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The Matrix Revolution

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Went with Tammy along with Mariah and Steven.  We met there way early because it was opening weekend.  Turns out the theatre wasn't very full.  1/4 full at best.

This one was exactly like the second one, which means it was pretty different from the first.  The climactic fight scenes played far more like Superman than the Matrix.

This one picks up a minute after the last one ended.  A coupla hundred thousand sentinels headed for Zion and Our Heros essentially gone renegade.  There's a lot of preliminary stuff, but it basically comes down to the sentinels attacking Zion and Neo vs Agent Smith.

This big battle scene at Zion just bugged me.

Near the beginning we see some of the worst powered armor I've ever seen in a science fiction story.  It's essentially the same thing as Ripley's loader in Aliens, only it has even less protection.  It's a 15-foot exoskeleton with twin machine "pistols."  They have a few dozen of them, maybe a coupla hundred.   They fire essentially continuously, but not all that high rate.  They're certainly not gatling guns.

To add a bit of faux-suspense, they have a small ammo load and the operator has to occasionally call for a reload.  (Actually, like a six-shooter in a Western movie, the ammo lasts about ten times as long as it should.)  At that point, a guy has to make a mad dash in the midst of the battle with a wobbly wheel-barrow/dollie arrangement with a coupla boxes of ammo.  It takes several seconds to work the ammo magazines into place manually.  During which the powered armor and the reloader are vulnerable.

The behavior of the sentinels was far more like bugs, fish or birds than machines.   The bad guys have tens of thousands of sentinels.  When the good guys shoot at them they drop like flies.  But there are so many that even though they're steadilly raining down, the main "streams" of sentinels are not noticably dimished.  They flew round and round for twenty minutes, only rarely actually taking on the ridiculously exposed humans.  Hell, all they had to do was hover above the powered armor.  If they got shot they'd fall on the guy and kill him.  If they didn't get shot then they can fly down and kill him.  When the odds are thousands to one, and you don't care about the individual cannon fodder, then all you have to do is smother the enemy.

Oh, and the good guys do have one magic weapon.  But apparently nobody had the forethought to leave a few EMPs behind to guard the base.  They're only found on the ships.  And, as always in Hollyweird, the EMP's effects are only temporary.   Somehow, they don't actually destroy electronics, just disrupt them for awhile.

Back in the Matrix, we have a few new fight scenes.  As in the previous movie, we have what looks like a drug kingpin arrangement.  For example, the archtypical noisy club that the good guys have to go through to get to the bad guy, with several henchmen to take out along the way.  The fight scenes have lost a lot of their impact.  The good guys come stomping in, strapped to the hilt with guns.  We're used to characters making super-human leaps, running along walls, etc.  So, of course, the idea of going one better is to have some people spend some of the time on the ceiling, a la Escher.  And it just doesn't work.  I didn't quite follow who the henchmen were, but I think all of them were more computer programs instead of humans in the Matrix.  But they're not agents.  Why no mention of them before?

And that exhibits again the worst thing about these last two installments.  The odd constraints.  The anthropomorphising of "computer programs" seen as essentially human.  And the big battle scene between Neo and Agent Smith.   Really, it was basically a fight between Superman and a similarly-capable foe.   Flying through the air, slamming into each other, thrown through buildings, leaving huge craters in the ground.

The fight occurred in the middle of a rain storm, which the special effects guys used to their advantage.  The bow shock as the flew through the raindrops did look really cool.  But I was just annoyed that they let the metaphors of the Matrix dictate such a silly mode of resolution.

One horrible technique that they used over and over throughout the movie was showing the good guys losing.   I mean, they flat out had lost a particular fight.  And then the script has them basically just stand up, play their wildcard, and oh!  Now they've won!  Why all the preliminary junk if they have a magic move that will win everything for them?   Why not just start out with that?

Also, as hinted at the end of the last movie, some special powers in the Matrix are now available in the Real World.  At one point Smith takes over a real person.  And Neo suddenly finds he has even more supernatural powers.  That just goes so against the verisimiltude of the original that I just can't abide it.

I didn't like the first one when I first saw it.  But it grew on me.   Especially when scats pointed out some of the Buddhist-like metaphors they used.   And it really is visually stunning, and that still stands out after a few years.   I wanted to like these last two installments, but they just stretched the metaphors too far.  To me, the movie just got too contrived and silly.  The lack of verisimilitude got in the way of the themes they were trying to get across.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View.  Still too much explanation required.  And a few instances of, "well, they lost, but let's just say they won."  Still pretty good visually.

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Last modified: October 11, 2004
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