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To buy the Matrix Reloaded when it comes out on DVD on October
14, 2003 by clicking this link:
The Matrix Reloaded (Widescreen Edition)
The time has come to plug back in to the Matrix, so swallow the red
pill! Oh wait, that's just an old Jolly Rancher.
The Matrix Reloaded is the sequel to 1999's The
Matrix and stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne
Moss. This film doesn't waste precious screen time with recapping
plot points from the original film, so if you haven't seen The Matrix,
this sequel might leave you in the computer generated dust.
In fact, fans of the original might even find the plot a bit hard to
follow. In the name of professionalism, the Masked Reviewer
watched the original Matrix the night before the screening for
The Matrix Reloaded. The Masked Reviewer also watched The
Animatrix, an animated prequel that is available
on-line. Even with all
this Matrixy goodness freshly stored in his masked melon, the Masked
Reviewer found the plot to be quite confusing at times. There are
a lot of parallels drawn between the Matrix and a computer system with
terms like "backdoor", "mainframe", and "encryption" thrown around.
But they don't make it very clear what's happening.
Of course, the brothers Wachowski (no relation to the 1991 Kathleen
Turner film V.I. Warshawski) have a good excuse for any plot
points: all may be revealed in the third film. How convenient.
For those who don't know, The Matrix Reloaded is a cliffhanger.
It's so much of a cliffhanger, in fact, that it doesn't work
particularly well as a stand-alone movie. The Empire Strikes
Back left us hanging. Would Han Solo be rescued? Was
Darth Vader really Luke's father? Would Luke ever play the piano
again? But the film still had a beginning, middle, and end.
The same is true of Back to the Future Part II. The
Matrix Reloaded, however, never manages to resolve any plot points
and ends right at the climax. Matrix Interruptus. Nothing is
worse than having your plug pulled before you finish your download, so
to speak. This lack of any conclusion makes the
film seem like an extended dance hall re-mix of a theatrical trailer.
There's no shortage of action in this film. In fact, there
doesn't seem to be much more to it than action. Oh, between big
action scenes there are little expository moments where two characters
sit and explain the movie to you. Imagine a big spectacular fight
scene. It ends, then two people sit in Exposition Park and have a
chat. "The Matrix is, like, a totally big computer thing, right?
And you're like a floppy drive, just make sure you don't boot."
Then a bad guy appears, and there's a big chase scene with explosions.
Cut to two people sitting in a fine French restaurant, Chateau le
Expositione. "You are because you are because I am and I know you
are and we all are we who are what we are." Great. Fight,
plot explanation, repeat. It'd be more tolerable if the plot
explanations made more sense.
But that's not to say the movie isn't fun. Are people really
going to see the movie to be moved by the deep philosophical and
metaphysical issues raised? Nah. All of the science fiction
elements have been dealt with before in literature, TV, and films.
People like The Matrix films because of the cool fights and
special effects. Well, there are plenty of both.
This film relies more heavily on hand to hand fights and they are
better than the first film. The choreography by Yuen Wo Ping is
great and the wirework is excellent. One fight scene in
particular, though, slowly moved from excellent fight scene to computer
game. Those of you who enjoyed Spiderman will find this
movie a notch above in terms of special effects. But if you're
like the Masked Reviewer, you may have found the user of computer
graphics to represent humans to be a bit less than realistic.
Maybe it's from playing too many computer games, but whenever the Masked
Reviewer sees a scene where the principal characters is supposed to be
human but is instead computer generated, it never looks right -- that
is, no one has done it right yet. The computer generated bodies
don't move naturally. Even ten years ago when Jurassic Park
came out, the special effects team was able to seamlessly blend computer
graphics, latex puppets, and real dinosaur parts cloned from DNA to
create very realistic looking creatures. But the fact that we
don't see dinosaurs every day makes it easier to suspend our visual
disbelief. Whenever Keanu was replaced with a computer graphic, it
didn't look quite right. Despite this, the fight scenes are
spectacular, from one man fighting one hundred to a close-quarter knife
fight in a moving car.
Speaking of cars, this is the first film in recent memory that had
truly spectacular car stunts. It seems almost obligatory in
Hollywood to blow up a car in every film. Remember the end of
Driving Miss Daisy? BOOM! No? Well, that would've
been a better ending.
The groundbreaking "freeze time and spin the camera around" shot is
used frequently in this film. It was amazing to see a camera shot
spin 360 degrees in the first Matrix, but about two weeks after
the film came out, the effect was already being used in beer
commercials. Because so many of the stylish visual elements of
The Matrix have been copied over the past four years, they aren't as
revolutionary this time around. They do make the scenes exciting,
though, and they're great fun to watch.
This film is much funnier than the first. The Matrix was
almost entirely without any laughs. Several moments in The
Matrix Reloaded had the audience laughing out loud. Harold
Perrineau, Jr. (the prisoner in the wheelchair from HBO's "Oz") was
The acting was...well...there really wasn't all that much acting.
Most of the speaking was in the form of monologues spoken to other
characters to describe what was happening. Laurence Fishburne
mostly spewed wise master spiritual mumbo jumbo. Hugo Weaving and
Lambert Wilson were both good. Keanu Reeves convincingly looked
concerned most of the time.
Some characters, like Neo and Trinity, have plastic connectors all
over their bodies from where they used to be plugged in to the Matrix.
In one particularly steamy scene, one of those plastic connectors looks
like a woman's nipple. But it isn't. It's just a plastic
spigot. For those of you excited by plastic spigots, this is good
There is one nagging issue, but to describe it might not only ruin
some of the surprises in this film, but some of the surprises in the
next film. Therefore, this issue is discussed in the Crystal Ball
preview of The Matrix Revolutions.
The Masked Reviewer always stays until a film is finished before
leaving (unless there's a fire in the theater, in which case screw the
baby, every man for himself!) and those of you who sit through the
voluminous credits will get to see a preview of the next installment of
the series, Matrix Revolutions. There are a lot of credits,
though. They read like "Moby Dick." Toward the end, there are
paragraphs of names scrolling along. You'd think with that many people
working on the film someone would mention the broccoli stuck between
Expectation from the Title: The story of a two-dimensional
array being restored from disk. Or, one of The Matrix
sequels. Probably the latter.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Keanu Reeves must be very bright to work so closely with those computer
The Pros: Great, exciting action scenes. Many excellent
visual effects. Almost some nudity.
The Cons: Confusing plot moved along by boring speeches.
Big huge hairy cliffhanger ending.
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