St. Stephen's Musings

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:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Thursday, November 06, 2003 ::

Matrix Revolutions Review

Very minor spoilers--Overall grade: B minus

I stand by my conviction that the original Matrix film is the greatest Sci-Fi movie ever made (edging out "Blade Runner" "Star Wars" and "Aliens"). From a philosophical, narrative, and visual point of view, the first Matrix film has no equal and is easily one of the most influential and important films of our generation.

Unlike many critics I thought "Reloaded" was a very good film and, while containing several glaring faults, was sufficiently bold and sophisticated enough to make up for its own bloated self-importance. The previous two films made clear that the brothers had the talent to pull off a masterpiece in the final installment, but also had the potential to let the narrative slip away from them. Thus, I went into "Revolutions" with mixed expectations.

It starts with some clever bits of dialogue, especially during the first 20 minutes. The middle part has a series of entertaining action pieces, although not very well edited in spots (At one point, Neo disappears from the plot for about 30 minutes which is a grave mistake, IMO) And as always great special effects abound throughout. The battle for Zion is truly fantastic. From an acting point of view there were some great highlights. Weaving and Bliss (Agent Smith and Bane, respectively ) are magnificent in their roles. I wouldn't be surprised if Weaving is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

The conclusion of the film was somewhat convoluted and murky, as expected. My main beef is that the writers rely *way* too heavily on Sisyphusian-existentialist philosophy at the end, which is very disappointing considering how superb the messianic overtones are in "Reloaded." At one point it seems like the brothers couldn't decide how to end the final confrontation and the sloppiness of the final 8-10 minutes will be a disappointment to many.

However I am glad that the resolution is not quite as neatly tied as one might expect from a Hollywood blockbuster. The "answers" lead to more questions, as they always do in the Matrix. It is truly a postmodern film in this respect.

The flip side is that as "Revolutions" hurls us toward a complicated ending, it leaves several very tantalizing plot lines unresolved (and in some cases, untouched) and fails to more fully develop several of the characters introduced in "Reloaded." This mistake is typical of the third part of most modern trilogies, but for some reason is even more irritating in this case considering the potential.

Bottom line: "Revolutions" doesn't have the enrapturing and coherent narrative aspects of "The Matrix" , nor the sheer grandeur and vision of "Reloaded." It was like a badly edited and sloppy version of "Return of the Jedi." It contains some of the best and worst aspects of the previous two films which makes for a mixed bag.

"Revolutions" is worth seeing and overall I still think it is a good film. All things considered the Matrix trilogy is by far one of the more interesting and intriguing stories in modern cinematic history, even if the third part leaves much to be desired. But you know, it was more fun reading all the articles, predictions, and philosophical essays than actually watching the film!

:: Karl :: 11:27:00 AM [Link] ::

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