The Terminator movie series is a good thing. Or... two of them are anyway. Sure, if you start thinking about it, even the good ones kind of fall apart, considering that all time travel BS will usually do that... but I think many of us are willing to give a pass to a shaky premise if the story is fun. A great original cast and a really solid, compellingly original story cemented the first movie into film lore and the second one turned it into a franchise. After that, though? I feel like we can all agree that everything that came after T2 was either a sad attempt to recapture the fun of the first two or just simply sad. When things stop being fun, one really starts noticing the inherent flaws in the premise. In fact, with each new movie the viewers have no choice but to contemplate just how deeply stupid Skynet's decisions actually are. If the films that followed the first two were even mildly enjoyable we might not have felt the need to armchair quarterback these decisions. But... well... here we are.
Skynet Problem Solving Committee #1:
Computer 1: This John Connor guy sucks. A lot. What should we do about it? Let's hear some ideas.
Computer 2: Well, we do have this pretty neat time machine that we've been kind of kicking around, so maybe we could use that for something?
Computer 1: I like it. We can go back in time and ... and... and what? I'm stumped.
Computer 3: Kill him when he's a baby?
Computer 1: Jesus! What? A baby? God, that's disgusting! I'll pretend you didn't just say that. What are we? Monsters?
Computer 3: Sorry.
Computer 2: You should be. Ugh. But you have given me another idea... let's kill his mom before he's born! Then, we don't have to kill a baby. We kill her pre-baby! That's not awful at all!
Computer 1: That's a really good idea! How could it fail? Do it!
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Skynet Problem Solving Committee #2:
Computer 1: Ok, ok... so the mom didn't work, fine, we won't make that mistake again. But the time-travel idea is still solid. I'm standing by it.
Computer 2: Right? It seems like a no-brainer, really. We just have to soup up the next robot we send. Say this one doesn't have the same weaknesses that last failure had... this one can turn into a puddle or a knife or soup. And let's not make that same mistake as before... let's go after a kid this time... younger, easier target, right? Apparently they built waitresses pretty tough in the 80s, so a kid should be easy pickings.
Computer 3: Guys... seriously. I mean, I know it sounds bad, but maybe this would be easier if we just killed him when he was a helpless baby?
Computer 1: .....
Computer 2: You disgust me. Skynet is not in the baby-killing business.
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Skynet Problem Solving Committee #3
Computer 1: Ok, well... I mean... is it possible we should maybe try something else?
Computer 2: There is just ... there's no way this should NOT be working. I really don't understand it.
Computer 3: How many times do we try this same idea before we...
Computer 1: We ARE NOT KILLING ANY BABIES.
Computer 3: Fine. Jesus.
Computer 2: We don't even have to. We're going to go after Connor as a young man this time. We tried it before he was born, and then when he was a kid... we should probably keep the through-line going. How about we send a hot chick this time!
Computer 3: How... how will that be better?
Computer 2: She will wear LEATHER!
Computer 1: Ooooo, I like it! It should be red leather. Any young man would be helpless before red leather.
Computer 3: Wasn't the last one killed by a kid and an out-of-production T-800?
Computer 1: If you aren't going to add anything productive to the conversation, maybe you should leave.
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Skynet Problem Solving Committee #4
Computer 1: Well. Look, I'm ... maybe it's time we listened to the baby killing idea.
Computer 3: Yes!
Computer 2: We don't have to! You guys, listen! This is all going just like we planned! Thanks to all the issues with time travel, all we have to do (and I don't know why we didn't think of this before!) is get Kyle Reese.
Sure, it might be a little more risky, but let's just think for a second. What if we go ahead and SAY we planned this all to work out in JUST THIS WAY? So when John Connor inevitably comes busting in here to destroy us, we can be all "AHAHAHAHAHA! JUST LIKE WE WANTED!"
Computer 1: I'm listening.
Computer 2: It's going to be awesome, I can't wait to see his face. And when Connor DOES come, we can just send an old T-800 after him to battle in the very end.
Computer 3: That doesn't even make any sense. Are you feeling ok?
Computer 2: Just one, we want him to have a sporting chance. Don't want anyone to say that Skynet doesn't play fair, after all.
Computer 1: What about Kyle Reese? You were just talking about Kyle Reese.
Computer 3: Just... just kill Kyle Reese. Wouldn't that fix things?
Computer 2: Well, that might sound like a good idea - sure, it would take care of our John Connor problem permanently... but then we would lose the SATISFACTION of seeing Connor's face when we pit him against that T-800.
Computer 3: Hasn't he already destroyed like hundreds of those? Plus lots of more superior models?
Computer 2: it's going to be CLASSIC.
Computer 3: But we HAVE Reese. We HAVE HIM.
Computer 1: No, let's hear him out.
Computer 2: Ok, sure. We do have Reese in custody. We did send that 40 story tall robot to collect him, and that wasn't cheap. The stories that big guy can tell about his 2 week long trek across California to stomp over to that gas station.... well, he's got some doozies.
Computer 3: (muttering) I still think we should have just bombed the place from a distance.
Computer 2: Yes, yes. I know YOU thought that it would have been better, or maybe smarter or more "efficient" to just BOMB him ... but I think the 40 story tall robot had more poetry. Kyle IS the father of our nemesis, after all. Can't just kill him outright.
Computer 1: He has a point.
Computer 3: .....
Computer 2: Just you wait. This is going to be the best. Skynet RULES!
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