Second date with Tammy. Actually made it in, this time.
The early parts of the movie are a pretty straightforward extension of the last one. I guess it's set about a year later? Not certain about that.
The outside world parts are supposed to be sort of Road Warrior-like. People scrabbling for existence. Lots of make-shift machinery evident. Generally dark and grimy. But ordered. Not anarchy.
In fact, maybe a bit too ordered. If this is everyone, then there was remarkably little disharmony.
The Matrix felt even more contrived than in the first one, to me. You had "programs" that acted like underground kingpins. I think the hot chick was also supposed to be a "program" and not a human in the Matrix. And yet it felt jealousy. The "Agent Smith" program had taken on a mind of its own and, while it was still interacting with the Matrix, it couldn't be controlled by the Matrix, anymore. There was a "program" that helped the Oracle, and again, it was very human. Also, it had some special abilities, but like in the earlier movie, was curiously constrained on what it could and could not do.
And then the Oracle, again. Being able to predict the future, not just of the actions of the Matrix, but of people as well.
It all builds to a climax that stretches the "what's allowed and what's not" of the Matrix to the breaking point. It ends up playing much more like Superman than a computer program.
And then at the end, out in the real world, they introduce the idea that some of Neo's special abilities can take out Sentinels. That really blew it for me.
On the good side, the special effects and fight scenes were still top-notch. They don't have the impact of the first movie, but most are still fun. Fights in a big foyer, jumping up and down from a balcony, etc.
And the best part was Neo fighting a hundred Agent Smiths. They pulled that off well. It didn't look like the same fidgets copied over and over and simply offset a little in time.
But, on top of everything, they had to spend a lot of time explaining things. The kingpin spent a lot of time using taunts to explain who and what he was. The Architect rambled on far longer than was necessary. They had to explain the defenses of Zion. The Oracle spent more time explaining herself, and her bodyguard required his own long explanation. Every time you turned around someone was explaining something rather than us getting to see it shown.
And one final verisimilitude nit that bugged me: At the end Zion is about to go under siege from many, many thousands of Sentinels (over 100,000?) Are they trying to tell me that with that many Sentinels running around, not one stumbled onto the tunnel shafts that lead to Zion? With machines controlling the entire world, there's not seismic nor thermal signatures pointing to Zion?
On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental with Dinner. The Mr. Smith fight scenes were of course the standout. Maybe too much exposition.
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