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Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Movie Index

THE MATRIX RELOADED

Directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski (2003, Warner Bros.)
Starring Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishbourne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving

Neo attempts to destroy the Matrix as the time of the Prophecy nears.

View count: Twice

 

 

3 stars

March 18th, 2005 on DVD  
   

Now that I have seen The Matrix Revolutions, I can honestly say that I don't think two sequels were necessary to this movie. There were so many sequences in this movie and the next one that were way, way too long. Reducing or even eliminating those sequences would have allowed these movies to be merged into a tighter story in a single movie. Having said that, I think the two sequels were independent enough that viewers didn't need to know much about this movie to see the conclusion. However, the conclusion doesn't really merit understanding, anyway.

Out of all the scenes that we get in this film, few are actually memorable as being necessary for character or story growth. The near-orgy, the thousand Smiths, the freeway chase, and the corridor fight against Smith could have been drastically reduced in length. I got bored about halfway into each of these. We also see Trinity's entry into the power grid twice, which makes me wonder if the directors knew they didn't have enough stuff to make two movies. In Revolutions, which I found poor enough that I didn't want to bother reviewing it, the endless (but impressive) battle against the sentinels in Zion, many of the fight scenes, and especially the rain fight between Neo and Smith, could have been drastically reduced as well.

However, this movie is quite enjoyable on its own, especially the first half. I liked seeing the characters as they faced the end of their civilization, as apparently has happened five other times in the past. Once we re-enter the Matrix, things start sliding downwards, but they remain enjoyable, nonetheless. There is less focus on character, and more on fights. As in Revolutions, so many of the characters say so much... without saying anything at all. I've always found philosophy to be like that.

As I mentioned, however, the movie was well made, and enjoyable, for the most part. What really bothered me was the ending. First, I thought there was no need for a cliff-hanger. Two self-contained movies, with beginnings, middles and endings to each of them, would have been easy to make. Second, I don't believe that Neo could tap remotely into the Source. This implies that he is actually part programmable machine. Even so, are other machines also able to connect to the Source from that far away?

Finally, because I will not be reviewing Revolutions for this site, I should mention that although I didn't like the movie, I did like the unexpected conclusion. In hindsight, only a stalemate or truce could adequately resolve the conflict between man and machine. It is unfortunate that it seemed rushed because of the effort to show the battle at Zion. The next question is, of course, will humanity be able to revive itself into a viable civilization on the surface? I hope we don't get to find out, because other sequels would just make the whole thing more messy.

 

 

3 stars

October 14th, 2003 in the Theatre  
   

After finally seeing this movie, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I believe many people felt that way, as well, as there are some mighty mixed reviews out there. In general, I liked it.

The first movie blew us away with this new world. We loved the way people could manipulate reality, since that would be the ultimate way of living life, wouldn't it?

This movie comes in two different parts, and they almost constitute different movies. The first tells us who these people are, trying to live out a reality outside the Matrix. They have a mix of high technology, which allows their society to thrive, but they also use torchlight to illuminate their primitive superstitions. An entire half of the movie is devoted to showing us who these people are, their hopes, fears, loves, and beliefs.

We not only get to see the last human city of Zion, but experience it, as well. There is something tribal about these people, even as they can build large ships and computers that can hack into the Matrix. The not-quite orgy scene in Zion (which was intermixed with the sex scene between Neo and Trinity) was interesting because it showed the desperation of these people. The scene may have been a little too long, but we needed to see at least part of it, because, on the edge of destruction, annihilation, they needed to live something full of energy. And there is very little that carries more energy than sexual liberation.

The second half of the movie shows us more about the Matrix itself, as a world. We learn about rogue programs, like the Oracle and the Keymaker, programs that the Matrix believes are outdated, but which serve their own purposes. Much of that purpose seems to be to serve The One -Neo in this case. Amid the conflicts and chases to secure the Keymaker and enter the mainframe of the Matrix, we also gain some world-shattering knowledge.

I'm not sure exactly what the Architect meant by everything he said -that will likely require multiple viewings- but it seems that there have been five other people like Neo, The One, who have all done the same thing, attempting to shut the Matrix down. I don't know why "choice" was actually required by someone from outside the program. It was mentioned that if Neo chose to save Trinity from the Agents, the rest of humanity would die. Did that happen, or not? The Sentinels seemed to have plenty of power to destroy Zion even after Neo made the "wrong" choice. Perhaps Revolutions will answer some of these questions.

The most world-shattering experience, though, comes near the end, when we are led to believe that perhaps these people, who presume themselves to be free of the Matrix, are part of something larger. Maybe Zion and all the "free" humans are inside a computer program of sorts, and The Matrix is also within that program. There could be multiple levels to the "real" world, something that was briefly explored in The Thirteenth Floor.

There are three clues given that directly point to this revelation. The first comes fairly early, when the resurrected Agent Smith is able to copy himself into somebody from Zion and transfer through to his real body through the phone line. If the real person was nothing more than a computer program, then it would make a lot more sense. Second comes with the Architect's line "the Matrix is far older than you think". Morpheus showed us the "real" world in the first movie, but that may have been the "real" world only since this incarnation of the Matrix. Perhaps the real world is actually six times older! Third, Neo is able to influence the real world after he spends time with the Architect. He is able to destroy the Sentinels with an energy discharge from his bare hands! If he was awakening to the binary state of matter in what he thought was the real world, as he did in the first movie to the Matrix, then he could influence it, just as in the first film.

Of course, all this is just speculation, which is the only thing this movie really delivers. So much happens in the movie, but nothing really happens, after all. The first fight scenes were neat, but nothing that we haven't seen before. My personal favorite was just before rescuing the Keymaker, when Neo takes on so many of the thugs, taking spears and sai weapons from the walls. I always loved the sai, and I actually own a pair of those three-pronged short swords, and learned the basics on how to use them. The fight with the thousand Agent Smiths was hilarious, and after a certain point, I could only laugh at the absurdity of it all.

The other fight scenes, with machine-gun fire, once again left me feeling a sense of "who-cares". The freeway chase had some neat elements, like the way the agents were able to destroy cars by jumping onto them, and the ghosts that could move through just about anything, but it was still a car chase. There were some amazing camera angles, and this is something that could only be done in this fake world of the Matrix, and still be "believable". I have to wonder how all the cars could take so many bullet holes and keep going, yet a single blast to the underside of the ghost's car blows it up at the appropriate time.

The characters other than Neo and Trinity had mostly very small parts. Even Morpheus is relegated to the background in much of the movie. Others, like Captain Lock and the beautiful Captain Niobe helped give an urgency to the cause of both Zion and the Prophecy of The One.

Much of the dialog is curious, as it sounds very grandiose, using lots of large words and complicated sentence structure.  It seems to spout from the mouths of all the computer "programs", from the Oracle (who was much more straightforward in the first movie), to Merovingian (who kept the Keymaker under lock and key), the Architect and even Morpheus. Aside from a few words here and there, I don't know if any of it means anything at all. Only the Councillor seemed to speak plainly, when he brought Neo down to the engineering level to discuss their dependence on machines.

This movie didn't seem to take itself as seriously as the first Matrix, yet at the same time, it seemed to take itself even more seriously. The first perspective comes from the style of the movie, the way the directors directed and edited it together. The second perception comes from the characters themselves. Which dominates? From the way the music peaked in a campy horror-style at the very end, where we learn that the traitor who was infected by Smith early on caused the total destruction of Zion, I'd have to say it's the first one.

The plot was resolved in one way, in that Neo was able to reach the computer core of the Matrix, and that he made a choice for the future. It simply didn't solve anything. I think that is probably what most people didn't like about it. I did like it, and as I assimilate more of it, I anxiously look forward to the conclusion.

 
   

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