Matrix Revolutions criticism

After seeing this film, I walked away from the theater sick.  I've never seen such a great series crash and burn so badly.  I have never been so frustrated with a series since The Phantom Menace came out.  Here are is the tip of my iceberg of angst....

If you think about it, all in all, this was in many ways a mirror of the Star Wars trilogy, both in the good and the bad.  The same could be said for both: The second film had the most variety, offered the greatest promise, the best action and romance, but we'll all have a special place in our hearts for the first movie of the series.

And in both series the third film squandered nearly everything it inherited from the second chapter.  For one thing, it went off on a dead-end detour from the main plot for the heroine to rescue the hero (Trinity for Neo as with Leia for Han at Jabba's Palace).  As with Jedi, the main cast gets the weaker, more pretentious material as when Neo visits Yoda... er, the Oracle to learn the truth before heading off to confront the Big Bad Guy.  In the meantime, for better or for worse, the best material of the film (the battlefield scenes in Zion!) was entirely in the hands of the supporting cast (Yeah, Han and Leia try to pick a freaking lock while Lando and some freak named Nien Nunb get to fly the Falconinto the new Death Star!).  Indeed, in this film Morpheus, who was a principal character for the first two films, falls into a supporting role alongside Niobe.  She and the other Zionites were the only payoff from the enormous set-up of the second chapter.  At least it wasn't a rehash of the first one as Jedi was.  And there weren't any Ewoks.

As you can probably guess, I loved Reloaded, which is where so much of my disappointment stems with regard to Revolutions.  I think the second film will eventually be regarded as the artistic triumph of the series.  Yes, the first movie was very innovative, but like Star Wars, it matured in the second installment.  It will take a while for that consensus to emerge, but I predict it eventually will. Empire Strikes Back initially felt a similar backlash, particularly since it ended on a downer, but twenty years later every film aficionado recognizes this to be fact.

Getting back to Revolutions,to give credit where it's due, a good point of this film is the cross-over of Smith into the real world.  I would liked to have seen this develop beyond a whacko character who inexplicably cuts himself and such, but I realize time was a constraint.  However, the plausibility of the Smith infiltration of the real world worrying the Machines is a little hard to swallow given that he's "only human," to borrow from their mantra.

As I have stated repeatedly though this litany of disgust, I had really expected Reloaded to represent the set-up for a much more intelligent follow-up.  As bad The Phantom Menace was, one thing that paradoxically made it a better film (and at least one other major critic made this point) is that Attack of the Clones made you view the entire first film as the premise on which the second was built.  Given how difficult to follow Episode II was with all the different characters and competing factions, having the first film under the audience's belt allowed easier viewing.  This helped you to appreciate the lack of action in Phantom Menace, but I'll be the first to say that nothing can ever excuse the poor direction, acting, or dialogue!

A total detour here...  There is an interesting bit in the original Matrix that I have never heard anyone pick up on.  Then again, I rarely read any online essays/newsgroups/etc. about movies, so who can say if I'm alone on this.  In the first film it is vaguely implied that Cypher was a previous attempt to find the Messiah Neo was to prove to be (or maybe... depending on what you read into the latter installments).  This explains the flippant attitude he has toward Neo as this is a guy who might very well be who he never was.  Further, Trinity was destined to fall in love with the One, so, anticipating Cypher was the One, she previously lead a failed relationship with him.  This provides the motive for his betrayal.  Such understated character histories were lacking in the sequels.

My opinion of the Matrix series is that they practically should have written themselves.  Not that I'm saying they were formulaic, quite the opposite in fact!  The premise itself is so far outside of the proverbial box that it practically escapes all of the trappings of conventional storytelling.  In mean, if you've got a virtual world, you can do anything.  Say you want new characters to show up... they do, time and space mean nothing.  See?

I just ran across and interesting story treatment for Revolutions over here.  It isn't perfect by any stretch (e.g., it fails to correct the atrocity that was the Trainman chapter of the film), but it represents an alternative history to the one we all know and hate.  If anyone has any alternate scripts, please send them in to me or point me to them online.  Email me here.

Copyright Ale[x]asperated.
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