Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Posted on July 1, 2003 at 7:55 pm

A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Character steals drugs
Violence/ Scariness: Intense action sequences and peril, characters killed
Diversity Issues: Strong female characters, all major characters white
Date Released to Theaters: 2003

Fasten your seatbelts: The Terminator is back.

The new model has lots of upgrades, lots of new powers and some interesting new shapes. These changes lead to surprising plot twists and some funny lines. But the best part of Terminator 3 remains the old formula: one long, exciting chase scene.

Fans of the Terminator series know the recipe well by now: a relentless, all powerful cyborg is sent back from the future by its machine masters to kill the young John Conner as part of a plan to exterminate the human race. Each time, fragile human beings must find the resolve and ingenuity to escape the terminator, with doomsday hanging in the balance.

The recipe is so familiar that Terminator 3 contains in-jokes and occasionally pokes fun at itself, building on themes and expectations from past Terminator movies. There are some humorous moments that would not have appeared in the earlier movies, such as the indignant motorist in the path of destruction who wants to complain about his dented fender, or the scene where the muscular Schwarzenegger is mistaken for a male stripper.

The chase scenes in Terminator 3 are a little more clever and a lot more expensive. But their timing is perfect. The director establishes his credentials right from the start with a truck chase that is a carefully orchestrated hurricane of destruction. This is a wildly entertaining movie and should do well at the box office, but it has some significant flaws as well, most noticeably in the plot, which disappoints at important points in the story. However, plot flaws are not likely to discourage the hard core Terminator fans.

Parents who have seen previous Terminator movies know exactly what they will be getting with Terminator 3: profanity, a lot of good natured violence, edge-of-your-seat car chases and some mighty scary robots. There is a minimal amount of nudity in brief scenes, but both are shot from a distance and heavily shadowed.

Families who see this movie should talk about how we weigh the risks of technology.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the first two and other sci-fi movies with themes of machines that become aware, including “The Matrix” and “2001.”

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