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Terminator 3: 5 Reasons We Were Too Hard On This Underrated Classic

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines got mixed reviews and did pretty well at the Box Office. But over time, fans of the franchise have come to hate Terminator 3. Here are a few reasons which prove why the movie gets unnecessary flak.

It’s Deliriously Bleak

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The Terminators

Terminator 1 ended on a relatively happier note. So did T2: Judgment Day. The T-8– defeated the T-1000 but decided to scuttle itself to save the day. Then came Terminator 3, the movie that changed the very meaning of tragic conclusions. In the end, the Terminator turned out to be a big fat liar. All it was trying to do till now was to somehow safely put John Connor and Kate Connor in a bunker so that when the nukes hit, humanity’s final hopes will be safe. The movie ended with Skynet taking over while John and Kate helplessly watched everything unfold. No other Terminator movie has come close to showing us an ending with that bleak a tone.

Terminator 3 Kept The Spirit Of The Franchise Alive

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T-800 vs. T-X

The original Terminator movie was more of a man vs. machine story with a tinge of sci-fi and time travel elements. T2: Judgment Day pit one Terminator against another. We saw T-1000 and T-800 fight to the death with the latter ultimately winning, but barely. But it was in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines that the Terminator vs. Terminator trope was taken to new heights. The T-X was notoriously over-equipped for this mission while the T-800 had to go full on old school against a threat it was never designed to fight. Terminator 3 lived up to the spirit of the franchise and should be applauded for such an honorable (and honest) effort.

Terminator 3 Had A Bigger Budget Which It Used Effectively

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The T-X

The studio could have easily resorted to using cheaper alternatives and made the movie on a shoestring budget. But Terminator 3 got one of the greatest production budgets ever – 187 Million Dollars. That is a humongous amount of production value. T3 used that money to not just hire the wizards of Industrial Light and Magic but also saw the return of Stan Winston. Winston’s magic helped shape Terminator 3 into a CGI mammoth. This was necessary because the franchise was being compared with CGI heavy movies like The Mummy and The Matrix at the time.

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How It Handled The Future Was Absolutely Commendable

Proper Time Travel Mechanics

The idea that John and Kate could never actually change the future but only delay it, was radical. And it gave a whole new meaning to the Terminator chronicles. Ever since the events of the first Terminator movie, Sarah Connor and then her son John Connor have been trying to stop Skynet’s invasion. But little did they know that they were just delaying an event from happening and not actually preventing it. The T-X did not come from the future because John and Kate were threats to Skynet’s invasion. They were targets because they were leaders of the human resistance on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth.

The Third Act Of Terminator 3 is One Of The Best In The Whole Franchise

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The Glorious Third Act

T3 really benefitted from having a script that allowed for so many fast-paced action scenes. Sure it had a lot of plot holes and story areas where logic was thrown for a toss. But the script of Terminator 3 made for an epic third act. As the T-X comes closer to killing Kate and John, we see a sense of dread take over the screen. The T-800 vs. T-X fight is the stuff of legends. The inevitable catastrophe that happens was a good way to round off the trilogy by connecting it to the very beginning of the first Terminator movie. It was almost poetic.


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Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.