Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines Reviews
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines takes a major step down from its predecessors, both creatively and acting-wise, but the threequel still has plenty of eye candy and exhilarating action that fans have come to expect.
And so we arrive at T3:RotM. Probably the least offensive of the post-Cameron efforts, Mostow's film just seems superfluous and vapid. It's not a bad movie, it's well shot, the effects are clean, shiny and generally excellent. The action is entertaining enough, and the set-pieces are well thought out and presented. It's a perfectly serviceable action movie.
The story is a simple rehash of T2 with less Guns and Roses. John Connor has been living in bus shelters and under rocks since he was mentally traumatised back in 1992 and is essentially a hobo. Why, or how this useless hobo presents a threat to Skynet at this point is moot - he is the future leader of the resistance and that's just the way it is. A sexy Terminator (Kristanna Loken) is sent back in time to kill off all the future resistance bods and blah blah blah blah blah. You know the deal here. Good Arnie shows up, fighting commences, and this leads to Skynet's uprising and the eventual nuclear apocalypse.
There are moments in the film that feel almost special - the final scene of the film (the end of the world) almost works visually, and there is a reasonable amount of tension in these moments. But the trouble is the film gives off such a plastic vibe that the payoff isn't there. Do the filmmakers really care? Do the characters even care? Claire Danes' character goes from being a vet to the last survivor of the planet and pulls a few funny faces, quivers her lip a tad and goes on about her business of standing around pulling funny faces. The nuclear apocalypse feels like a set up for a sequel.
The acting is just... there. Nick Stahl is a fine actor but doesnt suit the character of John Conner, who was never meant to be seen as an adult in the first place. He's satisfactory enough but it feels like miscasting. He also has ZERO CHEMISTRY with Claire Danes' Kate Brewster, which is unfortunate. Speaking of Danes, she has seemingly vanished from existence since this film. Maybe she got lost in the convoluted time-travel story that continues to plague this dead franchise. Schwarzenegger continues to highlight these movies; he really is the only thing worth watching. He can play this role in his sleep, and in truth it does feel as though he is on the verge of phoning this one in. The whole male stripper scene is wrong on pretty much every level, but Arnie does his mighty best to make it work.
The film just has no emotion and no reason for existing. For all intents and purposes it is purely a corporate movie. There is no art, or love, in this film. The effects are great, the direction is fine, the acting is perfunctory but the whole package feels so manufactured it never means anything. It's like McDonalds. It does the job but leaves you so underwhelmed you wish you went for the steak.
It just seems to me that the people OK-ing these films will never understand why they keep failing - there is no more story to tell. There never was. Theyre trying to create stories about a hypothetical future that was never meant to actually be realised. In many ways these films represent what happens when you can do something (technologically speaking) but really, maybe, shouldn't. It's too tempting for Hollywood to dip their feet in the water again when people still love the first two films. "But this time it will be bigger and have more robots!" I never felt that the post-apocalyptic stuff was what made the films great - its the implication that the here and now needs to be seen because nobody wants to see the end of the world. Well, here's the end of the world! The end result is kinda flat and uninteresting.
T3:RotM represents, in essence, the fundamental flaw in Hollywood's obsession with sequels - this film doesn't have a soul. It doesn't have a reason for existing.
Apart from the $433.4 million it made.
The cast was great, Arnold's Terminator is a more advanced model this time around leading to more comedic interactions and just interactions with human characters in general, which is another advancement that this film offers. I thought the effects were excellent and the action set-pieces were all quite memorable and well put together. One complaint I think most people have is that the film has more humour in it than its predecessor's but like I mentioned earlier, it doesn't have the feeling that nobody is trying or anything. It even has a similar shot in the film that is like the, 'To Protect and Serve', on the police cars in the last two films, where with this one it's a, 'Valley of Peace', on the window of a smashed Hearse. Saying that, the film certainly does have its dark moments and the characters are given time to just sit and talk about what is going on and how they are feeling. And the film still keeps all its iconic moments like the one-liners and the crushed skull, one of the one-liners is, 'I lied', in this film, which must have been done on purpose. Although, it would have been interesting if that character that changes near the end, not saying who it is as to not spoil it, would have stayed the way they changed; but then again, perhaps it wouldn't totally fit.
Out of all the films, I must have seen this one the most and I think that's because I actually owned it on UMD, but I'm not really sure why it gets so much hate, like I previously stated. True, the ending does have a feeling of, 'what was the point?' and does seem to change the whole 'fate' quote from the previous films. But even with that, there is still some hope left at the end about changing everything. If this series was just going to be a trilogy, there could have been a lot worse than this film and I still like it. I'm pretty sure after 'Salvation'; people were looking back more fondly on this.
"Drop dead, you asshole!"
"I am unable to comply."
Don't understand why a lot of people didn't like this sequel as I thought T3 was a lot of fun. Stubborn Cameron loyalists? While the screenplay progression echoes with series familiarity, the T1 & T2 references all clicked with the right amount of humor; Arnie's traditional introductory search for clothes and sunglasses gag is a good example. Plenty of spectacular, OTT Terminator-style action scenes including the incredible firetruck/semi chase/mayhem. Only the nonsensical bathroom brawl and and overly prolonged final fight with the TX felt like excess baggage during this thrillride. Kristanna Loken is made-to-order deadly gorgeous as the new Terminator although she is given even less personality than T2's liquid metalman Robert Patrick. However, adding two legit top-drawer actors to the cast gives this entry an extra boost that you could forgive being absent in the first two movies. Nick Stahl gives John Connor the right level of trepidation and survivalist savvy that a burden of knowing you're supposed to become a hero in the future would bring. Meanwhile, Claire Danes' bountiful skill turns a character that on paper exists mostly to scream and flee into a 3-dimensional woman coming to grips with sudden loss and the horrifying knowledge of what is to come. The great gutsy ending was a real surprise bombshell - literally. On the DVD, the commentary track includes a lot of Arnie which is always gold and there's a very funny deleted scene that finally explains why all the T-800 series models look & sound like him. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines favorably advances the overall story while successfully avoiding the common sequel trap of feeling like a cash-grab, which makes the first 3 Terminators the most satisfyingly entertaining trio of action movies behind only the original Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogies.