A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 316 – Matrix Revolutions

Matrix Revolutions – January 10th, 2011

Well, this is it. The last of the Matrix movies. And by now I’m well and truly ready to be done, because this movie is such a gigantic and overblown spectacle that there is no topping it. To be honest, it’s left me a little speechless. Not in awe, I assure you. Just. I’m at a loss for how to talk about this movie. It’s such a conflict in my head.

You see, I want to like this movie. Honestly, I think it’s better put together than the second movie and I am so very pleased by that. There’s some good stuff here and I really really really want to like it. But it is so very over the top and there’s lots of pointless philosophizing and they seem to have tossed in everything but the kitchen sink here. Check out the tvtrops page on this series and look at the list of tropes present. I got sucked in for an hour just reading the list, not even linking outside of the page. The prior two movies set so much up in terms of mythology and philosophy, not to mention the actual plot(s) and character arcs. There’s simply so much to be done and close out and it all had to come together in something huge because you can’t have it come together in something smaller than its predecessors, right? I’d be curious to see that done, actually. It’s certainly not done here.

We know from the outset that we’re going to have to have the epic battle of Zion. It’s a giant Chekhov’s bullet. The last movie ended with the machines digging their way down to the city and the ships destroyed and chaos reigning and so on and so forth. They were readying for a big fight, so that big fight had better damn well be in the next movie, right? Right. And then there’s the big revelation that Neo can control machines outside of the Matrix. They’ve got to do something with that too. And then there’s Smith, who’s been replicating himself by infecting other programs. And add on to all of that, there’s all the questions about the nature of the Matrix and its history and how Neo’s changed things by not doing what the Architect expected him to do and there’s the Oracle and Seraph and the Merovingian and his crew and everyone who believes in Neo and that’s a hell of a lot to have to wrap up.

It’s not really all that surprising that they ended up actually naming a character in the movie Deus Ex Machina. I mean. Really. I was not shocked. When you’ve built up as much as this movie has, there’s only so much you can do to close it off. And I think there came a point where the Wachowskis just sort of threw up their hands and decided to hell with it, let’s just have Neo meet God, like Shatner did! Why not? It feels like that’s what you do when you’ve built up a huge symbolic philosophical messiah story but don’t have the answers you were hoping to find before having to write the end.

I know I’m rambling, but like I said, I’m sort of at a loss. Really, though, I do think this movie’s structure is a little more coherent than the second movie. It doesn’t have quite the same “action – philosophy – action – philosophy – action” thing going on and that’s good in my book. While we watched it I likened it to Return of the Jedi, actually, with the secondary heroes (Niobe, Morpheus, etc.) rushing off to help out in the big battle of doom against impossible odds while the hero (Neo) goes into the enemy base to try to face down their leader one on one. There’s probably a trope for that, but I’m not going looking for it lest I lose another few hours to that site. Regardless, I think it’s a fairly solid construction once it gets going Unfortunately there’s a lot of faffing around before that. Because at the outset Neo is stuck in Limbo and there’s a whole bit where Morpheus, Trinity and Seraph need to go deal with the Merovingian to get him back. Make no mistake, this whole bit is only in here for the sake of the pretty. Why not let Neo find his own way out? We’re talking about a guy who can stop Sentinels outside the Matrix and resurrect himself from the dead, diving into other programs to destroy them. And he can’t get out of a coded loop of a train station?

You see, that there is the problem. There’s just too much to answer and the answers weren’t set up to fit the world that had already been built. So there are indeed answers, but they only make sense with rules set forth in this last movie. There’s no possible way it can stand on its own, what with it being so heavily dependant on the world building and plot set-up in the earlier movies. But it’s such an entirely different creature than the other movies. Yes, it’s got plenty of action and philosophy and people zipping in and out of the Matrix and Smith being a maniacal badass and Neo being all messianic (down to the blinding, which is definitely a trope – Dune, anyone?), and lots of women kicking ass and I truly do like the battle at Zion. But it’s also got a level of technology that is, in the movie, indistinguishable from magic. Why can Neo do the things he does? It’s not that he’s simply better able to manipulate the Matrix. It’s that he’s special. And he uses his special magic powers to fix everything. I don’t hate that ending, it just seems ill-suited to the story the first movie set in motion. Still, it is a gorgeous movie, and it does have Zee and Niobe and Trinity being awesome and I do love all three of them. And it’s got Hugo Weaving being fantastic and it’s got some interesting stuff about the programs who aren’t so set on eradicating humanity. So I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, but I enjoyed it despite its many flaws. If only it had been more in line with its predecessors. Oh well.

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January 10, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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