The Terminator movie series offers explosions and cyborgs galore, but you knew that already. Guns too, and cool special effects involving R-rated nude people in electrified spheres, but you probably guessed that too. So you've seen the trailer and are wondering whether "T3: Rise of the Machines" is worth seeing. Short answer: eh, whatever, it's big and dumb. For the long answer, keep reading. (No real spoilers.)
Let me first draw your attention to CNN's review. The CNN reviewer tells you this "darker and slicker" sequel is "worth the wait," gives you the long-form plot setup, shows you the sexy look of the "babe-a-licious" babe, and promises you "emotional weight" with "wit" and a "stunning and thought-provoking" climax. What he doesn't mention is that CNN and the movie's producer/distributor are both owned by AOL Time Warner.
It's been ten years since I watched the first Terminator and maybe I'm remembering it better than it was. But it had an emotional depth, a heart that neither of its sequels matched. T3 is slicker, yes, but darker!? It's light fluff. The nightmare of nuclear destruction in the original was rendered without CG effects, but I'll remember the skeleton clutching the chain-link fence long after I've forgotten this week's pixel-perfect explosions. And the "storm is coming" ending of the original was genuinely thought-provoking, with a chilling resolve that just embarrasses this week's Hollywood ending. Claire Danes is no Linda Hamilton.
The effects are what you'd expect from a modern zillion-dollar action movie, but not groundbreaking the way that T2's were at the time.
I found nothing about it witty. I chuckled through the chase scenes -- it's mostly chase scenes -- because they were so over-the-top and the plot holes were so glaring. Apart from that, there was only one funny line. (I assume everyone else is as bored as I am with the "dry cool wit like that" dialogue.)
Best unintentionally funny line: "I've got enough C-4 to blow up ten supercomputers!"
Best unintentionally funny visual: tie between fumble for the car keys, and offscreen killing sprays blood across photo.
Dumbest joke: gratuitous mocking of effeminate guy.
Best absurd effect: missile blows apart the wall in a small office ten feet from our heroes, they avoid injury by diving to floor. Duck and cover!
Best plot hole: Terminatrix's chronic failure to remember that she can run fast.
Heavy on the exposition, light on brains and heart, forgettable. See it if you really jones for big trucks smashing stuff. If you just have to see a movie, see "28 Days Later" instead. Rated R, not recommended for anyone whose mental age matches their valid ID.