T Nation

The Themes of Terminator


For my end of year exams I will have to write an essay about a movie. After some thought, I decided to choose the ultimate T-Movie: T2: Judgement Day.

I was hoping some movie fanatics here would be able to give me some links to some good resources for this movie (particularly with discussions or articles regarding the themes in T2 - eg. no fate, man over machines.. etc - or indepth discussions regarding the characters in the movie).
I'm planning to borrow the DVD from my friend this weekend.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


"It's in your nature to destroy yourselves." - T800 aka Schwartzenegger
One of the old-time Greek philospohers said to too, I think it was Plato who said that the meaning of life is death. That's the whole point of existence.

Here's some more info on T2. Maybe you could write about T2 from a feminist perspective or something.


get the dvd and watch it. anytime a point is made or something is said/done pause the movie and write a note of it. better than anything you pull up offof a computer


Make sure you get one of the special edition DVDs. They have a lot of stuff with Arnie and James Cameron talking "concept", which might help...


and it might be gasp your ideas and not someone elses.


The whole artificial intelligence and the dangers of it becoming self-aware have been done wuite a bit. Ringworld. Frank Herbert has several that deal with this. Some of it revolves around the definition of life -- self-awareness, self-preservation, reproduction... What happens when what is created becomes greater (more powerful) than the creator?

In one of Frank Herberts books, the set-up is a space ship whose mission is to create artificial intelligence. In the end, they are successful, and a one-word command -- "you" -- sets in motion the "god-hood" of the machine, when it's response is "you will now determine how you will worship me."

Then there's the whole time-line continuity thing. The terminator going back in time to defend John Connor -- does that then make the future with the machines a certainty? If they then destroy the possibility of the machines existing, how does the machine then come back to make that reality? Juxtapose that with the "there's no fate but what we make for ourselves" thing, and you have a real dilemma.

Just some food for thought.


If the movie you're choosing doesn't affect you and causes you break out into deep philosophical discussions (or thoughts) on the whole time travel mumbo jumbo, then maybe...just maybe it ain't the right movie for you to do this essay on.

Why, in the first place, did you choose this particular movie? Personally, I'd choose a movie that has a deep connection with me. A movie like "Lawrence of Arabia"; which is my absolute favorite movie. I can talk for hours about my love of this movie and the reasons behind that feeling.

If anything, just sit down; just watch this flick one time; on the second viewing, write down your thoughts. I would suppose this essay would be about YOUR thoughts, right? Char's right: get the SE DVD. Listen to the director's commentary on the third viewing.

There you go.


Thanks for the help.

As for having my own ideas, I already have done a lot of my own research on the themes of the movie (I'm trying to get the special edition DVD from my friend since I only have the old VHS version). I just wanted to make sure I had all the bases covered (for example, I completely missed that point about artificial intelligence becoming self-aware, although that was one of the biggest themes in the story!) Thanks.


I think the main theme of these movies is that, sometimes, you have to just blow shit up. And that's a beyooteful thing.


I dunno.. I kinda think Conan the Barbarian would be the ultimate T-movie. C'mon Arnie, Franco, and blood and guts.