We’re going into the last week of “pack to move halfway across the country while also going full-steam ahead through the novel,” and I’m trying to be as good as I can about policing my sanity. I can, you see, be very bad about figuring out when I need to take breaks, and when those breaks need to involve human beings not inside the Magic Picture Box.

To that end, I wandered down to moonartemis76‘s place this evening, and we finished our tour through the Terminator movies by watching T3: Rise of the Machines. I wanted to see it mostly to bridge between T2 and the upcoming Salvation, but I have to say: surprisingly, it was not nearly as bad as I was expecting. In fact, I don’t think I would call it bad. Not as good as the first two, and overly self-indulgent when it comes to the special effects — but they did a nice job of finding ways to rotate their ideas* and develop motifs from the previous movies. The call-backs were pretty thick on the ground, but that’s kind of a feature on the franchise. (“She’ll be back.” Etc.)

I’m interested to see the fourth movie, and I do want to give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a shot at some point, since apparently that isn’t half-bad, either. As far as franchise survival goes, this one is maintaining a better average of quality than most — which is to say, not phenomenal, but not a steady downhill slide, either.

*By “rotate their ideas,” I mean things like how Schwarzenegger was the bad guy in the first film but the good guy in the second — and if you watch T2, they do an excellent job of faking you out on that front. The series works very conscientiously to set up your expectations and then do something new. The “something new” isn’t always brilliant, but I give them points for trying.

0 Responses to “T3”

  1. gollumgollum

    It’s certainly one of the few series that doesn’t seem to lose out by taking long breaks between movies. While T3 wasn’t nearly as good as T2 (and i’ve never actually seen the first one), it certainly was recognizable as a Terminator movie, and not just because of the Governator. They kept a lot of the bleak tone and feel to it, while still making it feel like its own movie.

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s because they really do carry forward with the ideas, rather than a) retreading them or b) ditching them entirely in the quest for a new plot. It makes for a hella bleak ending, but the addition of the fourth movie may give the whole series a better shape. And frankly, the long breaks between movies help lend a feeling of reality to the time passing in-story, since the narrative keeps leapfrogging a decade or more.

      Moving forward to the war itself may help with the problem you can see the writers running into, namely, how to upgrade the threat-level of the Terminators without passing over into sheer ridiculousness? You can see the Terminatrix in the third movie dancing on that line, maybe crossing it (depending on your taste), but the fourth film will put the characters in a situation that is no longer dependent on one single unstoppable enemy. (It’s the D&D problem: a really high-CR monster is hard to manage without TPK. Better to have more monsters of lower CR. It’s also the problem they addressed in the last two seasons of Buffy.)

      • moonandserpent

        IIRC, Terminator: Salvation ignores 3 completely. Hence why it’s “Salvation” and not “4”.

        On an only related in my mind note: And chance there could be Methos action before you leave?

        • Marie Brennan

          If it involves nobody else, absolutely. If you want other people there, ask them: my schedule is entirely flexible.

          I think I heard Salvation was ignoring T3, but I also suspect it won’t be hard to fit them together regardless, unless they go out of their way to contradict the events of T3.

  2. d_c_m

    I for one really am enjoying the Sarah Connor Chronicles and would suggest you give them a try. In fact, DDBD is saluting this show in our big dance before the Costume Contest. 🙂

  3. cofax7

    Seconding the recommendation for the television show. I find it far better than T3, which I really really disliked. To be fair, much of that had to do with the actor they cast as John, whom I don’t like. Also that they killed off Sarah, who was by far my favorite element of the franchise. So a television show with a living Sarah and a different kid, and River Tam beating up everyone, is right up my alley.

    Also? The show is smart.

    It spins off of established canon between T2 and T3, and establishes a new timeline entirely. Recommended, if you can find the time.

    • Marie Brennan

      I thought Nick Stahl was okay, and Sarah being gone feels to me like a natural development of the story — a sad one, true, but sooner or later she would go away. (And a coffin full of weapons strikes me as precisely the legacy she would leave behind.)

      I wonder if the TV canon is the one they’re using for Salvation?

      • cofax7

        Apparently there’s no relationship between the tv show and Salvation, so I think the canon is … yet another line. Which makes 3. Or more, actually: because as you watch the show, more changes. It’s very complicated.

        I do not know why I have such an aversion to Nick Stahl, but I do. ::shrugs::

        • Marie Brennan

          I’ve actually got the opposite reaction to Nick Stahl, but for reasons unrelated to his acting: I knew his sister, and got an earful ten or twelve years ago about how being in the movie business was sending him off down the primrose path of bad habits, so I’m glad to see he’s actually turned around and gotten something like a functional career going. And he isn’t a brilliant actor, but he isn’t bad, either.

          re: multiple canons — what do they think they are, comic books? <g>

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