Matix Revolutions
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Matrix Revolutions

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Sometimes a story is too large to tell in a single film, the story lines have to be spread out over several films, typically three. If it wasn’t for the phenomenal success of the Lord of the Rings the Matrix trilogy just may have been the top of the line in popular film trilogies. With the film Matrix Revolutions the loose ends and mysteries are not all resolved but there is a sense of satisfaction to the concluding film of this set. Usually a trilogy follows a set pattern, the first installment introduces the main plot and characters, the second act plunges the characters into a dark peril while the third act brings the resolutions. With the Matrix films the final installment still leaves a lot of questions subject to much heated discussion. A large part of the appeal of Revolutions is that you can think about it and talk about it long after the lights go up and the film ends. The humans in the story find out that the reality we all know and share is nothing more than a giant computer program created by a race of machines to placate mankind while we generate power for their use.

Next we discover that there were other Matrixes, other realities and this current one is nothing more than the latest version of the program. Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), better known by his extra-matrix nom de voyage Neo, is aware of the program and able to manipulate it. This gives him super human abilities and makes way for some of the most imaginative special effects ever brought to a movie. Unfortunately, the effects are basically variations of the novel effects from the first film, big, more elaborate, and true but there is a lot of déjà vu here. The discussion that usually follows this film is due to the fact that there are many interesting concepts opened but little in the way of exposition. While the first film blended the dialogue with punctuations of action, the second was too much talk and the third the action sequences go on and on, beyond the point of holding your interest. If the film concentrated more on the conflict between free will and destiny it would have faired better. Good against evil is somewhat over done at this point but the free will aspect could have elevated this film to something above the typical morality play and make more sense out of enigmatic characters like to destiny advocate, The Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) and the somewhat pro free will Oracle (Mary Alice).

The acting here verges on the non-existent. At times I felt that the performances where created by an in-human computer. Reeves all but abandon attempting to provide a means for the audience to connect with his character. His role is little more than a computer game avatar, one that is scanned into the computer and placed in a stunt man program. Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) drifts through this installment virtually on auto-pilot. There is practically no chemistry between her and Reeves, a really bad thing for a character whose purpose is to server as the all consuming love interest. The script given to the great actor Laurence Fishburne reduces his powerful character Morpheus into a babbling disciple rather the strong resolved leader the first film provided. Even Mr. Smith (Hugo Weaving), the computer’s now rouge enforcer, has lost his sarcastic edge and is now as two dimensional as your monitor. The problem is I usually enjoy the performances of this talented group of actors. It appears that they signed on for the three films and unfortunately where required to follow the lead of the writers. In a story that pits heartless machines against humans you would think it might be a good idea to allow the humans to express some emotions. I’ve seen other films with these actors; I know they are capable of it.

One again the Brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski take the helm of this strange world. It feels like they painted themselves into a corner with the hype that surrounded the last film of this series. The first film created a lot of anticipation which was not completely fulfilled with the second installment. The hopes of the trilogy rested with the last part pulling it all together. The introduction of too many strange characters like the ‘the Keymaker’ and ‘the Trainman’ distract from the cohesion of the film; we fall into wonderland without hope of passing back through the looking glass. Many seemed to enjoy the religious allegory but here there is too many religious symbolism to track, Buddhism to Christianity is referenced all between fight sequences that change locations almost with every punch. The Brothers Wachowski bit off a little too much here. They where pandering to the gaming public while also trying to appease a more intellectual crowd. The CGI teams had a field day here but personally, I prefer a little more cognitive exposition even in an action film. I was a bit disappointed that the main weapon of the human resistance looked a lot like the mechanical exoskeleton Ripley used in the film Aliens. A little imagination here guys, please.

I have to admit that the DVD was done up right. The anamorphic 2.40:1 video was excellent. There was a lot of pushing of the color pallet done for effect but taking that into consideration the presentation was flawless with no evidence of edge problems, dull blacks or pixilation. The Dolby 5.1 audio was at times almost overpowering. The sub woofer almost lifted off the floor during the many action sequences. There was a rich surround effect even in many of the quieter moments. The extras covered almost everything a fan could desire. There was an interesting dissection of the famous ‘Super Brawl’ show down between Neo and Mr. Smith. This battle royal took a good chunk of the budget and was exciting enough to deserve this extra attention. Thankfully there is a 3D Matrix timeline to help pull together the three films. Most of the other extras are special effects oriented and give detail after detail of the production. Well, the trilogy is done now, most will get this just to complete the set but it could have been better.

Posted 3/20/04

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