The Trouble With Terminator 2


I agree with Jonah Goldberg and his readers about the very important subject of Terminator 2, especially the correspondent who observes:

I loved it initially, but the sad truth is that, while T2 was awesome when it came out, 90% of that awesomeness was the new digital effects. Now that those techniques are commonplace, the movie has to fall back on its characters and story, which were weak, annoying, and confused.

It's worth, however, being clear that there's a very specific problem here: The sequel's tragic mishandling of the time travel paradox. The first film has this dead right — the machines' efforts to go back in time and change the past by assassinating Sarah Connor are not only doomed to fail, but indeed bring about the result they were intended to prevent, namely the conception of John Connor. This is a time-honored literary trope going back, in its way, to Oedipus Rex and is certainly the correct way to handle time travel plots.

Terminator 2 casts all this to the wind with some vague talk about how the future is not yet written. And because T2 operates within the bad "you can change the future" paradigm, T3 winds up making little-to-know sense from the very beginning.