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Non-Review Review: Teminator 3 – Rise of the Machines

Network 2 reaired the whole Terminator trilogy to celebrate Salvation‘s release on Friday. My luck being my luck, I caught the tail end of the franchise, the weak link if you will. As I write this, I face the question that I face when I review any given sequel or part of a franchise: should I judge it independently or alongside its predecessors (and – if I’m a latecomer to the party – its successors)? If I adopt the former approach, is Terminator 3 a reasonably solid sci-fi/action movie? If I look at it as the third installment in the franchise, is it fit to be considered alongside two of the greatest action movies ever made?

Spot the one non-classically trained actor in this shot...

Spot the one non-classically trained actor in this shot...

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Is the Terminator Franchise Terminated?

In the knowledge that Terminator: Salvation has ‘only’ taken in $71m at the US Box Office, having cost over $200m to make and market, prognosticators are rushing to pronounce the Terminator franchise as dead. The facts don’t look good – so far it has earned less than the previous franchise killer (the disappointing-in-so-many-ways Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), it is reviewing badly, and it got its ass handed to it by a Ben Stiller family comedy. This is surely bad news for Warner Brothers, the studio that produced the other $200m ‘dud’ of the year, Watchmen – but does it really signal the end for everyone’s favourite time-traveling robotic assassin?

No bones (or metallic endoskeleton) about it...

No bones (or metallic endoskeleton) about it...

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This is no time to argue about time, we don’t have the time…

The early reviews for Terminator: Salvation seem to be in – and they are not as bad as I thought they would be. Apparently if you leave your brain at reception, you might enjoy it. Still, it’s got me thinking. The original Terminator was one of the few Hollywood movies to deal with time travel relatively well. How come Hollywood seems to have such difficulty wrestling with such a common science fiction trope?

Warning: thinking about time travel might make your brain melt

Warning: thinking about time travel might make your brain melt

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Does Christian Bale Suffer From Sean Penn Syndrome?

I like Christian Bale. Or at least, I want to like Christian Bale. Having watched him since American Psycho (joining relatively late in his career-to-date but earlier than most), I am continual impressed by the quality of his acting. Yet I find it very hard to refute when my brother begins justifying his hatred for the erstwhile Welsh thespian. Eventually – after much soul-searching – I figured out why. Christian Bale suffers from what might be termed ‘Sean Penn syndrome’. In short, he’s an incredibly talented douchebag.

Is this the face of a highly talented douchebag?

Is this the face of a highly talented douchebag?

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