The Matrix Revolutions (2003) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 5

directing 4

effects 5

editing 4

writing 1

SW SCORE: 19

1 out of 5 🐙

++

matrix revolutions 11/5/03 Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Even after the widespread disappointment that was The Matrix Reloaded, few movie pundits would expect the theatres to remain quiet for the climax of the hottest science fiction trilogy since the first Star Wars trifecta. Back in 2003, on opening day, I played into the marketing gimmick, rousted myself out of bed at 7 am so that I could line up at 8 am at my local east coast multiplex. For some reason (maybe a marketing executive was smoking some really good pot), Warner Brothers, the Matrix distribution studio, decided to launch the first showings of The Matrix Revolutions at the exact same time around the world. No more early peeks by the east coast. If it opened at 9 on the east coast, it would open at 6 am on the west coast. This was the first time zone simulcast of its type in movie history and I was gonna be damned if he wasn’t a big enough dork enough to participate. The line of geeks was only five people long when I arrived. This is not surprising when a studio decides to release a movie at 9 AM on a business day when school is still in session. 

Enough about marketing, let’s get to the movie. If you haven’t seen The Matrix Reloaded yet, here come some SPOILERS. At the end of ‘Reloaded, the machines were burrowing towards Zion and Neo (Keanu Reeves), the supposed savior of humanity, was in a coma after saving his fellow crew members from certain death. Before slipping into unconscousnes, he was able to disable several sentinels (flying robotic squid looking things; they’re cocol) with nothing but his own innate power. But now he is stuck between the matrix and the real world. It is up to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Morpheus Laurence Fishburne, and the rest of the Zion gang to hold back the machine diggers, defend Zion, revive Neo and help him save the world…again.

Was it as good as the first installment in the franchise? No. Why? It suffered from the same problems as ‘Reloaded. There were way too many long-winded scenes discussing vague, Philosophy 101 subjects. Why did the Wachowski siblings decide to inject Taoism for Dummies into their once visceral franchise is unfathomable. What made the initial Matrix great was the fresh idea. Granted, this freshness cannot be duplicated, but The Empire Strikes Back and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers didn’t deflate their magic new worlds after a bravura beginning chapter. What made the first Matrix great was its solid trinity (no pun intended). It mixed state-of-the-art effects, innovative action sequences and a fun story with some heart. There was balance. The dialogue was crisp. It was about slavery. Machines were the slave owners and humans were the slaves. It was a clear, potent concept.

With ‘Reloaded, great age-old questions were pondered and vague answers were given. This might have flown if they kept the scenes short and sweet. Instead, it felt like slow death, particularly the scene in which the architect (played by Helmut Bakaitis, an actor with zero charisma) explains the matrix to Neo. With ‘Revolutions, the same sin is committed: long, dialogue heavy scenes that take ten lines to pose a simple question and use bullshit psychobabble (answering a question with a question) to answer them. Were the Wachowski Brothers trying to add depth to an already potent idea? Is Taoism 101 needed when the entire human race is enslaved?

The gunfights were almost completely erased from ‘Reloaded, and there is only one stylized shootout in ‘Revolutions. And where the original Matrix showcased superhuman abilities that enhanced the gun play, ‘Revolutions borders on lunacy. Some of the new abilities looked like a Nintendo game character designed by Roald Dahl, except without the charisma. With ‘Revolutions, the climactic gunfight wasn’t even as good as the classic lobby scene in the original Matrix.

The effects are still topnotch, but they aren’t fresh anymore. You have to go back to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the digital mastery that was Golem to find a new special effect that is worth harping about. It’s as if the Wachowskis blew their effects innovation voodoo with the first film and didn’t have anything left. But it’s more than a bit disappointing that they couldn’t raise the bar after a combined budget of 325 million dollars?

The acting is the same, and it feels like the actors are just phoning it in for this last go round. When Neo was shot dead by Agent Smith in the original Matrix, people responded.

MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR AJOR MAJOR SPOILER FOLLOWS:

I didn’t respond when Trinity died, FOR THE SECOND F**KING TIME IN THE TRILOGY! Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? You can’t pull that shit on audiences twice in a row.

MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR AJOR SPOILER OVER

The direction is slowly paced, and there are lulls everywhere. I was lulled into a state of neutrality, only to be briefly awaken by an action scene that had already been executed better in the first film. There is nothing revolutionary about going to the well. Overall, ‘Revolutions was not a disappointment to the Wave because he saw it coming. After ‘The Two Towers, people were dying to see Golem again. After The Empire Strikes Back, people had to see if Luke and Leia were going to be able to rescue Han Solo. After ‘Reloaded, people just wanted the characters to shut the hell up. It’s a shame because it’s a franchise that started with such promise. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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