I went to see the latest (and presumedly final) installation of the Matrix series today. Work had a little outing and rented out the theater down the street, so I figured it’d be as good a time as any to see how they finished off the series.
I always say, you get what you pay for.
If you saw The Matrix Reloaded, you’ll kind of know what I’m talking about. In that, you see the first Matrix slowly crumble, and I don’t mean in the movie - I mean quality-wise. The first one, we came to expect certain things. We came to enjoy the visual style and the original effects combined with an easy to swallow philosophy lesson hinting of religious symbolism. In the second one… where’d that great style go? Why’d the subtle lesson and symbolism get thrown out the window for an in-your-face lesson a la the “special” episodes of sitcoms?
To really understand why this was so bad, you don’t have a choice but to look at the first two movies. I mean, they’re a part of the trilogy, and as the conclusion of that trilogy, you need to keep that in mind, so I’m going to continue going back to them.
This, however, is not a review of the first or second Matrix films. It’s a review of the third. I just needed to throw some context in there so you understand it when I say: How could they do this to me?
In the first movie, we spent most of the time in the imaginary “Matrix” world that the story revolves around. We saw the “real world,” but the action took place in the Matrix, fighting the powers that be from within. In the second movie, we got a lot more “real world” and less Matrix. Still about half-and-half, but more “real world” than I was liking.
The majority of this latest takes place in the “real world,” and I’ve gotta say - the real world is a drag. It’s bland, it’s boring, it’s not even interesting to look at. Why are we stranded there? Let’s see some more of the stuff we came to see!
Instead, we get things like Keanu Reeves attempting to be emotional. We get an ever-thinning Carrie-Anne Moss. We get not nearly enough Monica Bellucci. And we get random scenes that have no real discernable meaning to the plot - total filler.
Bah. As my friend Kristen says, “ridiculous emotional claptrap.” I went on a ten minute rant about how many things were wrong with the end of the movie alone. There were so many other ways to end it. How about this:
Neo, after fighting his way through the Matrix, finally defeats Agent Smith. As Agent Smith dies, Neo wakes up in a white room to find out the whole thing was a medical experiment being done by the machines to see if humans would be able to accept a Matrix in lieu of a real world.
Or how about this:
Neo fights Agent Smith and prevails, only to find out that the “real world” is a second Matrix and now he has to bust out of that, too.
I’d even accept:
Neo fights Agent Smith and prevails, then wakes up in a pink harvesting pod just like he did in the first movie.
But no. Instead you get utter insanity. No cohesion. No follow-through. Nothing that resembles the first movie aside from some peripheral references to events in the past. Don’t we, as the audience, deserve more than that? It doesn’t have to be a happy ending even, as long as justice is served.
I feel betrayed. Betrayed by the Wachowski brothers for having seen such promise in the first movie and to have that thrown entirely away by commercialism and overproduction.
My only hope now is the success of the Harry Potter series. Sigh.