The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

 

Do we really have to do this?
-Contractual obligation.
Oh. I guess there is no severance pay.

Zero stars out of 4. Abysmal garbage.
It’s like a huge budget video game cinematic. Overlong, overcomplicated, overproduced and boring as hell.

After all of the hype, Reloaded failed to deliver on most every level. It confused, angered, and generally wore out everyone in the theater and we all left thinking: “just what are they going to do to end this thing?”

Essentially, this third Matrix film is nothing more than a feeble attempt to tie up some loose ends. The two major questions asked by the audience are: “Why?” and “What?” quickly followed by a defeated “Who even cares?”.   In a Return of the Jedi style conclusion, Revolutions gives us both the final battle and final confrontation between the hero and villain. Except ROTJ is both well made and pretty well plotted. This isn’t.

Filming back to back with Reloaded didn’t help matters. We pick up after the beyond cheesy cliffhanger from the previous film. Neo finds himself stuck in some abandoned train station inside the Matrix with some programs looking to get out. How he got there is unexplained, and we quickly realize that we couldn’t have cared less if they did. he is not allowed to leave because the controller is an agent of the Merovingian. Thus Morpheus and Trinity go in to convince the Frenchman to release Neo. This is basically a repeat of the same scene in Reloaded, but with a different goal.  After a brief dialogue, he gives in and Neo is rescued. Woo.

Neo then visits the Oracle (now played by a different actress due to the untimely death of Gloria Foster) who engages in yet another overlong conversation of sheer mumbo jumbo. Essentially Neo and Smith are a yin and yang, and the war will soon end. After Neo leaves, Smith appears and takes over both the Oracle and her protector.

Back in the real world, Neo requests he be given a ship to travel to the Machine City. He takes Niobe’s ship and goes off to his unknown destiny with Trinity. Niobe, Morpheus and the other crew members attempt to make it back to Zion despite the machine attack. They quickly realize that the other crew member who had been unconscious had killed a crew member and must be stowing aboard Neo’s  ship. He attacks and disarms Trinity. It takes Neo ages to realize this is actually Smith despite the man using all of Smith’s dialogue and mannerisms for several minutes. Finally he is killed after blinding Neo with a power cable. But don’t worry, he can still see. Magic! So they continue on with trinity at the helm. Wait, can’t Neo still see? Oh well.

The defense is being mounted inside Zion to ward off the oncoming hordes of machines. This consists of lots of guns, and giant cumbersome human-operated walkers to also shoot machines. This begins a stupidly contrived “battle” that consists of little more than CGI fakery. The first film showed that the human’s only weapon was an EMP to destroy all circuitry. Where did all the guns come from then? And if they already have beam and energy weaponry, why are they using projectile weapons?!?! This strategy of this effort is even more stupid as the humans are hopelessly outnumbered. But for some reason the machines never pour in more infantry and these idiots in suits are able to last far longer than they actually should. This mindless conflict goes on for far too long, eventually culminating in the arrival of the sip containing Morpheus and Niobe. They make it inside the gates and trigger an EMP to render the army useless. WHY DIDN’T THEY DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE??? In fact, why not ATTACK THE MACHINES BEFORE THEY ATTACK YOU WITH A GIANT EMP??? Then again we are talking about the people who face impending doom with techno raves…

This has knocked out all of Zion’s equipment and the humans retreat to further levels and wait for the final assault. Neo and Trinity reach the Machine City are are eventually attacked by numerous defenses. Neo is unable to hold all of them off and has Trinity fly upwards and through the clouds into the atmosphere. And here is perhaps the only genuinely emotional moment in the entire film, where Trinity sees actual sunlight for the first and only time. Here in a Matrix sequel is a genuine moment of humanity against the philosophical whimsy and badly overdone action gimmickry. And then it is suddenly over, with the ship crashing and Trinity dying.  This scene is glossed over, so that any shred of empathy we might have remaining for these increasingly inhuman characters doesn’t even have the chance to surface.

Neo makes his way inside the city until confronted by a floating thing that we are meant to take as the Machine leader. For some reason it forms a face and talks to Neo. In exchange for “peace”, Neo will go inside the Matrix and defeat Smith in one final battle. If he loses, he will be killed. So he enters once more, and finds Smith everywhere.

The final battle is on a rainy city street, with thousands of Smith copies just looking on. The battle itself is overdone and completely a non-entity. Both are equally matched and is becomes readily apparent that there will be no clear winner. Neo cannot defeat the odds against him, and it would take Smith a very long time to kill Neo. SO THEY KEEP ON FIGHTING. You could easily go to the bathrooom at this moment, check the phone, do the dishes, or simply fast forward because this entire end conflict has no tension or impact in any conceivable way. Finally, Neo realizes he cannot defeat Smith. He allows himself to die, and thus the Machine leader kills him. But because Neo is now Smith, Smith dies too. This makes sense, but yet doesn’t. Why would this actually work? Was Neo still present in some shape or form? Why would this kill all the Smiths? Why didn’t the leader kill Smith in the first place?

The machines pull back and stop attacking Zion. Peace has been made due to Neo’s sacrifice. The Oracle and Architect meet and agree to free all humans who want to be freed. Peace is declared to “last as long as it can”. The Oracle admits that they might see Neo again and that she didn’t know this would happen but that she believed.

And at this point no one really gives a damn. If you really look at it closely, none of this outcome makes any sense. Why would the Machine leader agree to any of this preposterous conclusion? Machines don’t want peace! They’re machines for Pete’s sake! How do humans already plugged into the Matrix decide if they want to be freed? They’re inside a fake world already! And is this ending supposed to mean that there will be an eventual breach of the peace and that war will break out again anew? Weren’t the machines ready to eliminate the human race if necessary? Why declare peace and give up their power supply of jacked-in humans? It. Doesn’t. Make. Any. Sense.

By the time you’ve made it through this second sequel, you almost deserve a medal. There is no reason for any of this to exist, as the story is mindless. The action is thrown at you and your sense s are so overwhelmed by CGI that it becomes cartoonish in every sense. Never is Revolutions engaging to any part of the audience, and you spend the entire two hours and nine minutes wishing for the big lumbering giant to end it’s reign of monotony.

There is supposedly a sequel in the works, with Keanu Reeves attached. I don’t know how it would work with the ending of this film, but revisiting this piece of junk makes it obvious that they left it open for a sequel. (Even though the character is supposedly dead) In all actuality, after the total abomination that is the Wachowski’s Speed Racer, I really don’t want to know.

There is no reason for this film to have been made, and it takes a supreme effort of will to even have a positive thought about The Matrix afterwards. I stayed away from the entire franchise for many years afterwards, trying to block the whole thing out of my mind. Reloaded was bad, but this was just mindlessly bad. The theater where Revolutions was screened was dead quiet. By the end credits the entire auditorium was in stunned silence. Or maybe they were just all asleep.

EDITIONS: Revolutions was released just like Reloaded. Great DVD with 2.35:1 16:9 anamorphic image, Dolby 5.1 and a second disc of extras. The Blu-ray is ported from the inferior HD-DVD format, with a Dolby True-HD 5.1 mix. Other than getting a great deal on one of the trilogy boxsets, there is no reason to own this garbage.

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Filed under Film, Film Review, The Matrix, Zero stars

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