As I'm sure many of you die hard Terminator fans are aware, this week marks the 25th anniversary of Terminator 2 — the greatest sequel ever made. However, it also marks the 13th anniversary of T2's sequel: Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines.
Being the sequel of a film held in such high esteem was going to be a rough task, one that many believe did not pay off. However, I disagree. While it's true that no film could follow what T2 accomplished, I must admit that I found T3 to be an awesome film in its own right.
A New Story
Terminator's third installment actually has a decent storyline. Unlike a lot of revived film franchises, the storyline created in T3 is believable enough. Although several plot ideas were clearly borrowed from the second film, the film does change several important characteristics of the timeline, allowing us to understand why Hollywood revived this seemingly complete saga.
The new story saw Arnold Schwarzenegger's beloved Terminator character return to screens in an attempt to save someone from termination — sounds familiar, right? However, this time it's not John Connor — it's his future wife, Katherine Brewster. Moreover, a female Terminator — the T-X — attempts to kill key figures from the Resistance including John and Katherine. An important characteristic that was explored in this movie was the fact that Judgment Day was inevitable — the events of T2 merely postponed the nuclear annihilation of humanity.
In The Terminator, Kyle Reese made it clear that the T-800 models were the most advanced type of Terminator. In the sequel, this was upgraded to the T-1000, the most deadly and advanced weapon at the time. As we know in the Terminator world, improvement is inevitable and Terminator 3 created an entirely new, more advanced Terminator — the T-X, who was not only a a liquid metal shapeshifter but also had an endoskeleton.
Rather than simply re-creating the same threats and the same chase sequences, the T-X allowed for a new type of villain with refreshing abilities. The T-X was able to shape-shift her arm into working machinery that she used to cut through cars — and people. Furthermore, the T-X was female, which made her completely different from the previous threats. She knew how to use her femininity to get the information she wanted, giving a whole new meaning to "if looks could kill."
Terminator for A New Generation
No matter how much the world changes and advances, the Terminator franchise will always be relevant because of its futuristic setting and exploration of technology — something that only increases in our world with every passing decade. Despite the popularity of T2, the world had moved into a new generation — the early noughts were a time of technical revolution and T3 reflected this perfectly.
The first two Terminator films were very much reflective of their time period and the third installment continued this trait. Packed with advancing technology and 21st century humor — or at least what the T-800 considered humor ("talk to the hand") — the film was Terminator defined for a new generation.
Judgment Day Is Inevitable
Perhaps the most controversial element of Terminator 3 is that it changed the storyline in the most dramatic way. The first film dealt with Sarah Connor staying alive, the second film dealt with Judgment Day being stopped forever. However, the events of T3 altered the Terminator mythos, as we are informed that Judgment Day is inevitable.
This bold move meant that all the fighting that our characters had endured would be rendered moot as Judgment Day would happen no matter what. However, it was an incredibly smart move from the writers as this allowed for future sequels to be made. Terminator: Salvation followed in 2009 and although it's a direct sequel to T3, it's arguably the weakest of the bunch. Terminator Genisys re-launched the franchise in 2015 and although it's a great Terminator film, it ignores the events of T3 and picks up after Terminator 2.
More Arnold Catchphrases
If none of the above reasons are enough to convince you as to why T3's existence is a blessing, then this one should do the trick. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a legend and with every movie he does, he creates new catchphrases that become synonymous with his name and recognizable accent. Terminator 3 has created some of the more iconic Arnold catchphrases including "Relax!", "Talk to the hand" and "I cannot comply." It also manages to re-work the famous Terminator saying into "she'll be back," before Arnold began peppering it into every film he does.
Terminator 3 may not live up to the first two masterpieces, but it's an enjoyable sequel in its own right and its contribution to the Terminator franchise is something that should be admired, not criticized. Whether you like to believe that it takes place in the same timeline as the first two films or exists in it's own universe, the film made an attempt at changing the mythology of a beloved franchise and did so in red leather-clad style. We all remember T2 fondly, but the contribution that T3 made show not be ignored.
Happy anniversary, Terminator 3! And to all you haters out there:
Which Terminator film is your favorite? Tell me in the comment section below!