19 August 2006 | HHoffman-2
A good, but flawed, attempt at continuing James Cameron's legacy.
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.