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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
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284 out of 387 people found the following review useful:

Good, but not worthy of the Terminator franchise (including nerdy rant & SPOILERS)

Author: Superunknovvn from Austria, Vienna
9 May 2004

I know it's easy to put "Terminator 3" down. Everybody had great expectations and it was clear that this movie would have lots of enemies, especially if someone else than Cameron was going to direct. So, here it is now, T3, and the truth is, it is a good action movie, just not as good as Terminator 1 & 2.

What I liked best about this movie is that it doesn't include any martial arts. Since "The Matrix" came out, I often wondered if it would even be possible to make an action movie without Kung Fu anymore. Also, Mostow really tried to not only focus on the action but include some story and character development, too. The problem is, the story is nowhere near as good as it used to be. The writers mistook character development for endless whiney monologues by John Connor, supposed leader of mankind. Where Cameron always found the right balance between someone explaining what was going on and action scenes, T3 fell into the trap of slowing down too often.

What's bothering me even more, is that writers really had a lot of chances to turn „Terminator 3" into an interesting story that picked up from the end of T2. I hoped that finally we'd get an explanation for why only one Terminator is sent back at a time, how the time portal works, how CyberDyne recreated the information on future technology after it had been destroyed in part 2, etc. Instead writers gave vague or no hints at all to previous riddles and went away too far from the original ideas of „Terminator". „No fate but what we make for ourselves" we were told in parts 1 & 2. Now it has changed to „Judgement Day is inevitable". Why is that, you may ask yourself and why would a Terminator know that? It's only one of many things that don't really make sense. A fact that's even more annoying when you think about how perfect the series has been so far. Sure, James Cameron had also made mistakes (John's and Sarah's age, for instance) but the main story did always make sense.

Mostow obviously was afraid of stepping into Cameron's shoes and be compared to him, so he decided to put several nods to the previous movies in sequel no. 2. Nice thought, but T3 is definitely too much of a „nod" to T1 & T2. It's part parody, part rip-off that has only few new elements. Again there are two Terminators, one brand new, one obsolete, we get a spectacular car chase, desert scenes, etc. Furthermore, we get a funny version of the bar scene at the beginning and a „funny" cameo by infamous psychiatrist Dr. Silberman. Yes, some of the jokes are actually quite funny, but really, why would the Terminator smash the gay glasses? Come on, this is supposed to be a serious movie! The worst thing about all this repeating old stuff is that this time there's no suspense whatsoever. It just feels like we've seen it before and we know exactly what's coming.

One scene that could have brought a cool twist to the movie was the one where Arnold gets reprogrammed by the T-X. It would have been so cool, if the T-800 had turned into the bad guy again now. It would have showed that a machine knows no loyalty. Instead we got the most stupid scene ever in a „Terminator" movie: John Connor asks the T-800 not to kill him and the Terminator obeys. Reese said in part 1 „It can't be bargained with" and now John did just that. Sad. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And what's with John Connor? Isn't he the one who will go on to lead mankind? In T3, he isn't much of a leader to me. Is it the writers fault or Nick Stahl's, I don't know, but the character is such a sissy in this movie, it's painful.

About the T-X: why the hell isn't that thing bigger, stronger, faster? The T-X has no real improvements compared to the T-1000 and it seems to be really stupid. How else could it lose to the trashy T-800? And why did it change back to its known form just before it could have killed Kate Brewster in the disguise of her fiancé. Why would it walk around with the same face all the time, anyway? (Granted, that's a question that T2 had already raised and not answered) Although Kristinna Loken played her part quite well, I think it was a bad decision to have a woman play the T-X in the first place. How cool is it to watch Big Ol' Arnold beat up a girl? There are so many more minor mistakes in this movie it gives me headaches (why was the T-800 already programmed to not kill innocent people and look for the keys in the car when it was a different Terminator than the one in part 2? If Arnie is not programmed to answer John's questions why did he answer when John asked if he was gonna kill him? Why did the T-X investigate the place where Kate Brewster works at night? Why didn't the T-X try to reprogram the T-800 from the beginning? Why has the Terminator never used the little atom bomb chip, he's carrying within, against an enemy?), but I think I better stop here.

However, I did like the ending a lot as it's the only real improvement to the whole story and an open door for a sequel. "Terminator 3" is still the best action movie of this summer and it feels really good to see Arnie back in action one more (last?) time.

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239 out of 412 people found the following review useful:

Who cares!

Author: mjbspace from Copenhagen, Denmark
21 July 2003

Have just returned after a triple show of T1 + T2 + T3. An excellent way in which to spend a rainy day!

Before the films my three friends and I were looking very much forward to re-see T1 + T2 on a big screen. As for T3 we didn't expect too much.

While the copies of T1 + T2 were slightly dated, to say the least, both films were absolutely superb, also despite the fact that the effects in T1 were quite primitive compared to today. Nevertheless, T1 remained our favorite not the least because of its very stringent and no-nonsense non-moralistic narrative. T2 was also strong in this aspect, though there were slightly more plot holes and a little too much sentimentality, something which unfortunately plagues many American films. Nonetheless T2 is also great.

Then came T3 ... well, a film taste is very individual. Therefore you, dear reader, should not be deterred from going to see this film, despite the fact that my three friends and I all couldn't care less about it.

Why didn't we like it? Well, surprisingly we were all in agreement about the lack-of-Cameron-touch as one of the worst failings of the film. The new director does not have the ability to time scenes, events, statement and the narrative anywhere near the brilliant level of Cameron.

Therefore the new director tries to make up for this deficiency in making the car chases and the explosions bigger, the new enemy T-X more deadly, and destruction more extreme. But it all lacks energy, soul and credibility. The narrative is messy and coincidental, as if the director thinks "now it will be nice to have this scene from a previous Terminator film included and just beefed up" or "let's try this - it might be funny".

This unfortunately lets the actors down, leaving them with empty hulls and we couldn't care less if they die or live. This, incidentally, is comparable to the Matrix II and the new Star Wars films. The director believes that he has a good film if he/she can include some cool effects. Doesn't work, though!

Furthermore, the scenes lack anything that might even remotely draw the audience into the film. While you can feel the anguish of the humans and the one-mindedness of the robots in the earlier films, this piece of junk left my friends and I with the feeling of "who cares!"

The first and second Hellraiser movies were absolutely splendid. However, what followed should not ever be mentioned anywhere - especially number three sucked big time and should never bee seen by anybody. Terminator 3 is not so bad that it shouldn't be seen, though. However, it is highly advisable that you lower any expectations - and the lower them again. Then you might enjoy this film. Alternatively wait for the cheap version of the DVD.

Finally, if the studio really wants to make a T4, which is highly suggested in T3, then they better get Cameron back on the job. Otherwise they will have just another silly action flick, with no real innovation or originality on their hands, like a gazillion other action flicks from Hollywood - because this is what they have with T3. So unless they rediscover the respect they owe to the great old Terminator-films : Who cares!

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118 out of 175 people found the following review useful:

Unwanted parody of two of cinemas finest action films

Author: axlrhodes from United Kingdom
2 June 2008

No matter what people say Terminator 3 was a turkey.The tone was wrong and bad decisions were made in the casting and character phase of the film.Sarah Conner is feebly written out of this story and the film suffers badly for missing her presence.There is also too much self referential parody,there are times when Arnie is made to look silly through the use of badly timed and misjudged comedy moments.I partly blame Jonathan Mostow,he held the reigns on this one and would have had a big say in how it all played out.I couldn't believe they went as far to copy the scene in T2 when Arnie gets his leathers in the bar only this time he gets them from a gay bar and ends up wearing 70's style plastic Elton John style glitz glasses instead of his iconic shades.This was embarrassing.Ed Furlong is replaced by the inferior Nick Stahl and Clare Danes is just filler. The Terminatrix doesn't really come off although Kristianna Loken tries her best.In all this is a hugely disappointing experience for people that have followed Terminator films so far.It has some great standalone action sequences but as a whole is a lazy retread that indulges parody and comedy far too much divorcing itself from the serious tone set by the previous two films.

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346 out of 640 people found the following review useful:

It broke my heart

Author: Paulo Matsui (paulomatsui) from Sao Paulo, Brazil
19 January 2004

The Terminator is a character idolized by thousands of people around the world. The imagery - along with unconscious symbols - made this character an icon for generations.

Jim Cameron ingenuity (with the help of Bill Wisher) gave us two movies that complement each other, folding the story in ways ever more interesting each time you watch them.

Action packed, fun and original. We helped spread the word on Terminator mythology.

How come a movie studio using their rights to use a character build up such a opportunity-jackpot-halfbaked popcorn movie just to make cash out of loyalty of this huge fan base?

I felt betrayed and sad when I saw this (God permits) last installment on this sequel. What have they done to my robot?

What did they do with my movie?

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76 out of 110 people found the following review useful:

A good, but flawed, attempt at continuing James Cameron's legacy.

Author: HHoffman-2
19 August 2006

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is often criticized by fans as being not in the same tone as its predecessors. While I agree with that statement in many ways, I think Jonathan Mostow made an honest effort to bookend the series.

Storyline: The story is probably one of the things I take issue with most. It brings up new questions on the nature of time travel within the Terminator universe, as well as bringing new plot holes (something the previous films also had). Some of these flubs could've been corrected with a little research, but I digress.

The story tends to be a retread of Terminator 2, which hurts it a lot. But Mostow tries to draw attention away from this with some awesome action sequences. The storyline, in this respect, takes it up a notch with scenes such as the restroom fight and crane scene.

Acting: I think the acting is one of the best things in this film. Mostow did an excellent job in casting. Rather than going for actors known for their work in action films, the director instead used performers known for their talent in dramatic roles. Nick Stahl and Claire Danes both portray their characters with depth and humanity. Stahl does an especially good role in showing the paranoia and uncertainty of the future.

And, as always, Arnold Schwarzenegger does a great job as the Terminator. His lack of social interaction provides many humorous moments throughout the film, while also giving him a drill instructor approach when dealing with the John Connor character.

Lastly, there is Kristanna Loken as the T-X. While not as intimidating as the T-1000, I didn't expect this to be the case. Robert Patrick played a character with no face and every face, which can only work once if at all. That being said, Loken does a decent job in the role, providing a very cold performance for an equally cold character.

Visual/Special Effects: The visuals of Terminator 3 are pretty good. The liquid metal effects are still as great as they were in 1991 along with some of the CG animated endoskeletons in the Future War sequence.

My only qualms with the visuals is that there is a lack of blue tint that was prevalent in James Cameron's previous films, but this is more a matter of taste than anything.

Musical Score: Brad Fiedel's dark and mechanical theme is absent from the film until the credits arrive, which is something that bothered me. Not only that, but T3's rendition of the theme isn't as powerful as it is in its predecessors.

However, Marco Beltrami does manage to increase the tension of scenes with his score, though little else. This aspect, like the storyline, could of been improved.

Conclusion: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn't a necessary sequel, but a decent one. I don't believe this installment ruined the series as much as, say, Alien^3. This film will no doubt continue to be one that either fans love or hate.

I happen to love it.

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97 out of 154 people found the following review useful:

Waste of time

Author: El Gato-4
14 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even if there were no Terminator or T2, T3 would be a horridly mediocre movie. The original Terminator was an exercise in imagination conquering budget limitations, while T2 showed what could be accomplished if imagination were wedded to an unlimited budget. T3 shows what a tremendous budget with little imagination gets you - a terminator whose unique ability is to make her fingers into sharp points. Whoopee! There are narrative lapses too numerous to mention, such as our non-tech hero operating an atom smasher. Or a heroine who doesn't know exactly what her father does for a living traipsing into the super secret underground & armored military installation where he works. T3 operates best as a self-administered IQ test: if you thought this movie was good, you should seriously consider remedial education.

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95 out of 159 people found the following review useful:

T3 is a solid follow up to a classic

Author: view_and_review from California
30 January 2007

T3 was actually very good. Put it this way, if we had never been treated to the classic and innovative T2, I believe a lot more people would have been in love with T3. T3 was looking at some serious obstacles: 1.) following up T2, a monster success 2.) an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger 3.) making a cohesive story that wouldn't contradict the former Terminators 4.) making a better terminator than the T-1000.

As I said before, they followed up T2 respectably enough. There were good fight scenes with the T-800 and the T-X (I particularly like the fight in the bathroom), and there was an excellent car chase scene near the beginning. The action was good and plentiful, the effects were nice, and there was some good humor in the movie as well.

Arnold was still in shape enough and made up enough to be believable. Of course he wore the leather jacket the entire movie. Not only that, he was an older Terminator model anyway, so any signs of stiffness or slow wittedness could easily be blamed on that.

The story flowed well. John Connor (Nick Stahl) was again the focus except he is now a bit more subdued and scared. In his attempts to stay out of any electronic systems, he chooses a horrible life of joblessness, homelessness, and just plain bumming it. He was complimented by a much smarter, cleaner, and stronger partner, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes); she was tied into the story rather well. They stayed true to the Armageddon type story line and even had a bit of misdirection at the end to make the movie even more interesting.

The T-X model terminator (Kristanna Loken) was nice. Sure, they chose a beautiful woman for the T-X, but she was not to be trifled with. The T-X had the same shape shifting abilities as her predecessor (the T-1000) but she also had abilities to control anything that had a CPU and she could form her hand into a variety of weapons. Similar to the T-1000 (Robert Patrick of T2), the T-X (Loken) took the T-800 (Schwarzenegger) to town, but she was a bit more dangerous even than the T-1000.

T3 was a solid movie for a third installment. Usually by the third sequel you are begging Hollywood to stop, but I can't say that about this movie. This movie is good enough to watch more than once.

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74 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

Introducing the T-X.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
3 December 2007

Schwarzeneggar is back (he said he would be) as another T-1000 cyborg sent through time to protect the now grown up John Connor (Nick Stahl), and his future wife, Kate (Claire Danes), who are being stalked by the T-X (Kristanna Loken), the latest in murderous machines hellbent on destroying the human race.

Rise Of The Machines might not be the (near) perfect juggernaut of an action sequel that was Cameron's Judgement Day, but as far as edge-of-the-seat, sci-fi fun goes, it's still bloody good! Director Jonathan Mostow certainly makes the most of his mega-budget, and delivers plenty of jaw-dropping mayhem along with loads of impressive special effects. And Schwarzenneggar does what he does best: blowing things up, shooting huge weapons, and delivering cheesy one-liners.

The (mostly) smart script follows on nicely from The Terminator and T2, further developing the character of John Connor, neatly explaining away the absence of Linda Hamilton in a not-too-disappointing way, and brilliantly bringing the whole affair to a satisfying, and not altogether happy, conclusion. There is blistering action (a set piece involving a massive crane causing untold damage to umpteen cars and buildings is absolutely incredible), some nice touches of humour, and a bit of quite gruesome violence (for a DVD that is rated 12!).

Sure, T3 isn't quite as good as its predecessors, but how many films are? Both the original The Terminator and T2 are extremely tough acts to follow. I think Rise Of The Machines does a pretty good job and deserves a lot more praise than it gets.

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70 out of 113 people found the following review useful:

This is not a "Terminator" movie.

Author: hiperaktiv
18 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*Spoilers Ahead*

For T3, I wanted a serious movie with dark tones(afterall it is the supposed Rise of the Machines) that had a message of deep meaning like the previous 2 movies and that would develop each character, their inner thoughts, and expand the storyline while being faithful to the Terminator universe. I wanted to see the Skynet A.I. being developed, i wanted more hints at the establishment of Skynet and the machines. I wanted a movie with dazzling chase scenes. I wanted an established and well executed plot. I wanted a moving T3 score on par with the previous 2 Terminator movies. I wanted an Arnold that was "the Terminator". In all i just wanted a decent film faithful enough to be able to call itself a "Terminator" movie.

But what did we get instead? A bizarre comedy which made fun of the Terminator and destroyed everything Terminator previously stood for. A movie which had no serious tones and that preferred comedy and weak action scenes directed in a careless manner. So much for T3 being a "REAL" Terminator movie. The crane truck sequence was ok, but every chase scene in T2 s***s all over it. Was that the only chase sequence in T3? Well no if you include that p***weak hearse chase. So much for upholding the strong element of chase scenes the previous 2 Terminator movies were renowned for.

What about the T-X? Given a secondary mission as well as a primary one? How stupid - there should only be one mission - to kill John Connor. Any secondary objective just takes away any impact of the primary one. What about her one liners, array of cheesy weapons, and crappy abilities? Again - more stupid decisions. I didnt once feel that the T-X was a threat to John, nor did i feel that it had the screen presence likened to that of the T-1000.

What about Arnold? Now a T-850 he has a basic knowledge of psyhcology, the ability to change power cells, and a great sense of humour. He should be called the T-850 wise cracking breakdancing disco cyborg. Not once did i take Arnold seriously, and cringed everytime he said anything.

As for Claire Danes and Nick Stahl - i thought they were ok - but ultimately the story didnt allow to develop their characters or give them any scenes of deep meaning or of a serious tone.

What about the futurewar sequence? What a joke - we get about 1 minute of CGI endoskeletons - and an older John Connor parading victory in front of an American flag. Where the hell are Stan's menacing T-800's? Where the hell is the "future war"? All i see is a rushed scene.

And the supposed "Rise of the Machines?" We get about 3 minutes explaining that there is problems with Skynet, a virus, and a little hint of the creation of a machine army. Woah! Don't go overboard on story Director Jonathon Mostow! I would have been much better to see the plot more fleshed out and explained properly rather than told in a poorly rushed manner.

Was the movie fun? If your looking for a paper thin movie with lots of comedy and crap action scenes you'll probably like T3. But ultimately T3 came off as a stupid popcorn comedy flick devoid of any serious tones or intelligence, filled with undeveloped characters, poorly directed and lacking action scenes, a non-existent score by hack composer Marco Beltrami, and an unfilling and rushed storyline. T3 felt as if the movie had at least 20 to 30 minutes cut from it, so it wont surprise me if we see a "hack directors cut" T3 DVD. Painfully obvious is the absence of James Cameron, Brad Fiedel, and true Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger.

T3 is the Alien 3 of the Terminator saga, but at least Alien 3 went with more of a serious tone instead of making the Dog Alien a wisecracking breakdancing disco Alien. Comparitively with Alien 3, T3 will probably garner the same reaction from hardcore Terminator fans - treating it with a ghostlike non-existence. Because that is what this movie truly deserves.

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54 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

To think: I'm criticizing Arnold for showing TOO MUCH emotion

Author: Nuuu
6 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poor writing and poor directing plagued this film. The characters simply weren't who they were supposed to be.

John Connor (Nick Stahl) who was trained in weapons and warfare from childhood by his mother dealt unflinchingly with the threat of the T-1000 as a 13 year old boy now appears to be a scared and confused drifter who freezes under pressure and exudes none of the confidence or ingenuity he did a decade ago.

The T-X (Kristanna Loken) is cartoony. In place of ruthless efficiency for which the terminators are known she kills sadistically. Rather then relentlessly pursuing her enemy she seems to saunter and pose in what I can only assume is an attempt to build suspense. And in the end, she simply isn't that frightening of a villain.

Arnold was the biggest disappointment if only because he played the role with far too much of a human feel. He has emotional conversations with John Connor, appears angry and surprised at times, and has a number of one-liners during action sequences that require far more wit than a machine with no emotion should be capable of.

The sound was absurd. When the terminator or the T-X was hit with something heavy we were greeted by a cartoony "boink" rather than something realistic. The soundtrack also lacked all of the attitude and intensity that truly set the atmosphere for the first two movies.


And the continuity errors and unanswered questions ruined any hope of a story the movie may have had

Terminator 2 tells us that terminators (at least stock terminators) can't learn. Arnie clearly does, after learning and reciting the "talk to the hand" phrase.

Terminator 1 tells us that The Terminators were only sent back to kill John as a last ditch effort once the resistance had destroyed the skynet core. Now, Skynet doesn't have a core at all.

Why would the US government leave a secret, high grade fallout shelter COMPLETELY unguarded?

How did John, Kate, and a 6 foot tall terminator in black leather make it to the command center of a busy high tech military research facility without authorization and while carrying loaded weapons? And why isn't anyone surprised to see them there until shooting starts?

While the T-X can control machines, how can she remotely move the gear shift of a car from park to drive, an action that requires physical interaction?

If, as T2 suggests, the concept of skynet was only made possible by the discovery of the pieces of the destroyed terminator from T1, how was it possible in T3 after John Connor destroyed all remnants of the terminators sent back through time?

Unfortunately I could go on and on from here. From the final product it appears as though the writers spent less time on the script for this movie than I did on this review

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