Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003)
Hey. Spoilers for the first two. Also this one, but that doesn’t matter.
Abandoning any hope for new and clever twists like those in T2, what should have been an interesting sequel about how Judgment Day ultimately still occurred is instead a rehash of the last movie, but with boobs. A monologue from New John Connor (Nick Stahl) informs us that Judgment Day so totally didn’t happen, you guys, but then our pal Arnold shows up to save him because, OMG, a new one is coming.
Yeah. That’s the fucking plot.
Seriously, that’s the fucking plot?!
Artist’s depiction of my brain.
No wonder I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie. Okay, fine, if you’re not going to show me how the events of Terminator 2 were ultimately a futile attempt to change an immutable timeline, at least fess up to your bad writing and show us the new timeline. Like, commit to it. Don’t say, “Oh, hey, uh, this huge earth-shaking disaster happened a few years too late, but it didn’t change the course of history all that much. Same shit, different reality, you know how it is. Whoa, don’t step on that butterfly!” Hell, it’s still a world with time travel in it; how about just a regular old human villain with a time machine, sans robot apocalypse?
I’m not saying my idea is brilliant, but compare it to what they actually went with.
What they actually went with.
Am I watching the Gremlins 2 of Terminator sequels? No, I can’t be, because then it would at least be entertaining. You know, if they went balls to the wall and just made it the goofiest Terminator parody conceivable, it might be good. Give it a “we’re not taking this seriously” title like Terminate This and I’ll gladly shell out my money for Terminate That and Terminate These. I mean, maybe. But the problem is that this movie still wanted to be cool. It drops nine or ten tired, jokey references to the franchise (spoiler: someone might be back), but also wants us to legitimately go nuts for a lady Terminator with flamethrower arms and shit.
Lest you think this choice of villain is an interesting new development and not pandering to a horny hetero male audience, here’s a Terminator crotch grab!
Fuck you, Arnold.
“The paycheck.” – Schwarzenegger on his favorite part of the script.
Nick Stahl plays Growed-Up John Connor, but I can’t really tell since he reminds me of the little kid from Tall Tale. Probably because he is. So, when does John finally become the badass he’s destined to be? Did that get pushed back, just like Judgment Day? Or did something time-ripple him into a man-child?
“This world isn’t ready for– aww, sweet, watch me loogie on that bird down there.”
Because this movie wants everybody to be happy, it also has a love story named Claire Danes.
My so-called character.
And then there’s T-X, allegedly played by Kristanna Loken. She’s pretty much trying to do a Robert Patrick that bros can fuck.
So… Robert Patrick?
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Remember how I said the time bubble was a little hokey last time? Behold the mind-blowing design change that is METALLIC GRAPH PAPER.
Wait, that’s just a disco ball, you assholes.
I doubt I needed to tell you, but just about all the effects are fully CGI now. Here’s a bunch of Terminator skeletons.
They tried to top liquid metal by making the new villain a Transformer. T-X has all sorts of Inspector Gadget-y shit in her arms, which looks way better than that knife-armed gloop monster from the last one, right?
Yeah, they didn’t believe it either, so she still has a liquid metal exoskeleton, except it isn’t interesting any more because we had screensavers that looked just as good in 2003.
Is this from a music video? Hmm.
How ’bout a drone? Yeah? You kids like those big ships from the first movie? What if you could have a pet drone version?
Please just stop, movie.
Even fight scenes blatantly use CGI. They try to throw us off the scent with one real car chase, but it’s not enough.
Yay, I guess.
THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
Nothing is funnier than when a shitty movie tries to get serious, so here, enjoy John Connor trying to tempt fate like an angsty dickwad.
“Fuck my destiny!“
I cannot believe there’s one more of these to go.
LATER THIS WEEK:
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.