Friday, July 24, 2015
Franchises: The Terminator. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
In the years since the events of Terminator 2, John Connor has been living off the grid in Los Angeles, on his own ever since his mother died, with the fear that, even though August 29th, 1997 came and went with nothing happening, that the war between humanity and the machines has not been averted. His fears are realized when one night, unbeknownst to him, an advanced Terminator known as the T-X arrives in Los Angeles from the future to eliminate all of the people who will John's future lieutenants in the war. Another reprogrammed T-800 is also sent back by the Resistance to protect both John and an old acquaintance of his, Kate Brewster. The latter works at a veterinary clinic and is called there at 5:00 in the morning when she discovers John there, who has taken a number of drugs in the back. After momentarily incapacitating him, Kate prepares to deal with her customer when the T-X arrives, kills said person, and discovers that John is nearby by analyzing the DNA of the blood on a piece of gauze that was on his leg. Before she can find out from Kate where John is and kill both of them, the T-800 arrives and helps the two of them escape. After joining up with them after a long and destructive chase through the streets of L.A., the Terminator tells John that he and his mother only managed to postpone Judgment Day years ago and that it's going to take place that very day. He also explains what the T-X is, what she's there, and that he's an obsolete design when compared to her. After another encounter with the T-X and amassing a cache of weapons for protection, the Terminator attempts to take John and Kate to a location where they will be able to survive Judgment Day but John insists upon attempting to stop it altogether, threatening to kill himself if he doesn't help them. Once Kate, who is revealed to be John's future wife, begs him to take them to the headquarters of CRS, the United States Air Force divison that was once Cyberdyne, so they can stop the head of the project, her father, General Robert Brewster, from activating SkyNet, the android complies, saying that she's the one he's programmed to obey. Once again, the race is on to prevent Judgment Day, but with SkyNet already gaining control of computer systems across the country, they might not make it in time.
That sad piece of music that plays during this ending, which is very light and soft and is accompanied by the sound of a woman vocalizing, is one of the only memorable parts of the score that I remember to be honest. Marco Beltrami is one of those composers who is a really mixed bag: sometimes he creates memorable music, such in his scores for the Scream movies, Mimic, and the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, whereas other times his music simply underscores the movie in an adequate way but is not memorable in and of itself. This score falls into the latter category. It keeps the film moving, giving the dramatic scenes some weight and keeping the action scenes from becoming boring, but if you were to ask me to describe the separate themes in detail, I would fail miserably because the only other themes I remember is this low, menacing bit that the movie starts with and a nicely doom-laden piece that plays during John's nightmare about the future as well as during the last part of the ending credits. Speaking of the ending credits, that's the only time you hear the original Terminator theme and it's a pretty decent reworking of it, sounding appropriately grand and heroic with a new bit added after the first part of it. Too bad we didn't get it during the actual movie. As for the songs on the soundtrack, I've already mentioned how Macho Man and Dat Funky Man help up the silliness factor to less than desirable levels but there's one song during the middle of the ending credits that I think works really well with the film's story: The Current, by Gavin Rossdale and the Blue Man Group. It's a really nice, cool song and its lyrics, about going underground where the only sound is your breathing, fits perfectly with where John and Kate are by the end of the movie. Plus, a possible interpretation of the song about technology moving forward while, at the same time, isolating humanity, is a no-brainer to be tied to the Terminator franchise.