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9.2 89 10
FanFix August 15, 2012 14229
(Updated: December 09, 2019)
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Wow, so it had been a long time since I watched this film, but I just watched Terminator: Dark Fate and wanted to see how this fanedit compared... T3 does not hold up well. This edit does the equivalent of open-heart surgery on the film...but now that it's resuscitated, we can see we should've just euthanized it. (More on Dark Fate at the end...)

No fault of Uncanny Antman's, he did a really admirable job on this edit. The problem in this film is just fundamental plot level, where the “conveniences” pile up hard and fast from the start…
-the “female” TX happens to appear in a ladies fashion display (while all the male time travelers have appeared in neutral locations like an alley or desert)
-John has spent years being trained to be a total badass…but happens to crash his motorcycle tonight
-then he happens to go to the clinic where his old schoolmate works
-TX happens to make that one of her first stops, so she can trace John from his blood there
-And Kate happened to have an emergency call right when John was at her clinic
-etc., etc. The whole setup for the plot is just irredeemable.

Then there are all the problems with character development. UA has thankfully removed much of the dated and cheesy attempts at humor, as well as lots of moment of John whining or waxing non-sensically about destiny. He also excised the needless and unconvincing romance sub-plot. However, what's left is a film with poorly-defined, dry characters that don't really win us over. Arnold hammed it up as the T-850 at times, but a few lines like "I am not shitting you" got real chuckles from me. Without them, I didn't really feel anything during the film. So all we can do is focus on plot and motivation, which leads us to sit there bemused, saying:
How can the TX remotely control cars again? “Nanotechnology”? Way to use a sciency buzzword without understanding how that really works.
Why is John now a total “Please, I don’t want any trouble!” wuss? Has that been working for him all these years on the road?
Man, the relentless callbacks are annoying. There was a reason the T-850 wore sunglasses before. There was a reason he wore leather. Here, it’s just the recognizable uniform, so they make sure to put him back in it. Then there's Chekov’s power cell… oh, he has two of them for some reason? I’m sure that won’t be important to the plot later…

Whereas thematically the first 2 films are about self-determinism and the idea that you can change your future, this film sides with “destiny” and the idea that some things are bound to happen one way or another. So then how are we supposed to take John’s plan here of the T-850 that killed him driving him to stop Skynet from going online so that the T-850 never kills him…? Does it make any kind of sense to think that that’s even possible? John is all over the place on this. One scene, he’s saying “you know what you have to do, you know my destiny!” the next he’s all “the future is up to us, Kate!”
Didn’t they say in the previous films that Skynet didn’t know what John looked like because a lot of records were destroyed during the war? How then does Skynet know all about John’s lieutenants, and have a DNA sample of his?!
Wait, HOW did the T-850 manage to get into the heart of this military base?!
So the TX kicks the T-850’s ass but it has to look at itself in the mirror after? Really, guys?
Chekov’s power cell redux: hmm, so as predicted, the T-850 went all movie with no obvious reduction in power just so it could blow up that 2nd power cell in the TX…who somehow hasn’t been able to use her metallic shapeshifting all movie’s end. Wow, that’s convenient for him!

Okay, positives: they do have a couple rich ideas here, like Skynet using John’s attachment to the T-850 to get close to him. And I like that unlike in T1 or T2, you don’t know which side the T-850 is on from one minute to the next.
I also always thought the downer ending was a really brave choice, and there’s a lot of poetry in it. Not only does mankind create the AI and the robots that turn on us, but Judgement Day is accomplished by launching our own nukes at ourselves. It’s a strong message, and practically the only thing that justifies this film’s existence.

As far as the fanedit goes, there were just a couple changes that I had to take off points for. The first was the aggressively loud opening music. The others are narrative changes. Removal of dialogue when Kate has John caged up leads to a long, silent recognition scene that is about twice as long as it needs to be and feels pretty awkward.
The other big point is that in this edit Skynet of the future sends back the TX with the virus that creates Skynet? Well, that might be the greatest case of self-determinism ever. Or a total paradox…I’m picky about time travel logic, so this really doesn’t work for me.

In the end, this is almost certainly the best possible version of Terminator 3 that we could have (minus those couple tweaks I mentioned). It is far superior to the original film. But honestly, just go with Terminator: Dark Fate. It totally ignores this movie and is 10x better. This film is now like the T-850 says of himself: "I'm an obsolete design."

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