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Tony Grist

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Matrix Revolutions [Mar. 21st, 2005|09:44 am]
Tony Grist
The problem with the Matrix trilogy is that most of the story got used up in the first movie. The Wachowskis claim to have always intended a trilogy, but I'm having a hard time believing them.

I've not seen Reloaded (I understand I'm not missing much) but Revolutions is just an extended battle sequence. It's beautifully imagined and executed, but I want more. With all that time to play around with, you'd think they might have developed the characters a bit. Zion v the machines- why should I care when the human beings are scarcely more interesting than those (rather wonderful) steel octopii?

Nemo was quite affecting when he was human and vulnerable, but once he turns into Superman he's dull. I liked the idea of a Geek Messiah, but lose the geekiness and you lose the thing that made him distinct from all those other two-fisted rocket men. He's dwarfed by the CGI and so is everyone else. Morpheus stands around and does nothing in particular. Trinity gets to flash her cheekbones. After the smartness and trippyness of the first film, it's disappointing to find that the fate of the world ultimately depends on gun-play and fisticuffs. What started as a fascinating intellectual conundrum ends as a B western.

I always suspected that Dark City (which has a similar premise and which came out at the same time as the Matrix and got swamped by it) was the better movie- now I'm sure.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: silent_mouse
2005-03-21 03:15 am (UTC)
I was always amazed by how quickly those movies' superheros adapted to being a superhero once they found out. It is always shown like this: one minute you're insecure and don't know what you're doing and next second you're so confident and powerful. I always felt that if for some crazy reason I would turn out to be a superhero, it would take me at least couple of days, if not months, to get used to the idea and learn not to be insecure. So I always identified strongly with first part's Neo, when he's trying to fit into the role that was forced on him, saying to himself "There's no spoon" while running. He just looked believable (not to mention the plot that made sense).
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-21 04:52 am (UTC)
I was always amazed by how quickly those movies' superheros adapted to being a superhero once they found out.

Funny that I never noticed this before, but you're so right. I just never thought it out.


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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-03-21 03:18 am (UTC)
The second two films should have been amalgamated.

I got irritated by the cod philosophy.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-21 04:53 am (UTC)
And I got irritated at the endless special effects fight sequences...Matrix Overblown.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-21 05:04 am (UTC)
The first Matrix was surprising, dazzling, thought-provoking.

The best short stories are those that tantalize the reader and let the reader imagine. Matrix gave us lots of ideas to think about, but the next two movies, with their endless, wearying chase and fight scenes, ruined the fun of speculation and wonder for me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 06:37 am (UTC)
I'd rather they hadn't been made.

Dazzling special effects are all very well, but only if they are put at the service of a real story with real characters.

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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2005-03-21 05:25 am (UTC)
whisper His name is "Neo" - which may or may not make the movie more meaningful to you, depending on how deeply you want to get into the symbolism of it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 06:42 am (UTC)
I would like to believe that Revolutions has hidden depths, but for me it simply squanders the capital that was built up by the first film in the sequence.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2005-03-21 06:09 am (UTC)
You sum up the faults of the trilogy quite nicely. The first Matrix has a secure spot in my top-10 favorite movies list; the sequels would have a hard time cracking the top-100.

Funny you bring this up now - my daughter told me last night (with all the conviction a 7 year old can muster) that she wants to be Trinity for next Halloween, and we need to get started on the costume. Now.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 06:44 am (UTC)
Carrie Anne Moss is wonderful. It's a shame that she (like all the other actors)is given so little to do in Revolutions.
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[User Picture]From: forestdweller
2005-03-21 06:11 am (UTC)
From what I've heard the first matrix was not written by the Wachowski brothers and was not intended to be serialized. The first matrix was written by a woman in Brooklyn who, I've heard, is rather like the Oracle in ppersonality. She gave the script to the Brothers to be made into a movie but was untutored in the ways of the industry and lost her rights to the material. She's not even credited anywhere.

I believe this mostly because of the wild differences between the first movie and the last two. I love the first. The second and third? Barely popcorn sci-fi action.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 06:46 am (UTC)
I can believe this.

The Matrix is smart and playful. The sequels are dumb.

I'd love to know more.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 06:50 am (UTC)
forestdweller (see above) suggests that the original Matrix was written by someone other than the Wachowskis. If this is true it would explain everything.
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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-03-21 03:16 pm (UTC)
agreed on this. I also thought even the first
failed the test a child puts to fantasy and faerie
that of plausibility ,that is to say given any number
of premises of course but even granting every premise
this one does not have that simplicity and inner truth
which a faerie story can have.
but there are good things... well speaking of women as
action heros surely one becomes a Trinitarian.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-22 12:29 am (UTC)
I think you're right about the complexity of the premise. I still haven't quite worked out who Smith is.

Ah, Trinity!
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From: manfalling
2005-03-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
matrix 2 and 3 are just a series of hoops for the new superheroes to jump through. there are really no character arcs, no furthering of anything, and no viable bad guys.
agent smith is cool. yes. but in 2 and 3 he becomes THE bad guy- sort of- through some weird fluke of fate, and has to be dealt with. oh yeah- and the matter of all those people locked up as robots-etc..
i hated the merilvingian. just- WHAT was he for? reloaded they bounce around following his orders- only to simply kick his ass in the third one for being a pain.
without even neo there to help.
so i`m like- DAMN- why didn`t u just kick his ass in the first place, when neo was with you?!

some bits i liked are when neo goes back to zion and they`re all treating him like jesus. and he is afraid to live up to it. that`s cool- and they could have played with it more. also cool was smith- and by then- he has subverted the matrix completely. why didn`t we see more of this. he is essentially killing people by taking them over- but it`s hardly even touched upon. one more thing- the train station neo is forced into in revo. love it- should have used it more. suddenly- he`s a wuss again. great stuff.

i would have liked to have seen neo waging a public relations war inside the matrix, trying to `show these people what you don`t want them to see`- like he said at the end of the first one. like- directly trying to bring them round. but he doesn`t do that. we cut back and into battle a few months later and just PRESUME they`ve been- what?- fighting? that`s ridiculous- since neo had power to bust agents apart. there was NO NEED for any fighting.
basically there was no story left to be had- as has been said already.

as for them stealing the idea- pretty much they stole the idea from everywhere. and if this woman claims terminator ripped from her as well- her stuff can`t have been that specific- it seems.
but yeah. there`s reams of stuff on the influences behind the matrix. it really is just a synthesis of a lot of cool stuff the brothers read- then spun together with a christ story to give it oomph.
a few easy ones-
neuromancer- by william gibson
ghost in the shell- japanese anime
and many many comics and other stuff...

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-22 12:40 am (UTC)
The exciting thing about the original film is the idea that there are these alternative worlds and you can slip between them. The world of the Matrix, where "reality" can be bent is where the fun is to be had, but Revolutions largely steers clear of it.

Wussy Neo is interesting, super Neo isn't. They should have made more of the Train Man. They introduce this intriguing character and then basically do nothing with him.

And why couldn't we have explored the machine city? What we saw of it looked cool.
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[User Picture]From: currawong
2005-03-21 09:26 pm (UTC)
I liked "Dark City" much better. The acting was superior and the premise more intriguing.Both were shot in Australia.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-22 12:45 am (UTC)
"Both were shot in Australia"

I didn't know that. New Zealand gets all the fanfares these days. I didn't realise you guys were also in on the act.

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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2005-03-22 12:13 pm (UTC)
I loved the first movie for how it carefully integrated the Matrix and the "real" world ... all the while asking questions about what is real, and how do we know? It was an action movie with brains.

The other two downplayed the Matrix to the point where they had no substance any more.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-22 11:36 pm (UTC)
It's curious how big a discrepancy there is between the Matrix and its two sequels. The Matrix is smart and the sequels are dumb.
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