Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Rewatched the Matrix films, haven't seen them since they first came out in the theater.


This film still looked pretty good, the action scenes were still impressive to watch and very entertaining.  The plot is fun even if it's a bunch of foolish techno babble.  Keanu Reeves plays the Christ figure Neo,  who has been chosen to save humanity from the psychic brain control of the machines.  Keanu's actually not bad,  he'll never be known as a strong actor but he certainly didn't disgrace himself.  Probably the real star is Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus  he's a very good actor and has enough gravitas to him that he can put over the ponderous dialog. Don't know where this film would have been without him.

Four years later  it's the summer of 2003, the inevitable sequels:


Problems almost from the beginning.  The intention was to have a Star Wars type of trilogy film series, but they boxed themselves into a corner almost immediately.  The Matrix ended with Neo discovering he had  super powers, much like Superman.  He flies around and even has some kind of X-ray vision.  Agent Smith who was obviously the Darth Vader character from the first film had been destroyed, but now he's back as a rogue computer program who can clone himself to give Neo an unstoppable enemy.

Nothing of any interest really happens for about the first 40 minutes of the film, there is some soap opera stuff between the characters that we have to sit through, and this time the self important dialog is spoken very slowly as if it were some self important epic text from a Shakespeare play or a Dr. Strange comic.

Even the two big action scenes are boring.  Neo's fight with the Agent Smith clones goes on forever and has no resolution, because it's clear he would have to confront Smith again in The Matrix Revolutions.  Instead Neo just flies away leaving the audience to wonder what the point of the fight was even about.

The other big scene, the car chase features Fishburne's Morphius character battling it out with the evil computer program agents on top of a speeding semi.  Again, this scene ends with Neo flying to the rescue and saving Morphius another pointless showoff special effects scene.  None of the action scenes can have Neo actually participate in them since he is now undefeatable.

The Matrix Reloaded ends with Neo confronting the Architect of the Matrix who informs him that he is just part of a repeating cycle of man and machine control.  Neo cannot change the preordained destiny of the Matrix.  This long dialog scene really brings the movie to a stop.  


Part three came out Christmas 2003.  The idea was to wrap up the story with a big finale.  Again, the problems from part two hang over this film as well.   The first hour of this film has literally nothing going on it's basically a preparation for the big machine/human battle in the city of Zion.   Neo learns from his adviser the Oracle that the Architect didn't know what he was talking about in the last movie.  This I had to sit around six months to find out back in 2003.

The two big action set pieces in this film are the battle with the sentinels in Zion, and the final battle between Neo and Agent Smith.  The sentinel battle with the mech battle units is kind of fun to watch if a little confusing, but a least it's something different from the endless and now very boring slow motion Kung Fu fights.

Time for the third Agent Smith/Neo battle, and now it's really hard to work up any interest in their fighting it out yet again.  They fly around and throw each other into buildings which is clearly a direct steal from Superman II.  As usual the outcome is never in question.

The Matrix Revolutions wraps it up with Oracle and the Architect discussing the end of the war between man and machine.  The Architect states that humans will now have their right to choose what will happen to them from now on.  Well whatever, it seems odd that the filmmakers choose to end with these two and no one from the main cast.

The Matrix Revolutions ended with the possibility of yet another followup but considering the amount of money and time spent on these film sequels and their less than stellar finance payback, it was pretty obvious that this wasn't going to happen anytime soon.  You don't see a lot of people collecting Matrix action figures these days.

Probably no one needed a sequel to the original Matrix but the film made a lot of money and was a fun sci/fi action film so it's understandable Warner Brothers would want a franchise.  Unfortunately for the filmmakers, they had exhausted all of their clever ideas in the first film, so their sequels were uninspired rehashes of their earlier and much better sequences from The Matrix.

It's also very apparent watching The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions that both films could have been easily edited down into one film.

Still all three films were well made, and obviously expensive productions.  The sequels are now only OK time wasters and not the film epics that were hoped for.

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