There's something special about watching a Matrix Movie un-spool across the screen. Some weird promise is held of a great adventure that also makes you think. Few movies (that don't begin with "A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away...") can do that to a person, but when the computerized green "WB" Shield followed by the Digital Rain filled the screen on November 5, 2003, I was just about ready to jump up and down like an idiot... or at least re-define anticipation goose bumps! I was a little perturbed because I wasn't able to go into this one "Review Free" like I pretty much did with The Matrix Reloaded, because CNN.com just loves to ruin things for people by trashing things in their text links (A POX ON YOU ALL!!!), but I did go in virtually spoiler free, and I will extend to you the same courtesy I had (note prior film spoiler warning above!!!)!
When we last left our hapless humans Neo (Keanu Reeves) was in a Coma after redefining what we thought we knew about the separation of worlds, Bane (Ian Bliss) had been possessed by the former Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who incidentally was pretty much possessing anyone he could touch like an Armani-clad Beelzebub, things were looking their bleakest just before the s#!t storm of all time, and Luke got his severed lightsaber hand replaced by a mechanical model, thanks to R2-D2! Oh, wait... that was The Empire Strikes Back... More on this later.
Well hold your breath because I'm going to give my one and only spoiler in this whole review... ready? Neo doesn't stay in the Coma! Okay... shocking that the top billed star wouldn't sleep through his own film, especially in this Hollywood environment, but okay! Aside from that, there really isn't much I can tell you about this film without ruining something. What I can say is that The Matrix Revolutions really is a success, and it's a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I really loved this movie, but, like the second film, I stress this: Not everyone will get into this movie, and some might even feel let down after one of the biggest build-ups since May 19, 1999! Why? Each of these films is part of a whole, but is by no means a simple retread or a simple formulaic copy of the one before. Where The Matrix was an expository action film that broke great ground and left one begging for a sequel, and The Matrix Reloaded was a philosophical and descartian thinker with skill and flash, The Matrix Revolutions is much heavier on the action than on the philosophy, and much heavier on the war itself than on the character development or the dystopic dénouements that the first two films have set in place. Make no mistake... don't try to start with this film... the other two (or three) films are needed to understand even a piece of this one. Also, this might not be the "ending" that many of you out there were hoping for... but in my opinion, it was close to perfect, tying up almost every loose end like a sausage twisting machine, and actually making the previous entries better movies (I actually have a new and deeper appreciation for The Second Renaissance now)! Even the Cypher sub-plot of the original The Matrix is given new weight and meaning here!
What was right about this movie? Well, most of it was right! It's well known that Gloria Foster passed away before this film could be made, and that Mary Alice (not exactly a look-alike) took her place as The Oracle. Luckily this isn't explained away in some Namby-Pamby "Hey, you look different, Gramma" way, but is instead complementary to the story. Hey, it works much better than Batman suddenly having a Caesar Cut and gray hair in Batman & Robin! The acting on the whole is pretty good. Even Keanu "Whoa" Reeves' deadpan delivery and struggle with the English language is somewhat complementary to what Thomas "Neo" Anderson is going through. Man, when Neo goes part Agent Sands, part Little Buddha, part Johnny Utah , part Johnny Mnemonic, you know you're in for some fun... Especially the Agent Sands! Naturally Larry Fishburn is country amazing as always (but he's like my favorite actor, so I shouldn't devote too much time here)! All Hail Jada Pinkett Smith's Niobe! We're talking Girl power, man, and more battle skill than O.J. Simpson's lead council! Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) has some fabulous moments as always both in acting (more later) and in her fighting. And, yeah, it's great to see Seraph back! Collin Chou (AKA Sing Ngai) can fight and has an amazing presence to him. A scene featuring the triumvirate of Morpheus, Trinity and Seraph back to back and guns a blazing is worthy of being framed! Honorable mention must go to Bliss' dead-on Hugo Weaving impersonation. Not that a deep voiced whine of "Misssssssterrrr Anderrrrrrrrsonnnnnnnnnnnn" is all that hard, but the overall look and mannerisms are nailed like a freshman opening a Champaign bottle on Prom Night!
In true Philosophical style, the Wachowski brothers have a good time with the Reconciliation of opposites here. The organic and natural dance sequence of the Zionites in Reloaded is inverted with the Merovingian's mechanical and sinister dance club. Monica Bellucci's scene stealing and upstaging breasts also make this part mind-blowing. Persephone should have her own movie! The balance of technology to Humanity is likewise explored in a mind-boggling shatterring of what we knew. And the hits just keep on coming!
The special effects are mindblowing as must be expected now. The thing is about this movie is that even the impossible things we see look so incredibly real that it's disturbing. Even when CGI is used to replace a character for an unreal stunt it's pretty flawless. The Scene-Scapes of the "rEAL wORLD" are both chilling and exciting, with at least one truly beautiful moment! Hey, if you liked "Bullet Time" then you have to check out Rain Drop time! It gives a new meaning to "Digital Rain!" I have to say this... up until this film the greatest Superhero/ Villain battle was featured in Superman II! The Matrix Revolutions now takes that proverbial cake, eats it, demolishes the proverbial bakery at which said proverbial cake was baked and then rebuilds a monument to Andy & Larry with what's left! In short... Damn!
The Matrix Revolutions features some of the best scenes in any action or Sci-Fi film to be sure, but it's not without its flaws. For one thing, everyone knows what some of Andy and Larry Wachowski's influences are, but here these play less like influences and more like a direct homage! I felt really self-satisfied when I detected the first Star Wars reference. When the second Star Wars "tribute" popped up I winked and nodded and said, "Well, there's another one!" By the sixth or seventh I was feeling like I had paid to see a different movie. There are more references to Aliens and Star Wars in The Matrix Revolutions than there were in Spaceballs, man! Look, this is forgivable because, let's face it... there's nothing derivative about the plot, so a few Sci-Fi gems can be given a pass.
In general the writing is really good and I enjoyed the story emmensely, but I have to say from time to time the dialogue itself got as cheesy as a Wisconsin Football fan! Hully Gee, man, any time you have one character say "You did it!" and the response is "No! We did it!" you know the writer has ground your bones to make cornbread! Further there were a few moments of Vermont Maple Sap dripping from the Dialogue. Neo and Trinity are in love, which is beautiful, but unless they recast the roles to feature Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw I think that there might have been just a spread too much cream cheese on the Bagel!
So much seems to transpire in a short time that it seems barely plausible that everything takes place in one day (no, that's not a spoiler... that's stated in the last film)! In truth, the entire thing feels claustrophobic and rapid-fire, although certainly this seems to have been the intent.
I do have to say that for all this films reliance on special effects and action neither of these is used as a crutch. The entire film is based in a really solid story that it just might take a little intelligence to jack in to! I kept expecting to have the ending collapse under the weight of the set-up like Bill Clinton standing on Hillary's shoulders to steal a picture, but that didn't happen. Sure there are some questions left, but I thought the ending was beautiful (regardless of who wins... the answer may surprise you)! If my negative comments seem excessive, that's only because the film on the whole is better than it had to be! In short... it's not as good as The Matrix, or The Matrix Reloaded, but it's damned good, and well worth your time. Hell, maybe well worth your time a few times over! I know I need to watch it again to see if I need to catch anything I may have missed the first time!!!
Flawed or not flawed I'm giving The Matrix Revolutions Four Stars out of Five! This is a purely sci-fi film that might not be for everyone because it's firmly planted in the genre writer/ directors Andy and Larry love so dearly. At the same time though, this film propels the genre forward like no film since... well, The Matrix Reloaded! To all the critics out there who've missed the intrinsic value of this and the prior films, I say this... Everyone's dumping on the Star Wars series now, but people considered the first one ground breaking and exceptional. If there had been a hundred films just like it would anyone have reviewed that one so positively? The Matrix series is the same way! The special effects of the first one were revolutionary and it was a surprise how good it was, so critics forgot that "Hey, I'm watching Sci-Fi!" So when more of the same genre was added to the series critics complained. Hello, nurse! There's a critical stigma on most sci-fi and most comedy. Forget your initial reactions... the Matrix series is a true classic, like Star Wars and critical derision or not, it's a complete success! Now, if you'll excuse me... I'm going to go look up some more Monica Bellucci movies! Foamy!
The Matrix Revolutions (2003) reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is solely responsible for this site and for other life lived in computers where he pretends to be a cheap General Motors offering known as GEO!
Got something to say? Write it!