OF THE MACHINES
Fasten your seatbelts: The Terminator
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 of Terminator 3 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.
The recipe is so familiar that Terminator 3 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 little 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 is a
carefully orchestrated hurricane of destruction. This is a wildly
entertaining movie and should do well at the box office, 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 the hard core Terminator fans.
Parents who have seen previous Terminator movies know
exactly what they will be getting with Terminator 3: profanity, a
lot of good-natured violence, edge-of-your-seat car chases and some
mighty scary robots. There is a minimal amount of nudity in brief
scenes, but both are shot from a distance and heavily shadowed.
Families who see this movie should talk about how we weigh the risks
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the
first two and other sci-fi movies with themes of machines that become
aware, including "The Matrix" and "2001."
a rare feat when a beautiful blonde gets the chance to knock around
a seasoned action veteran such as Arnold Schwarzenegger onscreen,
but with the release of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, former
model Kristanna Loken takes full advantage of the opportunity; and
she looks good doing it. Born the daughter of a former actor/writer
turned organic fruit farmer and a onetime model in Ghent, NY, Loken
spent most of her early years studying dance and riding horses. Encouraged
early on by her mother to pursue a career in modeling, the young beauty
stepped before cameras for the first time at the age of 15. Landing
a contract with Elite soon thereafter, it wasn't long before the girl
began to eye an acting career. Getting off to a solid start with a
recurring role on the popular soap opera As the World Turns in 1994,
Loken went on to appear in such TV series as Pensacola: Wings of Gold
and Mortal Kombat: Conquest before graduating to features with the
2000 action film Gangland. Subsequently appearing in the following
year's Academy Boyz, she continued to turn up on the small screen
in numerous episodes of the popular series Philly. Although Loken's
status, to this point, had remained a relatively low-key affair, it
was her casting as the villainous T-X in the eagerly anticipated sequel
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003 that found her gaining
instant worldwide recognition. Beating out such heavy contenders as
the buff Joanie Laurer (formerly known as WWF star Chyna), Loken eagerly
accepted the opportunity to relentlessly pummel Schwarzenegger as
few could claim.
August 7, 1975, in Benoni, South Africa, Charlize is a dancer, stunning
model, and star actress. Charlize experienced a thoroughly rural upbringing,
born and raised on the Benoni farm. Her hard working parents, who
owned both a road construction company and a farm, instilled genuine
family values in her. At age 6, young Charlize began studying ballet,
a pursuit that would command her attention throughout her adolescent
years. Whenever she was not dancing, she devoted her free time to
a consuming passion for American movies. Her early exposure was at
a drive-in theatre that was a 45-minute drive down the road from the
family farm. Charlize was able to convince her parents to purchase
a VCR, and her dreams of acting began to emerge. Charlize's particular
favorite was Tom Hanks in the romance "Splash", which caused
the wide-eyed teenager to develop a huge crush on the hunky Hanks.
first introduced to the seductive charm of Charlize Theron in her
feature film debut, MGM's 2 Days in the Valley. Starring with James
Spader, Eric Stoltz, and Jeff Daniels, it was the bizarre story of
what happens to the lives of ten people in the San Fernando Valley
who cross paths over 48 hours. Theron played Helga, Spader's partner
and love interest, who can't get enough of the danger that surrounds
her. Even among an ensemble cast, Theron gave a standout performance.
of ballet landed her at a school for the performing arts in Johannesburg,
where she sat in on drama classes. As a result of this casual interface,
the stunning teenager stumbled upon a modelling contest, which she
entered and won. To her surprise, an Italian fashion scout viewed
her at this contest, and offered her a modelling contract in Milan.
Charlize was met by only moderate success on the runways of Milan,
and was unable to land any serious major modelling contracts.
at an opportunity with an American magazine that flew her to New York
for a photo shoot. She later told one interviewer, "I went, did
their job, and never made it back to the airport. I was just too thrilled
to be in New York." On her own in New York at age 18, Charlize
found herself continually intimidated by the city's maze of towering
skyscrapers, and the inclement winter weather in the Big Apple. Falling
back upon her dance training, she found a spot in the Joffrey Ballet,
which proved short lived. Her childhood passion was abruptly ended
when a career ending knee injury forced her to fall back on modelling.
who recalled her passion for cinema, suggested her intrepid daughter
go to Southern California. Arriving in Los Angeles, Charlize checked
into a low rent motel and spent the next two weeks wandering around
town in an attempt to make connections. Charlize's big break came
at a bank with the final check from her various employments in New
York City. The bank teller refused to cash the check because it was
drawn on an out-of-state bank, and Charlize threw an impressive tantrum.
Lucky for her,
Hollywood talent manager John Crosby happened to be standing in line
behind her. He helpfully explaining that she could cash her out-of-state
check at any post office, and then asked if she were, perchance, an
actress. Charlize, quite aggravated and somewhat flustered, replied
that she fully intended to become one someday. Crosby, who earlier
in his career had discovered Rene Russo at a Rolling Stones concert,
offered her his card. Charlize, discovering that John Crosby was entirely
reputable, got in touch with him, and he agreed to take her on as
a client. It would be a sure bet that the uncooperative teller or
bank manager would gladly cash Charlize's paycheques today.
Candy Kendall in the widely acclaimed and Oscar- nominated The Cider
House Rules by Miramax, which was based on the novel by John Irving.
The same year she starred in John Frankenheimer's -Reindeer Games
with Ben Affleck. Next, Theron played Adelle in Robert Redford's The
Legend of Bagger Vance with Will Smith and Matt Damon.
current roles include Fox 2000's Navy Diver with Robert DeNiro and
Cuba Gooding, Jr., directed by George Tillman, Jr. In 2001, Theron
can be seen in The Yards, Directed by James Grey (Little Odessa),
the drama also stars Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, James Caan and
Faye Dunaway. Also to be released in 2001 are Sweet November and 24
She has currently
finished the remake of the 60's cult movie The Italian Job where she
playes one of the daring thieves. She does all her own driving in
the movie as do the others.
III: The Frozen Throne
sign of a truly great expansion pack is when, having played it, you
realize you could never go back to the original game. After all, truly
great expansion packs don't just add new content--they add real depth,
and fundamentally make the core game better. Blizzard Entertainment
knows the drill when it comes to delivering these sorts of products.
Last year's real-time strategy game was a very tough act to follow
on any number of levels, and yet Blizzard has delivered a terrific,
full-featured expansion for Warcraft III that makes an already outstanding
game significantly more so.
If you enjoyed
Warcraft III's single-player campaigns, you'll be pleased to know
that The Frozen Throne offers at least as much if not more single-player
material. The campaign picks up where Warcraft III left off, in the
aftermath of the banishment of the burning legion. The renegade half-demon
Illidan and the death knight Arthas are at the centre of the story,
as both of these power-hungry characters are seeking to take control
of a world already ravaged by conflict. You play the campaign missions
linearly, just like in Warcraft III, starting with the night elf sentinels,
then moving on to the remnants of the human alliance, and finally
taking control of the undead scourge. There are more than two dozen
sizeable missions in all.
campaign missions offer remarkable variety from one to the next, and
it's not a stretch to say that these represent the most skilfully
designed single-player scenarios in any real-time strategy game to
date. Recognising that many players have long since grown weary of
the standard formula of having to build up a base, raise an army,
and then attack an entrenched enemy, Blizzard accordingly included
this formula in only a few of The Frozen Throne's campaign missions.
Some of the missions grant you access to multiple armies, each charged
with its own important objectives. Many missions feature clever variations
on familiar strategies. Some limit the types of units you'll get,
which may prompt you to develop a new-found appreciation for some
of Warcraft III's less-intuitive strategies. All the missions are
story-driven and seem plausible enough in the context of the game.
The campaign packs in a lot of surprises, perhaps more so in the mission
design than in the story itself, and it offers a significant challenge
that will help bring you up to speed on some of The Frozen Throne's
new gameplay additions.
The Frozen Throne
adds three beautiful new types of environments that look even better
than the original game's maps, several new units to each of the game's
factions, and new abilities for some of the original units. Many of
the new units are designed to counter particular strategies--specifically,
to counter spellcasting units--and each faction's air force has also
been bolstered by at least one new support unit. So while the night
elves' faerie dragons or the humans' spellbreakers won't replace your
frontline troops, adding a few of them to your army can make a big
difference. In one of its most meaningful additions, the expansion
also introduces a fourth hero character for each side, and these are
featured prominently in the campaign--you'll gain an appreciation
for most all their powers in the single-player mode and can then use
these powerful troops in multiplayer matches. Though each of the new
heroes is very likeable in its own right, the undead's crypt lord,
which looks like an enormous stag beetle, is probably the most impressive.
All the new units also sound great, and some have some very funny
things to say when you click on them repeatedly.
Just like in Warcraft
II, you'll have access to a troop transport, a destroyer, and a battleship.
The naval combat is as simplistic as ever, but its inclusion is still
a nice touch. More importantly, in some scenarios you can recruit
a number of neutral heroes that normally aren't accessible to each
faction. The four sides can also build a new type of structure from
which they can purchase hero items, such as potions and magic scrolls,
as well as items that are specifically useful only to their faction.
The Frozen Throne
also features numerous gameplay balance adjustments and interface
tweaks, though almost all of these are now available in a downloadable
patch for anyone who owns the original game. Many units and buildings
have lower costs than before, making the early part of a Warcraft
III match go by even faster as you quickly muster a respectable force.
Not only does
it play better, but The Frozen Throne also looks and sounds just as
excellent as Warcraft III did a year ago. The new units and map types
are colorful, dynamic, and highly detailed. There's new music for
all the factions, and the new tracks fit in well with the original
themes. New intro and ending cinematics that are on par with the high-quality
Warcraft III CG sequences bookend the campaign. The Frozen Throne
also features an improved version of the world editor utility that
gives scenario designers more and better options for creating complex
and original new scenarios, in addition to straightforward skirmish
The plot of the
campaign is sufficiently epic, and the superb voice acting and memorable
character designs effectively drive the story along.