Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"SHE'LL BE BACK"

I saw TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES for the first time on July 4th, 2003 at a movie theater in a mall in the small (but beautiful) town of Bluefield, West Virginia. Judy and I were there to take part in the wedding of Judy's good friend Cathy and her husband Todd. While all of the women in the wedding party were getting their hair and nails done that afternoon, Andrew (whose wife, Heidi, was also in the wedding) and I attended a screening of T3. We both liked the film and when I watched it again the other day, my opinion didn't change.

While not as groundbreaking as either of the first two James Cameron directed installments of the TERMINATOR franchise, T3 (which was the last film appearance by Arnold Schwarzenegger before becoming governor of California), is a pretty solid science fiction action movie. Arnold is back as a Terminator from the war torn future with a mission to protect John Connor (an underwhelming Nick Stahl) and Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) from another killer Terminator, this time one in the lovely form of Kristanna Loken. 

Director Jonathan Mostow orchestrates some slam-bang action set pieces, the special effects are good for the most part (although a few shots looked a little jinky) and the film ends in the only way it possibly could. It's a Strangeloveian finale but given what had already been established in the first two films, the ending is perfectly logical and makes complete narrative sense. 

Yes, Skynet takes over and launches nukes all over the world, a devastating act that sets up the world of the future where the machines rule and humans, led by John Connor, wage a war of resistance against the killer mechs. This future had to eventually come to pass at some point in this franchise in order to make the previous two films possible. After all, if Terminators keep coming back to present day from the future, shouldn't the filmmakers eventually establish once and for all exactly how that future came to be and, more importantly, use that future as a setting for subsequent installlments in the TERMINATOR franchise? You can't keep constantly sending Arnold back to protect Sarah and John Connor. 

It's a grim, downer of an ending but it's one that had to happen in order to move the franchise forward.


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