View Full Version : Why "Terminator 3"?

07-04-2003, 07:08 PM
What makes for a great film? Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines (T3) presents a good example for discussion. Take a relatively decent plot with a subtle twist at the end, base the movie on an old but classic (meaning a 30 year old sci fi concept - see "Colossus: The Forbin Project") and though in some dramatic elements and special effect chase and hunt scenes and you have an American film formula that is hard to beat, at least in America. T3 represents all that is American. The good American individual hero versus the bad, evil enemy (in this case Machines), at plenty of action, a female counterpart (in both good and evil roles), use some emotional scenes for depth, a bit of humor, use a simple and straightforward plot for the America mental attention span and you have a good entertaining movie production that also makes people feel both good and bad at the same time. Like Jaws, this particular American formula its American consumption diets like candy. And with as guilty of pleasure as may be described, T3 seems to work well in its almost seamless, consistently riveting scenes. With only a number of doubtless unrealistic scenes (pauses for dramatic effect where the characters are really supposed to continue running for their very lives and the unbelievable law enforcement chase scenes and rather extraordinary demolition of property visuals), T3 seems to pull off enough of the summer bubblegum fantasy theme as to make everything acceptable. Eight stars out of ten for decent, if not really original, action and drama.

07-07-2003, 02:55 PM
Very good review tabuno.

I just saw "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" last night, and I have to say that while I think it does its part to be a good summer action flick, I think it also adds a bit to the Terminator legacy (if it can be called that).
Sure there are twists in the plot, but I found these plot twists to be not only enjoyable, but also a tad unexpected and definitely sensible. They weren't just added into confuse or make things more interesting...I felt they actually added to the overall story in a way that demonstrated the expansiveness of the Terminator universe.
In fact, being the dork that I am, the only complaint I have about "Terminator 3" were the errors in the timeline. But aside from those, I thought it was actually a very worthy addition to the series, and while I can udnerstand why some might dislike it because there is less ambiguity than in the previous films (I won't give away the ending, but whereas "T2" left you wondering about the possibilities, "T3" leaves you thinking about the definites).

I think "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" is a far better sequel than many would initially think. "The Terminator" is what originally got me into art...I saw the production designs for both movies, and immediately started drawing them. "The Terminator" got me into art, so while I had high hopes for the third movie, my expectations were that it would suck...I was wrong. It was actually very very good.

07-22-2003, 12:21 AM
The Terminator being my absolute favorite science fiction film of past and present, I also think this film contributed to the "Terminator legacy." However, I feel it is important that I digress these GINORMOUS flaws, one in T2 and one in T3. The guys really screwed up on these.


First off, in T2, it was apparently important that ALL parts of ALL robots be destroyed in that lava/burning metal pot thing. Everyone went home feeling a sense of relief when Arnie descended into the pit. However, there was still ANOTHER piece that was not destroyed ultimately. When Arnie sort of dies the first time (and then comes back due to an emergency backup system or something), he rips off his own arm to get away from that thing that was pinning him, I can't remember what it was. THAT ARM WAS NEVER DESTROYED. This is why I felt that they would eventually make a third film. When they did, I guess they never caught it.

In T3, they accidentally mess up their concept of fate ruling over everything. If time was already written, then how could the TX kill some of John Connor's liutenants (gah! spelling bad)? If it was set to the fact that these people WOULD be John Connor's underlings, then how could they be killed?

Ack, my sad fanboyish self has once again managed to find something to complain about.

07-22-2003, 07:25 AM
AHA, interesting point Horseradish Tree. If fate was ruling over everything, then those people were fated or destined to live and become John Connor's lieutenants. Very good observation.

But I think if it had to be explained, then the whole concept of "The Terminator" is that the machines have been trying to interrupt fate from day one. Sarah Connor was meant to have John Connor who was meant to lead the resistance, so the machines try to stop that. The machines have been against fate the entire time, doing whatever they can to stop...well...everything. Of course when dealing with time travel, there are a thousand questions. Like who was John Connor's father FIRST? Ignoring the mobius theory (that of time loops), you have to consider that at one point, the future had not happened yet...so no machine was sent back, and Sarah had John without Kyle Reese or The Terminator ever entering the picture...and THEN the cycle begins with the war starting, the humans win, the machine comes up with the plan and sends The Terminator back, and then it becomes a continuous loop that goes on and on and on...Or how about, after the events of Terminator 2 and Terminator 3, where the war happens a few years later then it was supposed to, then wouldn't Sarah and John have had that knowledge in "T2?" In "T2," they made it a point to give the date as August 29th, 1997. But after "T2," they delay the war so that it starts a decade later at the end of "T3." It stands to reason that now if Skynet sent the Terminator back now to kill Sarah before John was born, and Kyle follows, that he would tell her the date the war happened after "T3"...see what I mean?
Time travel's always a sticky subject in sci-fi because it opens the floodgates for thousands upon thousands of questions and flaws. The whole issue of paradox's comes into play, the whole mobius theory comes into play, fate and destiny become factors...ultimately, after all three movies, the whole universe should have been corrupted and probably collapsed onto itself because technically...if "T3" does happen the way it does, then the events of the first two movies change. Dates get wrong, information is inaccurate, so...y'know what I do? I notice the flaw, but dismiss it. It's a movie...it's entertaining, and it's fun to think about...AFTER the fact. I enjoyed the movie as I watched it, I think it did it's job in keeping me entertained and adding a little more to the Terminator saga...but at the same time, I try not to intellectualize too much about it. Nobody's perfect, no story is perfect, no movie is perfect. It's fun...enjoy it!

07-22-2003, 08:47 AM
Well, I'm not trying to downgrade the film. They're just tragic observations. I have a friend who will actually dislike a film if he finds a large flaw.

I think that in the films, they view time as a continuum. They see it as if everything has been written, and everything is going at the same time. It's really wierd to think about.

The continuum idea is why some of my favorite films are the Bill and Ted duo. I especially love the scene where the future "us's" come back exactly to the time when Bill and Ted first met Rufus, and then the new Bill and Ted arrive at that scene a couple of hours later. I find it to be a great theory.

07-22-2003, 09:40 AM
It IS a great theory. It's fun to think about too. But there is a danger of thinking too much about it, after all...it is only a theory, one that thankfully can't be proven. Time travel's a sticky subject, I hope we never get to time travel...too much potential to screw things up. That's just my opinion though, but I do love time travel in sci-fi. The "Back to the Future" movies will always be favorites. As will "Bill and Ted." :)

07-22-2003, 10:18 PM
As regards time travel, The Butterfly Effect, will require some fancy time paradoxical script writing and could put Terminator to shame.

07-23-2003, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by Ilker81x
Ignoring the mobius theory (that of time loops), you have to consider that at one point, the future had not happened yet...

I think that the only way they want you to think about it is if there IS the mobius theory.

And do you know anything else about the Butterfly Effect, tabuno?

07-23-2003, 11:54 PM
Release Date: February 6th, 2004 (moderately wide release in 1,000-1,800 theaters)

Release Date Note: (2/12/03) New Line Cinema had reportedly originally been aiming for an April, 2003 release, but they're now aiming for mid-September (9/19/03) instead. (3/15/03) They've bumped it up a week to the 12th. (4/13/03) New Line has pushed this film back another five months to February 6th, 2004.

Title Note: (6/24/02) The title comes from a concept that's part of the "Chaos Theory" that asks the question "Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?" In other words, can a tiny event that disrupts a larger pattern have a rippling, amplified effect that results in anomalies that wouldn't ordinarly occur?

MPAA Rating: R (for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use)

Distributor: New Line Cinema

Production Company: FilmEngine (O, Spring Break: The Movie), BenderSpink (Cheaters, Ring)

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Elden Henson, Eric Stoltz, Ethan Suplee, Melora Walters, John P. Amedori (Evan at 13), Cameron Crigger (Tommy at 8), Irene Gorovaia, Brandy Heidrick (Kristin), Jesse James, Callum Keith Rennie, Kevin Schmidt (Lenny at 13), William Lee Scott

Cast Notes: (6/24/02) Back in 2001 before Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart signed on, Joshua Jackson (TV's "Dawson's Creek") and Ali Larter (Final Destination) had been signed on to star instead. Larter probably had to drop out because of how close this movie's schedule (and for that matter, premise) was to Final Destination 2, but it's not known why Jackson did. Also, this interview with Bress and Gruber mentions a young [unnamed] actor that was long attached, but his description doesn't match Jackson's.

Director: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber (feature film debuts)

Screenwriter: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber (writing team of Final Destination 2)

Premise: A young man (Kutcher) struggling with the psychological effects of sublimated childhood memories devises a technique of traveling back in time to inhabit his childhood body, but he finds that every trip back has unintended results on his present self, leading him to travel back again and again, trying to repair the damage that he's only making worse and worse...

Filming: Production started on June 3rd, 2002 in Vancouver on a budget of around $13 million, and wrapped on July 31st, 2002.

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

07-24-2003, 07:31 AM
This Butterfly Effect movie sounds interesting, although I must say it's not really anything I haven't seen before...okay, take it back. I haven't seen it in a movie, but I've seen it at least twice on "The Simpsons" and once on an episode of "Duckman." I'm sure everyone remembers that "Simpsons" episode when Homer kept getting thrown back in time because of the toaster, and every little change he made in the jurassic era ended up drastically altering the future...funny episode, but pretty much the same idea. There was also that "Duckman" episode when Duckman decides he's not going to go to his son's recital, but his future self comes back as a psychotic convict and convinces him to go...but then another future self comes in all wimpy and weak and says he must not go...psychotic self comes back, Duckman decides to stay in, his future self as a woman comes back, he decides to go out, his future self with a steel beam in his head...etc...you get the idea.

The Butterfly Effect is a pretty interesting theory, and I'm sure it'll make an entertaining and compelling movie (I wonder if it's supposed to be serious or not...it is Ashton Kutcher), but I must say between my personal belief that the theory is flawed and absolute crap, and the fact that I've seen it in action before on TV shows, I'm sure I won't be blown away by it.

But hey, what the hell...time travel's fun, and always will be a good sci-fi concept to milk for all its worth. I'll still see it, and I still think that flaws aside, it's always good conversation.

07-24-2003, 08:49 AM
Well, I don't know about Ashton Kutcher, the only way he got into showbiz was acting like an idiot.

Anyway, who the hell is Duckman? I've never heard of that show.

Gee, I guess I don't have much else to say.

07-24-2003, 09:19 AM
Duckman was a cartoon that was on late night on the USA Network in the early-to-mid-90's. Jason Alexander (George from "Seinfeld" and all those KFC commercials) did the voice. It was about a Duck who works as a private investigator, his family (which included the twin sister of his dead wife, one two-headed son, and one other son who was a stoner burnout), and his partner...who was this low-voiced pig. It was somewhere between "The Simpsons" and "South Park"...very lewd and rude, but not to the extent that "South Park" would eventually take it.
Pretty funny show. Comedy Central showed it in syndication for awhile, but I don't know where it is now. It's been gone for quite awhile, so...there ya go.

07-24-2003, 02:35 PM
While cartoons have a lot of innovative, creative energy and allow for wide latitude, I find it curious that one would attempt to compare cartoons to a sci fi theatrical movie and judge the possible outcome of a time travel movie and say been there and done that. The only one I might be able to relate to is Finding Nemo and The Incredible Mr. Limpet (Don Knotts).

12 Monkeys...Star Trek the original television series had some very good compelling themes regarding time travel...especially the one where Captain Kirk finds himself in pre-World War II, saves a woman, falls in love, and the world is changed and he must commit the ultimate sacrifice.

07-24-2003, 02:37 PM
Time Cop with Claude Van Dam or who ever, made a good, credible sci fi time travel - martial art - action thriller.

07-24-2003, 03:11 PM
Yes, "Timecop" was a good movie...probably Van Damme's last good movie (yes, he's had a few). Very good time travel twists, nothing new, but still entertaining and had a good story. Again...paradoxes and theoretical impossibilities galore.

Like if Van Damme had killed Ron Silver in the past by pushing his past self into his future self...then the past self dies, thus the future self never should've been there...making his death an existential paradox. Or how about if Van Damme saved his wife in the past, then when he returns to the future, shouldn't he have the 10-year memories of his wife and child?

That's why I love time travel stories because these are all considerations that you think about, but dismiss just on the sheer fact that it's such an implausibility at this stage anyway that it's just good fun. It's a true science fiction concept, emphasizing the fiction aspect.

That's why I think "Quantum Leap" was such a good show.

07-26-2003, 10:26 AM
Millennium (1989) based on John Varley's book had potential as a superior time travel movie. His book was great; but the movie itself failed to reach drama and consistency of the original.

07-26-2003, 01:44 PM
"Millennium" was a pretty interesting movie, though I'll agree, it just didn't reach the level of drama it needed. The story was good, but it wasn't done justice. Not that the movie was poorly made, just...well maybe it was, I can't really say. It's one of those movies that's better to think about as opposed to seeing.

07-29-2003, 06:08 PM
Now as I recall it, Timecop was also a short-lived television series. And I'm pretty sure there was an episode starring none other than Bruce Campbell. But enough about TV...

07-30-2003, 01:15 AM
I remember reading the novel by John Varley and the movie version really took a lot of the fascinating twists out of the time travel paradox and it seems like they just ran out of money or time and had to just wrap up what could have been one of the best time travel movies. Read the book if you get a chance.

07-30-2003, 07:04 AM
"Timecop" was a short-lived TV show, yes...I think it came on the same time as another show that had a similar premise, where every week these people would send the main character back in time exactly 7 days, and there seemed to always be some kind of political disaster going on. I forget what it was called, but I think it was "7 Days."

As for the John Varley book, yes I have read it. Very good book, but I think whoever had the idea to adapt it to the screen didn't have a lot of financial backing, and thus the movie just wasn't nearly as good.

Stephen King's "The Langoliers" is an interesting time travel story as well, I think. I enjoyed the notion that since the past has been done, everything is used up, the people have moved on, the world is now just bleak and everything is bland and lifeless, waiting to be devoured by these creatures who rid us of the past. I thought it was a fairly original way to look at what happens to the past once it's gone.

07-30-2003, 10:13 PM
I found "The Langoliers" more of a horror genre, very good, scary with a time travel subtheme. But it was original and different. It was fascinating. The Outer Limits had an episode about time travel and how actual people had to quickly remake time.