US Release Date: 11-05-2003
Directed by: Andy Wachowski,Larry Wachowski
- Keanu Reeves, as
- Laurence Fishburne, as
- Carrie-Anne Moss, as
- Hugo Weaving, as
- Agent Smith
- Jada Pinkett Smith, as
- Mary Alice, as
- The Oracle
- Harold Perrineau Jr., as
- Bruce Spence, as
- Ian Bliss, as
- Helmut Bakaitis, as
- The Architect
- Lambert Wilson, as
- The Merovingian
- Monica Bellucci, as
- Tanveer K. Atwal, as
- Collin Chou as
Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving in The Matrix Revolutions.
The Matrix was a very good movie that upped the ante of special effects by creating groundbreaking techniques that have been imitated and spoofed by many, many movies. The Matrix: Reloaded was a huge disappointment. Poorly edited, with stiff and awkward actors spouting nonsensical, pseudo-philosophical techno-babble, it was an enormous letdown as a sequel. And now we have the "final" chapter in the trilogy, The Matrix: Revolutions. While it improves greatly over Reloaded, mainly by keeping long exposition to a minimum and thus reducing the amount of embarrassing dialogue, it fails to live up to the quality of the original.
Revolutions jumps right back into the plot without any sort of prologue or explanation to previous events, so it won't hurt to be reminded of how Reloaded ended. Neo and company were looking for a way to stop the advancing sentinels from reaching the human city of Zion while the military of the city prepared for the attack. Agent Smith had found a way to enter the real world by inhabiting a human body, and Neo discovered that he could use his super-powers outside of the matrix, although doing so sent him into a coma.
As the action resumes, Neo comes out of his coma in an overly convoluted manner and seeks out the Oracle to discover an explanation to his new found abilities. The explanation turns out to be simple and meaningless. His power, he is told, comes from the "Source". He accepts this explanation without question, as apparently we are expected to, although just what the "Source" is, is never explained.
Based on the Oracle's tight-lipped advice and his own intuition, Neo then decides to visit the machine's central city. With Trinity accompanying him, he takes one of the remaining ships and heads off to face the machines in a showdown to end the war.
Morpheus (Fishburne), Niobe (Pinkett Smith), and the other remaining survivors from Reloaded, take the other ship back to Zion, which is now under attack from the sentinels.
It is at this point that the movie, after a slow start, really kicks into high gear and begins to do what the entire series has done so well all along. The action and the special effects start flying at you at light speed. The scenes from here until the ending, apart from a few of the quieter moments when the filmmakers make the mistake of trying to induce real emotions, are overflowing with some of the most spectacular special effects ever seen.
The sight of thousands upon thousands of Sentinels swarming like schools of fish in their attack on Zion is enough to make you say "Whoa!" as is Niobe's piloting of her ship through the twisting, turning tunnels that lead back to the city. So long as the action keeps moving, you can forget the movie's weaknesses. Sadly, the action can't last forever, although it tries its hardest.
Predictably, the movie's climax occurs when Neo and Smith face off one last time, in the battle to end all the battles. As far as fights go, it is impressive. Like two supermen doing battle the two slug it out in a fight that is a comic book come to life. But even into this final battle, the pseudo-philosophy begins to intrude, and weakens the scene.
Of course, all the special effects in the world don't add up to a great movie. For that you need sympathetic characters that you can care about, a feat that has become increasingly difficult as The Matrix movies progress. Stiff and humorless, the characters increasingly begin to resemble machines in their lack of emotions. While the Wachowski brothers have a great visual eye, they write dialogue and characters very poorly.
Although this movie is billed as the final Matrix movie, I have my doubts that this will be the last one. The ending is deliberately left open, despite the death of one of the main characters, and I'm quite sure that with the amount of money these movies have brought in, that we will be seeing the continuation of this story in some form or another for many years to come.
Laurence Fishburne, Collin Chou, and Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix Revolutions.
The Wachowski brothers write unnecessary dialogue. They give the actors lines where there is no need. In one scene, Trinity walks into Neo's room. Neo says, "Trinity, there's something I need to say." Why doesn't he just start saying it? Why does his speech need an introduction? In the scene where Trinity cuts the power onboard the ship, she says, "This is it. It's gotta be." Who is she talking to? When Trinity flies above the clouds we see blues skies and a bright sun. Apparently, the Wachowski brothers do not think we get the message by the look on her face, because she has to audibly announce that this view is "Beautiful!" Do the Wachowski brothers have little faith in their actor's abilities or are these guys just egomaniacs about there dialogue?
The first Matrix movie was about a band of people that have a tense action adventure. The second and third Matrix movies expand to a war involving thousands of humans. The Wachowski brothers go through great length to show many new and superfluous characters do battle. Many of whom, are portrayed by lousy actors. I had no attachment to any of these people, so the scenes were for naught. As I watched the big battle scenes, that Scott was so impressed with, I just kept thinking how pointless all of this is. I wanted the movie to get back to Neo and Trinity. They are the heart of this movie series and their fate is all that really matters.
The ending does show their fate, I guess? It is a disappointment. The victory at the end of this movie is completely moot. The two leads do not end up together. The plots of the second and third movies got so convoluted that the only plot device keeping the story going was their relationship. To not fully resolve the love story leads me to two conclusions; the first is that, as Scott suggests, they will do another movie. The second is that the Wachowski brothers are just too full of themselves and didn't know what the hell they were doing!
Laurence Fishburne and Jada Pinkett Smith in The Matrix: Revolutions.
I was so disappointed with The Matrix: Reloaded that I didn't watch the final installment in the trilogy for eleven years. Now having finally seen it, I agree with Scott that it improves on the second movie but it never even approaches the greatness of The Matrix. The relentlessly bleak storyline, the overly complicated set-up, the stiff acting and the stilted dialogue all combine to make this movie not much fun to sit through. On top of that it leaves too many questions unanswered and ends in an unsatisfying way that feels incomplete.
I think Scott was right about the ending being left intentionally open to allow for the possibility of more movies in the franchise, but the negative reaction to the sequels put a damper on that idea. Instead there has been just one animated sequel and several video games but as of this writing no new feature films have been made. I think too much time was spent coming up with the concept behind the story but not enough care was taken in developing the characters or coming up with dialogue that sounded natural. And from the vantage point of 2014 the action sequences are far from impressive. As with all CGI special effects, that quickly begin to show their age, they seem quite primitive by today's standards.
How did the machines originally take over humanity and lock them in the Matrix? Is Zion the real world or merely a cyber extension of the Matrix? The fact that Neo's powers begin to work there, as well as the appearance of Smith in Zion, add to this theory. Why do the machines let these humans have Zion in the first place? Why give them even a glimmer of hope? And just what happened to Neo at the end? Will he continue to exist in spirit form now? And peace between humans and machines isn't likely to last long.
One philosophical concept explored here is the popular idea of an artificial intelligence achieving human emotion. This happens when Neo meets a family of computer programs on their journey into the Matrix in that mysterious train station. He is told that love is just a word that can be interpreted in many different ways. The implication being that a computer program can experience love or at least something very similar to it.
Religious symbolism abounds in this movie, the most blatant being the ending where Smith quotes the Oracle, which inspires Neo to allow Smith (now a rabid computer virus out to destroy everything) to assimilate him. You know, kind of like receiving the Sacrament of Christ. Then in the final scene a rainbow appears for the first time in the Matrix, like God's Covenant with Noah after the flood in the Old Testament.
The Matrix: Revolutions brings up some interesting ideas but as movie entertainment it falls short. The original movie -a true classic- should have been left to stand on its own.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2003)