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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [MOVIE REVIEW]

This is the first Terminator movie not to be directed or written by James Cameron which means its father has left and is now left with new people to continue the story. It is considered to be the worst or second worst of the franchise and is generally just not seen as a good film. So after re-watching it for the first time in several years. Do I think it has gotten an unnecessary amount of hate or is everybody completely right?

When I first saw 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' I really did not like it. It just felt like a desperate attempt to cash in on the popularity of the other films when they should have just left it as two great movies. It did not need to be a trilogy and we did not need to see what happened after 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'. When I re-watched it in preparation for 'Terminator: Genisys' though I have to say that I may have been a bit too harsh on it and that there are a lot more positive things about it than I initially gave it credit for. But this does not mean it is not just a desparate attempt to cash in on the other two films and that it is by far the weakest of the first three. The acting is nothing impressive or noteworthy (apart from Schwarzenegger of course). What we have is a stupid but somewhat entertaining film that is worth seeing at least once if you are interested in the franchise.

The plot pretty much bends over backwards and distorts its own previously established continuity set up by the last film in order for it to exist. This is where many fans lost the movie and never gave it a second chance and I can definitely see why. It is a really big leap you have to get over in order to move along. But then again, the Terminator being a good guy in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' is also a big difference and can be a bit difficult to get over (though not as big of course because at least the explanation given to us made sense). 

The visual effects even by todays standard are incredible,  even though I had already seen the film I was stunned by how good the effects when the terminators landed in modern day Los Angeles looked. Of course some effects look a bit dated now but it is balanced perfectly with practical and CGI that it really does not matter and will not distract anyone. 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' was always the movie in the franchise who got all the love for the visual effects since it pushed the boundaries to a level we had not seen before but I think more love should be given to this film as well. Yes it is not even close to being as good of a movie but the effects hold up just as well as the last film.

In terms of sheer spectacle, the crane sequence is the best action scene of the whole series (not saying it is the best, just in terms of spectacle. Arnold Schwarzenegger actually paid $1.2 million dollars from his own pocket so they could pull it off with a real crane and a real building and man did it pay off. It is a marvellous concept and setup and it is executed brilliantly. Sadly the other action scenes do not hold up but I cannot call any of them bad neccessarily. They just do not have the same weight or sense of grip like the last film.

I mentioned earlier how this movie seems desperate and no example shows this better than the recycling of the most popular catchphrase "I'll be back" from 'The Terminator'. Sure the second movie did that as well, but 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' is so desperate - it does it twice. Arnold says both "She'll be back" and "I'm back" within the span of probably 30 minutes and it just takes you right out of the movie each time. Just like the second movie though we also get more silly catchphrases (and thankfully none of them in this one seems to have caught on). We have "talk to the hand" which was just... wow was that a failed attempt at comedy. Sure it was not as out of place and silly like when I first saw it but it is still really weak and quite ridiculous. You would also have to wonder why the Terninator used that line the guy in the bar used on him when the only reason he said the catchphrases in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' was because John Connor told him to and he was ordered to follow what he said. Why would this new Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator randomly pick up on things insignificant people say to him and also know the reason behind why the guy said it?

If you ignore the incredibly stupid way this film essentially cheats the point of the last film then the ending is quite great. I actually quite liked their realization that whatever they do - it will not change anything even though it does not add up with what we were told in the last film. It also leads into the next film really well which none of the other Terminator films have. It is a stupid, stupid movie but also quite enjoyable with fantastic CGI.


5/10

- Lucas

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