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News reaches Zion of an army of sentinels amassing on the surface many miles
above the city, clearly preparing for an invasion. While the city prepares
for a counter attack on the sentinels, Morpheus pins his hopes on Neo and
obeys orders to stay with broadcast range to allow Neo to meet with the
Oracle. Neo meanwhile is plagued with dreams of Trinty's death in the
matrix. When the Oracle does contact Neo, she tells him of The KeyMaker
the man who can get him access to the very source of the matrix. A rescue
mission is mounted which is complicated by not only the agents, but rogue
programmes and the return of a `freed' Agent Smith.
Many reviews (here and in the press) have tended to go one way or the other. Some have lavished praise on this film claiming it as a milestone and even better than the original, others have hated it and laid into it heavily. I'm not wanting to sit on the fence but I do feel that both camps have valid points and that the answer is somewhere in the middle. The main reason I found it hard to get into this film was the heavy tone it has now developed. Seemingly the same bug that the Star Wars movies have caught (taking themselves too seriously) the matrix appears in danger of getting in a bad way. The plot here is quite straightforward and not as twisty as the original however it is delivered as if every line of dialogue was profound. This really sucks the life out of the film as it is not profound but rather borders on the pretentious at times due to it's delivery.
I suspect that this was spotted and so the film is unnecessarily cluttered with minor characters that detract from the central tale. And so screen time is given to Link and his wife as well as a seemingly pointless speech from Merovingian. This makes it feel baggy and also slightly unsatisfactory when these strands appear to go nowhere but only fill time. Also the plot is a little too complex (all this rogue programme stuff) and isn't delivered in a user friendly way it is not always clear what the significance of certain things are until later in the film and even then it is uneven. However both these criticisms will be countered if, in Revolutions, these strands are brought together and minor characters in Reloaded are shown to have a bigger input.
On the plus side the action is very good. I must admit that it wasn't as exciting as the original mainly because the plot wasn't as involving to me I need a good story generally to get into the action side. However in honesty the action still looks great and is a real leap forward from the Matrix a great blend of wire work and visual effects. Occasionally the special effects are slightly wanting (in Neo's fight with Agent Smiths it is clear when it is a visual effect rather than the real thing) but these are minor quibbles compared to some sterling work. The car chase on the freeway may be a very easy way to get an action scene but it still works very well and is exciting. The only downside to it is that I felt that an action scene should have been part of the end of the film instead the `big' scene occurs a good 20 minutes before the end of the film. The actual cliff-hanger itself doesn't really work and it could have done better with a general downbeat ending like Empire Strikes back had did it think I needed a reason to watch part 3? I'm already there!
The acting suffers from the same problems as the plot it is all too heavy. The clearest way this is seen is in Fishburne. In part 1 he was very good, especially when he exposed Neo to the matrix with a mix of playful wit and serious touches when they were needed. Here in part 2 he seems to be mistaken that he is playing Othello again. Watch him speaking to the crowds at Zion, he really plays it like he is playing Moses or something. In fact all through the film he is very heavy even compare his big fight with his previous face-off with Smith in part 1, there he was human and vulnerable here he is more like a rock and less fun for it. Moss is also serious but she was in part 1 too so it's not so noticeable. Reeves is good and at least adds some humour but he plays it very serious again. The additions add colour but are mostly distractions. The support cast in part 1 were merely there, here the film feels it has to develop them to make a rich tapestry but the end result is it feeling too stretched. It's hard not to watch Pinkett-Smith and feel that her character is more to do with the video game than the film itself. Happily Hugo Weaving is fun and is back with his old sneer, while the twins are good value despite having minimal plot impact.
Overall it was always going to be hard to follow up the first film. There the plot was gripping and it is difficult to make the growth of Neo's powers as interesting as his discovery of them was. I enjoyed the film but just felt that the almost biblical significance that it tries to give itself was it's undoing luckily the action and style was it's salvation. Hopefully I will watch Revolutions and see how Reloaded works better in hindsight. Without that knowledge, many of the plot strands appear to be left loose. If I watched this as a film by itself then it would be irritating if the conclusion to the trilogy can get back to the enjoyment and tone and spectacle of the matrix at it's best then this will be a much better film in company of it's brothers. Far from perfect but I don't see how anyone can totally write this film off.
The Matrix Reloaded has everything you could possibly want from a
summer blockbuster but it like its predecessor has a heck of a lot more
and while Reloaded is not as good as the first Matrix film it sure is
close to the standard of the original. I don't understand the seeming
reluctance to accept this film a suitable continuation of the original
film. I'll be the first one to admit that Reloaded has a few slow
points and that the story line has a tendency towards the pretentious
but the film is also highly intelligent and entertaining but most
importantly the film gets the story from A to B with adequate and in
some cases remarkable character development.
Acting wise the film is in the same kind of league as the first film of the series with a few mediocre performances, a few decent performances and one or two excellent performances. Keanu Reeves plays Neo pretty much like he did in the first movie and that is not bad. His monotone voice is canceled out by his clear and well defined body language. His overall performance is very fitting for the character which, lets face it, is somewhat square and Keanu's acting fits that kind of character very well. Carrie-Anne Moss has taken a small step down. I don't blame her as much as I blame the writing. Her character, while still ass-kicking, is too dependent on Neo. I know they love each other but come on. Laurence Fishbourne shines as Morpheus. His performance is slightly more stylized than in the first film but he steals almost every scene he is in. Other semi-known actors make glorified cameos. Actors like Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci and Lambert Wilson are great examples. Gloria Foster returns as the Oracle in her (sadly) last performance as she died during the filming. Her one brief scene is both highly interesting and well acted. As it was with the first film Hugo Weaving provides the best acting by far. Although his screen time is somewhat limited he manages to leave a lasting impression and becomes one of my favorite screen baddies of all time. His performance is for lack of a better word fantastic.
Effect wise Reloaded is a feast. There is literally something to look at in every scene. The "real" world has been given a face lift to make it more interesting. The real effects, however, take place inside the matrix and just like in the first film the effects are absolutely ground breaking. Rivaling the likes of Star Wars and LotR and that is saying something. The people who think the story is pretentious and the dialog stubby will undoubtedly get their adrenaline fix in the action scenes. Some scenes had me holding my breath and gasping at how beautiful and overwhelming it all was and as much as I love the philosophical aspects of the film I can watch it for the effects themselves as well. Without spoiling anything I can say that lovers of cool fight scenes and fx are in for a hell of a treat with this one.
In terms of costumes the film has really grown into its own. Especially Neo's costume in The Matrix is very cool and is a great improvement over the previous film. Morpheus' and Trinity's costumes are the same with minor changes and they still look cool. Agent Smith's costume has changed slightly in the color scheme. His suit has become a bit darker as if to signify that he is no longer an Agent of the system but a rogue agent now. Also his sunglasses have changed so that they look more rounded so they look more like Neo's sunglasses which of course implicates their connection. Many of the secondary characters have their own costumes as well mirroring their own personalities.
Were the film separated itself from other action packed films is of course in the underlying philosophical and religious aspects. Once the film has been watched a few times for the effects you can begin to see some of the elements. I don't think its possible to fully translate and analyze every element of the film. Mainly because every element can be analyzed in a bunch of different ways. Without spoiling too much I can say that if you look hard enough you will be able to find Plato, Baudrillard, Gnosticism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian elements and some more. The people who tell matrix lovers to get a life for searching the Matrix for a deeper meaning ought to open their eyes and watch the film one more time. With that I'm not saying that you can't be intelligent if you don't like the Matrix I am simply asking you to give it another chance. You really won't regret it.
The Matrix Reloaded is an excellent film and it deserves a lot more respect than it is getting and it is definitely underrated. I don't expect people to agree but I do expect people to respect those who love the Matrix sequels like me. I for one think that its hard to go wrong with Reloaded as it is funny, moving, awe-inspiring and very intelligent. I highly recommend this film to anyone.
*** This comment contains spoilers ***
It's a pity Reloaded looks and feels so much like a bad sequel, to so many. Even to me to begin with even if I kind of enjoyed parts of the ride, a lot. But to me it helps looking at it as a bridge between beginning and end. As a part of a whole. The concept is so promising. I haven't had the chance to see the Animatrix yet, but surely I will. I guess I will spend hours with the game too. In Matrix I just love how interwoven and in balance the storyline is with the way its told. It reached out and grabbed almost everyone. This time around it seems as if there was too much to tell and too many dollars to play with in too short a time. Less balance. Still.. I'm thrilled.
Spoilers ahead. (You might need them) Matrix is so wonderfully mythological. Instead of being ethnocentric it puts the light on eternal religious questions in such a universal way. At the same time it formulates the original reason, philosophical questions. It is about knowledge and faith, belief. Controll through both sense and sensibility. The conflict between gnosticism and Judae-Christianity if we look in the rear mirror.
At the same time it is so biblical to a westerner like me. I won't bore you with all the name symbolism but with Neo himself. His actual name is Tomas Anderson and he is caught in the system (like everyone else in the years leading up to Y2K). In the bible Tomas is the disbeliever, and Tomas also means twin. Anders means man, as in Andros- (android). He is the doubtful son of man who is like the rest of us, who becomes Neo, the new one. At the same time it mirrors the first of Christianity and how it focused on the individual. There is no need for priests or churches (system) for the individual to reach the transcendent, for man to reach God. (And our heroes are individuals in small groups that fight the system, like viruses in a computer. (I just love that Nebukadnessar looks like a bug.)
In the first film we see the creation of (the believing) man. In Reloaded the religious theme takes a step back. Instead it is Free will vs. Determinism which is the main conflict. Thereby the existential perspectives which were planted in the first film can be developed. Here it is amusing to relate to the first existentialists that focused so much on free will and choice, Friedrich Nietsche and Soren Kirkegaard (one atheist and one Christian. The first captain to enroll freely in the final battle is called Soren).
Knowledge and faith remains as a conflict in Reloaded here represented by Lock and Morpheus. John Locke is called the father of The age of enlightenment which is the time of reason in our history. To me it looks like as if the Wachowski brothers are writing a mythological history of ideas for our time. Finally they might embrace even time after the postmodern.
There is a hint of a cycle here. Matrix is about birth, Reloaded about life and Revolutions about death (rebirth). Matrix is the becoming of man. Reloaded is man as a builder of theories and civilizations. Power and control is formed and developed. The Merovingian (400-600) are called the first kings of Europe and are known for their writing and the characters in their written language. (I am sure that you can find parallels to this "code" in the Matrix-code.) Anyway Merovingian is the one who has the 'key master' (the key to power and control?) The middle ages with its mystery and ghosts (lack of reason and empirical method) follows and can be seen in the set design, armor and weapons.
The middle ages were followed by The renaissance with all its use of Greek mythology The wife of Merovingian is Persephone who actually emphasizes on the rebirth theme because she gives our heroes a second chance to get to the 'key master', and as a goddess she is symbolized by a grain that can sprout.
Then comes The age of enlightenment with reason and empirical method which created the necessary conditions for a new conception of the world and industrialism. The living-conditions thereby changed radically for people which resulted in the revolutions of the 19th century and ideologically in the first existentialists, Soren and Friedrich. (Existentialism had a new upsurge when God had left us all alone once again and the world fell apart, during and after WW1 and WW2 during last century. ) The myth can be said to have survived by fleeing into the music and later into film via melodrama. Which leads us to were we and Matrix are right now.
I guess I just had too high expectations when I saw Reloaded the first time. It got better when I saw it a second time and right now it is one of my favorite friends, or bedtime stories. Too bad Reloaded is made in such a way that most people seem to (eventually) enjoy and point out the cinematography at its best. The saga deserves more.
Anyway The Matrix concept is already a classic piece of art, the latest transcription of the bible, a new history of mankind, the steepest roller-coaster and much, much, more.
Watching The Matrix Reloaded, one is absolutely entitled to say that it is overloaded, too lengthy action sequences for instance, and indeed, a way too lengthy dancing scene in Zion. But next to that, it is obvious that this sequal to The Matrix (1999)takes the story to a whole new dimension. Different characters define the working of the matrix, and the meaning of life itself, in different ways, depending on their onthological background. A conclusion is not (yet) given, which adds to the movie a kind of postmodern quality. For as far as the action sequences are concerned: Groundbreaking. You'll see stuff that you've never seen before. Sometimes the scenes are a little lengthy, which harmes the narrative, but that is compensated easily by the visual spectacle. And yes, the Architect at the end is difficult to understand, but when you watch the film more than once, you'll find out that it does make sense what he says. All together this movie may not be as fantastic as 'The Matrix', but it is definitely a good movie that will keep you thinking for a while.
Last night I was fortunate enough to stumble across some tix to the "Reloaded" premiere. Since the original "Matrix" came out a few years ago everyone has imitated its' kenetic action style, which led me to think there's no way they can recapture that fresh and exciting edge again. But they did. The Wachowskis have way out done the new "Star Wars" films and without a doubt have far surpassed the "X-Men films." At times the dialogue is clunky and the Zion scenes are a little too Star Trek and Buck Rogers, but the action is always astonishing, and the humor is always in the right place...if not too much in the right place...For example Neo uses one of the many Agent Smiths to take down other Agent Smiths sending them all crashing with the sound of falling bowling pins. A little goofy but fun. The action though, I can't say enough about. The center chase scene is awesome and the opening cycle scene is.... Okay, no more words, "The Matrix: Reloaded" will not disappoint and by the time you reach the cliffhanger ending you're more than ready for a break from this double talking, mind bending adventure.
When the credits for the movie came up and yet another great song by Rage
Against The Machine blaring in my ears,
I just thought to myself, what a great piece of entertainment this movie
I was a big fan of the first one (like other millions were) and was eagerly awaiting the sequel. Although it might not be as good as the first one in terms of it shocking us the way it did in 99 when it brought to us such a new flavour in cinema in terms of development in action, special effects and its terrific story. All and all it still held up very well considering the pressure this movie had on its shoulders to live up to the great expectation.
I think that's why a lot of people weren't real keen on this one, because it had such huge pressure, and whatever the Wachowski's produced, it wasn't going to be good enough, or people would say it could or should of been better. I believe the Wachowski brothers made it more epic and like most sequels, you can tell that it had a s*** load more money to work with. Apart from the Zion scene and the Twins not getting enough screen time, this movie was right up there, and for a movie just to sit back in awe and watch all these fighting sequences, car chases and special effects in action, it's a special movie.
Well done Larry and Andy showing everyone just why we go to the movies, Pure escapism and entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoilers of both this and The Matrix follow.
I liked the original Matrix a great deal. It was not a deep movie, despite Fishburne's attempts to philosophize, but it was fairly well paced, fun, and I have a soft spot for Hong Kong fights.
In the original, Neo was the secret life of the rather unhappy cube worker Anderson. By day, corporate drone, and by night, brave hacker. Eventually, he eventually is forced to choose between these lives by his actions - does he become an outlaw fighting the machine, or does he go back to the safe, forgettable world he started in. Interestingly, he discovers that once one is shorn of illusions, life rather sucks. He has his girl by his side and his boon companions, but he eats processed swill, dresses in sweats, and lives in a truly skungy bit of machinery. Still, the truth makes him free.
At least part of the fun of that first movie lay in the "what if it were me" questions raised in the viewer's mind. What if _I_ were capable of the impossible? What if I were "The One". It does not even matter that much what you are The One example of, with a cool title like that.
Further, agent Smith made a wonderful bad guy, as he embodied all of the fear of authority that we carry with us. He was as unstoppable as a terminator, and as merciless.
At the end of the Matrix, Neo must return to the Matrix to share his good news of freedom.
This movie fails to completely to carry through on the ideas of the original movie, and it does so with such lack of gusto, such poor scriptwriting and such poor editing that I cannot believe they had planned these changes. When the dialog is at a fifth grade level, with various long words dropped in randomly, I find it hard to believe that they understand what they are saying.
My short list of characterization failures:
The Oracle goes from mildly helpful, if deceitful to utterly obstructionist without any real reason.
Major "personalities" of the matrix are introduced without need - the keymaster, for example, was a cute idea, but just not that interesting a character.
Fishburne loses his "advisor" role, and gets nothing to replace it with.
The people of Zion are not particularly likable, nor would you really _want_ them running the world.
Special effects problems:
The fight scenes are pointless and intermitable. In The Matrix, you felt Neo could lose, and that he had to become something greater in order to survive. In The Matrix Reloaded, he is merely the viewpoint character of a particularly poorly plotted video game.
The fight on the freeway looked quite fake, and not that interesting.
As I mentioned above, the fight scenes were interminable.
The rave went on too long - everyone in my row at the theater was looking at their watch. Not because we mind good dancing and good orgies, but because we did not know about the people pictured, nor did we care.
Whatever hack wrote the creator's soliloquy should be blacklisted from the business. It meandered, used words that the scriptwriter clearly did not understand, and was a waste of time and a pacing killer. The creator's speech could have been done in a tenth the time, and with more peril as "Zion exists to give rebels a place to go so they do not destroy the Matrix. There are now too many people who do not believe; the matrix is in danger of crashing and killing every person hooked up to it. Further, the earth cannot support even the people in Zion, let alone these others. You may choose one person from Zion to form the new Zion, while I wipe the memories of the people currently in the Matrix."
Instead, we got a long, drawn out bunch of twaddle. If someone argues that it is deep, ask for a transcript, and try breaking down the sentences. Each one is too long by several clauses, and uses words with clearer, shorter synonyms.
So, in summary, not worth seeing.
I have seen the third one, and despite what a number of reviewers have said, skip it. It does not save this turkey.
The reviewers who feel that the second and third movies were "deep" should go see some truly deep movies. Perhaps read a book or two on rhetoric and debate, and perhaps a bit of philosophy. This movie is just not hard to understand, but it is hard to stomach.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
During one University Class on Film Violence our tutor went around
class asking the students to nominate a film where we felt the violence
was unrealistic . My nomination was the Randall Wallace debacle WE WERE
SOLDIERS down to the fact every time an American was killed there was
always enough time for the dying soldier to make a short speech as to
how much he loved his wife/mom /pet dog . One of the other students , a
young lad called Ivan , nominated the battle between Neo and the
multiple Mr Smiths' from THE MATRIX RELOADED . I remember thinking it
was a rather good nomination since it seemed to go on far longer than
needed and that Neo could have escaped the fight anytime he wanted .
Having recently seen the film again I have to say it's a brilliantly
obvious nomination since the sequence is ridiculous and unconvincing as
is the whole movie
It's obvious that when THE MATRIX was released it was produced to be a stand alone one off movie . Hollywood being Hollywood however it doesn't stop people coming up with bad ideas if the motive is money . RELOADED is a bad idea but its problem is that it's not only a bad idea but it's a bad idea badly done
A common complaint amongst the more analytical comments on this page criticise the way when characters speak it sounds like they're giving the most profound speeches in he history of cinema in a film that is just an action franchise movie . Thisis entirely correct we get set piece followed by long pretentious sententious dialogue followed by set piece , followed by long talky scenes followed by set piece
What really drags the film down is that the set pieces are both overlong and very badly done . Watch the scene that Ivan criticised and you'll notice that much of it is done via computer animation . Especially the bit where Neo holds on to the pole and and kicks the myriad of Smiths out of the frame . You'll be expecting Bugs Bunny to appear chewing a carrot asking " What's up doc ? " It becomes literally cartoonish . There's also a set piece on a freeway where a couple of of ghostly twins try and eliminate the good guys often in hand to hand combat . What lets this down is that both the choreography and editing are very loose . You can see in your head the actors thinking " one two three one two three left right left " as they try and assault one another
The original film was one of those rare movies that mixed a high concept plot with genuinely exciting action sequences . This sequel has none of that . It is nothing more than a cynical exercise in making money . The only half decent thing about it is that it's only slightly better than the following film THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I tried to remove anything that might be considered a spoiler. I also
assume that you've seen the first movie or at least know the general
so if you haven't some of this might not make sense.
Plot: This movie beats the audience over the head with tired philosophical ramblings again and again in an attempt to get the theme across. We are bombarded again and again by questions of purpose, and destiny, and choice, and forced to endure the long, torturous platitude sessions that contain them.
Neo, awakened from a dream in the last movie, now begins a period of realization about his own existence. There are a lot of revelations in this movie, which I'll be vague about so they won't seem like spoilers.
*If you're still worried vague references will spoil the movie, don't read the paragraph below.*
The strength and weakness of faith is revealed. The strengths and weaknesses of love, and its temporary nature, are also revealed. The interdependence of humans and technology, and our faith in technology, are also revealed. The importance of choice and experience is revealed. Explaining further things that are revealed would go into too much detail, so I will refrain (as the guidelines for writing a commentary asks). Btw, by "revealed" I mean pounded through our ears and eyes like nails.
Storyline: So how does Neo and the gang get from the end of the last movie to the beginning of the next one? In short, they keep the faith, and use and abuse overly-stylized action and bullet-time like it's going out of style (and after this display, I'm hoping movie-goers and makers alike learn to appreciate subtlety and originality a bit more). More on that later. To not spoil anything, I will say no more than the promo material already did: Neo is still trying to figure out the Matrix, and he is looking for answers while trying to save the humans, and Zion, all while baddies are going after him and his cohorts. The movie pretty much picks up where the last one left off.
Action: While martial arts action and gunplay peppered its predecessor in somewhat equal parts, this movie focuses much more on martial arts than gunplay, adding swords, sais, etc. to the mix. Special effects are so often used and waved in the audience's face that it becomes really tiresome. I've discussed this movie with friends and coworkers alike, and nearly all of them found some of the action sequences--especially the "Smith fight" we all heard would be in the movie--to be too long and tedious. This is a huge red flag for action fans, because the end of an action sequence should either leave you wanting a slight bit more, or completely content with the awesomeness that just occured.
These fights scenes do neither. They are over-stylized, over-the-top sequences that are wooden and uninspired. In the first movie, there was a real sense of desperation to some of the action, a sense that fighting was for survival, not just looking good (which I honestly don't think they manage in Reloaded anyway) in black and leather. Go watch Drunken Master or Iron Monkey after this movie to remind yourself of what good fighting sequences are--you won't regret it. In addition, the "Matrix abilities" people have in Reloaded is not consistent, and what they actually do is not consistent. The first movie had its inconsistencies here, but they weren't too glaring--unlike Reloaded.
Special effects are poured on and on and on. Every little thing someone does, be it just jump, somersault, spin, and in many cases just pose, are
slow-moed, bullet-timed, or over-accentuated by some sort of destruction. It's evident the W Bros had a ton of money to throw at this movie, and boy did they throw it, with no real restraint. Sharp editors could have really helped this, but the first movie was such a hit that free reign was obviously given, which brings us to. . .
Character and dialogue: I have already more or less said the dialogue was tired and full of philosophical platitudes. Actors can't really bring a lot of depth to their character when the script and direction is shoving character progression audience's face, or neglecting it altogether. The audience is at no time given nuance and substance so they can contemplate the character on their own.
Keanu's acting performance is stiff at best. Keanu is good at acting confused, and that's about all he does in this film. He makes a decent attempt to show passion between Neo and Trinity, but it falls flat.
Lawrence tries to make Morpheus everything from Moses to Henry V, and be as cool as a cat throughout. With the script he is provided, he makes a noble attempt, but it also falls flat.
Moss isn't very believable either. Her look of concern is always the same, much like Keanu's, and the chemistry isn't there, although in their very physical scenes they fake it well enough.
Hugo once again brought his weird sense of being an Agent program, but he too suffered from the script's hand. I actually find him to be the most interesting character of the bunch, but instead of development they just make him an excuse for a huge, drawn out fight scene.
All in all, this movie is beyond disappointing if you had good expectations, and on its own, as a stand-alone movie (which is not how it's supposed to be taken), it's still horrible. I don't see The Matrix as deep, but I at least see it as an enjoyable scifi romp that has some interesting ideas, good action, a few funny lines, and enough restrained symbolism and elusions to amuse the attentive. Reloaded fails on all these counts, and I really hope the W Bros will give us a better experience in the 3rd installment. Granted, I don't have a lot of hope left for that after this film.
It is six months later. Neo and the rebel leaders have 72 hours until
250,000 machine probes discover Zion and attempt to destroy it. The Matrix
Reloaded, the long-awaited sequel to the 1999 blockbuster hit The Matrix,
follows the lives and destinies of the freedom fighters from Zion and
continues its inquiry into our reason for being. The original had us look at
the nature of the reality we live in and the sequel invites us to look at
how we respond once we understand that reality. Most of the same characters
are back: Neo (Keanu Reeves) as the prophesied One, Morpheus (Laurence
Fishburne) as the enlightened rebel leader, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as
Neo's lover, and the late Gloria Foster as the Oracle, a very wise lady who
tells it like it is.
As the film opens, the Zionists (sic) prepare to fend off the attack of the sentinels. Morpheus is convinced Neo can save Zion, but to do so he must fend off all enemies to find the source of the Matrix. While Neo is having nightmares about Trinity's ultimate fate, Morpheus defends his decision to remove the Nebuchadnezzar from the first line of defense and shows renewed interest in his ex-lover, Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith). In the meantime, we get our first glimpse of Zion where the main floor with its rusted iron walkways and power generators looks like the remodeled boiler room of the Titanic. After listening to an inspiring speech by Morpheus, the entire floor erupts into a sensuous dance sequence to techno music, interspersed with scenes of Neo and Trinity making love. Neo learns that he must find the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) who alone can provide him with entry to the mysterious source that controls the Matrix. Neo tracks him down but first has to get past a seductive Monica Belluci and a witty Frenchman named Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) who seduces his women with chocolate cake.
As would be expected for a film with a budget that rivals the US Treasury, the special effects are outstanding and several action sequences stand out. The first uses digital effects and the choreography of Hong Kong director Yuen Wo Ping to recreate 100 clones of Agent Smith in a fight sequence with Neo. The longest and most bizarre sequence is a 15-minute freeway chase involving hundreds of cars, a Ducati motorcycle, trailer trucks, and agents all over the place. The scene, that included a specially built stretch of highway costing $1 million, took three months to film and is estimated to have cost $38 million. Don Davis choreographs the car chases with a techno score that becomes irritating after about the second explosion.
The Wachowski's have been accused of "heavy handed moralizing", "a for Dummies primer on philosophy", and "empty-headed techno-babble" but I think very few critics are listening to what they are actually saying. The film is about intimacy, choice, purpose, and our place in the universe. It suggests that "everything starts with choice" and "the only truth is causality". Put another way, we are the "chooser", the author and the cause of our own experiences. When we choose, we are really choosing what has already been chosen. `You are not here to make a choice,' the Oracle tells Neo `You have already made it. You're here to find out why'. What this means to me is that we are all here for a purpose of our own choosing and our job is to discover the appropriate means to realize that purpose. Believe me, you do not learn this in Philosophy 101.
Like the original, many elements of The Matrix Reloaded are fun and appeal to a younger audience but I found the sequel to be somewhat disappointing. The original left major aspects of the puzzle to our imagination and did not overload us with special effects. The sequel is more complex but lacks the sense of wonder of the first film. We know enough not to take the car chases and fight sequences too seriously, but without the element of danger, the highly choreographed set pieces become pointless and irritating. At the end of the first film, Neo told his adversaries on the phone, "I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.' I'm still waiting for that world that no longer requires guns, weapons, punches, or kicks and where everyone gets that they are "The One". Now that is a rogue program that would be worth downloading.
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