Saturday Movie Review – “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”

The latest Saturday movie review wraps up a trilogy. Will there be a Terminator 4? Well, probably, yes. Should there be?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-101
Nick Stahl

as John Connors
Claire Danes as Kate Brewster
Kristanna Loken as the T-

Screenplay by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, who share story credit with Tedi

Directed by Jonathan Mostow

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from:

Past movie reviews can be found on this extraordinarily out of date page.


Judgement Day wasn’t

stopped, but merely postponed. John Connor is once again hunted by a new Terminator,

and protected by the T-101. Why Skynet isn’t sending all their Terminators back to the

same time as the original to improve the odds is beyond me.

High Point

Actually having the guts to end it that way. Granted, it’s the easiest way to leave

room for another sequel, it’s still not the kind of tone and attitude you get from a

typical Hollywood action flick.

Low Point

The extended banality before

the ending. The TX just made too many bad decisions, starting with killing the cat’s

owner, and continuing with morphing out of camoflage well before the target is anywhere

close enough to be attacked. I see one mistake after another, and considering that I

find Final Fantasy Tactics to be the hardest game I’ve ever owned (including

the original Castlevania for the NES, Impossible Mission for the

Commodore 64, and the original Mega Man) because I’m such a lousy tactician,

the threat of the T-X just isn’t there.

The Scores


original can you get in part three of a series? It’s hard; if you try to get

really original, you’re probably going to have to stray far enough from the original

movie that you’re not really making the same type of film anymore. (For reference,

watch Alien 3.) We’ve got an attempt to drag out a series that worked with an

artistically vague and open ending, with typical Hollywood action tripe filling the hour

and twenty minutes between the effective opening monologue and gutsy conclusion. I give

it 3 out of 6.

The effects were admittedly great. They

are, in fact, the only truly remarkable part of the movie. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was weak. They wrote just enough of a plot to string the action sequences together. I give it 3 out of 6.

The acting was limited by how little the script gave people to work with. The only growth we saw was when John Connor regrew the backbone he grew in the first sequel, and lost at some time between the movies. Reusing a character growth arc isn’t the best way to set your sequel apart from those that came before. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response got off to a good start with the monologue about the nightmares and life choices, only to have that foundation rapidly eroded by inflatable breasts and Elton John sunglasses. The formulaic action did nothing to boost things before the surprising upturn when the true nature of the ending was revealed.
I give it 3 out of 6.

The production went back to Hollywood formula, without even recycling the established blue filtering for night scenes that works so well when you’re looking at robots. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this is a movie that should be reserved for those who enjoyed the first two, but didn’t enjoy them enough to be bothered by a loss of quality. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines receives 25 out of 42.

6 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines””

  1. What I hated about this movie is..
    It basically said, "we lied to you". Further explanation in spoiler tags – It says all that stuff we said in the last two movies about "The future is not set", and "We have not fate but which we make for ourselves" is a lie. John Connor even says in the closing monologue, "The future is set". The movie certainly has a dramatic ending, but I’m afraid it didn’t impress me. Instead, I was too annoyed by the choice they made with the film’s writing.

    For that matter, the previous film’s message, if it really had one, on technology was "Technology is a tool – it is neither good or evil." If this one had a message on technology, it was "Technology will be our undoing". Skynet took all the inter-networked computers in the world and spread itself among them. Aside from the implausability impracticality of running an artificial intelligence through such bizarre form of Beowulf clustering, it also just annoyed the hell out of me by completely reversing the message of the last film.

    That’s the other thing that really annoyed me. This film seemed to try very, very hard to reverse as many things as they possibly could about the second film. Destroying Cyberdyne didn’t destroy Skynet, Skynet wasn’t designed by Cyberdyne, it was designed by the US Military. Just so much bullshit and retconning. To make a comic comparison, comparing T2 and T3 is like comparing Batman of the comics with Batman of movies 1-4. I would have given the film a much lower rating, and particularly would have made the conclusion a low-point.

    • Re: What I hated about this movie is..
      i agree with you 100%. you know the sad thing is that i barely remember the movie, that’s how much of an impact it made on me.

      on the other hand i remember VERY clearly the first time i saw T1 (as a kid when it first came out on VHS) and T2. T3 just doesn’t compare…

  2. What I Did Like
    Okay, So There Isn’t Too Much To Like, but What I Did Like Was The Self-Mockery Of Having Him Go Into The All-Girl Bar Looking For Clothes.

    • Re: What I Did Like

      Okay, So There Isn’t Too Much To Like, but What I Did Like Was The Self-Mockery Of Having Him Go Into The All-Girl Bar Looking For Clothes.

      Holy hell, that capitalizing the first letter of every word makes a sentence HARD to read for some reason :/

      Yea, that part was pretty funny! I never thought about it but the previous poster is right. Now that I think about it that is pretty annoying. I still like the ending of T3 though, either way. Take out the terminator chick and all her associated campiness and this movie was actually pretty good to me. Well, obviously you have to replace her with SOMETHING, but you could just put in a shoebox, it could certainly act better.

  3. Re: Alien 3

    for reference watch Alien 3

    No that should be for reference _never_ watch Alien 3. Although you are correct. When it comes to destroying the message and the quality of a previous film. Alien 3 did the most damage to its predecessor of any seqel ever made.

    I really, really hate that movie. T3, however, was just mostly annoying.

    • Re: Alien 3

      Alien 3 did the most damage to its predecessor of any seqel ever made.

      You obviously have never seen Highlander 2.

      But don’t get me wrong; I certainly agree that Alien 3 sucked.

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