Matrix Revolutions, The

Reviewed By MP Bartley
Posted 04/02/04 21:15:18

"And this is where the wheels fell off."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

To quote Palmer in 'The Thing': "You've got to be fucking kidding!" This is it? This is all you could come up with for a 'climax'? This is how you round up one of THE most eagerly anticipated trilogys? Well I'm sorry boys, but this just won't do.

And they were doing so well with 'The Matrix Reloaded' too.

So, here are we then. Do or die time. Neo is still in a coma, Agent Smith has escaped into our world as well as the matrix and the machines are now hours away from wiping out humanity. All would seem set in place for the climax to out-climax every other, for the mother of all battles...but that's exactly what you don't get.

Firstly, the Wachowskis seem to have forgotten the title of their films - the matrix - and just tack it on as an afterthought. Whereas the first two benefitted considerably from the cutting between the matrix and the real world, 'Revolutions' is almost exclusively in the real world. Unfortunately that just doesn't have the same impact as the Matrix as the dank and dark caverns have now become monotonous. So instead of Neo and Trinity looking sexy and stylish, we have them in thread-bare jumpers and jeans. And the less said about Morpheous' horrid red jumper the better.
But we also have the nightmarish return of an evil worse than even Smith himself: the dialogue. Thankfully pruned back for the majority of 'Reloaded' it's back with a vengeance here:

"It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity."

"Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more that your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. "

And the Merovingians first scene must rank as one of the worst ever written, as it's something along the lines of:

"Where others see co-incidence, I see treachery, where others see action, I see irresponsibility, where others see carrots, I see monkeys doo-doo"

...and so on and so on for about half an hour. It's at this point that you can see that the Wachowskis have finally lost it. Finally believed their own hype and seen themselves as great philosophers or intellects. It may work on rabid Star Wars fans, raised on nothing but Lucas' simple platitudes, but for people with half a braincell it's clear that it's empty, pretentious waffle. You could shove tabs of LSD down a gibbons throat, give him a type-writer and he'd still write better stuff than this. And it drowns any promise that 'Revolutions' ever had.

But does the action manage to elevate this wasted premise once again? It tries, but it fails. The machines storming Zion shows that once again the Wachowskis have their finger firmly on the pulse of action sequences. If it wasn't for the battle of Pelennor fields some months later, you'd be looking at the finest action sequence of the year. However, whereas that scene put your favourite characters firmly in the thick of it, 'Revolutions' wimps out. Neo and Trinity are elsewhere, and even Morpheous takes a literal back-seat to the action. So instead we're forced to try and care about the characters that are fighting, characters that we've been barely introduced to. This negates any emotional impact it may have, and thus renders it as effective as a particularly detailed computer game. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it.

And the final face off between Neo and Smith suffers simply because 'Reloaded' had it to the power of a thousand. And dragging it out for an eternity doesn't compensate. But the final flaw that renders the trilogy, and this film in particular, as a mess is the total lack of explanations. The Architects speech in 'Reloaded' and the suggestion that there is more than one matrix? Forget it, it isn't even touched upon. The chilling premise of the original notion that all of humanity has been enslaved. Nah, the Wachowskis would rather play with their computers ("Hey, look what I can do when I press this!") and litter the film with terrible dialogue and pointless religious iconography, than address anything as troublesome as the plot or the actual point of the films.

It's an arrogant attitude that smacks the audience in the face to not even bother approaching anything remotely like a conclusion, beyond the banal suggestion that "oh that's nice, the machines have made friends with the humans". That's it?! That's 'the end'? Pathetic.

Everything that has gone before or been suggested is ignored with a smug attitude of "we're so clever, we don't NEED explanations!". Well I have news for you boys. Yes you do.

So they did it then. They believed their own hype, thought that they were the second coming and delivered precisely zip, apart from a nice handful of action sequences. But for a mammoth trilogy that promised so much, that's nowhere near enough. Sure, the films looked good but even the worst film can look good with a decent cinematographer and production design. And it still doesn't look as good as 'Blade Runner'. Frankly, the trilogy is spineless film-making, as it doesn't have the balls to deliver the intellect or emotional backbone that it needs, just trying to desperately cover its shortcomings with some of the worst dialogue ever written or spoken. 'Revolutions' in particular can be summed up as a two hour film with about 30 minutes of it any good. And that's crap in my book, no matter how fancy it's dressed up. That sound you can hear as the credits roll? That's the Wachowskis disappearing up their own arses.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.