The Matrix: Reloaded

By Adam Lippe

 

thematrixreloaded5Watching The Matrix: Reloaded, one has to say that it was a good thing the movie was basically pre-sold. There is a fundamental problem with the enterprise, that I don’t think interested the Wachowski’s anyway. Since the idea behind these films is to attempt to obscure the meaning with overy complex language to give it an air of mystery, it goes without saying that there are long sequences were characters pretend to be having conversations about something important, but really aren’t. But the main issue, is that even when there are the endless kung fu fights and action sequences, I was unaware of each character’s goal. They may understand it, but I didn’t. If they win this fight or survive this battle or explosion, what have they achieved, other than escape? The famed freeway sequence has several sets of villains all chasing after Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaster (or whatever his name was, I could only think of Ghostbusters anyway), and at one point the villains start shooting at each other. I didn’t have any idea why. What did the Eurotrash guy who has that pointless conversation with Neo and Morpheus over fake fancy lunch want with the keymaster anyway? What was he gaining by keeping him hostage? If the albino twins can turn into sprits, and seemingly can’t be killed via a sword or a gun, and can travel through things, how can they be killed at all? Couldn’t they just spirit through anything you might do to them? How does Laurence Fishburne keep a straight face while delivering his lines? Who else couldn’t stop laughing during the scene on Zion where Neo is talking to the high commander, and they keep saying the same things back to each other. “I think I understand the point.” “I think you missed the point.” “That is the point.” Is Agent Smith in the movie only to provide more fight scenes? Do the Wachowski brothers know how boring and repetitive the fights are? If Neo can remove bullets from people, and restart their heart, couldn’t he do that with everyone?

matrix_matrix_117_1And then the whole thing didn’t matter, because nearly 2 hours into the movie, there’s a scene where Neo meets the creator of the matrix, who informs him that there were five versions of The One beforehand, and nothing he does matters, and Zion has in fact, been destroyed five times before, and this one will be as well. Which kind of invalidates the entire movie, doesn’t it? Because in essence, they are all computer creations, even outside of the matrix, and so even in world of the movie we are watching, the characters aren’t real.

There is so much more as well. The first movie succeeded at making both worlds believable by establishing the world we understand first, and then explaining that we are living a false reality, and showing us the real one. The sequel manages to make none of the many worlds it shows seem believable, and so there is always a sense of phoniness and that there is nothing really at stake. And did the Wachowski’s forget that the amusement in Reeves’ performance during the first movie is that he was confused and didn’t quite believe what was going on? Here we are stuck with Reeves in complete serious and confident mode, 95% of the time hiding behind shades, without even a glint of fun, and there is never any sense that he’s in real danger. And then there were the Zion scenes. Despite feeling like the centerpiece of the film, they go nowhere, are ugly, and go on for 40 minutes.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.