|The Matrix Revolutions
2003 - R - 129 Mins.
|Director: The Wachowski Brothers
|Producer: Joel Silver
|Written By: The Wachowski Brothers
|Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith
|Review by: Greg Ursic
With Neo in a coma and the furiously burrowing Squids only hours away from Zion, the situation is looking decidedly grim for the human race. But if history has taught us anything it's that you never count a good Messiah down, and this time is no exception. As Neo sets out to face destiny, both worlds can do little more than war and wait.
I'm totally in Blade Runner dude!
The Matrix provided the perfect panacea for moviegoers and critics alike who had long grown tired of one dimensional special effects laden sci-fi flicks that placed scenery over substance. The Brothers Wachowski succeeded in both reinvigorating and reinventing the genre with a cerebral piece that interwove elements of classic science fiction, Buddhist and Christian philosophy, technological paranoia with a twist and surrealist imagery into a cohesive whole. They also created spectacular fanciful martial arts sequences, and, set a new standard for special effects with their much copied, but never equaled bullet time sequences and CGI renderings. The Matrix Reloaded however left me thoroughly nonplussed -while it looked pretty, it was essentially a lazy rehash punctuated by dull, long winded expository discussions (and what was with the rave in the cave thing?) that managed to obfuscate the few things you thought you understood. But I digress.
Reaves was the perfect actor to do Neo: he was cute, the character had few lines, and emoting was kept to a minimum. Unfortunately as dialogue increases, Reeves' believability decreases, and Revolutions features more Neo dialogue than the past two outings combined. Still, it's hard not to root for this poor misguided Chosen One. Carey-Anne Moss and Lawrence Fishburne are woefully under utilized (with the exception of one great scene with Moss' tough as nails Trinity) with a dearth of compelling dialogue. Jaida Pinkett-Smith, an actor that I've never been particularly enamoured of, delivers the best and most consistent performance practically spitting out her lines, and injecting the only intentional humor along the way. Surely though there's a savior for the story.
While the stakes are understandably high, the melodrama quotient has been jacked up mercilessly - several drawn out emotional moments drew catcalls and laughter from the preview audience The plot also stumbles, most notably the clumsily handled cliffhanger from the last installment: rather than finessing the mystery, heavy-handed clues are mercilessly doled out, eliminating any potential for surprise. The producers also risk isolating the secular segment of society as they have upped the Christian symbolism ante: purgatory, the apocalypse, and the ascension become central thematic elements. They also co-opt key scenes from classic sci fi films: the tie fighter from Star Wars (the original) immediately comes to mind... But at least it looks cool.
When the producers realized that they didn't have enough money to achieve the Wow factor they wanted, Reeves kicked in a portion of his salary so they could get things just right (before you shed a tear, it's been estimated that he'll take home over $50 million for his work on the two sequels). The result is an orgiastic CGI feast that you would be hard pressed :to imagine - the battles with the squids take on almost ludicrous proportions and are a visual treat. We're also treated to an adrenalized version of the lobby scene from the original Matrix (and I bet you never thought that was possible) that is an absolute jaw dropper. Threat of death also keeps me from revealing the ultimate showdown -think Volcano High meets T-2, with some Superman style powers thrown in for good measure.
Matrix Revolutions is a pale copy of the original, lacking the originality and ingenuity of its progenitor and suffers from weak characterizations, lackluster dialogue and cheesy melodrama. Despite the built in audience and exciting visual elements, Revolutions will quickly fade from the collective filmgoing memory.