Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Movie Review
After 12 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the role that made him what he is today, and seeks to reclaim the box office crown that he once so easily held. However, is a sequel to an apparently completed set of movies really necessary, and will it whet the appetite of those fans looking for more.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines looks at the struggle between John Conner and the latest Terminator attack on the verge of Judgment Day. Conner (Nick Stahl) becomes reintroduced to a childhood friend (Claire Danes), but their reunion is quickly interrupted by the attack of a new Terminator (Kristanna Loken) who can from guns with her hands. Luckily, the future resistance (Conner himself) has sent back the original Terminator model (Arnold) to protect them, but will it be in time to stop Skynet from taking over and the bombs from falling?
Terminator 3 has a lot going for it. It is an exciting action movie from beginning to end that has plenty of cool action scenes (especially the truck chase scene). It has a hot new Terminator (though she is only naked for a split second) and Claire Danes, who is a pretty good actress. Arnold is back how we all want him to be, and Nick Stahl, coming off the success of In the Bedroom, offers further cast support.
Unfortunately, it has a lot of things going against it, too. Linda Hamilton (Sarah Conner) is not in this movie, and she was the main character in the first two. Though Stahl does a pretty good job, it would have been much better had Edward Furlong reprised his role as John. Furthermore, Terminator 2: Judgment Day not only wrapped everything up nicely, but it also is considered by many (including me) as one of the best action movies ever created. How do you make a sequel to an A+ plus movie that finished the story ten years earlier?
Well, you do what any other sequel does and spend a minute to explain how the ending to the previous film was not actually as concrete as once thought. In other words, the director of this movie, Jonathan Mostow, disregards the first two movies to make some money.
On its own, Terminator 3 is a good movie. It is fun, entertaining and action-packed. However, it cannot stand on its own because it is a sequel, and because of that, there are some serious problems.
First off, Jonathan Mostow is not James Cameron. Cameron created and refined the first two Terminator movies, and made them as cool as possible. He is a master of the trade, and frankly, Mostow is not. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the movie goes wrong, but something just doesn't feel right. For instance, the Terminator music (or any kind of good music) is not used until the ending credits. Mostow creates very little suspense at times.
Furthermore, Terminator 3 seems to be merely a rehash of the last two movies. As in the first one, the bad Terminator goes around killing a bunch of different people. Claire Danes basically plays the same character that Sarah Conner was in the first movie (an innocent, unbelieving victim of the future). Even the best sequence in the movie, the truck chase scene, seems right out of Terminator 2. There is very little originality and it is obvious that this movie has been made to be nothing more than a cash cow.
To avoid going into endless criticisms, Terminator 3 just completely doesn't make sense because of one serious flaw: the postponement of Judgment Day. Yes, in a script it is very easy to just push back Judgment Day for the sake of making a new movie, but this concept makes little sense. If it takes place six years later than it was supposed to, then it is a different Judgment Day; everything that follows would be different. Sure, coincidentally John Conner could still end up being the leader of the resistance, but come on! This is ridiculous.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was an enjoyable action film, but as the third in a series of Terminator movies, it is very disappointing. Even worse, it destroys all the closure of the second one, which essentially destroys the integrity of both prequels. This movie should only have been made had James Cameron been directing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.