Rise of the Machines movie review, dvd, poster

T3: Rise of the Machines
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes

Directed by Jonathan Mostow
Rated R
for strong sci-fi violence and action, and for language and brief nudity

out of Stars, Movie Grade: A
T3 movie trailer

Theatrical Release: July 2, 2003
Running time: 110 minutes

by Kevin Lang

I liked "The Matrix Reloaded," but I'm going to be honest, it didn't quite live up to all the hype that surrounded it. Producer Joel Silver told us that it would revolutionize the way action movies are made, citing parts of the film, such as the freeway chase, that would be like nothing we've ever seen before. It was a good scene, but I think Joel was a little too excited about his investment.

So, upon reading a quote where Arnold Schwarzenegger said that a chase scene involving a construction crane in "T3: Rise of the Machines" will be "the most intense chase scene that you've ever seen in any movie," I couldn't help but be a little skeptical, and I entered the theater with my hopes for the film relatively low. How could they not be? James Cameron was no longer directing the franchise, a different actor was playing the main character of John Connor, Arnold is almost old enough to collect social security, and the Terminator was now up against the T-X (Terminatrix), which looks a little like Alyssa Milano. All of the cards were in play to produce another summer flop.

To my delighted relief, "T3: Rise of the Machines" was not only the best film of the summer thus far, but it was one of the most enjoyable action films that I've seen since perhaps 1999's "The Matrix." Not only did it provide almost non-stop earth rattling action, it managed to continue the engaging story of John Connor, whose future destiny is to lead the humans in their fight against the machines, and in the end save the world. John Connor was played impressively by In the Bedroom's Nick Stahl, who elicited just the right amount of reluctance, humor, and fear as he dealt with his inevitable destiny. This time, the Terminator was sent back to protect John and the others on the T-X's hit list, who would in the future play pivotal roles in the demise of the machines.

These individuals included Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) and her father, Robert Brewster (David Andrews). Kate and John Connor were actually meant to fully discover one another ten years earlier. The film explained that they met briefly at a party the day before the T-1000 arrived to exterminate John. The success of another Terminator machine in "T2" merely postponed their inevitable relationship (Kate's father was the head of Skynet, the defense system that unleashes the machines). We also learned the fate of John's mother, Sarah Connor. I thoroughly enjoyed these elements of the story. They successfully worked to unify the trilogy and provide depth to a film that otherwise played like a massive sci-fi action spectacle with enough explosions to leave the theater in aftershocks long after the audience left.

Not only was the action breathtaking, including the chase scene involving the construction crane that had me giggling with testosterone filled joy, the action also looked entirely realistic in appearance, unlike many other recent films. One reason was because "T3" used computer animation in moderation, unlike other recent movies such as "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Hulk." Another reason was because the Terminator didn't come off as being unbreakable. He didn't take on a hundred T-Xs and walk away unscathed. He had his hands full with just one. He also managed at the same time to somehow convey more emotion than Ang Lee's human derived Hulk, while remaining almost entirely expressionless.

In the end, "T3: Rise of the Machines" offered much redemption for a summer that had until now left little to savor. Elderly Arnold looked not a day older than he did in T2, the female terminator, T-X, proved to be a formidable foe, and the director, Jonathan Mostow, managed to more than keep afloat a franchise whose previous director has been underwater (literally) since "Titanic." Filled with action, humor, suspense, and an ending that left me longing for more, "T3" was the first "must-see" movie of the summer.

"T3: Rise of the Machines" Review written July 1, 2003, CTF.

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"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" DVD

Terminator 3 dvd

DVD Features:

* Commentary by actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken and Director Jonathan Mostow
* Commentary by director Jonathan Mostow
* Warner Home Video (r) used under license. TM & (c) 2003 IMF 3. (c) 2003 IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co.3 Produktions KG. Artwork and Design (c) 2003 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
* Introduction by Arnold Schwarzenegger
* "HBO First Look" Behind-the-scenes feature
* On location feature
* Sgt. Candy Scene: new footage
* Visual Effects Lab: Build your own effect sequence
* Sky Net Database: profiles of characters, weaponry and vehicles
* Terminator Timeline
* Terminal Flaws: Gag reel
* Storyboard gallery
* Costume feature
* Trailers

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