I Like My Ideas Better: Terminator 3

So everybody gets bitten by the “I can do it better” bug every so often. Usually, it’s a harmless enough itch to scratch. “I’d have him shoot the bad guy FIRST! Then he could shoot the other bad guys! It’d be an awesome scene!” or, “I’d have him keep his mouth shut and not blab the secret to everyone,” or even, “I’d have been recording this conversation since before he walked in the door, and then he could prove to the detective that it wasn’t him.” –little fixes of that nature, generally.

Some times, of course, the thing you love is there, looking like its wonderful self, but….it’s dumb and shallow and, really, wouldn’t it be better, even if you started at the same approximate point, taking a different direction? Or, putting some trust in the audience’s intelligence and not just taking baby steps? Or stealing from someone else who had clever ideas and filing the serial numbers off? Or trying to insert some actual depth and complexity? Or getting rid of Jar Jar Binks?

I haven’t seen Terminator 3 yet, but apparently it’s the weakest one of the trilogy (there are only three movies. Shhhh.) –which is one I enjoy and want to see justice done to. So, here’s what The Rider of 2015 would have done:

The world war is over—and now Skynet begins to act–subtly at first.

Soldiers are innoculated with slow-acting poisons. Children and elderly are euthanized. Able-bodied survivors are sent to “refugee” camps; people are still needed to restart the manufacturing base for Skynet’s own use, and as test rats for its experiments. Helped by the assurances that they’re being protected from terrorists, i.e., John Connor, it takes people an appallingly long time to realize they are being exterminated. (John Connor is a strong, courageous, charismatic and far-sighted leader; his character flaws exist but do not need to be exploited for drama, and absolutely will not include self-doubt or despondency. He’s saving the human race from extinction. That’s a good thing. Self-loathing and recriminations can wait for the war crimes trials afterwards.)

Meanwhile, John is organizing and training his men. This war is global, although the main battle is in North America, as Skynet’s brain is there. Aid and supplies are smuggled in from other countries. (Mexico resurges as a manufacturing powerhouse?) Skynet commands the air with drones and satellites, but the sea is free and belongs to the steely-eyed sea captains who keep the supply lines open. (Hot sub on sub action, whoa.)

Third act climax: breaking the camps. Saboteurs come in through the wires, arm the slaves, motivate and rouse them to fight back. With outside military aid, they smash their way into the camp’s central Brain, lobotomizing and then killing it. (Some Brains later chose to suicide.)

A gamy teenager takes on a Dominator by himself. He is severely burned by nerve-whip fire, but stumbles victoriously from the wreckage.

“What’s your name, soldier?”

“Kyle.”

“Well done, Kyle.”

3 thoughts on “I Like My Ideas Better: Terminator 3

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