It is clear from the very beginning that James Cameron had nothing to do with this film. What he managed to achieve with The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, makes Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines look infantile.
When the standard for a film has been set so high, it really is a foolish gamble to make another film 12 years on. The odds are really stacked against you. Films are eternal, once they’re completed they’re there forever, unless there is some machine uprising that destroys all movies or something random like that. What I mean by this is that T3 is done, all the handwork and labour spent on it gave a result, a result that is available for everyone to see, experience. It’s set in stone that T3 isn’t a great Terminator instalment. I am sure that there are people who love this film, maybe, but for the most part, all fans can feel that T3 doesn’t share the same DNA as the first two, and hence it feels like a disappointment.
You are given the opportunity to care for the characters in T1 and T2, while at the same time enjoying some crazy action. It seems like, with T3, that the majority of the emphasis is given to the action and CGI. There are great action sequences that look great, but feel fake. Honestly the CGI in this film isn’t great and is in my opinion over-used. Considering that this film had a massive budget, the biggest for its time, you think that CGI could serve a tool to refine, serve to enhance the story, not detract from it. Perhaps the most entertaining scene in this film is when The Terminator is fighting The Terminatrix in the restroom, there are some comedic visual gags in this scene.
T1 and T2 have an epic feel to them, they are serious films. T3 doesn’t feel like it wants us to take it seriously, and in all honesty there are moments that it starts to feel like a parody. I believe that humour is essential in all films, but when you set out to make an action film with the end of the world as a subject line, humour should serve as relief. Basically, the direction seems unclear, is this a comedy or do you want us to take it seriously?
According to James Cameron, he has stated that the story of The Terminator had been told completely after T2. So what exactly are we seeing in T3!? The story that is expanded on is interesting but written rather poorly. It’s great to see Arnold Schwarzenegger back in such good shape for this film, but even his performance is missing something, and I put it down to the poorly written script, his dialogue isn’t as meaningful. Plus there is a lot of repetitiveness in this film, and although it seems to go into uncharted territory with the story, it really doesn’t.
Claire Danes delivers a good performance in accordance with what she has to work with, but perhaps the freakiest of performances is given by Kristanna Loken, who is the T-X, a much more advanced killing machine that the feared T-1000 from T2. Her movements and facial expressions work to convince us that she is a machine, plus it’s really creepy and cool that she can control machines from a distance, almost telepathically. It’s worth mentioning I don’t agree with the casting choice for John Conner, Nick Stahl fails to portray the John Conner I know.
Even though there are numerous flaws in this film, it does have it’s moments. Where most of the first half of the film is focused on action and over-the-top blasts, the second half tries to develop the characters, and manages to achieve some moments that could be considered memorable, like when Arnie reboots himself. Also I think the ending to this film is ok, not great, but ok. And I do feel that there is a hidden message in this film, John Conner says towards the end, that humans have been killed by the very same machines they built to protect them. War is horrible, and maybe T3 is trying to tell us this too.
T3 isn’t essential viewing, but if you want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in leather, then go for it!
We hope you are enjoying The Terminator Series! The FilmMunch treatment to Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys coming soon!
TRIVIA COOKIE: Apparently this petrol/gas station is the same one shown in all first three Terminator films: