Friday, December 19, 2003

Here's the much-delayed review for Matrix Revolutions. As per usual, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

The Matrix Revolutions:
The best twist is no twist.

I have to go out on a limb here and say that we’ve been had. Without a doubt, this film has been one of the most anticipated films of the year, and we’ve been had. Well, a lot of people would be disappointed with it, but that’s just one thing. I think what is more amusing is that with all the theories and conspiracies and other ideas we have had about the whole Matrix, after every single nook and cranny has been analyzed, isn’t it simply amazing that the best twist this film can have is… no twist at all?

Scrap away the “Matrix within a Matrix” theory. Scrap away the notion that Neo isn’ t human at all. All those theories about surprise endings were clearly blown away by having the Wachowski brothers point out to us the rather obvious: the Matrix was what it was presented to be from the get-go. While a lot of people were complaining that this was so route and expected, how many people were honestly expecting to not see a twist of any sort at the movie’s end? If there’s only one thing that the Wachowskis did right for certain, it’s in ensuring that the moviegoer would not be able to guess the ending that easily, since everyone and their mother was expecting the unexpected.

I don’t need to give a synopsis of the film here. I’m sure you all know that by now. Basically, this film picks up right off from Matrix Reloaded, and we are treated to a lot of scenes in the real world this time, complete with long, gratuitous fight scenes reminiscent of Battletech (I was never a big fan of Mechs…). The philosophy on this film was toned down compared to Reloaded, as we didn’t have fifteen-minute long dialogues about co-dependence or causality. In spite of that, there were still some key moments that I certainly appreciated in the film, albeit I realized it had a lot of shortcomings, nonetheless. Most noticeable from the start is there were too many scenes that felt like filler. If the greatest philosophical texts in the world can be summarized, more so can this film.

Would you believe it? My prediction about what will happen between Neo and Smith came true. In my philosophical analysis of the battle between Neo versus Smith, I hypothesized that the only way for the battle to end is for either both of them to work together as allies or for both of them to perish, in congruence with the eternal debate on Aletheia. Apparently, I got that right. It didn’t make sense for only one or the other to triumph, as they represented many different things that seemed to be locked in an eternal battle: Order and Chaos, The One and The Many, Good and Evil, and so forth. Even The Oracle and The Architect seemed to play similar roles, minus the fighting. There was even credence to the “Balancing an equation” theory in a previous essay, as it was itself mentioned in the film. As far as this sequence goes, it is my pride and joy to have predicted this scenario right off the bat, with remarkable accuracy to what actually happened.

Other fight scenes in the film, while rather impressive, felt a bit too gratuitous, especially Neo’s final confrontation of Smith, which reminded me of a Dragonball Z battle sequence. In fact, the biggest fault of this film would be gratuity, as the same glaring error was committed in their devotion of way too much time for Trinity’s death scene, as well as way too many throwbacks to the first film, especially in that scene where they had to fight guys who were walking on ceilings. Trinity did way too many of his old tricks in the first film for this scene to really be called “nice”. To be honest, the throwbacks contributed little to nothing to the whole of the film, anyway.

The whole deal with the sudden peace that happened between the humans and the machines also points to the fact that it is not a very certain thing. For all we know, it wouldn’t be long before they come down each other’s throats again, so there’s no doubt that it was an acceptable finish as far as that goes.

Overall, because this film was less loopy than Reloaded was, it’s better in terms of story, somewhat. As far as the action fix goes, however, Reloaded is leaps and bounds ahead of Revolutions. I still cannot get over the major fetish these successful moviemakers have for making innately annoying characters *cough*Jar-Jar*cough*theKid*cough*. Neither can I forgive the overtly cheesy dialogue Smith was fed with at the end of the film. “This is my world! My world!” how many times have we heard that cliché? At the same time, for a film that was supposedly hellbent on representing just about every philosophical ideas as it can in the film, the Christianity element was certainly overrepresented.

In spite of that, the film’s brilliance still shines through from time to time. I would point out that for one, Neo’s powers actually existing both in the Matrix and in the real world was a nice homage to St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument. This argument essentially says that if the greatest being conceivable TRULY IS the greatest being conceivable, and since anything that exists in reality is greater than anything that exists only in conception, then the greatest being conceivable MUST exist in reality for it to truly become the greatest being conceivable. Thus, for Neo to truly be the one, he must be the one not only in conception (The Matrix), but also in reality (The real world).

I liked this film, but believe it or not, I actually preferred Reloaded to it, if only for the action. The gaffs in the third film did not get in the way of providing me an ending that I am satisfied with because it took me by surprise after theorizing this ending once and junking it because it was “too obvious”. I am still not too hyped up about the other things about the film, such as the complete disregard for developing the Merovingian, or the clear absence of any rhyme or reason as to why it had to be Neo who will destroy Smith, when it seems the Deus Ex Machina had a hand in it, which means anyone in the Matrix could potentially have done it. And what does Temet Noste mean? Matrix Revolutions closed the chapter on a note that I was comfortable with, but getting there was the road that gave me a lot more bumps than I could’ve cared for.

I know I have far more to say about the film, but I guess I’ll just write my papers on them and let those papers say what else I would’ve wanted to add, anyway.

Marcelle’s Evaluation: B+/A-

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