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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Terminator 3, released in 2003, has lots of profanity (including "f--k"); extreme, graphic violence (a character puts a gun to his head and threatens to kill himself; the Terminator carves his chest open with a knife to fix his circuitry, with blood shown); edge-of-your-seat car chases; and some mighty scary robots. There is a minimal amount of nudity in brief scenes of male and female Terminators, but both are shot from a distance and heavily shadowed. There also is a very sad death of a parent. A character steals prescription drugs from an animal hospital and takes them. Teens drink beer at a party.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Fasten your seatbelts: The Terminator is back. The new model has lots of upgrades, lots of new powers, and some interesting new shapes. These changes lead to surprising plot twists and some funny lines. But the best part remains the old formula: one long, exciting chase scene. Fans of the Terminator series know the recipe well by now: a relentless, all-powerful cyborg is sent back from the future by its machine masters to kill the young John Conner as part of a plan to exterminate the human race. Each time, fragile human beings must find the resolve and ingenuity to escape the terminator, with doomsday hanging in the balance.
Is it any good?
The recipe is so familiar that TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES contains in-jokes and occasionally pokes fun at itself, building on themes and expectations from past Terminator movies. There are some humorous moments that would not have appeared in the earlier movies, such as the indignant motorist in the path of destruction who wants to complain about his dented fender or the scene where the muscular Schwarzenegger is mistaken for a male stripper.
The chase scenes in Terminator 3 are a bit more clever and a lot more expensive. But their timing is perfect. The director establishes his credentials right from the start with a truck chase that's a carefully orchestrated hurricane of destruction. This is a wildly entertaining movie, but it has some significant flaws as well, most noticeably in the plot, which disappoints at important points in the story. However, plot flaws are not likely to discourage hard-core fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is this third movie in the Terminator series different from the first two? How is it similar?
Did the violence seem necessary to the story, or did it seem put in to keep audiences engaged?
What are some other examples of sequels? Do you think sequels are generally better or worse than the original movie? Why? Why do you think sequels of hit movies get made?
- In theaters: July 2, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2003
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kristanna Loken, Nick Stahl
- Director: Jonathan Mostow
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Robots
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sci-fi violence and action, and for language and brief nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.