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plot in a nutshell
Neo, remember him? He's the 'One', Jesus Christ for a machine age, and
this film is the finale in the Matrix trilogy.
This film picks right up where
Matrix Reloaded left off, and takes us into the big battle between man and
machine, with a little Agent Smith thrown in just to keep everyone off
balance. If you've seen the previous two films, you'll have a basic
understanding of what's happening here. If you haven't, then why would
you want to jump in now? Go rent the first two before seeing this one.
Spoiler Free Thoughts
I'm a fan of the Matrix films. Oh, not a drooling fanboy by any means,
and I can't recite any of the often windy and long speechs from any of the
I found the first two entertaining, and occasionally thought provoking, and
went into this film with an open mind.
you hated all the philosophical yadda yadda from Reloaded, you'll be
happy. There's still some of that here, although most of the dialog in
the early part of the film is spent explaining why the Oracle doesn't look
the same anymore. (the actress who played the Oracle in the first two
films, Gloria Foster, died before the second film was done. However,
they wisely wrote a fairly sensible explanation into the film and video
game, rather than coming off like a bad soap opera. She was replaced
by veteran TV actress Mary Alice, who you might recognize from HBO's Oz. )
the second film spent lots of time examining why we do what we do and what
the real purpose of life might be, this film sums up the answer in a single
discussion between Smith and Neo, as succinctly as perhaps it's ever been
done. The rest of the film is predominately about a war, or at least
one battle of that war, and how the humans of Zion fight the forces of
Machine City. If you're looking for lots of 'matrix time', forget it.
it's not completely absent. There's the big rain battle between Smith
and Neo, a fairly forgettable fight (or at least one that feels like you've
seen it before) except for the aforementioned speech. That speech is
one of the highlights of the entire movie, and Smith's character remains the
most fascinating and well acted of the entire series. Played by Hugo
Weaving, he's vibrant, colorful and interesting in ways poor Neo and Trinity
never are. Now with both the Lord of the Rings trilogy (he plays the
regal elf Elrond) and the Matrix trilogy behind him, he'll never want for
autograph signings at science fiction conventions.
are other highlights though, including a terrific battle between the
Sentinels and the humans for what remains of Zion. You'll have to
suspend some serious disbelief to be able to really get into it - I mean
really, who designs a war vehicle that allows the driver to sit right up
front without an inch of protection? - but the sheer fire power will be
enough to suck you in.
not much on the emotional front, and what few relationships there are -
Morpheus/Niobe, Neo/Trinity, and Link/ Zee- are all sappy at best, and
completely ridiculous at worst. Poor Carrie Ann Moss has the
undesirable task of acting through the worst scene in the entire film, and
it may go down in the trivia books as the longest and silliest of it's
kind. More about that in the spoilers.
is one very well done emotional scene. In this scene, a program father
explains to Neo about love, and why he is doing what he is doing for the
sake of his program daughter. The actor does a marvelous job with the
simple, matter of fact discussion, infusing it with far more realism and
humanity than any other emotional scene in the film. Leave it to a program
to be more human than Keanu Reeves.
are some other wonderful scenes, including a discussion between Smith and
the Oracle, Niobe's butt kicking pilot skills, and the big party scene at
Merovingin's club. He throws a much better party that Zion does, and
Persephone is downright hypnotic. I doubt the men in the audience
could tell you what she said, even if she had several lines.
film wraps up the series fairly well, answering a few questions but leaving
some others open for your interpretation. There's plenty of
Judeo-Christian symbolism to keep the philosophy freaks happy, and yet this
is mostly an action movie. It's not as good a film as the original,
but I bet most people will enjoy it more than Reloaded.
Rating - Go See It
you've watched the first two, you owe it to yourself to finish up the
story. While it may not end in a completely sensible way, it will
answer a few questions, and leave a few up to your imagination. This
is also the kind of film you should really see on the big screen, and unless
you have a nice hefty screen at home, it just won't do it justice.
answer the obvious question...no, these films aren't of the same quality as
the LOTR trilogy, but they are on par, and often better, than the current
Star Wars trilogy. I'm hoping George pulls a rabbit out of his hat in
the third film, otherwise he may find himself bested by the Wachowskis when
history has it's final say.
here's a little weird Matrix trivia for you. Nona Gaye, the daughter
of Marvin Gaye, plays Zee. Aaliyah re-recorded the Marvin Gaye song
'got to give it up', and the part of Zee was originally written for
her. Weird, eh?
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
There's plenty to spoil, but I'll only talk about a few of the things
that really bugged me...
So what does it all mean?
Clearly, it's about choice, what humans have and machines don't. But
we see that our assumption isn't really true - these machines are becoming
more human with every passing nanosecond. If an emotion like love is
possible, how far behind is the desire for a freedom to choose? Not
very, and we can see that programs will become what machines are not.
really liked the scene with Sati's parents and Neo at the train station, but
I thought the train station in general was kind of silly. Humans
simply jack into the Matrix - why do machines require a metaphor?
Still, a friend pointed out how Merv is really like a firewall, one that has
gone bad. He controls programmatic access to the Matrix, and has
allowed this power and control to corrupt. Are we to assume that Smith
has already assimilated Merv by the end of the movie? You'd think that
Merv would understand that his empire was threatened by Smith earlier, and
do something to stop it.
APU's bug me, as I mentioned earlier in the review, but they were certainly
visual candy. The love scenes in the film were all sappy, and
Trinity's death scene is one of the corniest (and drawn out) that I've ever
seen. Hey, at least cough up a little blood someplace in your five
minute speech! The dialog was all heavy melodrama, and the musical
score didn't help. Every moment of dialog seemed covered in drama,
with every line spoken with such utter gravity. The film could have
used at least one human who knew how to lighten up at least a little.
of the more confusing areas for me involved Sati. Why were her parents
leaving her? Why couldn't they be with her? By talking through
it with a friend, we finally got the timeline straight in our heads.
Neo said he had seen Sati's father with Merv in Reloaded. That must
have been when he was asking Merv for help for his daughter initially, since
neither he or his wife had a purpose inside the Matrix (their program
purposes were both related to machine city). That means Merv
said yes, the father travelled back to Machine City to get his daughter, and
they brought her back on the train to give to the Oracle. The Oracle
was then to watch over her until she could be taken to Merv and given a
purpose, and she'd finally be safe. Seraph was taking her to see Merv
when Smith showed up. *whew*
seemed like a plot hole to me, and there are a few others like that.
But I think most are due to the editing, and not the storyline. For
example, another seeming mistake is when Neo is brought back from the train
station by Trinity. He wasn't jacked into the Matrix when he was at
the train station, and yet when they returned, they unjacked him. That
looks like a continuity error at first, but I think the answer lies in what
Neo told them in the car on the return. They wanted to get him out
immediately, but he said he had to talk to the Oracle first. I think
he was jacked in to be able to go see her, but that part of the film
probably ended up on the cutting room floor for the sake of time.
Neo dead? Perhaps. His Christ-like pose at the end (why do
martyrs always die with their arms outstretched?), along with the angelic
curves of the orange lights seem to indicate it. But that's up to you
to decide. It does bother me that he gave everything to simply save
them from one battle. Face it, the peace won't last, and actually
doesn't even make sense. The machines can't survive without the humans
as battery power, and the humans will never allow the machines to keep their
families and friends enslaved. All that Neo managed to do was stop the
machines from destroying Zion today - who's going to save them now?
Architect tells the Oracle he'll let those go that want to. What is he
going to do, a pod to pod poll? And what human would choose to be
enslaved by an evil entity, spending their every minute producing for them
as their very life is sucked away? Okay, besides the people that work
ended on a less than sensible note, the overall film (and certainly the
trilogy) is well worth watching and enjoying. It's not the life
altering experience some would like you to think, but it's not completely
mindless drivel either. Sit back and enjoy the ride, at least until
Return of the King hits theaters.