November 2003
The Matrix: Revolution

Reviewed by By Julian Roman

The Matrix: Revolution
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Wachowski Brothers
Producers: Joel Silver
Screenwriter: The Wachowski Brothers
Choreography: Yuen Wo Ping
Composer: Don Davis
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci, Mary Alice, Collin Chou, Nona Gaye, Tanveer K. Atwal, Helmut Bakaitis, Harold Perrineau, Lambert Wilson, Harry Lennix.
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am in Matrix aftershock. I am completely blown away by the experience. It’s that incredible. Even if you don’t buy into the philosophy, the sheer magnitude of this film is such that it cannot be denied as one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made. The Wachowski Brothers, no matter where their careers go after this, have earned their place in movie history. I do not write spoiler filled reviews and I won’t start now. I am going to discuss the general plot of the film, then move on to what the underlying theme of the trilogy is. Half the fun of this movie, beyond the spectacular action scenes and unbelievable special FX, is the pure vision of the story line. It gives me goose bumps to think that a major studio actually had the balls to make a series of films so provocative and entertaining. Hell, tune out the story if you want to, the action scenes in Revolutions will kick your ass and break its foot doing it.

The Matrix Revolutions starts off exactly where Reloaded ended. There is no primer on the first two movies. If you haven’t seen them yet, which in itself is very strange, then go rent them before you watch Revolutions. You will be utterly lost if you don’t. Anyway, Neo is in a coma and the surviving members of the three hovercrafts are trying to figure out their next move. The machine sentinels are plowing their way to Zion and are a mere two hours away. Lock, the military commander of Zion, has decided to make a stand at the docking bay of all the ships. If they can contain the machine attack there, they’ll be able to save the people in the city below. Trinity and Morpheus get a call from the Oracle. She has physically changed appearance into someone else. The film does an adequate job of explaining this, but the real reason is that the original actress died while filming. I give the Wachowski’s serious credit for smoothly integrating this change into the story. The Oracle tells them that Neo is stuck in a kind of purgatory, this very peculiar train station. It is the middle ground between the Matrix and the machine world. The Merovingian has paid the keeper of this domain, The Train Man, to keep Neo trapped. Morpheus, Trinity, and Seraph (the Oracle’s protector) go to the Merovingian to secure Neo’s release. While in this purgatory, Neo meets a little girl called Seti, she is vitally important to the story. People will argue about what her purpose really is. I have an opinion, but can’t really discuss it without bringing up the ending. Needless to say, they free Neo and this is where the story really begins. Neo and Trinity separate from the others and go to the machine world. Morpheus, Naobi, and the other survivors go to Zion, where they will make their last stand with the free humans. This is all you need to know. Do not read articles or reviews that go further into the story. The different paths of the two groups will keep you transfixed to the screen. Raise your entertainment expectations. You will not be disappointed.

The battle scenes are the best I have ever scene. They are so freaking awesome. I am tempted to use expletives to describe them. The machine invasion of Zion will win the FX guys an Oscar next February. It is a hardcore, nail biting, bullet piercing experience. The humans are in these robotic, gun-wielding suits called APU’s. They fight to the death with hundreds of thousands of sentinels. The sentinels move in these epic waves of attack. Also, these massive drilling machines are sprouting legs and attempting to penetrate further in the city. While this is happening, two man units are attacking the machines with shoulder launched missiles. Nothing you have seen on film so far comes close to this. It is the greatest action sequence ever made. I’ve wracked my brain for an hour trying to think of something to compare it to. There is none. It is above and beyond the best ever made. I’m going to comment a little on the showdown between Neo and Smith. It’s pretty amazing, but not nearly as awesome as they hype it up to be. Think of the scene in Superman Two where they’re fighting all over the city. Neo and Smith beat the crap out of each other in every possible way. They fly, they go through buildings, they battle underground, and they fight in the street. It’s impressive, no doubt about it, but nothing compared to the Zion battle. I suppose you could say it’s a bit anti-climactic, but I thought it was great. It fits perfectly in the way the Wachowski’s end the film.

Now comes the part where we discuss the philosophy of what the hell the Wachowski’s are trying to say. I agree that they overdo the psychobabble in the dialogue, but it’s pretty evident what they mean. This whole story is about choice and purpose, as it pertains to life and death. You have two worlds, machine and human, completely dependent on one another. Two people, Neo and Smith, are the only ones able to choose the destinies of these two societies. Neo is essentially a God or Jesus character. He inspires his kind and is viewed as their savior. Smith is his antithesis, a Devil or Satan character. In the first film, Neo learned that he was The One, a master of his domain, invincible in the Matrix. In Reloaded, he wonders what to do next. He’s got all this power, but doesn’t know what to do with. All he knows is that he has a vision of Trinity dying. The Oracle tells him that he cannot see past the choices he has not made. That choice, simply put for all confused by the meeting with The Architect, is to either save Trinity or sacrifice her to save Zion. He throws the order of the world out of balance by choosing one life over the lives of all humanity. He has destroyed the order that has kept The Matrix going. He has also imprinted his power unto his archenemy Smith. His character has now gained the power to choose his destiny. He wants it all. In Revolutions, Smith completely overtakes The Matrix. He is unstoppable. But just like the Devil, he is not only happy with Hell. He wants to control everything outside the Matrix. Neo has to make the choice to stop him. This is his purpose, to save humanity from annihilation. I purposely use religious terms to describe these characters. This is their place in the story. A lot of people will not be happy with the ending of Revolutions. I say it's the only ending possible. It’s exactly what I expected. The Wachowski’s story is solid to the core. What people want as a bubble-gum, cliché-filled happy ending is not the final bow to this masterpiece.

I have to single out Hugo Weaving for his performance as Smith. This guy is such a great antagonist. He takes Smith to the next level with his laconic charm and vocal inflection. While others view The Merovingian as the most humorous character, I say it’s all about Smith. Weaving takes him from being a really stoic character to devilishly diabolical. Every time I see Smith on screen I am entertained. He’s got this great line, “I’m not such a bad guy once you get to know me”. The way he delivers it is so phenomenal. Weaving makes this movie and I can’t imagine anyone else playing Smith. The man just owns the character. It’s going to be difficult watching him as Elrond in Lord of the Rings again. Let’s hope he whips out some sunglasses and starts kicking some Orc ass.

I will have to see Revolutions at least five times. It’s the kind of film that deserves multiple viewings in the theatre. I suppose nothing could top the initial wander of the first Matrix, but I like this one the best. The great thing is that my opinion could easily change. It’s like how you toggle back and forth between the Star Wars films. Every episode has something that catches your eye and makes you think some more. I’m pretty sure this film will be better received than Reloaded. The story is broader and easier to digest. I’m basically saying it’s not as complex and should stand up as a good popcorn film. The only reason why I didn’t give it four stars is the beginning. The other films had really grabbing opening scenes. Revolutions does not, it starts at a slow pace and then plunges off a cliff. Do yourself a favor and see it in Imax. The battle for Zion will have you ducking for cover behind your seat.