I’ll be the first person to say that the world was not clamouring for Terminator 3. My reason oddly appears to be different to most, since I always thought that Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a bit – well – shit. Superfluous to the streamlined simplicity of the original it seemed to exist merely to promote the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron. So imagine my joy when the uncalled for T3 turned up sporting a new cast, new director and a new found sense of purpose. The claims of Cameron being a auteur can be banished to the bin – and he can go on tinkering with his I-MAX bobbins that no-one has to go and see. Instead I’ll stick with Jonathon Mostow’s vision, especially if it includes Arnold’s head being smashed through a toilet.

T-101: Terminator 2 is subtitled Judgement Day. And yet one thing that defiantly does not happen in T2 is Judgement Day. They prevent it from happening. So much so that the expensive special effect of a nuclear holocaust gets relegated to the somewhat superfluous state of dream sequence – where its verisimilitude is wasted. It is a dream – it could happily have elephants playing trombones in it. The subtitle is a bit of a swizz. The Advertising Standards Authority, rather than being dazzled by that nice shiny morphing technology, should have clamped down on James Cameron hard. Whereas Terminator 3 has the post-colonic of Rise Of The Machines, which anyone who has seen it will tell you is exactly what happens. I got what I paid for.

T-102: Terminator 2 is a pallid rerun of the original which exists almost purely for the vanity of James Cameron. Consider that it starred his wife, showcased a special effect that he had devised in the “yawning” Abyss and added little beyond a decent Guns’n’Roses song to the Terminator story. Terminator 3 exists merely to make money (and perhaps revive Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career). Which I think we’ll all agree is a much better reason than buffing up the ego of the self styled “King Of The World”.

T-103: In Terminator 2, Arnold is the lead character. Not only is his murderous killing machine reprised as a heroic version, but he gets to do surrogate parenthood to Eddie Furlong’s unlikely floppy haired saviour of the future. Terminator 3 may on paper have Arnold’s name above the credits, but he is at best playing the Jar Jar Binks of the piece. And we never got to see Jar Jar Binks have his face smashed through a porcelain toilet.

T-104: Terminator 3 makes sense. Without delving too deeply into the massively tedious arguments that arise whenever time travel is invoked as a movie plot, the resolution of T3 allows the other two films to happen. Which is rather magnanimous of director Jonathon Mostow considering that James Cameron had written him off as a journeyman hack. It is almost as if rather than looking at the first two films as source material, Mostow and his scriptwriters instead rented out the only time travel films which ever made sense (the Bill and Ted ones) and used it as a crib sheet. Terminator 2 on the other hand, in its attempt to provide a victory which was just bolt on plot, flatly contradicted itself.

T-105: Nick Stahl, playing John Connor in Terminator 3 actually looks a bit like Michael Biehn – whose son he is supposed to be. This of course will not stand him in awfully good stead when he goes for other acting jobs, Biehn never quite making it on the matinee idol stakes. Indeed the only person who ever employed Biehn was James Cameron – who probably won’t want to employ Stahl due to him being in the better Terminator film. That said, Stahl’s resemblance has to be judged against Edward Furlong who looked neither like Biehn or Linda Hamilton – and more like the dog Sprocket out of Fraggle Rock.

T-106 : Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comedies. They were predicated on one of two factors.
a) Arnold looks funny near Danny DeVito
b) Arnold – right – The Terminator – right – is nice to kids/ has kids himself / is funnier than Emma Thompson with a stick up her arse.
Since even Danny DeVito’s career has not dipped so low that he would do another comedy with Arnie, this leaves point b) – which only really actually works if he is playing the Terminator. James Cameron was far to worried about the iconography and hardness of the character to really play it for laughs. But from the moment Arnold walks into a ladies night to pick up his fetishware, he is a figure of fun to be constantly laughed at.

T-107: In The Terminator, Linda Hamilton, our female lead screams a lot. She runs around and squeals and only in the very final reel, when she realises that this unstoppable killing machine is actually just run on below par Harryhausen stop motion, does she take action. Score one for feminism there. Cameron, in then buffing Hamilton up and making her carry guns just pretty much turned her into Lady Stallone. Sure she was a strong action heroine, by completely neutering anything that was previously feminine in the character (as feminine in this world – weak right?). As an alternative in T3 we get the superior model clothed as female Terminator (admittedly this may lead to Terminator 4 being subtitled I’ll Be Black in a desperate spin for originality). More importantly we get Clare Danes as neither uber-competent or helpless. Her character is – note Mr Cameron – not wholly defined by her role.

T-108: Nowhere in Terminator 3, with its lower production values and direct view of action do we ever get a moment as bad as the Thumbs Up. You remember the Thumbs Up. Look, there goes the Terminator, John Connor’s surrogate dad of two days self sacrificing himself to save the world (hooray – this turns out to be a pointless gesture). Down into the molten metal, burning him and destroying him. But wait what is that. His hand. Doing a thumbs up. The whole point of a robot is it has no feelings. Otherwise why would the rise of the machines be a bad thing? T3 is quite happy just to crush the robots with really heavy duty blast doors. No thumbs up.

T-109: What was really cool about The Terminator. Those opening really expensive bits in the future. You know when the machines have risen and seem intent on ruling the earth by dint of mincing over an apocalyptic landscape. It was almost a pity to go back in time for an almost run of the mill chase movie. So it seems almost a pity to use this plot three times. At least Terminator 3 puts paid to that. If Terminator 4 ever happens then we can rest assured that none of that now tedious naked time travelling in a golf ball will never happen.

T-110: Arnold gets his face smashed through a toilet. What more reason do you want.