Everything that has a beginning must come to a grinding halt. Finally, no more Lord of the Rings or Matrix! but then we have to suffer through the Underworld trilogy, one more Star Wars prequel and Spider-man 2, Hellboy and Electra better be good. But beware, with Alien Vs. Predator on the horizon, Terminator vs. The Matrix could be close.
It’s probably a good idea to end this now before everyone smartens up and sees the flaws in The Matrix mythology which aren’t rectified throughout the trilogy. In fact, the Wachowskis probably weren’t aware of them considering they had such a task of cranking out story after story to accompany MxRd and its tie-ins. Really, that alone is an epic accomplishment. It took George “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” Lucas years to build up what The Matrix did in one swoop. But then again, is The Matrix now a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon? As disappointing as the sequels were as far as story and character, the mythology could have some longevity in comic books, games and more Animatrix. But the thing with The Matrix flicks is that they’re an amalgamation of so many other cooler things: Serial Experiments Lane, Robot Carnival, Battle Angel, Cowboy Bebop, FLCL (Fooly Cooly), Akira, Robotech, Neon Genesis: Evangelion, Tron, The Terminator, Aliens, Chinese philosophy, Kung Fu and the best Cyber Fu and of course the William Gibson novels. The Wachowskis remind us that it’s not how original your story is, but the way to tell it.
MxRev’s story is tighter and does away with the half-baked freshman-year college philosophy, keeping the ball rolling without a lot of mindless action. There is action and the huge battle for Zion sequence, but not frivolously thrown in, as in the second movie. By the same token, the Zion battle is amateurishly directed; only focusing on two groups of the battle while thousands of foot soldiers are battling hundreds of thousands of invading squiddies. There’s an Aliens’ Vasquez look-alike along with Link’s wife launching RPGs at a drilling device and the mobile infantry captain with the kid from The Animatrix: Kid’s Story. In fact, for better or worse, the entire battle of Zion is uninterrupted. Neo and Trinity’s journey completely stops while the Zionites fight to the death--and then we cut back to them and their part of the story.
The problem with MxRev is that there are new elements introduced to Neo’s power and how they work in the real world is never explained; just accepted as reality and B-movie cheese. How does Neo know that he must fly to the machine mainframe without being jacked in or guided by the Oracle? Where this third film succeeds is in the plot devices utilized to get the viewer from one scene to the next with some degree of interest in the relationships and twists that come up. This is not as popcorn as MxRd, but about as top-notch entertainment as it gets to a “sort-of” close-out for the trilogy. But still, the story is left a tad ajar.
Let’s hope that the Wachowskis give us something more to look forward to than a broken down SF mythology. They happen to be good writers, but got caught up too far into the Hollywood Money Machine that they lost some of their soul in the process. But, all systems go. Let’s see what they come up with next.
The Matrix Revolutions (3 ˝ out of Four)
R, 2003, 129 min., Warner Bros.
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Collin Chou, Roy Jones, Jr., Harold Perrineau, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Music by Don Davis, Produced by Joel Silver and Written & Directed by The Wachowski Brothers.
Raging Against the Machines:
The Animatrix, Tron, Metropolis, Tetuso the Iron Man, Akira, Hardware, Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Cowboy Bebop, Robotech, RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3, Saturn 3, Johnny Mnemonic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Virtuosity, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Machine, The Lawnmower Man (The Director’s Cut), The Lawnmower Man 2, The Running Man, Star Trek: First Contact, Predator, A. I.: Artificial Intelligence, D.A.R.Y.L., R.O.T.O.R., Robot Wars, Robot Jox, Bicentennial Man, Runaway, Tank Girl, Deadly Friend…