Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as a time-travelling T-101 Terminator in this smash hit directed by Jonathan Mostow. With dazzling effects, bravura thrills and a story that boldly spins into the unexpected, this is an event spectacle to see and see again.
The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. I wish I could believe that. My name is John Connor, they tried to murder me before I was born, when I was 13 they tried again. Machines from the future. Terminators. All my life my mother told me the storm was coming, Judgment Day, the beginning of the war between man and machines. Three billion lives would vanish in an instant, and I would lead what was left of the human race to ultimate victory. It hasn't happened, no bombs fell, computers didn't take control, we stopped Judgment Day. I should feel safe, but I don't, so I live off the grid - no phone, no address, no one and nothing can find me. I've erased all connections to the past, but as hard as I try I can't erase my dreams, my nightmares - John Connor
(Be forewarned that the following review contains mild spoilers)
Over a cup of coffee and toast, I had an engaging conversation with my fellow reviewer Richard before the opening of McG’s Terminator Salavation on how I find Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Do I belong to the detractor camp or do I embraced it like he did. And ironically, before long I was sent this Blu-ray version of it.
Richard’s argument was Terminator 3 acts like a bridge between the events that happened after T2 and before salvation. Mine was it’s a redundant cinematic outing with the exception of the ballsy ending.
I decided to give it another go with this high-definition version. For those who happened to miss this Jonathon Mostow’s instalment, fret not, here’s what’s happening here. A decade has passed since John Connor (now played by Nick Stahl) survives the assassination attempt by T-1000. With his mum now dead, Connor is all alone holding on to the all the grime vision of the future. Shortly after, a more advanced robot, the T-X is sent by Skynet to murder Connor and his future wife, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) with the interference of an outdated Terminator, the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) which is once again sent to protect them.
If these sound so familiar, it’s because you have seen them all in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The story by John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Tedi Sarafian truthfully replicated the 1991’s James Cameron version right down to the wry humour and major action sequences which I got to credit them for. In T2, Cameron stages a heart-pounding chase sequence along a canal while Mostow tops it by hurling a monster crane into the hearts of the city. Even the way the Terminators arrived from the future is similar. The pitfall of T3 is the almost duplication from T2 especially in the first and second act.
Apart from staging larger scale action sequences and more convincing digital and physical effects from ILM and the late Stan Winston, the rest is déjà vu for most Terminator fans. It’s not until the last act things started to gear in the right direction. We are told that Judgment Day was never stop by the then 13 years old John Connor, his mum and the old Terminator, it was in fact postponed according to the horse mouth. Skynet is going to destroy mother earth and wipe off billion of lives by initiating a nuclear war attack on mankind.
Finally Mostow had a chance to bring forward the flagging story unfortunately before he could further expand the timeline, the movie closed on a grim note. That ballsy ending that challenged any conventional happy ones. The moment when John Connor starts to believe he is going to be the leader of the worldwide resistance and last hope for mankind. You start to crave for more as you realised the Terminator universe is starting to form up.
But alas this is it. The end of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It took almost 100 minutes to come to this. And back to our argument, will T3 be a better movie if Mostow had fast-forward the destruction at the half-way mark instead of spending an entire movie regurgitating Cameron’s T2? Or is this like what Richard said a sort of a bridge to Terminator Salvation, a world which Sarah Connor never warns her son about?
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines remains in my opinion a wasted opportunity to engage the old or win over new Terminator fans which explains the lukewarm box-office receipts domestically when it was released in 2003. But if you want something that could boast the credibility of your Blu-ray theater system then look no further because T3 is an excellent showcase of cinematic magic.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
(Note that most of the supplements in this Blu-ray Disc are repeated from the 2-Disc Widescreen DVD version.)
Terminator Vision: Picture-in-Picture Experience – The pip feature is a picture-in-picture commentary found only on Blu-ray discs. It works like a commentary track only this time round with the additional window accompanying the movie. It’s not a mind-blowing feature to be honest or you can just stick to the commentary tracks if you do not wish to be distracted.
Commentary by director Jonathan Mostow, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Claire Danes, Nick Stahl and Kristanna Loken – The stars of T3 shares their experiences on the set and their individual roles in this separately recorded commentary track.
Commentary by director Jonathan Mostow – An engaging and recommended track by Mostow who discussed practically everything under the sun on the subject of shooting T3 of course.
Documentary – This is the usual cast and crew interview segment with the director, producer and the cast.
Storyboards – A scene-by-scene comparison with the artwork done prior to the actual shooting.
Dressed To Kill – This short 2 minutes feature touches on the distinguished wardrobe for the T-800 Terminator and also the new lady T-X.
Toys in Action – The famous cartoonist and toymaker Todd McFarlane touts the T3 toys.
Sgt. Candy Deleted Scene – A somewhat funny commercial for Skynet’s weapons systems but hints at how the Terminator and his accent came about.
Terminator Flaws: Gag Reel – Self explanatory 3 minutes of the cast and crew having fun.
Making of the Video Game – An 8 minutes promo feature on the T3 video game.
Trailers – Unfortunately the trailer for Terminator 3 is missing but you can find HD trailers of Angels & Demons, Terminator Salvation and The International here.
Cinechat – A BD-Live function specially for Blu-ray users where you can sign up an online account and chat with fellow Terminator fans.
This Blu-ray version offers a pristine and high level detailed transfer which unfortunately betrays the unnatural usage of the green-screen technology commonly found in movies. Many of the driving scenes (between Connor and the Terminator) in T3 have this problem and it shows. Terminator 3 is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 HD. The crane and cemetery action sequences propelled by a dynamic Marco Beltrami score makes this a must own disc in your blu-ray collection.
by Linus Tee
Posted on 1 July 2009