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The Matrix Revolutions

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I just have to quote this Mark Steyn review, partly because he apparently found ludicrous one of the few things about this film that Jeffrey liked:

Neo is back, though he's looking somewhat paleo for a guy who's only been around four years. When first we met him in The Matrix he was some computer programmer in an anonymous metropolis who gets roused by Morpheus and offered a choice of pharmaceutical producrs. "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill," teases Morpheus, "and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

Neo takes the red pill, and wakes up to find his so-called real life is a fiction. And so is everyone else's. All his chums are lying down in incubators wired up to the "Matrix", which feeds them a continuing simulation of experience. Mankind has been put in a collective comatose state by evil computers. The only real reality is that of a small band of renegade humans holed up in an underground town called Zion until they can figure out how to deMatriculate mankind.

The notion that reality is an illusion is an eminently respectable one these days, particularly for French intellectuals, understandably enough. The line in the original film about "the desert of the real" came from Jean Baudrillard, a great proponent of the philosophical idea that reality is simulation and author of, among other books, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. He could probably sue for plagiarism, though in turn the film's producers could argue that his theory that reality is a simulation is itself a simulation and that their alleged film did not take place.

The point is Andy and Larry Wachowski figured they'd hit on the perfect wrinkle for a classic post-modern nerd franchise -- the Star Wars of our generation. And if you say, "Hang on, old boy, surely Star Wars is our generation?", I'd say, nah, it's too 1930s radio serial, and its grandiosity is plonkingly squaresville instead of coolly impenetrable. Sadly, Matrix Recycled ...I mean, Reloaded came overloaded, lacking anything like the first film's sudden peeling away of surface reality and so attempting to duplicate it over and over: Was Zion perhaps a Matrix-within-the-Matrix? Was Neo maybe a Matrix-within-the-Matrix-within-the-Matrix? He was supposed to be "The One". But maybe one of the others is The One. Maybe The One flew over the cuckoo's nest.

By the sequel, the Wachowskis' "innovative visual style" was looking a lot less innovative: they did all same things they did in the first film all over again, just more expensively and even more arbitrarily -- the scene in which Keanu Reeves (Neo) is fighting a hundred guys in black and doesn't win, doesn't lose, but just gets bored and flies off after 15 minutes pretty much sums it up. By the second movie, Keanu had perfected his morose blank look; fine actors like Laurence Fishburne were turning in performances so clunkily solemn you'd think they were auditioning for George Lucas; the subterranean city of Zion proved to be just the usual generic dystopian underground parking garage, and the orgiastic dance party looked like a provincial rave.

But, having fallen for the series' self-importance, the Matricians or Matricists or Matrons or whatever the anoraks are called were reluctant to admit they'd bought a dud. In the original film, Neo discovered that the meaning of our lives is an illusion; in the sequel, the meaning of the film is an illusion. It doesn't make much sense as it's flying by, and it makes less if you buy the DVD, slow it down and write out all the dialogue. The rabbit hole doesn't go deep at all; the buck stops about four inches down. But it has the illusion of meaning. Halfway through, at the moment when a severely cropped Monica Bellucci (in dystopian movies, there is, alas, no Charlie's Angels hair) asks Keanu to kiss her, I became convinced that my watching the film was only an illusory reality; somewhere, there was another me watching Monica Bellucci seducing Italian schoolboys in Malena and having a much better time.

Which brings us to The Matrix: Revolutions -- that's "revolutions" as in "coming round again". This is one rabbit hole that's looking pretty tapped out. This is the big final showdown between the denizens of Zion and the Sentinels, and the Wachowskis lay off the psychedelic LP liner notes philosophizing to concentrate on a not altogether comfortable mix of your basic up-against-the-clock action sequences and celestial choirs on the soundtrack serenading Keanu as if it's consecration day and he's the last gay bishop on the planet. The romance between Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is barely less comatose than the mass of humanity they're supposedly trying to save. Unlike the first sequel, the dialogue isn't pretentiously obscure, just perfunctory: "I’m afraid hope is an indulgence I don’t have time for." Or maybe "indulgence is a hope I don't have time for". Or "time is a hope I don't have indulgence for". Makes no difference. It's modular furniture. Say it portentously enough and it fills in the time until the giant steel bores tunnel into Zion and the explosions start.

Is Matrix a myth for the ages? No. I doubt it will resonate through the end of the decade. Why then did so many intellectuals go ga-ga for it? Because it confirms their view of the world: huge corporations manufacture a reality that sedates the masses and only a handful of supersmart humans know enough to spot it. Needless to say, the film series confirming the great thinkers' worldview is itself made by a huge corporation, which suggests they -- and not the philosophy profs -- are the really supersmart guys. Or, as they would say, The Ones.

MattPage wrote:

: S&M

: WHat was the deal with that? The film could have been a 12 except for

: that, but it was really low and unecessary IMHO

I doubt they had the British ratings system in mind. In America, this film was guaranteed to get an R rating anyway, so they must've figured "Why NOT an S&M club?"

: Regarding Bellucci

: Interesting the Jesus Mary Magdelene link with the Merv & the fact that

: obvciously she's playing Mary Magdalene.

Oh, brilliant! I hadn't made that connection yet. And to think, she was hired by Gibson AFTER she was hired for this film.

: I agree with the clevage comment btw - probably not the image Gibson

: is going for.

Well, Bellucci was a well-known Italian sex bomb before Gibson hired her, so it's not like he didn't know about her onscreen persona or anything.

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Hope no one minds if I ask a silly question, but ...

Is there ANY difference between the special features on the "widescreen" disc and the special features on the "fullscreen" disc? Like, are the special features coded for "widescreen" playback on one set and coded for "fullscreen" playback on the other? That kind of thing. (Ditto for The Matrix Reloaded.)

I ask because I have sometimes thought of getting the full Matrix boxed set, but I am also a completist and my understanding is that the bonus features for all three films are different in the boxed set than they are on the original DVDs. My understanding is also that The Matrix Revisited (a disc of nothing but bonus features, released between the first two movies) and The Animatrix are included in the boxed set pretty much exactly as they appear on the original discs. So it is ONLY the three movies I would have to worry about.

At the moment, all I have is the 1999 edition of The Matrix. So to be an absolute completist, I would also have to get the original two-disc editions of Reloaded and Revolutions. And today I saw a whole bunch of copies of those two films sitting in the $7 pile at Superstore -- but they were all "fullscreen" editions. So at first I figured I would just pass them over completely. But then I thought, "Hmmm, the boxed set would have the widescreen MOVIES themselves, so maybe it doesn't matter that these discs are 'fullscreen'. Maybe this would be the cheapest way to get the special features that are unique to these editions."

Like I say, I'm a completist. But as you can tell from the fact that I haven't bought almost any of these discs yet, I'm not exactly feeling any URGENCY with regard to completing this particular set. But I figured I'd check, just in case.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I'm actually OK with the idea of two new Matrix movies, perhaps because the original trilogy ended on such an underwhelming note. The world and mythology of the Matrix movies is intriguing enough that I wouldn't mind revisiting it, provided the over-the-top philosophizing and spectacle-for-spectacle's sake could be kept down, and if there's any cinematic world I'd like to see in 3D, it'd be that of the Matrix.

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I’m a huge MATRIX fan still. I was a dedicated Matrician after the first. After seeing RELOADED, my intensity was reaching epic proportions. (At least 20th level.) Today, although its conclusion is no less mind-blowing than it was the first time around, I think the second film, in of itself, is a very poor film. But it is one with the potential for great relevance. It dangles questions begging to be answered satisfactorily, preferably mind-blowingly, by the third. Sadly, the third of course is nothing but a turd which not only answers nothing , but continues to ask even dumber questions.

So, that’s where I stand. But even though the first film is really the only one I can sit down to watch anymore, I still can admire the total package for its use of analogy. Whether the Warchowski’s intended any or all of this analogy, I believe it is still there to be seen.

So, here’s something I posted this on another forum ages ago and copied it direct to here. I’ve no idea if it’s old hat around these parts. It may very well be. Here goes:

As a very important generalization, I see the relationship between “The Real” and the Matrix to be a fair scaled down representation of Heaven and our earthly life. The Truth is out there, and for some, its call is incessant, like a ‘splinter in your mind’. Keeping this connection in mind, in the Matrix (= earthly life) we have those who are ‘lost’, unaware of their predicament and, ironically, even violently defending their false reality against those who have seen “The Real” (= Heaven) and wish to bring others to it, something which we can see or at least read about on a daily basis here.

This opens up an obvious Christ/superhuman savior metaphor in Neo. Presumably, before the first Neo others had been aware of their false reality, but it took Neo, with his particular abilities to free himself and save the first human.

There is also an obvious ‘Garden of Eden’ parallel when Agent Smith talks about the first perfect Matrix that was created for humankind, but didn’t work because of the human inability to exist in a perfect reality.

I find it very interesting that the creation of the Matrix first comes about through human arrogance; Morpheus talks about how man “marveled in awe at his own creation when he gave birth to artificial intelligence”. Humans believe they have these machines all under control, but of course, they do not. The machines turn around and enslave mankind. In this I see a nice rendering of the Genesis account, where the machines represent Sin. Man, through pride and the insistence that he be his own creator, essentially creates his own sin which in turn becomes his captor separating him from ‘The Real’ (= Eden/Heaven in our reality). Now we need the savior who comes, and tells of his return, but leaves his disciples to do some dangerous work in the meantime.

Morpheus is without a doubt a John the Baptist type of character. Cipher obviously a Judus; he knows the truth, and still doesn’t choose it.

Neo dies and comes back to life even more powerful than before (although this ‘resurrection’ doesn’t work perfectly for being ‘out of sequence’, if you will).

Finally, in the third film, Smith has infected the Matrix (as Sin as infected ours) and it turns out that the only way for Neo (Christ) to defeat Smith (defeat Sin) is to go down into the Matrix (ie. coming down from Heaven to Earth) and take Smith upon himself. We see Neo literally ‘absorb’ Smith, and then allow his real body to be killed. Ie. Christ enters the world, takes on Sin, and dies with it, delivering it to hell once and for all. It is certainly no coincidence that the last time we see Neo, his body is in the crucified pose being carried away by the machine tentacles. This piece of likely unintentional connective analogical tissue is only reason I can make it through the series. It is the saving grace of the entire third film, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Then there are a few neat tosses like when Morpheus refers to the people of the Matrix, “businessmen, teachers, lawyers... carpenters”. He’s strolling about a virtual city street where the former three occupations all would be common, but then drops in “carpenters”? A reference to Christ. No big parallel, just a nod that I can nod with.

Hope I didn’t bore anyone.

Edited by Judo Chop

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And the rumors are back:


The Wachowski siblings have a very long history over at Warner Bros. but with the exception of the Matrix Trilogy, none of their movies have had great financial success.
Speed Racer/Cloud Atlas tanked and let’s not kid ourselves, by the looks of it, Jupiter Ascending will not be much better.
We’ve been told that the Wachowski’s have already started the writing process with early treatments and outlines already turned into the studio. No word if they will want to direct but my money says “Claro que Si!”.
Warner Bros. is desperate for a surefire franchise and will be making a push to have the new Matrix films ready to up against any new Star Wars and Avatar films by 2017.

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My favorite line of the film was Trinity calling the Frenchman "Merv." Second was Neo telling Trinity that she'd have to drive.

Otherwise, I thought the script and dialogue was really uninspired.


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I'm sure someone will delete that soon, but it's so wonderfully random I just had to preserve it for posterity.


Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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