I guess there are some things to like about T3, the ending is cheerfully narccistic - satirising the fascination with Weapons of Mass Destruction. It has a boatload of action and more cars wrecked than I've seen in recent years - topping The Matrix: Reloaded. However, it's a thinly scripted and silly effort, with some unbearably camp attempts at humour.

Trying to make real sense of the ruined timelines of the Terminator franchise leaves this viewer with an "OhnoIvegonecrosseyed" headache, so I'll just iterate the basics.

Copy picture

Terminator 2's events merely postponed Judgment Day, the military develops a supercomputer, probably using the same design as shown in both previous films. The saviour of the human resistance is a man without a future, who exists from day-to-day without any of the traceables you and I take for granted such as a bank-account and mobile phone. Another new-and-improved cyborg, called the T-X, or Terminatrix - "an anti-Terminator Terminator" - is sent back through time, and again, Arnold Schwarzennegger stars as the obsolete protector.

Nothing feels new in Terminator 3. Everything is tired. The gags fall flat, the action is spectacular at times, yet without purpose. Homogenisation plagues the script to within an inch of its life. Cameron explored the technological amorality of good terminator and bad terminator much more thoroughly in the prequels. The action was more intense and exciting when you weren't looking at something so obviously staged and silly, and the violence wasn't as sickening. We almost always cut away, leaving our imaginations repulsively filled with blood spatters and crunches. How this got a 12A rating is beyond me.

By comparison, The Terminator's use of violence was in your face, direct and frightening. In T2, Cameron used it for black humour. In T3,it's just there... In fact, it goes over so much of the prequels' material that it's either a failed and sophisticated satire, or an illogical and badly written piece of junk. Why does the new terminator wear high heels when chasing the heroes? Why does she abandon her disguise when it's not necessary? It's not a pretentious movie, thankfully, but given it is corny, implausible and ridiculous, and full of logic holes, who honestly cares about pretention?

Director Jonathan Mostow is a reasonable hired hand, never leaving a stamp on any of his projects, even in the splendid Breakdown, or Das Boot wannabe U-571. Much like those, Terminator 3 is technically splendid, but uninvolving - a film without real human bite. Its characters are bland cyphers, unlike Cameron's well-drawn roles. And Cameron's natural skill for pushing the envelope when it comes to filmmaking is also missing.

I said before the ending was interesting, and if you don't want to know any more then don't read the next few sentences.

Judgment Day happens, precisely as predicted, and it follows the Twelve Monkeys route of inevitability, trying to stop it is futile. It is handled nicely, in voice-over as three-billion people reach a million degrees Farenheit. It is an interesting image which scarily goes against Cameron's original story ideas of "No Fate but what we make".

It was the only time in the entire movie did I feel any real emotion other than contempt for those involved.

Reviewed on: 03 Jan 2007
Share this with others on...
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines packshot
Third installment in the Terminator franchise has robot Arnie fighting a metallic woman.
Amazon link

Read more Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines reviews:

Gator MacReady ****
Tony Sullivan ****
Angus Wolfe Murray ***
Jennie Kermode ***
Stephen Carty ***

Director: Jonathan Mostow

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews, Mark Famiglietti, Earl Boen, Moira Harris, Chopper Bernet, Christopher Lawford, Carolyn Hennesy

Year: 2003

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


Search database: