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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines


OK, I never saw the first two movies. But apparently, John Connor, the unborn baby from the first movie and the kid from the second, is now all grown up. The future evil machine Skynet sends back another terminator to off him and all his future lieutenants in their fight against Skynet.

Of course, he and his group from the future also send back yet another Arnold to protect them. Lots of chasing happens. Arnold, John and another girl they pick up (Claire Danes) try to shut down Skynet before it becomes the monster of the future.

What I Thought

Well, you know those deep movies that make you question who you are in this world? You sit in the theater, watching a movie about a character who knows the future (or some variation of that) and feels the oppressive inevitability of his destiny and his death settle like a mantle across his shoulders. You then get that detached feeling of "oh my God, I'm going to die too, why am I wasting my life watching a movie?", and look around you. Look at all those people, they look like a cross between lemmings and that theater scene in Gremlins.

Then you start to have this existential dilemma. Who are all these people? Well, who am I? What does it MEAN to be sitting in this movie with all these people having a faux-community experience? Did the $9 really justify the sticky floor and smelly neighbors?

Anyway, this ain't that movie.

It does kind of pretend to be, giving John some broody-melancholy moments. But it skips over broody and just goes straight to camp. Sure, the chase scenes are kind of fun, but let's face it, the Matrix movies did it better. Special effects? You saw 'em in the second movie. Storyline? Pfah! Pfah, I say.

Let's get at least ONE thing straight: John Connor is a homeless vagabond, so chances are that he's shifting about the country (and we see that in those brief brooding scenes). So he gets into an accident on his motorcycle. So we're supposed to believe the following:

  1. He coincidentally has his accident in Hollywood, where,
  2. He coincidentally picks a certain animal hospital that he breaks into, where,
  3. He coincidentally meets Claire Danes, who,

I mean, NEVER MIND that he and/or Arnold keep showing up just seconds after the bad Terminator attacks (several times in the movie, no less!). And never mind that those three can just waltz into a super-duper-high-security military installation to try to warn daddy. Oh, and never mind that in this fantasy world, daddy's secret ultra code book is good for several military installations (yeah, let's see 2 of OUR applications coordinate passwords like that!).


I'm getting all worked up. My blood pressure is rising. I feel fidgety, like I'm in a Woody Alan movie... which leads me back to thinking about my existential dilemma. Y'all know what I'm talking about, right?

OK, let's focus on the positives. I mean, it wasn't a BAD movie, it just was set in a world where these coincidences keep happening. I can swallow a future machine-man war, I can swallow androids coming back in time and trying to change history. That is the internal universe of the movie, its frame of reference. It's that these strange coincidences just don't fly. They just don't.

Nick Stahl does an OK John Connor, but he was trying to hard to be this dark outcast and ended up being a big baby. Claire Danes was also pretty one dimensional and was pretty much just 'there'.

I can't even complement Arnold. Yes, I know, he'll come and beat me up. I had heard about his "hasta la vista baby" and "I'll be back" quotes from the other movies. But here they made his strange quips pure caricature. Arnold has become cliche.

So, no, I don't think I liked it all that much.


All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.