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The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Reloaded 9 out of 109 out of 109 out of 109 out of 109 out of 10
Rated: R
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Current Voter Rating: 8.705 (387 votes)
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That's how you might feel after watching The Matrix Reloaded which opened in theaters this past week. If you thought that the original was confusing, then you'll be even more perplexed with this one. If somehow you've never seen The Matrix, then you are going to have no idea what in The Matrix is going on here.

As a couple of my friends, Marty and Erik, said to me as the credits were rolling, "I have no idea what I just saw, but it was cool to see."

The Wachowski Brothers were faced with the task of out-doing their enormously popular original, and they chose to do it twice. The third installment was filmed and produced at the same time and is scheduled to be released in November of 2003, just six months after this one. The question is, what is the Matrix? HAHA. Just kidding. The question is, were they successful? Well, that would depend on how you define "success." If you define it as box-office revenue, then yes just based on their record-breaking opening weekend (for an R-rated film) they were very successful. Further bolstering their revenue is the accompanying release of a new video game which is sure to be extremely popular as well. If instead you define success as the creation of another outstanding film, I think that they also succeeded here, although the third film will have to answer some burning questions raised by this middle one.

picture from The Matrix Reloaded

But first, what this movie did NOT do well is contained in a 10-minute scene towards the beginning that I personally would have left on the cutting room floor. The scene starts as some sort of religious gathering as Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) speaks to the people much as the Pope, Julius Caesar, or even Hitler would have done. It is a somber mood as he begins to speak with what looks like hundreds of thousands listening to his every word. His words lift the mood of the crowd to hope, joy, and celebration. Once Morpheus finishes speaking, however, the scene takes a very strange turn. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who can't keep their hands off each other, break away for some "alone" time. Meanwhile, the religious-like ceremony suddenly turns into a night club setting with sweaty bodies freaking all over each other as the camera flips back and forth between the half naked crowd and the completely naked Neo and Trinity. This scene, called the "orgy scene" by just about everyone I've talked to, was not only out-of-place, but disturbing, disgusting, and hated by just about every moviegoer out there, including myself. And so I must ask the Wachowskis, "What were you guys thinking?"

With that said, however, the popularity of these films is in the fresh, and ground-breaking action and special effects. Some of the stuff in here was simply amazing. It is stuff we've never seen before. Stuff that has never been attempted until now, and you can bet that it will be copied like crazy in the years to come. Scenes such as Trinity flying through the window of a skyscraper then desperately shooting up at her enemy who follows her as they both plummet to the ground. Scenes such as Neo taking on 100 copies of the now renegade Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Scenes such as the Twins (Neil and Adrian Rayment) temporarily taking on a ghost-like vaporous form to travel through walls, cars, etc. Scenes such as a several-minute car chase scene involving three separate enemies all trying to kill each other and just about every type of transport out there: a car, an SUV, a motorcycle, and an 18-wheeler are all featured in this scene. The picture below is from a midway point in that scene.

picture from The Matrix Reloaded

However, there are other aspects of this film which we HAVE seen before. But then again, isn't every story nowadays an amalgamation of bits and pieces of other stories, or in some cases simply a retelling of an old story in a new way? To let you in on what I'm referring to here with this film, I give you the following examples:

  • the fight scene in white room with the walls decorated with weapons (pictured below) came right out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Neo flying - this comes obviously from Superman
  • Trinity on a bike - TRON
  • doors which act as portals to other places - Monsters, Inc.
  • Agent Smith crosses over from the simulated Matrix world to the human world - we've seen that in The Thirteenth Floor
  • philosophical stuff - some of this seemed to come right out of Star Wars or really any religion or book of philosophy

picture from The Matrix Reloaded

I think when it comes down to it, these guys simply took what they loved about movies, philosophy, life, etc. and poured that into their movies. And is there anything wrong with that? NO! In fact, it is what we all should do. I would give ANYTHING to be able to make a living being able to create something that is such an expression of everything that I am or everything that I enjoy and share it with the world. And it is obvious what turns on the Wachowskis: kung fu, special effects, anime, philosophy, and chicks in tight leather pants.

This film is very dark. That is evident in everything from the main premise of the film (that humans are controlled by machines), to the deep philosophical discussions; from the dark shades worn by just about everyone in the Matrix, to the filthiness of the "real world" outside of the Matrix. There is, however, one set of characters which provide us with some comic relief, and they are the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) and his wife (Monica Bellucci). They are basically French people, assuming all of the stereotypes there, who are thirsty for power and for love. One funny scene involves the Merovingian "writing" a piece of cake for a beautiful blonde lady. This piece of cake winds up having a strange effect which sent the audience roaring with laughter. The other funny and memorable scene involves his beautiful wife, who hungers for the kiss of true love. She asks Neo to kiss her in return for access to The Keymaker...while Trinity watches. Trinity is none to happy, wanting to blow her away right there, but Neo is just like, "Alright." HAHAHA.

Finally, I'd like to share with you a chat session conversation that I had with a friend of mine the day after we each saw the film in separate theaters:

Jaisen:  what did you think of matrix? 
me:      crazy 
Jaisen:  crazy good 
Jaisen:  crazy bad 
Jaisen:  ? 
me:      crazy good, for the most part 
me:      although I think that they purposely want to confuse the hell out of 
         everyone so that people dupe themselves into thinking that they will
         figure it out if they see it over and over again 
me:      it is simply a very clever way to make money 
Jaisen:  lol 
Jaisen:  yea 
Jaisen:  i thought it was ok 
me:      the special effects and action scenes were amazing 
Jaisen:  too much sex and love which seemed like it didn't fit 
me:      I agree 
me:      what was up with the whole religious ceremony which turned into 
         dance party orgy? 
Jaisen:  lol 
Jaisen:  yea 
me:      THAT was messed up 
Jaisen:  everyone i'm talking to thought that was LAME 
Jaisen:  and it was long too 
me:      EXTREMELY lame 
Jaisen:  like...uh...what's this about? 
me:      at that point, I was like, this movie sucks 
Jaisen:  lol 
me:      all in all though, I like the blend of philosophy, kung fu, 
         twisted reality, and special effects 
me:      so what are your thoughts? 

Jaisen:  i thought it was ok 
Jaisen:  i thought xmen 2 was better 
Jaisen:  the action scenes were good 

me:      what did you think of all of the philosophical stuff? 
Jaisen:  philosophical stuff? 
Jaisen:  there was philosophical stuff? 
Jaisen:  i don't really know 
Jaisen:  i heard a couple theories which are cool 
me:      like the oracle 
me:      the architect 
me:      morpheous 
Jaisen:  that the chosen ones from the 5 previous matricies are still around 
me:      fate versus free will 
Jaisen:  do the architect and the oracle represent something? 
Jaisen:  eya 
Jaisen:  i liked the fate vs free will 
Jaisen:  that was cool 
me:      I think the architect is supposed to be god 
Jaisen:  the oracle? 
me:      mother nature maybe? 
Jaisen:  hmm 
Jaisen:  the agent ... satan? 
me:      no, the architect said that the oracle was there to help guide his 
         design along 
me:      without it, too much random activity 
Jaisen:  hmm 
me:      there are many christian parallels, but also parallels to other 
         religions and philosophies 
Jaisen:  yea.. 
Jaisen:  but 
Jaisen:  i have a question 
Jaisen:  why can't neo wash his damn clothes 
me:      :) 
me:      it probably means something 
Jaisen:  i guess....but it was annoying me. 
me:      what about the issue of control? 
Jaisen:  in what sense? 
me:      humans controlling machines 
me:      or machines controlling humans 
me:      or humans controlling themselves 
Jaisen:  oh yea 
me:      humans controlling other humans 
me:      humans controlling their inner selves 
Jaisen:  i thought that was kinda....i didn't think they presented that well...
         like when they were in that engineering layer 
me:      I didn't like the fact that everything was the same color 
me:      that always happens in the future 
me:      and it is so lame 
Jaisen:  i didn't even notice that 
me:      our lives have lots of color and I would think that in the future there 
         would be even more color 
Jaisen:  heh 
Jaisen:  yea... 
me:      matrix = green 
me:      zion = rusty brown 
Jaisen:  everything is usually greyish ... like even terminator 
me:      yep 
Jaisen:  weird 
me:      all futuristic movies assume that everything is the same color 
me:      usually it is silver or white 
Jaisen:  maybe people just expect that....that the future is depicted by 
me:      lame 

thumbs up!If you're a fan of The Matrix, you've already seen this one and are only here because you can't get enough of it. If you're not familiar with The Matrix, then rent the first one and if you like that, see this one.

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