Matrix, Shmatrix..

» 20 May 2003 » In Movies, Reviews »

I saw Matrix: Reloaded last Friday. In a nutshell: fun comic book infused with armchair philosophy, but overall fails to live up to the unrealistically high expectations the first installment created. A lot of the aspects of the original are amplified to the point of contrivance: we had one Agent Smith, now there are a hundred Agent Smiths; we saw a few sentinels, let’s throw thousands of them on the screen; we felt enthralled by a couple of great kung-fu scenes, why not have them occur every 15 minutes or so. Bigger is better, louder is better, more skin is better, more unanswered questions are better. But they still could not stop Keanu from looking like he is being manipulated by a particularly inept puppeteer.

Particular pet peeves:

  • The Wired article practically gushed over how the cinematography and visual effects in this movie would push the filmmaking 10 years ahead. You know what? I could still tell, without any real effort, the transition between live and CG portions, especially in the courtyard fight scene. Virtual actors still do not look like real actors, so hey, don’t throw away your SAG card if you got it.
  • Was it a simple case of we-are-smarter-than-you or a particularly egregious desire to make your audience wish they had Merriam-Webster handy during the most crucial scene of the entire movie? In any case, Brothers Wachowski, you blew it. Half of the people I talked to said that the Architect’s speech went over their heads. You weren’t making movie for academics, after all. Vis-a-vis the current point, what was it about “having 23 people, 16 man and 7 women, repopulate Zion”? Why would Zion be saved if Neo chose the other door?
  • Gratuitous sex scene: hey, Keanu looked stiff even there.
  • Who or what was the French guy?
  • One of the Twins fires, oh, about 7,000 bullets into the car that Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaker are in. No one is hit. A cross-eyed drunk anti-gun pacifist would have a better kill ratio than that.
  • So, let me get this right. Neo exhibits supernatural powers in The Matrix, and somehow they “leak through” to the real life? If that’s true, it’s so unbelievable that the series should end right there. The only plausible explanation is that everything, including Zion, is inside The Matrix, but that’s a depressing thought.
  • Apparently, virtual extraction of virtual bullet can heal your real self. How convenient.
  • Did they hire Neal Stephenson specifically to write the ending?
  • From now on I will remember that the solution to the problem of choice and destiny is to get naked and do the tribal dance until the wee hours of the morning.
  • As Howard Stern put it, “the whole thing was just ill-conceived”. At this point, I think X-Men 2 was a better sequel. More consistent, if anything. For now, I’m looking forward to The Animatrix.

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    1. andrei
      25/05/2003 at 5:15 pm Permalink

      “…infused with armchair philosophy…” – “You weren’t making movie for academics, after all.” — Make up your mind.

      “Who or what was the French guy?” — A computer program, that was explained. It was also quite obvious he wasn’t French.

      “So, let me get this right. Neo exhibits supernatural powers in The Matrix, and somehow they “leak through” to the real life? If that’s true, it’s so unbelievable that the series should end right there. The only plausible explanation is that everything, including Zion, is inside The Matrix, but that’s a depressing thought.” — A I see, you had your brain removed quite some time ago.

      “Apparently, virtual extraction of virtual bullet can heal your real self. How convenient.” — But virtual bulelts kill? See above comment.

    2. andrei
      30/05/2003 at 5:26 pm Permalink

      Just because you couldnt understand the plot or fail to realise that many of the questions asked would be answered in the third film gives you no reason to slaughter what is, simply, a good movie. Also, the architects speech was designed to go over everybodys heads and seem complicated. If you didnt also ask, most of them would have been concentrating on the screens behind him as scenes from the original came on and not concentrate on what the Architect was saying. Hence why a second viewing is in order.

    3. andrei
      01/06/2003 at 4:36 pm Permalink

      These two comments are retarded. A scene that’s designed to go over everyone’s head is a badly-written scene. It can be complicated without being contrived.

      I’d agree that a second viewing is in order, but only so you can get a handle on ideas that weren’t clearly enough presented the first time around.

      And I agree with ‘leak through’ comment: There’s just not a way to explain that is in line with the Matrix world. The prophesy *is* in line: The programs know about the previous ‘Neo’s that choose to go through the other door and about the built-in flaw that requires Zion to be rebuilt occasionally. The real-world EMP-in-a-bottle just doesn’t fit.

      The movie failed to deliver on many accounts. I still enjoyed most of it though and was worth watching. Now… to wait for the ‘to be concluded’ bit.

    4. andrei
      Guy Noms
      06/06/2003 at 6:45 pm Permalink

      It sounds to meas if you have as personal vendetta against the movie because you had a hard time understanding it. Is it so hard to imagine that the questions left unanswered in the movie might possibly be answered in the third, perhaps this movie wasn’t made to stand alone with its ideas. It is after all a TRILIGY, I hope you understood that, right? I believe for this movie you will have to wait for the third to get your answers or tie up the loose ends and ideas left open. For me I would rather nibble at the brain candy that has been given with the first two movies and see what I can come up with, than complain about what I thought was left out. I know for a fact i could not make such a great movie, so i certainly have no room. Maybe you could and maybe you will, I’d like to see it.

      “Why would Zion be saved if Neo chose the other door?”
      This was answered. Neo would be allowed to choose a certain amount of people to repopulate the destroyed Zion, thus again starting the train of events that will eventually lead to another “one” finding that room and doing the same thing all over again.

      I’d say go see the movie again and maybe try to answer some of these misplaced and unthoughtful questions and complaints you have. The architect speech is actually not that complicated and there aer a few references to Adam and Eve story, but other than that its a lot of language and metaphor.

      As a money maker, i think its genious because anyone who cares about what they just saw will go see it again to catch all of the missed ideas and images that they have missed. While at the same time having a great time watching a movie with the best action and special effects ever created on film. I’ve seen it four times, and each time i see more than I did the last.

    5. andrei
      09/06/2003 at 11:35 pm Permalink

      In a world where we believe that invisible men in the sky drive us toward inevitiability, we still base everything we know on scientific fact. We all refuse at some point to believe something unrealistic can happen. Is it so hard to believe that Neo has so much control over the Matrix that he is able to reject the signals being sent to his brain? (His rising from the dead in the first one) I interpreted this film as being not what Neo can do. I think this movie sucessfully illustrated several things… First off, Neo can whip some serious butt. I think his technique and methods of dispatching the bad guys are very relevant to my understanding of the matrix. (I.E. why would he have stayed and fought Smith in the Train Station during the first one?) Secondly, it makes the audience question where it’s information comes from, “Can I really trust the orracle? Is agent smith a part of Neo? Why should I trust Col. Sanders? (the architect)”. Last but certainly not least, this movie provided a bridge. I think the Wachowski’s did a good job with it. The complaints I see for this movie are the same for any star wars ever released. The fact is that half assed philosphy majors and horrible movie critics have succesfully butchered yet another movie that did not provide them with the “Enlightenment-in-a-can” they had hoped for. If you don’t like the series don’t watch it… simple as that. Unless your comments are a well supported argument, don’t waste internet space trying to bitch about a film which, let’s be honest, was fun to watch. And with regards to the above comment about a scene designed to go over your head being a poorly written scene, I could not disagree more… The writers, directors, and actors all had to make some choices for these movies, and while some of them were not the best (*cough* Morpheus speech *cough*) the idea of our world not existing as we know it is a complicated one. The Plot is designed to “Go over people’s heads” but do we say that it was a bad plot?

    6. andrei
      13/06/2003 at 9:31 pm Permalink

      Dude, didn’t you read Linda Nagata’s _The Bohr Maker_? Or at least Neal Stephenson’s _The Diamond Age_? 🙂

      That last scene wasn’t virtual reality powers “leaking through” to the real world, that was just nanotech. You know, Neo imitating Nagata’s character Phousita (who had lots of little machines in her blody which could fly out and do stuff at her command). If it wasn’t obvious enough, both Neo and that other guy in the bloody handshake scene are in the same coma right afterwards. So whatever happened must have had something to do with bloodborne stuff transmitted from whatsisname to Neo.

    7. andrei
      25/06/2003 at 5:17 pm Permalink

      I agree that I think Zion and the “real” world are part of the Matrix. A Matrix within a Matrix as such. This explains, Neo’s powers, Agent Smith moving into the “real” world when he is in essence a computer program. Also explains when the architect says that they are getting good at destroying Zion. This would only be possible if Zion was part of the Matrix and was rebuild (or Reloaded) every time a new Matrix is created.

    8. andrei
      03/07/2003 at 3:20 pm Permalink

      i think i can explain how agent smith enters the “real” world..

      after agent smith unsuccessfully tries to replicate neo & later morpheus asks him about it,neo replies “i felt like i was in that hallway again.i felt like dying”
      this tells me that any person(besides agents) whom agent smith tries to replicate essentially lose either their life in the real world(& hence leaving the computer code inside the matrix which agent smith then uses as himself.this is possible because agent smith converts the computer code of a person inside the matrix into a copy of himself-a program which functions exactly like him) or the control of their brain over their mental projection inside the matrix(that is, even though they remain alive in the real world,their brains are not able to control the computer code inside the matrix.this is possible because if neo is able to learn stuff by uploading programs from the matrix,then agent smith can upload a “virus-like-program” into the brain of a person & hence alters him/her & now the brain functions as another agent smith.agent smith essentially takes over control by replacing those areas of the brain which control movement,function & purpose,yet he retains the preson’s individual characteristics like the way he walks,talks etc.the person also looks like agent smith inside the matrix because every program looks a particular way & maybe agent smith cannot alter his coding to taht extent to which he can change his appearance).
      if ur still with me,then i can essentially this is how agent smith entered the real world..he replicates himself(the killed-in the-real-world theory gets a beating here!)..he now enters the real world by a hard line connection(something which he hasnt been able to do because he had no existence in the real world..but he does NOW! again the dead theory takes a beating coz if the person in the real world is dead,then he cant enter..aha!!but suppose agent smith only TEMPORARILY kills the person in the real world,maybe to gain control over his brain & then brings him back to life,because after all if the brain doesnt believes its dead,then it agent smith before killing the person somehow prevents the brain from beleieving that its dead.)..he now looks like the person in the real world,but thinks like agent smith.

      as for how he replicates agents,simple,because e doesnt need to have a presence in the real world,he simply overwrites & copies the agent’s code.

      maybe this stuff is far-fetched,but if u have a better explanation then lemme know.

      my email is:

    9. andrei
      26/07/2003 at 6:53 pm Permalink

      Regarding Zombywuf’s comments – the ‘obviously not french dude’ IS french.,%20Lambert

      Use your eyes before your mouth, know what I mean?

    10. andrei
      10/09/2003 at 5:14 pm Permalink

      I thought Reloaded was a good movie. It was not as good as the first one–but it would be very hard to reach that point, seeing as the first one was a breakthrough. Reloaded reaches another level–you see more layers of the main characters personalities and personal life. There are, however, a few too many fight scenes and the sex scene should have been cut down or cut out, as well as the Zion dance. It just got boring.

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