting back to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I have reason to believe that I did in fact watch the special edition version. One, I was told there was a scene I saw which was not in the theatrical version of the film. Two, the run time I have recorded above is longer than the theatrical run time.

Today I watched the movie again and I watched it through a different pair of eyes. Nowadays I'm willing to accept the the plot of a fictional movie if it's locally believable. I realized that selectively judging the plausibility of a movie relative to real life isn't reasonable and since a movie is already fictional, then the consistency of a movie as a whole is also unreasonable. With this, I've struck out my former point of view.

Regardless of the plot, this action movie is full of excitement and great special effects. In addition to the visuals, I also enjoyed the movie's score.

Thinking of the world as nondeterministic opens up a can of worms and I prefer to view the universe in which this story is being told as deterministic. Then one can view the whole movie as having already happened. It needed to happen for the future, relative to the events in the movie, to happen. Thus somehow the destruction of the Cyberdine building actually leads to the creation of Cybernet. It's confusing, because the movie thematically deals with the concepts of fate and determinism, with the characters believing they can make a difference, but (to me) the plot makes most sense in a deterministic setting.

Instant Comments:
2: "Aren't we changing things right now?"
2: How noble of him, he attempts to wait for the shooters to leave, despite the fact that they were the ones who shot him.
2: Random comment coming from the helicopter: "Its a warzone down here."
2: Stay here, "I'll be back."
2: Hahaha. In response to getting shot in the back by a gas can, the guy says "God it hurts."
2: Hehe. They're all hobbling cause they got shot in the knee.

LOL, this HISHE (How It Should Have Ended) mixes the Terminator and Back to the Future storylines. It's particularly funny, because it points out the plot hole that the machines are too stupid to figure out they could just send a terminator back to kill one of them at their infancy.


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