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The Matrix Revolutions

The Wachowski brothers direct the third and final installment of the Matrix trilogy. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and Hugo Weaving reprise their roles as Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and Agent Smith. Jada Pinkett Smith also returns, and this time she actually affects the plot. The machines are ready to attack Zion, and Neo is still in a coma. I hope that everything turns out ok.

Revolutions picks up right where Reloaded leaves off. Neo is in a coma, machines are bearing down on the last refuge of mankind, and the human race is looking pretty fucked. Neo is trapped in purgatory, which looks a lot like a subway station. The subway is controlled by The Trainman (Bruce Spence). The Trainman is an ally of the Merovingian, and Trinity and Morpheus pay him a visit and ultimately succeed in freeing Neo.

Neo visits the Oracle one last time, and this time she looks different. That’s because the original actress died and they had to replace her. They act like it’s an intentional recasting and an essential part of the story. Actors sometimes die during the filming of a movie, and this was an awkward way to handle it. They could have simply not used the Oracle character again, or they could have recast and not addressed it like when Richard Harris died and Michael Gambon took over as Dumbledore, or they could have used old footage and stand-ins like in The Crow. It cheapens the memory of Gloria Foster, and even though Mary Alice does a good job, she is still an imposter.

In the real world, Agent Smith still has possession over an ally of Neo’s named Bane. Bane sneaks onto Neo’s ship and beats the shit out of Trinity and blinds Neo with a power cable, but Neo discovers a new ability to see machines and programs as glowing entities.

Morpheus and Niobe are trying to get back to Zion and save it from the Sentinels. They do some crafty maneuvering to get back home, and get back in the nick of time and set off an EMP, stopping the machines temporarily, but putting Zion in grave danger in the process.

Neo reaches the Machine City and warns them that Agent Smith will take over the Matrix, and that’s bad for both machines and humans and so they decide to make peace, and Neo enters the Matrix to face his enemy.

Smith has taken over the Matrix, every single occupant is one of his copies. And rather than fight them all at once like he did in the second movie, he fights just one of them as the rest watch, as bored as you are by this point. First they fight on the ground. And then they fight in the sky. And they fly around punching and kicking and talking about the inevitable. And you are glancing at your watch. It is sad when a franchise with so much potential ends with poorly animated CG replicas of Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving slapping each other in a green thunderstorm in the sky.

I won’t tell you how the movie ends, because I don’t think it’s even worth talking about. It’s just a disappointment. It’s confusing, it’s incoherent… the Wachowskis will pretend like it’s deep and an intellectual movie. It’s not. It’s a pretentious piece of crap. It’s noise. How long can you see a sea of metallic sperm attacking cave people before you don’t give a fuck? No one cares about Zion. It’s called THE MATRIX… this isn’t the Terminator. Machines with A.I. has been done before, getting jacked into an artificial world is slightly more original.

The Matrix trilogy is a pretty decent trilogy all in all. The first movie is the best. The second movie starts to slip and falter, but has some great moments (mostly the freeway sequences). The third movie is just bad. All the best ideas for action scenes had already been used. It just feels tired and drags on and on. There isn’t anything that stands out in the movie. It’s just a sad end to a once great franchise. At least The Animatrix was good.

Critically Rated at 9/17

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The Matrix Reloaded

Neo is back on the big screen in the second installment of the Matrix trilogy. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving all return for the beginning of the Shyamalanization of the Wachowski Brothers. I had high hopes for this movie. I hate being disappointed.

So Neo is getting used to being the One. He spends his days chilling with Morpheus and Trinity in the Matrix, freeing people and acting like a holy man when he’s unplugged. Neo and his pals find out that the machines are going to launch an attack on Zion, the last remaining human city, where they like to have huge raves in underground caves. Not only do they have to deal with a massive machine invasion, but Agent Smith managed to escape death somehow, and now he’s wreaking havoc in the Matrix by making duplicates of himself. One of his copies manages to escape the Matrix and enter the real world.

Neo visits the Oracle and finds out that he needs to reach the Source of the Matrix. To do that he needs to find the Keymaker, who is being held prisoner by the Merovingian. Neo, Morpheus and Trinity manage to break the Keymaker out of the Merovingian’s grasp.

They come up with some complex plan to get Neo into the Source. The plan doesn’t work like it should, and the Keymaker dies and Trinity gets shot up by an agent. Neo reaches the Source meets the Architect and they have a conversation about how smart the Wachowskis are and how stupid you are because you don’t understand what they are talking about. And the Architect gives Neo a choice between saving mankind or saving Trinity. And Neo is selfish so he saves Trinity.

Neo discovers that he can disable the machines even without being plugged into the Matrix. But it’s too much for him to take and he collapses into a coma, and the movie ends in a cliffhanger.

There was a lot of potential for the Matrix sequels to be awesome. Instead the Wachowski Brothers decided ruining the franchise would be easier. You know that the movie was going to suck as soon as you realized that Tank is dead, even though he didn’t die in the first movie. There was no reason so replace a minor crewmember who didn’t die with another minor crewmember. It makes no sense. Link’s only redeeming feature is that he’s played by Harold Perrineau, and anyone from Lost is cool.

There are some cool action scenes, and even though they are more elaborate and complex, they are hollow, they don’t impact the story as much as the fights in the first movie. In the original the fights mean something. Morpheus fights Neo so he can learn what he is capable of for example. In Reloaded, there are fights just to fill screen time.

The fight between Neo and the Agent Smith clones could have been epic. It should have been. It starts out with a lot of promise. And about halfway through it becomes a cartoon. They get lazy with the fight choreography, with the animation, even with the sound effects. They actually use the sound of bowling pins falling over when Neo throws a Smith into other Smiths.

The best scene in the movie is the freeway chase. It might even be the best scene in the trilogy. A high speed chase with car crashes and albino twins and agents, Trinity and the Keymaker speeding the wrong way against traffic on the freeway, Morpheus fighting an agent on a semi truck… the whole sequence is exhilarating and you are almost relieved when Neo flies in and saves the day.

The Matrix Reloaded has its moments. But it’s a step in the wrong direction. It’s still worth seeing, but if you like the sequels more than the original you have issues.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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The Animatrix

The Matrix is a great movie. The sequels have some great moments, but they are not great movies. The Animatrix is the best installment in the Matrix franchise. It’s a collection of eight animated shorts about the Matrix universe. Each segment has it’s own style of animation. Four of the stories are related to the movies, and the other four are independent. If you liked the first movie and thought the sequels sucked, you should give this one a try, it might redeem your faith in the Matrix franchise.

Final Flight of the Osiris is a CG animated short that ties directly into the Matrix Reloaded. The animation is reminiscent of the Final Fantasy movie. The Second Renaissance is a two-part film that explores how the machines came to dominate man. It’s pretty much a history lesson on how the Matrix universe was formed. B1-66ER will haunt your dreams. Kid’s Story is a tale about that weird kid that wanted to carry Neo’s luggage in the second movie. It’s how he escaped the Matrix, and Neo makes an appearance. Really cool animation, kind of like Waking Life.

Program is an independent short; it has no bearing on the films. It’s about a chick named Cis being tested as to whether or not she wants to be in the real world or go back to Matrix. It’s my least favorite segment. World Record is about a sprinter who pushes his body and mind to the limit, escaping the Matrix and finding freedom. Beyond is about a girl who goes looking for her lost cat and finds a haunted house. The haunted house isn’t actually haunted, it’s just a glitch in the Matrix. It’s the best of the independent stories and one of the highlights of the Animatrix. It’s simply fantastic.

A Detective Story is a film noir short about a detective trying to track down Trinity. It’s set in the ‘30s or ‘40s, and it’s like the Maltese Falcon meets the Matrix, but it works. Matriculated is the last short and a disappointing way to end the Animatrix. It’s done by the same guy who did Aeon Flux, so imagine that style with weird Matrix robots. It’s about a group of humans who try to reprogram machines to help humans and not kill them. It’s not a bad story, but the Animatrix should end with a short that is more relevant to the Matrix films.

The Animatrix is the best installment in the Matrix franchise. And it’s the most overlooked. The Animatrix is worth buying, high praise in these days of illegal downloads. The Second Renaissance and Beyond are reason enough to buy it. Great animation and great stories add up to a great time. And you gotta admit that it has a clever title.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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The Matrix

No one can be told what the Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself. And you’ve should have seen it by now. It’s been out for 13 years. Andy and Larry Wachowski wrote and directed The Matrix, one of the greatest action/sci-fi films ever. Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a hacker who finds out the world is a lie perpetrated by machines to control and harness energy from humans, and that he is the One prophesized to save mankind.

Thomas Anderson A.K.A. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a hacker by night and an office drone by day. He senses that there’s something wrong with the world, but he can’t quite grasp it. He gets enigmatic clues about something called the Matrix, but he can’t figure out its meaning. He meets a mysterious hacker named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) who leads him to man named Morpheus who can help him find out what the Matrix is. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) gives Neo a pill to swallow, and since you should always take strange pills that a stranger gives you, Neo swallows it and reality collapses into a dream and he wakes up in the Real World.

Morpheus finds Neo and takes him on his ship, the Nebuchadnezzar. Morpheus is the captain, Trinity is a crewmember, and there are a few other crewmembers including the shady Cypher (Joe Pantoliano). Neo finds out the truth about the Matrix. Humans developed machines that got too smart and that lead to a war and that lead to us getting our asses kicked. Now the bulk of mankind is harvested for energy. The Matrix is a simulated reality that the controlled humans are connected to. The world that they know is a computer program.

Neo learns that he can manipulate the computer program, that he can bend the rules of gravity and physics and learn Kung Fu. Morpheus believes that Neo is the One, that he will end the war between the machines. Neo doubts himself; he can’t quite free his mind. Neo learns all the rules about the Matrix, and he learns that the Agents are bad. Especially Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving).

So there’s a bunch of philosophical hoopla about the nature of reality and prophecy and fate vs. freewill. They visit the Oracle and she talks to Neo about his future. She tells him what he needs to hear. Then the shady Cypher is revealed to be working for the Agents. He sells out his crew and tips off their location. Morpheus gets captured, the unnecessary crewmembers die, and now its time for Neo to man up and save Morpheus.

They get a shit ton of guns and have a cool fire fight and kill lots of innocent guards who aren’t agents or evil. They decided not to bring spare magazines, so each time the clip runs out they just whip out a new gun. I guess it’s easier to just carry 20 guns rather than reloading. Neo and Trinity rescue Morpheus. Trinity and Morpheus go back to the real world, and Neo gets attacked by Agent Smith. And Neo stands his ground for a while, but then he runs away like a bitch. Just as he’s about to exit the Matrix, he gets shot. And he dies. And then Trinity kisses him and he comes back to life. And now he’s the One. And then he kills Agent Smith, but not really, because Agent Smith comes back in the sequels. But we don’t know that yet. But for now, Neo has saved the day, and things are looking up for mankind

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Quick factoid: Will Smith turned down the part of Neo to star in Wild Wild West. Thank god, because he would have ruined this movie. Keanu Reeves is not a good actor, but he is perfect for Neo. He lets the events unfold around him, he doesn’t talk much, and he just reacts and looks bewildered by everything. And it suits the movie perfectly.

The action was and still is amazing. The fight choreography is as good as it gets. The bullet time sequence is one of the coolest shots in history. The action is great, but this film works because the action and philosophical scenes go hand in hand. This is a smart movie. The sequels tried to be smart and got pretentious

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If you haven’t seen this movie in a while, go back and watch it. There’s a great buildup, and the dialog is very layered. There’s a lot more to The Matrix than you might remember. It deserved to be the start of a franchise. And even though the Wachowski Brothers went kind of crazy, the Matrix Universe is still worth exploring.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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