Published on November 10th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: The Matrix: Revolutions
If I had a time machine and I could go back to 1999, after the release of the original Matrix, and convince the Wachowski Brothers not to make another film as long as they both lived, I would do it. The Matrix Reloaded suffered from an all flash, no substance existence when it was released back in May of this year. Critics, much like myself, saw past all the glitz and glamour of the film’s awesome special effects and found that the story became so convoluted and uninvolved that we simply were paying for a really expensive music video, or so it seemed.
The Matrix Revolutions continues on the downward trend of the series and thoroughly thrashes on the good name of the groundbreaking, original film. Revolutions is more to the point than Reloaded without such filler material as the infamously lame “Rave” scene, and inexplicably complicated vocabulary of The Architect, but in the end we get force fed so many answers the bring up twice as many questions, why even bother watching it in the first place?
Revolutions picks up directly after the events of Reloaded with Neo (Keanu Reeves) in a coma and displaced from his physical body in the real world, and the matrix. Locke (Harry Lennix) prepares for the impending battle with the machines as they breach the walls into Zion, Niobe (Jada Pickett-Smith) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) think of a way to get back to Zion and aid in the struggle for freedom. Once Neo awakens, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and he set out for the machine city where he makes a proposal to the Deus Ex Machina about a certain rogue program, Agent Smith (the awesome Hugo Weaving), detailing what will happen to both of their worlds if Smith is left unchecked.
Everything in the film sets up the final battle between Smith and Neo in a rain-drenched action sequence that rivals anything seen in the last two films, although will never compare to the amazingly intense “Lobby Scene.” For the most part Revolutions strays away from the needless battles experienced in Reloaded (the scene with 100 Agent Smiths comes to mind), but in their place the Wachowski’s finally try to bring some meaning to everything and create nothing more than a cliché, albeit mildly entertaining, storyline. The highlight of the entire film is the 20+ minute Battle for Zion with Exo-Squad inspired mechs and sentinels battling it out all while the drillers attempt to break through into the heart of the city. At least the special effects look good.
I think Warner Bros. themselves caused the damnation of the franchise by building it up so much. The original Matrix only lit up the box office with $171 million dollars domestically, a pale number when compared to Spider-Man‘s huge bow in the summer of 2002 and other films superior numbers displayed this year, namely Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo. Sure, everyone who enjoyed the first film wanted a second, but where other series set out to better themselves and create an experience that rivals that of the original (think Aliens) The Matrix resorted to the least common denominator in delivering more and more of what the people wanted, amazing special effects. The problem with this is a lot has changed in the four years since the original Matrix was released, and any number of films have either spoofed or ripped off the patented slow-motion gunplay of the Wachowski’s opening opus. Now The Matrix looks and feels tired, as though there was only enough story to fill one, maybe two, films, and they are really starting to stretch out what they are capable of doing. George Lucas has done this with Star Wars and created millions of disenchanted fans, The Matrix is no different.
Revolutions‘ biggest problem is this is suppose to be the big movie to end all movies as it wraps up one of the pinnacle trilogies ever filmed, yet when all is said and done you feel as though you have been cheated into waiting for a film you already paid for in May, and you still have nothing to show for it. Leaving The Matrix franchise to the imagination after the original film would have been much better than the images I have in my head after sitting through both Reloaded and Revolutions.
To add insult to injury everything wraps up in a neat-little-rainbow-packed package. If there ever was a Hollywood ending this is it and something that I didn’t expect. I was looking to be wowed, or at least thrown off guard with something that I didn’t expect, but instead we get a sunrise and the feeling as though two needless hours were stolen from us and one of the most prolific sci-fi franchises has been reduced to standard movie-fare with no real sense of ever needing to exist.
If there is anything to say, I am grateful that the trilogy is finally done with, and I don’t have to live with my grandiose expectations of what these films should have been. Hopefully if anyone decided to revisit the series in the future they let the appeal of these films gestate for a while before jumping back in, and if they do, be sure to bring a script rather than a whole bunch of CGI.