Matrix Revolutions

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The 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.

Relatively 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 films
.  But I found the first two entertaining, and occasionally thought provoking, and went into this film with an open mind.

If 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. )

Where 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.

Oh, 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.

There 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.

There's 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.

There 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.

There 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.

The 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
If 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.

To answer the obvious, 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.

And 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.

I 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.

The 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.

One 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*  

That 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.

Is 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?

The 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 for Wal-mart.

While it 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.

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