Friday, February 25, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Matrix Revolutions

Here is a review of a movie I refused to see in theaters after being so disappointed in the film's predecessor, Matrix Reloaded, although I did see it later on DVD. However, that was like five years ago, so I decided to give The Matrix Revolutions another chance because, honestly, I really didn't remember a lot about it. Anyway, The Matrix Revolutions is the final film of the Matrix Trilogy. Released in 2003, the movie was written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers (although now one of them is technically a sister, but that's not relevant here) and stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Hugo Weaving, and a whole lot of other people. In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo (Reeves) and his girl Trinity (Moss) choose to stop the evil that is agent Smith (Weaving), who seems hell-bent on destroying everything in its path, while everyone else retreats to the great city of Zion to defend the town against the invading machines that control the Matrix. A few notes about this film, and there will be SPOILERS, so if you haven't seen the movie, read carefully.

- What's strange about The Matrix Revolutions is that hardly any of the film takes place in the actual Matrix itself. About 85 percent of the movie takes place in the 'real' world controlled by machines, most of it either concentrated on the machines' attack of the dock of Zion or Niobe (Pinkett-Smith) and Morpheus' (Fishburne) attempt to sneak their ship into Zion through a mechanical line. As a result, this film is probably the least impressive of the three Matrix films as far as action is concerned, and unfortunately, the story is not nearly compelling enough to make up the deficit.

- In the original Matrix movie, the plot revolved almost entirely around Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. In the second film, it was pretty much more of the same. However, in The Matrix Revolutions, Morpheus and Trinity take a major step back, as all Morpheus does for the most part is co-pilot Niobe's ship and sit back while everybody else goes to war, and Trinity is merely a supporting player in Neo's flight to the machine city. Even Neo is not immune from this shift, as he goes at least 45 minutes straight without being featured in a scene. Instead of focusing on the characters we all know, the Wachowski brothers focused large amounts of screen time on such characters as Sati, Captain Mifune, and the Kid (yes, that's what he was credited as), characters that either serve no purpose (Sati) or we have no idea who they are, so we really don't care what happens to them.

- For all the talk about how philosophically deep The Matrix trilogy is, this movie bludgeons the viewer over the head in explaining it's underlying themes. Neo is presented as a Christ-like savior, as a lot of the dialogue is spent on characters either expressing faith in Neo as the 'Chosen One' or people doubting that he is what he's supposedly proclaimed to be, and the film even has Neo assume a cross-like pose towards the end of the movie. Also, every character in the first thirty minutes or so just can't help but mention that Neo and Trinity are so in love with each other that they'd die for each other, and Agent Smith spends most of his screen time mocking human emotions such as love. There's also a lot of allusions to the importance of choice and free-will, as the Oracle spends most of her time in this movie telling characters to make their own decisions.

- Even though this movie seems to try it's hardest not to let their best actors shine, there are a couple of highlights to speak of. Weaving as Agent Smith is just as evil and compelling as ever, although after a while his ad naseum talk of the inferiority of humans becomes a little tiresome. Also a highlight is Ian Bliss as Bane, the soilder who is taken over by Agent Smith in the real world. Bliss does a nearly spot-on impression of Weaving, and seems even more menacing in doing it. What's interesting about Bane's metamorphasis into Smith is that it takes forever for Neo to realize what's actually happened. You would think he would get after the sixth time Bane calls him Mr. Anderson, but not our man Neo. As far as Reeves' performance, it was about what you would expect.

- As I mentioned before, the action sequences in the Matrix Revolutions were the weakest of the three Matrix movies. The shootout with Trinity and company at the Merovingian's nightclub was poorly-lit and the camera shook so much that you couldn't tell what was going on. Meanwhile, the climatic fight scene between Smith and Neo looked cool, but basically followed the same pattern for 15 minutes (exchange of strikes, big punch that knocks both men back and causes an earthquake, flying towards each other, repeat). The best action scenes were probably the scenes where the machines come in to Zion's walls and meet resistance by these giant robot looking crafts with machine guns called APUs, although it kind of lost its luster after 20 minutes or so.

- Before I conclude this review, I want to talk about the ending, which although it's presented as happy and all seems to leave the humans back at square one. Yes, Smith is dead, but so is their Chosen One and while the machines retreated from Zion due to Neo's actions in getting rid of Smith, they still not only killed lots of people and destroyed a huge chunk of Zion, but also still have the majority of humans plugged into the Matrix and still harvest them for energy. However, it does somewhat leave the door open for a sequal when the Oracle mentiones to Sati that perhaps we will see Neo again (even though I don't see how that's possible).

Overall, I will say that I liked this movie more than The Matrix Reloaded. Then again, that's damning with faint praise since I strongly dislike Reloaded. Both movies would have probably been better as one movie and at least half the scenes in each movie could have been cut out, but sometimes art is sacrificed for profits, and this is the case here. As far as Revolutions goes, the main problems were that it decided to shift the focus away from the characters so vital to the Matrix franchise and center large parts of the story around characters which they really didn't even bother explaining their importance to the story. Plus, the whole idea of the humans and machines somehow teaming up to save the world flies against the original notion of the series, which was basically man vs. machine, and really makes the machines' attack on Zion seem like a waste of energy in retrospect. The action scenes were hit-or-miss, the acting was decent at best, and the film was as subtle as a sledgehammer. Overall, it's not the worst sequel ever, but it's not all that great either. I'd give it a 4 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you any ideas for future posts, or thoughts about this post, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at

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