Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: Collector's Edition (2003)

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Released 2-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Director and Actors
Audio Commentary-Jonathan Mostow (Director)
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-T3 Video and PC Games
Trailer-S.W.A.T., Charlie's Angels Full Throttle
Featurette-Inside Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines
Featurette-Sgt. Candy Scene
Outtakes-Terminal Flaws: Gag Reel
Featurette-T3 Visual Effects Lab
Featurette-Skynet Database
Featurette-Terminator Timeline
Storyboards
Featurette-Dressed To Kill
Featurette-Toys In Action
Featurette-Making Of The Video Game
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 104:36
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:50)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jonathan Mostow
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Nick Stahl
Claire Danes
Kristanna Loken
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Marco Beltrami


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A Terminator film without James Cameron behind the camera? Simply unthinkable. Not only that, but Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong are also absent. Boy, was this a recipe for disaster. To cast further doubt on a third Austrian Cyborg adventure was the fact that the two previous Terminator films are classics and stand as towering achievements in both action and science fiction film making. How on earth do you live up to that? It is not an exaggeration to say that the vultures were already circling this highly anticipated film as pre-production on Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines was announced. As soon as the cameras started rolling, the negative rumours hit the internet and as the film got closer to a release date, the buzz on Terminator 3 was nothing short of abysmal.

    Enter Jonathon Mostow, a youngish director with two relatively well-received, moderately budgeted films under his belt in Breakdown and U-571. Facing fairly stiff odds, Mostow has delivered the goods and made a film that, although not as groundbreaking or visually arresting as Cameron's efforts, still manages to live up to the quality set by the previous entries.

    Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, which will hereto be referred to as T3, begins 10 years after the events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. John Connor (Nick Stahl) has spent the intervening years drifting unnoticed, quietly devastated by the events of his past. He is plagued by visions of mankind's future holocaust at the hands of 'The Machines". Inevitably, Skynet send a terminator back through time to eliminate the future lieutenants of mankind's resistance. The TX (Kristanna Loken) is the latest killing machine born of the future, an unstoppable cybernetic assassin in the guise of a young woman. One by one the TX is systematically destroying any hope of man's future survival as she gets closer to her primary target, John Connor. As before, the resistance send back a lone protector, the T800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), to safeguard the reluctant hero.

    Okay, let's get down to it. T3 is a juggernaut of an action film. The momentum of this film is outstanding. T3 moves from one set piece to the next at a rattling pace. Structure-wise, director Mostow is obviously using the original films as a template. Instead of grinding the film to a halt to deliver necessary exposition, Mostow tells his story on the run, and T3 is all the better for it. The screenplay by John Brancato & Michael Ferris wonderfully pays homage to elements of the original films, but also delivers a number of clever twists of its own. The script is also laced with humour that delightfully offsets the absolute mayhem projected on screen, but never cheapens the franchise. Mostow and co. wisely manipulate the Terminator mythology, as set down by Cameron, allowing enough story originality to propel the characters along unexpected paths.

    The cast are exceptional. Both Nick Stahl and Clare Danes give outstanding performances. Stahl, a relatively unknown performer, manages to bring a world-weary, emotional damaged, yet courageous vulnerability to the character of John Connor. I found myself captivated by his performance, which left no doubt in my mind that Stahl was the right casting decision. Danes, in what could have been the usual token female role, brings a real strength and intelligence to the part of Kate Brewster. Danes aptly tries to fill the void left by the absent Linda Hamilton and for the most part succeeds. Kristanna Loken, as the unstoppable TX, does a tremendous job. She is at once totally believable and menacing. The only problem in playing this role is that Robert Patrick's T1000 was such a magnificent villain, and Loken's TX suffers by comparison. Mostow, realising that trying to better Patrick's liquid metal nightmare would bring unfavourable comparisons, gives the TX a new improved arsenal that mostly deflects a comparative assessment. The T1000 is still clearly the villain of choice.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger was born to play this role. It has been a dozen years since the leather-clad cyborg decimated half of Los Angeles, but you wouldn't think it that long when you see the Governor of California's bulging biceps. I remember reading that prior to the shoot Arnold spent four hours a day for six months getting back into primo shape for his signature role, and it shows: he looks like he just walked off the set of Conan The Barbarian. As for his performance, the former Mr Olympiad is magnificent in this part. Wisely avoiding self-parody, Arnold gives his superseded terminator the right balance of humour and heroics. Schwarzenegger is an action icon and he has made so many classic films over the last 20 years I was saddened to hear of his retirement from films to dabble in politics. It is fitting therefore that the T800 be his last major film role.

    The special effects team have simply outdone themselves. In a year when several high profile films have staged eye-popping high speed pursuits and special effects free-for-alls, T3 manages to lead the way with several amazing set pieces and a crane chase that has to be seen to be believed. The sheer destructive force of this heavy vehicle pursuit is amazing. Stan Winston's production company working in conjunction with the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic have delivered an astounding array of seamless visual effects. Utilising all the tools at their disposal including practical effects, animatronics, Robotics, prosthetics, model work and computer generated imagery, T3 is a moving work of art.

    Now for the bad news. There are certain aspects of the film that I found didn't work. Firstly, Brad Fiedel's excellent score from the first two entries is sadly missing. Newcomer Marco Beltrami delivers a fairly nondescript track that fails to add anything to the on-screen drama. This was a real missed opportunity. Luckily, the familiar Terminator theme is heard over the end credits. Secondly, not all the humour in the movie works. The 'she'll be back' line was fairly cringe-worthy. Thankfully, similar catch phrase duds like this were in the extreme minority, but nevertheless they were noted. Lastly, director James Cameron's eye for detail and eye-catching cinematography is missing. Like all the best auteurs, Cameron has developed a style that is uniquely his. Like Spielberg, Scorsese, Scott, Carpenter and De Palma, every frame of film is a personalised signature. The first two Terminator films shared a certain organic style that T3 tends to lack. There is no doubting that T3 is a handsome piece of work, but it doesn't match the artistry of its predecessors. Mostow is a talented director, but he is yet to establish a style all his own.

    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is an excellent science fiction film that effortlessly continues the Terminator saga that started almost 20 years ago. This is simply a must see.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    T3 has been given a reference quality transfer that can't be faulted.

    The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness levels are fabulous with absolutely no aliasing or edge enhancement problems of any sort. Shadow detail is exceptional, with abundant levels of depth and contrast.

    Not one speck of grain, low level noise or film artefacting can be found anywhere on this gorgeous print. This transfer is simply blemish-free.

   Colours are rendered perfectly. From the sleek chrome of the TX endoskeleton to the flushed cheeks of our human heroes, the colour scheme is a moving work of art.

    Columbia TriStar have delivered an astounding picture for this DVD release. I just wish the other studios were as generous.

    The RSDL change is at the 52:50 minute mark and is well placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Columbia TriStar have provided T3 with two exceptional 5.1 digital soundtracks.

    The first is a quality English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384kb/s) track followed by an even better DTS 5.1 version (768kb/s). There are also two commentary tracks in 2.0 surround.

    Dialogue is always clear and there are no audio sync problems. Even during the countless explosions and gun battles, the dialogue is never lost amongst the sound effects.

    As I stated above, the music by Marco Beltrami is sadly a missed opportunity. This is not to say that the music is awful - on the contrary, if this were any other film I would have enjoyed the score, but a Terminator adventure deserved better. The familiar theme is sadly missing. It's like watching Indiana Jones without John Williams' glorious music.

    Surround channel usage is absolutely dynamite. All front and surround channels are extremely busy and active. I did find the DTS track to be the slightly better audio choice. It is more spacious and detailed during the action scenes. Other than this small nit pick, the Dolby and DTS versions are generally of equal quality. Both have a superb dynamic range with the DTS having that slight edge due to the higher bitrate.

    The subwoofer supports both tracks wonderfully. The reverberation emanating from my system drove my wife nuts, which is always a good sign of quality.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

    The menus are first rate, depicting moments from the film accompanied by the Beltrami score. Boy do I miss Brad Fiedel's music.

Dolby Digital Trailer

Audio Commentary 1 - Cast and Crew

    This audio commentary features the Director Jonathan Mostow, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken. Unfortunately, all were recorded separately. As commentaries go, this is not a bad effort. Each participant happily discusses the production from their point of view, but the track misses that interplay group commentaries tend to have. The track, however, is never boring and in fact quite amusing in places. Schwarzenegger has a very dry sense of humour and his comments are definitely the highlight of this track

Audio Commentary 2 - Director Jonathan Mostow

    I found this track the more interesting of the two. Mostow is very involving in his comments and there are no dead spots during his commentary. He happily discusses every aspect of the filmmaking process; the choices he made during production, having to follow in the footsteps of James Cameron, fan expectations and wrangling such a mammoth project. A first rate director's commentary.

Teaser Trailer

    1.85:1 16x9 T3 teaser.

Theatrical Trailer

    16x9 T3 full trailer

Trailer

    1.85:1 16x9 S.W.A.T. Trailer - looks pretty good, but I wouldn't be bragging about `From The Producers Of xXx'!

Trailer

    1.85:1 16x9 Charlie's Angels Full Throttle Trailer

Documentary - Inside Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

    Running a scant 13 minutes, this featurette is your usual promo material. It is basically an extended trailer with the usual talking heads followed by clips from the film. The only interesting aspect of this feature are the behind-the-scenes shots of Stan Winston's workshop.

Featurette - Sgt Candy Scene

    This was a 2 minute scene filmed as a lead-in to the T3 video game. It shows the origin of the T800 design and is played for laughs. All I can say is thank God they cut it from the film.

Outtakes - Terminal Flaws (Gag Reel)

    Running 3 minutes, this outtake reel has very little to offer and is just a series of flubbed lines and prop failures. Not very interesting.

Featurette - T3 Visual Effects Lab

    This is the best feature on the disc. Split into 7 sections, the feature breaks down the major set pieces and effects work and reveals how each was achieved.

    Introduction: Mostow and Co. discuss the monumental task of bringing the effects work to the screen. 1:30

    Crane Chase: Breaks down the scene into live action and post production. Has great behind the scenes shots with discussion by all involved. 7:50

    TX Transformation: Again isolates the different aspects of filming, this time with the emphasis on the CGI work. 8:00

    Future War: Detailed look at the miniatures involved in the futuristic effects sequences. 8:40

    Crystal Peak: A look at the efforts that went into rendering the T800 into a half human half endoskeleton show-stopper. Fascinating. 9:25

    Create Your Own Visual Effects: This is a terrific feature. You get to manipulate and edit two scenes from the film as you would like to see them. The scenes are: T800 march & Skeleton sea bed. My personal favourite was replacing the laser fire during the T800 March with flame thrower action.

    CRS Lab: This is probably the best mini doco in that it breaks down the T800 versus the TX melee and the creation of the T1. A great look at Stan Winston's genius.

Featurette - Skynet Database.

    This gives you a rough profile of the main characters from the film series. The feature is split into Human and A.I. sections. Not a bad inclusion except that they use doubles for Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn that look nothing like the real actors.

Featurette - Terminator Timeline

    Splits the series into four time sections: 1984, 1995, 2003, 2032. A nice idea well rendered. Fans of the series will love it, including this one.

Storyboards

    Showcases several scenes from the film with accompanying storyboard. A well done feature that runs a scant 3:50.

Featurette - Dressed To Kill

    A quick 2 minute look at the costume design. Not very interesting, although you do get to see the gorgeous Loken in tight leather.

Featurette - Toys In Action

    An interesting look at the processes involved in the making of Todd McFarlane's great range of film-inspired merchandise. I was blown away by the amount of detail McFarlane and Co. go into. It is not surprising that it takes 10 months to create the toys.

Featurette - Making The Video Game

    A look at the making of the T3-inspired game. This is where you get to see why the awful Sgt Candy scene was created. Basically, this is a 9 minute video game commercial.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All versions of this DVD are going to be the same, except that both the Region 2 and Region 4 versions have a DTS track. So, for me the clear winner is either of those versions.

Summary

    Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines is one of the most thrilling action adventures of the year. It successfully re-establishes one of the best loved film series of all time. The audio and video presentations on the disc are flawless. We are also given a nice array of extras. I suspect that down the road we will see a 3 disc set, but for now this version will do nicely.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Monday, October 27, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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Comments (Add)
Excellent review - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Don't Bother Waiting For Box Set - Abz
Re: Don't bother waiting for box set - Anonymous
Rehash City - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe
Continuity sucks. - grug (there is no bio.)
Box Set - Valdi
Re: Re: Don't bother waiting for box set - Abz
I know its not an official boxset - Anonymous
The box-set thing - Abz
Me Again - Abz
Skynet total rubbish - Vieira4 (deleted bio)
Reply to V4 - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Reply to Simon - Vieira4 (deleted bio)
skynet, boxsets and destruction - Valdi
to: anonymous - Valdi
re: to: anonymous - Anonymous
Changing the past is impossible. - Christopher
Is It Framed Properly ? - Wolverine
Framing of T3 - Jace
T-X Arrival Scene misframed!? Region 1 only?! - Paul B REPLY POSTED
Framing Issue - Millhouse
Framing of T3 is correct - Jace
reply to jason here - Millhouse
Reply to Millhouse... - Paul B
Re: Framing of T3 - Matthew
T3 logo on UNDERSIDE of disc!! - Quizo69
RE: Logo on underside of disc - Paul B
OMFG! First time viewer's reaction - Anonymous
The terminated scene, and SFX - Anonymous
re: Don't Bother Waiting For Box Set - Abz - Anonymous
not bad - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic)
re:re: Logo on underside of disc - Paul Brewster - Anonymous
MISSING EXTRAS!!?!??!! - Anonymous
re: OMFG! First time viewer's reaction - Ryan
Holographic Undersides... - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
T3 Framing - Trevor
Re: Holographic disc, framing, missing extras... - Paul B
To Trevor - Re: T3 Framing - Anonymous
where's the eggs? - M.E
Re: Wheres the eggs? - Paul B
No Movie Disk - Sailfish
Sad excuse for a film... - Anonymous
Great Review and a great action movie - Michael H (wish my bio were here)