A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:R for strong violence and a language
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Directed By: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Everything that has a beginning has an end. Sometimes however the end takes much longer than you ever expected. In 1999 the Wachowski Brothers wowed audiences with the sci-fi action flick The Matrix. The story of Neo, the savior of the people enslaved inside the computer world, caught on quickly and soon enough the directorial style and the story of this newfound action hero had everyone talking. Well luckily for Hollywood money talks just as loudly as people do. Warner Brothers asked the Wachowski Brothers to continue their story of Neo and complete the great Matrix trilogy. After the tightly knit Matrix came out, the Wachowski Brothers dumped on audiences The Matrix Reloaded, which some thought to be nothing more than a 2 and half hour philosophical bore filled with characters that liked to do nothing more than hear themselves talk in more questionable axioms and riddles than the common moviegoer could ever hope to decipher. And after leaving the moviegoer baffled and somewhat left down, only a few months later the Wachowski Brothers cranked out the final chapter in the Matrix trilogy, Matrix Revolutions.
Now many of you would probably try to reach through the computer and gnaw off my arm if I was to give away too much of the plot, so I am going to stray from doing so and only give you the basic ideas without giving away valuable information. So if you are one of those freaks who are scared of me ruining it for you, sit back and relax and keep reading you have nothing to fear. Since our last epic philosophy borefest we find Neo trapped by the arrogant, wordy and cocky Frenchman in a world that is between the real world and the matrix. The sentinels are steadily approaching Zion, and it is up to Morpheus and his crew to find their Savior, Neo, and free him from the Frenchman’s grasp in enough time for Neo to save the city of Zion.
The main thing that worked for Revolutions that didn’t work in Reloaded was the philosophy. In fact the philosophy is decreased ten fold in this film and replaced with what the Wachowski Brothers know best: Action films with great sequences and camera movements. In fact the Philosophy is so cut down in this film It makes me think just why exactly did we have to suffer through Reloaded in the first place. The random talks of the meaning of “life, love and choice” are still prominent in this film, but can be easily ignored for the fan just looking to have a good time.
The Dialogue in the film both suffers and improves in spots. The consistently confused Keanu continues to spew out axioms and riddles in cryptic confused ways, and the Frenchman babbles endlessly while he is on the screen. But the rest of the dialogue seems forced or fake in spots. We find the speeches from Zion’s military commander to be far overblown and a speech by a 16-year-old Zion kid declaring the war is over almost funny. I was waiting for the kid to break out into Tiny Tim speak and say, “God bless us, Every one!” But despite the somewhat cheesy lines, the film strays away from the philosophy and the confusion, which works well. Apparently the Wachowski Brothers learned you don’t have to confuse the audience to entertain them.
The Wachowski Brothers spared no money when it came to action sequences either. Their high budget Zion/Sentinel war results in what almost turns into an action borefest. The sequences although great to look at and appreciate for their detail and explosiveness seem almost more drug out than a conversation with the Frenchman. Plus the action really doesn’t bring that much to the table. If you have seen one wave of one million sentinels attacking Zion you’ve seen them all, but the Wachowski Brothers make sure you see about 10 different waves of them breech the Zion walls. Like I stated it’s fun to watch for a while but you soon start thinking that Yoda will appear out of the middle of no where and tell Morpheus “Around the survivors, .a parameter create” a la Star Wars episode 2. You almost feel George Lucas had his hands in this film, trying to wow audiences with mediocre story lines that are easily overshadowed by a computer generated battlefield of man vs. metal.
All is well that ends well though, and in the end we find the Wachowski Brothers returning to their roots. The give the fans what they want, a stylistic and action packed battle between Neo and the now much more powerful Agent Smith. There are scenes in that sequence alone that made the movie worth my ticket price, but once again I will make you go seek them out yourself. All I will say is there is a slow motion punch that will have the fans of the original begging for more.
In the end, this film was both a pleasurable experience as well as a disappointment. It was a pleasure because it was more about the action, and the spirit of the original film. Sequences were wonderfully shot, the action kept you into the movie and the Wachowski Brothers kept the movie from droning on for what seemed like Hours in Reloaded. But the disappointment lies in two areas. The first is why was The Matrix a trilogy at all in the first place? Both Reloaded and Revolutions lack total closure and are co-dependent on the other films, where as the Original has a sense of identity of it’s own in my mind. And I was also disappointed because in the end, they leave so many questions unanswered, and did so little with the endless gobs of philosophy and character development that they drilled into your brain in Reloaded.
The Matrix Trilogy claims that every beginning has an end. And although I can say I am sad that this may be the last time we will see the Wachowski Brothers bringing Neo to the big screen, I am also relieved that it indeed has an end. Reloaded and Revolutions proved that it was time for the story of Neo to end while the Wachowski Brothers were still ahead. And hopefully it will stay that way until George Lucas tries to get his hands on it and together with the Wachowski Brothers decides to create a set of prequels that are nothing more than computer enhanced borefests that only become a matrix mockery. Every beginning has an end, but somehow the quest for more money has no end…Don’t worry fans, something tells me it may take years, but you haven’t seen the true beginning or the end of the matrix.