Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003) – A Look Back
John Connor lives in a world where Judgement Day hasn’t yet happened. He’s still afraid it might. His mother Sarah is dead – and he lives alone. Off the grid. No address, no phone. Trying to leave no record of himself.
When trying to steal drugs from a veterinary surgery – he’s imprisoned by employee Kate Brewster who wants to keep him there until the authorities arrive.
Meanwhile – two Terminators have arrived from the future. One of them – a T-800 model, again charged to assist Connor.
The other is the T-X. A combat model which looks like a human female. Since there is no record of Connor anywhere her mission is to track down and assassinate his Lieutenants – and him should he show up on her travels at all.
The T-800 finds John and Kate. Kate is stunned to find out she is destined to be married to John and she herself reprogrammed this T-800 in the future and sent him back. His mission is to get them both to safety and away from the pursuing T-X.
Judgement Day was never prevented – it was just postponed. There is only three hours until the end of the world. Time is running out.
After Carolco went bankrupt Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna managed to retain the rights to The Terminator franchise. They formed C2 Pictures in 1999 and needed a big tent-pole movie to launch it. They actively pursued development on a new chapter.
James Cameron declined involvement as he felt he’d wrapped the story up in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Arnold Schwarzenegger was reluctant to commit to the project at first – as he only wanted to do the movie with Cameron.
Cameron however gave Schwarzenegger his blessing to do the movie as the character belonged just as much to him. He also famously advised him to “not do it for any less than $30 Million”.
With a screenplay by Tedi Sarafian, John Brancato and Michael Ferris – Jonathan Mostow signed on to direct the movie.
Nick Stahl was hired to replace Edward Furlong as John Connor. Also joining the cast were Claire Danes as Kate Brewster and Kristiana Loken as the deadly T-X.
The film was released in 2003 and was popular with audiences and critics.
Nick Stahl does well as John Connor effectively portraying a young man with the weight of terrible knowledge on his shoulders.
Linda Hamilton turned down the movie so her character was written out. In wanting to keep the thematic thread of strong female character central to the story the character of Kate Brewster was created. Claire Danes does well with the part and has a satisfying character arc not unlike Sarah Connor’s in the original film.
The absence of Sarah Connor is actually a good thing for the film as it really helps the character of John Connor come into his own. He finally takes centre stage.
Kristiana Loken does well as the T-X but her performance feels a bit cheesy at times.
It may surprise my readers to hear this – but I actually really like this movie. When a franchise is continued without the involvement of it’s creator – there’s a danger that the replacement creative powers will be governed by committee and lose sight of the property’s heart and soul. Not unlike the recent concern around Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise.
Luckily Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines has it’s own distinct identity – even if the plot does somewhat crib from the previous instalment. Jonathan Mostow and his team do a really good job.
This movie perhaps surprisingly is largely played for laughs. It has a very twisted sense of humour to it. A streak of black comedy. That given the subject matter makes this movie strangely reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Especially with the bold ending when the apocalypse ACTUALLY occurs. A bleak ending it may be – but it means that John Connor is finally ready to face his destiny.
It’s fitting that this would be Schwarzenegger’s last film before temporarily retiring from acting to take political office.
He puts in a very knowing performance as this latest incarnation of his most iconic character. He’s obviously very aware that there is an element of parody to the proceedings and alters his performance accordingly. He’s a hoot here, delivering his trademark one liners with a never before seen hint of gallows humour.
So there you have it people. My final word on these movies. Terminator Salvation isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen but I don’t think I would ever be able to find interesting to say about it.
The less said about Terminator Genisys the better.
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines however is a different story. It may not have the guiding hand of James Cameron – but Jonathan Mostow is a more than adequate substitute.
The Man Who Saved Movies. Desire is irrelevant. I am… a MACHINE!!!