TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES [2003/2009] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Takes You Beyond High Definition!
A decade has passed since John Connor [Nick Stahl] helped prevent Judgment Day and save mankind from mass destruction. Now 25, John Connor lives "off the grid," no home, no credit cards, no cell phone and no job. No record of his existence. No way can he be traced by Skynet - the highly developed network of machines that once tried to kill him and wage war on humanity. Until, out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X [Kristanna Loken], Skynet's most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Sent back through time to complete the job left unfinished by her predecessor, the T-1000, this machine is as relentless as her human guise is beautiful. Now John Connor's only hope for survival is the Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger], his mysterious former assassin and together they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day or face the apocalypse and the fall of civilisation as we know it.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews, Mark Famiglietti, Earl Boen, Moira Sinise, Chopper Bernet, Christopher Lawford, Carolyn Hennesy, Jay Acovone, M.C. Gainey, Susan Merson, Elizabeth Morehead, Jimmy Snyder, Billy D. Lucas, Brian Sites, Alana Curry, Larry McCormick, Robert Alonzo, Michael Papajohn, Timothy Dowling, Jon Foster, Mark Hicks, Kim Robillard, Matt Gerald, William O'Leary, Rick Zieff Rick Zieff, Rebecca Tilney, Chris Hardwick, Helen Eigenberg, Kiki Gorton, Walter von Huene, Jerry Katell, George A. Sack Jr. and Eric Ritter (uncredited)
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Producers: Andrew G. Vajna, Colin Wilson, Hal Lieberman, Joel B. Michaels, Guy East, Nigel Sinclair and Moritz Borman
Screenplay: James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd
Composer: Marco Beltrami and Brad Fiedel (themes)
Cinematography: Don Burgess
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 TrueHD Master Audio, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Audio Description: English 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Finnish, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish
Region: All Regions
Running Time: 109 minutes
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: In 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,' just as in ''T2'' a dozen years ago, the original T-1 killer cyborg from the future, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, does battle on the streets of Los Angeles with an updated, sleeker, deadlier model. Last time, you may recall, it was the T-1000, played with metallic sangfroid by Robert Patrick. Now, in an apparent concession to the turbo-feminist lad-mag action-movie times, the state-of-the-art killer cyborg from the future is the T-X, who touches down on Rodeo Drive in the arresting and unclothed form of Kristanna Loken, and who goes about her subsequent business in a red leather pantsuit and a silver Lexus coupe.
The film is not weighted down by plot, but it does have a recognisable storyline featuring legitimate characters and a few nice, but minor twists. Some degree of attention is helpful and Terminator 3 is not an intellectual challenge, but neither is it vacuous. The film has plenty of action sequences, some of which are spectacular. Director Jonathan Mostow has wisely not relied too much on computer graphics for these. A fair amount of stunt work was required, and the computer components are incorporated seamlessly. Additionally, Mostow does not play the game of cutting every second or so, and the music never upstages the visuals. Terminator 3 gets the most bangs for its buck by letting the camera linger on the spectacle, and allowing tension, not flashiness, to be its hallmark.
The old-model Terminator, delivering his usual one-liners with abandonment, in that familiar Austro-Californian monotone, has his hands full with this limber, ruthless new machine, which has been sent back in time, as Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the first 'Terminator' film, to kill off the future leaders of human resistance to machine tyranny. The first instalment in the franchise, directed by James Cameron and starring Linda Hamilton along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is nearly 20 years old. The rapid evolution of special-effects technology since then, and the concurrent spread of multi-sequel blockbuster franchises, gives those influential pictures a decidedly antique aura.
In part because of the example of 'Terminator 2,' which was a pioneer in the use of computer-animated imagery in a live-action setting; sci-fi action movies have become ever more visually elaborate and also more pretentious. Next to the baroque postmodern pseudo-sophistication of the ''Matrix'' films, which similarly explore the fate of humanity under threat of machine dominance, the new ''Terminator'' has a lumbering, literal-minded old-style feel. Which is not, on balance, such a bad thing? Mr. Cameron has long since ascended from action auteur to king of the world, leaving his duelling robots and their human prey in the hands of Jonathan Mostow. Jonathan Mostow's previous film was 'U-571,' a highly competent exercise in that squarest of all action subgenres, the submarine movie. And if he lacks James Cameron's unusual gift for finding human drama amid all the explosions, chases and collisions, Jonathan Mostow does at least film the explosions, chases and collisions with professionalism and something like wit.
'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,' despite seemingly preventing Judgement Day, as seen in the events in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day,' and this time an adult John Connor [Nick Stahl] does not believe that the war has truly been averted. He chooses to live 'off-the-grid' in Los Angeles, with no permanent home or job in order to prevent anyone from tracking him. He fears prove to be warranted when Skynet sends a new model of Terminator, the T-X [Kristanna Loken], back through time in an attempt to kill as many of the future human resistance's lieutenants as possible, thereby tipping the balance of the war in its favour. The T-X is an advanced hybrid of the T-800 and T-1000 models and has been designed with an arsenal of powerful weaponry and the ability to remotely control machines with the use of 'nano-transjectors'.
While searching for medicine after a motorcycle accident, John Connor has a chance encounter with Katherine Brewster, an old school friend who, unbeknownst to them both, will go on to become John's wife and second-in-command of the resistance. When the T-X arrives to terminate Kate, it quickly discovers John's presence and begins interrogating her for information, but as before the future resistance is able to send a reprogrammed Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger] back through time to protect John Connor and Brewster. Arriving just in time to save them from the T-X, this new Terminator has one mission: to ensure the survival of John Connor and Katherine Brewster so that they may fulfil their destinies.
With the ending of 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,' does this means it means a set-up for Terminator 4, and allows parts of the story have yet to be told. But, from an action standpoint, is there any way that the fourth picture could be anything other than a re-hash of its predecessors? And can the franchise succeed without its star, who, barring a failure to gain political office, will not be interested? Those are questions for the future. However, considering how well Terminator 3 is likely to fare at the box office, the future won't be that far away. It has taken a long time to get Terminator 3 to the screen, and, while the production doesn't rock the action motion picture industry to its foundation, it's a credible and entertaining movie, and was worth the wait.
This Terminator professes not to recall ever having said ''hasta la vista, baby,'' but he does let fly with gems like ''I'm back,'' ''She'll be back,'' and ''My database does not encompass the dynamics of human pair-bonding.'' He also says, ''You're terminated'' to his robot rival, perhaps testing out a slogan intended for the next sequel, which is now out in the cinema and eventually released on a 3D Blu-ray disc.
Blu-ray Video Quality ' Sony delivers Terminator 3 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with a stunning encoded 1080p image transfer that looks pretty good for the most part. Obviously this is the newest of the Schwarzenegger Terminator films, so one would expect it to look significantly better than the older films, and it's fair to say that it does. The first thing that struck me was how clean the image is, with hardly any blemish to be seen anywhere on the print. It's also fairly detailed, although it's not the sort of razor sharp clarity found on the very best releases (but this seems to be due to the way Terminator 3 was filmed). I don't have the intimate knowledge of the film required to be certain that colour rendition is completely faithful to the source material, but if the DVD release is a reliable indicator it looks to be reasonably accurate if a little unnatural (skin tones are a good indicator of this as they occasionally have an 'artificial quality' to them). Blacks are deep and stable though. All things considered it appears to be a solid representation of the original material even if it's not 'reference quality', so fans should be happy.
Blu-ray Audio Quality ' As is customary for their Blu-ray releases, Sony provides a 5.1 TrueHD soundtrack that offers plenty of aural thrills and spills. Right from the get-go all five channels are utilised to deliver an engaging experience, from the future war sequence and the fast-paced T-X pursuit, to the cemetery shoot-out and 'rise' of the machines at the C.R.S. base. The cemetery and C.R.S. scenes in particular stick in my mind for the copious amount of bullets that fly around the soundstage, accompanied by some nice, deep bass, especially when the T-1s fire their mini-guns. Actually bass is probably worth singling out, because it's incredibly powerful throughout. It's not just the obvious explosions that benefit though, as even less obvious things like the T-X's flame-thrower pack a fair amount of low-end punch. Subtle elements aren't forgotten either, and there are times when the atmospheric sounds do a wonderful job of convincing you that you're along for the ride. On the negative side I did find the dialogue a little indistinct at times, particularly during the louder moments. The aggressive use of the surround channels was occasionally overwhelming as well, and Marco Beltrami's score could also have done with a slightly stronger presence in the mix, although that's really a personal thing. Even so, this is still a very impressive soundtrack that could easily serve as a demo title for those wanting to show off their surround set-up.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: The disc actually contains a reasonably generous helping of bonus material, featuring most of the previously available DVD features and some brand new high definition content. Some of the features from the two-disc release are missing, which is a shame, especially considering less than thirty-five gigabytes of space is used on the disc.
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Jonathan Mostow, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Nick Stahl, actress Claire Danes and actress Kristanna Loken: This is the same commentary track that appeared on the DVD releases. Each participant was recorded separately and their comments edited together later, so it doesn't have the sort of flow you get with most group commentaries, but it's actually still pretty informative. Arnold comes across as someone who's just a little bit too obsessed with his own body (and Loken's for that matter). It borders on creepy at times.
Special Feature: Storyboards [1080p] [4:00] You get a montage of the film's climatic Terminator vs. Terminator duel scene, and the entire sequence is shown as a side-by-side comparison between the storyboards and the final finished film, complete with soundtrack. This is actually a split screen feature that shows the Crystal Peak storyboards alongside the completed footage. I guess this could be quite interesting if you're into the whole 'how did the scene evolve' thing.
Special Feature: TV Special: HBO First Look  [24:00] This is a pretty standard documentary that covers all of the promotional bases without providing any real insight into the production. It was obviously designed to drum up interest prior to the launch of the film, so it focusses on the action and the new 'Terminatrix' (I'm sure that should be 'Terminatress). The cast pop up to tell us how great the film is going to be, but that's about as deep as it gets.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes and Blooper Reel [3:01] Yes, it's the usual sight of actors fluffing their lines and things going wrong. None of the gaffs are particularly very funny though.
Special Feature: TerminatorVision: Picture-in-Picture Experience [1080p] This is the disc's BonusView feature, which provides additional commentary from director Jonathan Mostow, as well as producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna, who have recorded new introductions and full-length interviews, and a window video footage pertinent to the on-screen events. So far BonusView features have left me somewhat underwhelmed, but this one is actually reasonably interesting, even if there is a fair amount of space between the video segments. Jonathan Mostow dominates the track, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that it's a solo effort, but the video segments show some interesting footage and is well worth watching.
Special Feature: Dressed to Kill [1080p] [3:00] This is a very short look at the various attire worn by the characters, with the focus on the T-850 and the T-X. It's way too short to be of any real interest.
Special Feature: Toys in Action  [8:00] In this documentary, Todd McFarlane talks us through the process of creating Terminator toys. While I found the artist work fairly interesting, I did get a bit tired with Todd McFarlane himself. He is way too enthusiastic about plastic dolls.
Special Feature: Sgt. Candy Deleted Scene  [3:00] This is a total oddity, as this is the much-talked about Sgt. Candy scene, which features Arnie playing a character that would be the physical basis for the Terminators. It's a fun scene to watch in isolation, but I can see why it was lifted from the film.
Special Feature: Making of the Video Game [1080p] [8:57] This promotional documentary for the making of the first T3 makes it look a hell of a lot better than reviews suggest. True to form everyone goes on about how great it will be, with even the late, great Stan Winston professing his love for it. Oh dear.
Theatrical Trailers: The disc includes trailers for Terminator: Salvation and The Da Vinci Code, along with the usual Blu-ray showcases.
Finally, try as I might, I just can't view Terminator 3 as a valid extension of the Terminator franchise, because there is something missing, which I cannot put my finger on. I did get some enjoyment, if I watch it for the pyrotechnics and robots beating each other up, rather than as a serious science fiction picture, but it's too dumb to be taken as a proper continuation of Jim Cameron's films. I don't think this Blu-ray is going to do anything to change the minds of people who dislike the film and me included, but at least it's technically competent with solid video, great audio and a fair helping of bonus material. If you are a fan of Terminator 3, then this should definitely be on your 'must buy' list and so glad I have this in my Blu-ray Collection with the other Terminator films, making it an amazing collection that I love to watch when I am in the mood, as there is so much action in these genre films, you never get bored and you always see something new with each viewing and again I am so glad I now have nearly all of the brilliant Arnold Schwarzenegger franchise films in my Blu-ray Collection, but of course there is more to follow. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Terminator 3-Rise of the Machines(released July/03)stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator,Nick Stahl as John Connor,Claire Danes as Kate Brewster,Kristanna Loken as T-X,David Andrews as Lieutenant General,and others.It is a rather ambitious film that has alot to tell,which is its main drawback.The first two by Cameron kept it simple and straightforward,which were its virtues.However,this one features the best S/FX of any of the Terminators,and as such reaches a level on a par with the first.
The story finds John Connor 10 years later from the last,a loner and continually on the move.His mother has died,thinking they had averted a global conflict with the machines.However,this is a Terminator movie and that is not to be.This time Ah-nold "beams" back into 2004 ,as does another advanced T-X model with enhanced capabilities.To add to that,it is female in form.She has been sent back not only to terminate John but his closest lieutenants and she sets about doing just that with the usual terminator proficiency.Ah-nold coincidentally finds John caged in a vet hospital by one of its employees Kate,who it turns out knows John and will become his closest associate in the future,not to mention his wife.At the same time the T-X has also arrived and is terrorizing the pair.John and Kate who,with Ah-nolds assistance,manage to escape.
They head to a memorial park where Sarahs body is supposedly interred.Ah-nold smashes the wall and pulls out the casket,inside of which is filled to the brim with weaponry,to which Ah-nold helps himself.It seems the USAF took over the Cyberdine systems research and now has the Skynet system up and running.Unbeknownst to the trio however,all satellite systems are starting to shut down.And the USAF are at a loss to explain the virus which seems to have invaded their computer systems and others around the world.The so called virus,is the Skynet system's own plant so the USAF would have to eventually let it take over control of every system in order to "repair" it.The USAF thinks it can control it,but Skynet has become too self aware by now and when Skynet is finally given control,it institutes the war of the machines against mankind by launching preemptive nuclear strikes around the world.
The trio come to the conclusion they must stop the Skynet system at all costs.At that they are ultimately unsuccessful,but they are directed to an underground facility north of the central one. There it is hoped that they will be able to stop Skynet once and for all.John and Kate fly a Cessna to the location and while attempting to gain access they witness the arrival of the T-X.Ah-nold arrives shortly thereafter and holds off the T-X until the pair can reach the underground facility.It turns out what they thought was their salvation and access to stopping Skynet was no such thing.They were sent to an underground location designed to protect officials from nuclear fallout;a survival bunker.They can do nothing but sit back and wait.After a while they start to receive radio messages from civil defense authorities across the country,and they realize there is now hope of humanity rising back up and fighting the machines.
It is an ambitious films with alot of nice moments such as the massive crane chase through the L.A.streets, with Ah-nold dangling on the end of it.There are funny moments such as when near the end the T-X arrives at the underground shelter ahead of Ah-nold in a normal sized chopper.Then shortly after Ah-nold arrives,but his is the size of a Sikorsky.There are two or three times when Ah-nold tries to come out with some snappy comebacks,as from the last movies,which are now iconic sayings.Ah-nold says"Talk to the hand" and"She'll be baaack",referring to the T-X.None of them have the same memorable punch as the others did in the first two movies,and have been quickly forgotten.The film has much too much detail to tell and should have been kept on a straightforward line like the previous two;so it lost a little bit of ground there with my ratings.However what really gives this movies its' chutzpah,are the improved S/FX,far superior than the first two.It would be neat to see what they could do today with Ah-nold in a new Terminator film.
Technically speaking the film is clear and crisp in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1.Extras abound in this two disc collection.There is commentary by all the main stars,a gag reel,featurettes on every aspect of the films making,both major and minor,right down to the video game and figurine off shoots.
All in all a nice return to the Terminator franchise.Ah-nold is on game,but the film just gets a little too busy and even Ah-nolds comeback lines don't pack the same punch as before.However the incredible improvement in technology helps hide alot of the films flaws.4 solid stars.