Type to search

Soundtrack review: Terminator – Rise of the machines (Marco Beltrami – 2003)

Composer of the month Franchises The expendables month

Soundtrack review: Terminator – Rise of the machines (Marco Beltrami – 2003)



I remember the first time I saw a teaser trailer for “Terminator: Rise of the machines”…Having grown up on the first two terminators, seeing that logo and those metallic skeletons again in a cinema seemed like the coolest thing, a dream come true. I was relieving a part of my childhood. I remember going home and looking for the release date. It was 18 months later and I couldn’t imagine how to make that time pass faster. Somehow it did and I saw a fun and action packed movie. It lacked the appeal of Judgment Day but I loved the ending and its place in the franchise.

I wasn’t sure about the score though. Brad Fiedel had created such a clear and unmistakable identity for the Terminator movies that I couldn’t imagine anyone else matching that. Marco Beltrami took his chance. You can hear traces from Fiedel’s music right from the start. The lineage is there, the identity is there underneath Beltrami’s own signature.

One of the most important themes introduced here is “JC’s theme”, a wonderful and emotional buildup cue which carries with it all the weight and responsibility that John Connor carries. That’s the heart of this score. Then comes the metallic skeleton and Beltrami updates the music to a new level, one that works for me. The music mirrors the music perfectly; almost nonstop chasing action, fast and exciting. Just listen to “Magnetic personality”. When there are breaks from the action, Beltrami inserts his favorite horror motifs.

Fresh and exciting enough on its own and with the right nods to the original themes 9Beltrami’s more orchestral reinterpretation delivers), “Rise of the machines” ends up as a very satisfactory listen. It is exactly what it was supposed to be and it does for the music series just what the movie did for the franchise: it pleases the fans and gives them a feeling of continuation. The ending of the score still gets to me. “Radio” and “T3” make me remember the emotional finale when John Connor and the girl realize that they were never supposed to stop Judgment day…just survive it.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 24 / 45

Album excellence: 54%


JC Theme

More Deep Thoughts

Magnetic Personality

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

Terminator Tangle



The Terminator (From The Motion Picture ‘The Terminator’)

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

  • 1

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.