Robin Clifford Laura Clifford
In the second installment of “The Matrix” franchise, “Reloaded,” showed us that Neo (Keanu Reeves) is The One. Only he can get to the Source and save those fragments of still existing mankind against the total domination by the machines. Now, Neo, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the rest face the final battle with little or no hope for survival in “The Matrix Revolutions.”
I must have been one of the few moviegoers on this planet Earth that had not seen the second edition of “The Matrix” trilogy, either at the theater or on video. As the release date for part three closed in I realized my faux pas, bit the bullet and rented “Reloaded” recently. I had expected the second entry to suffer from the usual sequelitis – more of the same. To my surprise, part two added a lotto the story and established a number of things that were left hanging in the first. Neo’s purpose is firmly established, the romance between him and Trinity comes to fruition and Cadillac got to do some fancy product placement is a 14-minute chase and shoot-‘em-up.
Thus educated, I attended a screening of “The Matrix Revolutions.” To my further surprise I found that the number three turned out to be the one suffering from sequelitis. This time, Neo has such power that he can jack into the Matrix any time he wants, without all the hardware and computers that the rest of the mere mortals must use. Once again, he confronts the Oracle (Mary Alice taking over the charismatic and wise character from Gloria Foster) to find out what is expected of him. He learns that he must go where no man has gone before, save mankind and stop the out-of-control computer virus that we know and love – Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, who firmly establishes himself as a first-class cinematic bad guy).
Rather than continue embellishing the plot laid out in “Reloaded” the Wachowski boys, Andy and Larry, chose make this a bombastic continuation of the original. If the cool wirework, flashy special effects and mystical aspects of “The Matrix” makes you scream for more, then #3 is for you. “Revolutions” is an F/X extravaganza that will wow the eyes (and ears) of the fans – this will make oodles of bucks, euros, pounds, yen, kopeks, etc. Unfortunately, more of the same is not satisfying by the less captivated viewer (like me) and I grew tired after the hundred thousandth Sentinel was blasted to oblivion as they steadily encroached on their human opponents’ territory.
“The Matrix Revolutions” is one of those films that uses the big, high tech (and long winded) battle of man and machine to overwhelm us with such an inundation of F/X to make your eyes hurt. When the battle is over and man appears to be saved, you realize that there is still another 455-minutes to go with this sucker and there is a sack load of loose ends that still need to be tied up. And that is just what happens. Neo, once one crisis is concluded must still go to the land of the machines AND take care of Agent Smith. I spent the time ticking off the points that needed to be made by the end of the film.
Battles with billions of big bullets and a high body count, especially for the relentless Sentinels, is the flavor of the day for “The Matrix Revolutions” and its more-of-the-same nature makes this a true sequel and not much more. I give it a C.
Neo (Keanu Reeves) is lost somewhere between the Matrix and Zion, Niobe's (Jada Pinkett Smith) ship is missing and the machines are due to attack within twenty hours. The odds are stacked against the renegade humans at the beginning of the final part of the Wachowski brothers' trilogy, "The Matrix: Revolutions."
The Wachowski's Matrix phenomenon created a fan base eager to delve into the complexities of their science fiction and unravel its riddles. After the disappointment of "The Matrix: Reloaded," which at the time of its release seemed nothing more than the bridge to the episode everyone really wanted to see, "Revolutions" is a loud finale that presents a jumble of ideas and images already seen in "Star Wars," "Alien," "Robocop," "Minority Report" and "The Terminator" to name but a few. The Wachowski's religious symbolism, which had a compelling, Catholic-based mystery to it in early goings, is revealed to be pretty simplistic and often as random as references to "Alice in Wonderland" and Greek mythology. "Revolutions" makes "Reloaded" look a lot better.
Neo is awakened by a little girl, Sati (Tanveer Atwal), in a pristine subway station, who asks if he is lost. Her father, a computer program, explains that they await the train operated by the Trainman (Bruce Spence, "The Road Warrior") who works for the Merovingian. Neo is stranded in the station with an explanation about a program's love of its daughter ('It's a word. What is important is the connection that word implies.') after a dustup with its owner. Meanwhile, Seraph (Collin Chou), who knows about the Trainman, leads Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) to the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) who demands the eyes of the Oracle ('new shell' Mary Alice of "Sunshine State" replacing the late Gloria Foster). Trinity gets riled by this demand, and, in another scene we've all seen before, everyone pulls guns on everyone else and Neo is released.
Morpheus finds Niobe and after some contemplation, Neo tells the assembled group that he needs to take one of their two ships to Machine City. Roland (David Roberts) declares him insane, but Niobe presents Neo with her ship, stating that she will pilot the Nebuchanezer through a machine line back to Zion. Trinity, of course, leaves with Neo and a stowaway, Bane (Ian Bliss) who is really carrying Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), the out of control program intent on battling both the humans and the machines.
These two story lines now continue in parallel as Lock (Harry J. Lennix) mounts Zion's defense, although we see little of Neo and Trinity after their initial encounter with Bane until the film's conclusion. Giant borers set upon Zion, which allows multitudes of sentinels to enter. These are fought by an army led by Mifune (Nathaniel Lees), controlling giant mechanical robots which they wear like Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens." Ground troops are represented by Zee (Nona Gaye), who has volunteered in order to see Link (Harold Perrineau Jr.) get a chance to return home. (When the Nebuchanezer does finally make it onto the dock, the remaining citizens of Zion are ecstatic, as if they've won the war. It takes Lock to tell them it isn't over, which is as obvious as Bane's true identity).
"Revolutions" is full of battles, explosions and light effects (a blinded Neo sees light, symbolizing the tunnel which leads to death or hellfire or whatever). Its familiar score is cranked up to accompany the mayhem. The series lost any humor after its first installment. The familiar cast do their thing (Reeves must be admired for the physical aspects of his performance) with Jada Pinkett Smith and Nathaniel Lees impressing with their resolved fury. Hugo Weaving, whose Agent Smith is like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" toned down to pass for F.B.I., is one of filmdom's great screen villains.
But have we travelled this far to discover that The Architect (Helmut Bakaitis), Neo and The Oracle are some sort of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the Seraph has a past with Lucifer stand-in the Merovingian? (It should be noted that the final installment leaves a gaping opening for another round of sequels.) The Meaning of Life, which is alluded to throughout, is, apparently, free will. The Wachowskis have served up passable entertainment with "The Matrix: Revolutions," but they fail to deliver on their own mythology.
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