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Tales of the Forgotten Sequels: 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines'

In Tales of the Forgotten Sequels, we take a look at film follow-ups that have been lost to time, either by accident or on purpose. Did these part twos and part threes deserve the bargain bin, or were they victims of unfair expectations? Let’s find out!

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Simply put, the original Terminator and its sequel, Terminator 2, are the greatest one-two punch in sci-fi history. Full of memorable characters, incredible action, and state-of-the-art effects, it’s a classic series.

Terminator 3 is a different story. After five years of studio closures, sold rights, and development hell, T3 stumbled into theaters in 2003. While initial reviews were mostly positive, the movie is rarely brought up when discussing the franchise. It’s the “meh” movie, the one you see if you have two hours to burn. Does Terminator 3 really deserve its place in Who Cares? history? In honor of this weekend’s release of Terminator Genisys, let’s find out!

The Good

The Crane Scene: Five minutes of pure destructive bliss, watching Arnie swing from a crane as it pulverizes 10 city blocks is fantastic. Exciting, enthralling, and perfectly paced, it alone makes the $4 Amazon rental worth it.

An Uncomfortable Ending: While I remember hating it in theaters, ending the film with the inevitability of Judgment Day was a daring choice, especially for a summer blockbuster. While the final 10 minutes are a bit of a bore-fest without Arnie, it at least closed the loop on the “Terminator comes back to protect young Connor” plotline. Seriously, how many times are we going to do that?

Claire Danes’ Outdated Cell Phone: Nothing is better than a 2003 movie showing off its “high-tech” gizmos. This is so much fun 12 years later.

A

At Least It’s Not Terminator Salvation: Uggggh.

The Fem-inator: Giving the new cyborg a female form was a very smart choice. Having Schwarzenegger take on a lady-bot opens up a variety of combat scenarios: quick and agile versus slow and lumbering, modern thinking versus old tech. It also gives Arnie the chance for some quality zingers. You know the writers were dying to hammer in a “Battle of the Sexes” line somewhere.

The Bad

Wasting the Fem-inator: Unfortunately, the movie does none of the above. All the potential of a female Terminator is thrown aside in favor of the tried and true. Same old taking on people’s forms, same old running fast. The best the writers could come up with is to give her a “make my boobs bigger to get out of a ticket” ability, then make her sensually lick blood off her finger. Lazy.

The T-X takes a blood sample by sexily licking her finger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

The Arnie/John Connor Relationship: In a word, it stinks. Say what you want about Edward “Squeaky Voice” Furlong in T2, but he and Arnie had a connection. Nick Stahl does his best, but the script doesn’t allow the pair to relate in any meaningful ways. They drive, they fight, they grab “grave guns,” they drive some more. Standard stuff.

The Aforementioned Grave Guns: Hiding a treasure trove of weapons in a fake grave has to be one of the silliest excuses for a shootout in film history. And don’t worry about getting shot up, John. Just jump into the magic bulletproof casket and hitch a ride on Arnie’s shoulders. You’ll be fine. (To be fair, this is so dumb, it almost got on the good list.)

Not One Joke Works: What barely worked in T2 fails completely in T3. From the gut-wrenching “talk to the hand” moment to the borderline homophobic “crunch the gay guy’s Elton John sunglasses” bit, every joke dies on impact.

Arnie does his best Elton John impersonation in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

You Can’t Remote-Control a ’90s-Era Police Car with Your Magic Computer-Virus Finger: I don’t even think you could do that with a 2015 Lexus.

The Baffling

Miserable CGI: Say what you want about James Cameron’s directing chops, but the man knows how to make a special effect. It’s what got him into the movie business in the first place. In T3, the CGI is beyond horrific.

This is most evident in the disastrous Arnie/Fem-inator bathroom fight scene. From rubbery animations to a moment where I swear Arnie throws a dummy, the scene is pure misery. An intern using After Effects could have done a better job.

A Wasted R Rating: Terminator 3 is probably the softest R movie I’ve seen in years. Except for two bare butts, the hand-through-the-chest scene and two F-bombs, there is no reason this couldn’t have been PG-13. If you’re going to get slapped with the scarlet R, you might as well go all-out. Especially when your movie is all about a robot who kills people by stabbing them in the face.

Arnold Schwarzenegger takes out the casket in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

The Terminator Isn’t Robotic Enough: It’s subtle, but it matters. The charm of the Terminator character is the idea of a thundering cyborg that’s kinda human but clearly not. Arnie’s T3 Terminator is entirely too human, to the point where it’s not believable. It’s very difficult to suspend your disbelief when your title character is clearly just Arnold Schwarzenegger in a leather jacket.

The Verdict

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines deserves every bit of its current status: a permanent resident of the land of Who Cares? Die-hard fans will find some fun in this lackluster adventure, but those looking for another T2 will be sorely disappointed. Hasta la vista, boring.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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