Sci-Fi December: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator 3 illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerTerminator 3: Rise of the Machines – 2003

Dir: Jonathan Mostow | Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken

Year: 2003

Review: The most lovable Terminator yet! If you felt like T-800’s jokes were few and far between in previous movies than you should feel good in knowing thats it all changed in T3 – he’s dropping dry humor like its going out of style. If that fact seems to not ring quite true to you, then you may begin to understand why this movie doesn’t quite live up to the previous incarnations of the series. The production of this film never saw James Cameron fill any of its doorways, so that alone throws off the tone and color of the film to make it not quite feel part of crowd. The plot does well enough to extend the story started in the previous films but it also doesn’t feel nearly as substantial. T-800 comes back again to save a now adult John Connor from a newer and more dangerous Skynet threat, the T-X robot. The reasons and instructions that seem to be guiding T-800 this time are mysterious and the nature of his direction is a mild twist as the film moves along. The film does deliver a fantastic chase sequence that I believe rivals any from T2, and the other action has satisfying brawls and some cool abilities from the T-X robot, however she never quite delivers the cold threat that Robert Patrick or Arnold were ever able to do. Time travel has never been too complicated of a matter in these films, and it remains the case in this as well. Its entertaining and fairly harmless to the legacy, but it doesn’t have that feeling found in the previous two films and the scope of the canon doesn’t get much larger – but T-800 will charm you like never before.

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