Friday, November 07, 2003


It was a good movie.

Now let me qualify that.

Regardless of what "professional" movie critics have to say about any particular film, one can find a masterpiece underneath all the rotten 'maters hurled by the naysayers. Coming into the film's opening night, I was readily aware of the buzz of negative reviews concerning Revolutions. In my estimation on that night (as with previous movies), I was relatively open and unswayed by the ill press, somewhat captivated by Rave Theater's 50 foot screen (I still can't believe Laurence Fishburne's head was that big) and the recliner seats (no wonder Rains snoozed.....I think he took his seat home with him).

For me, what hurt Revolutions was not that it didn't deliver on the goods we have come to expect from the 'ski Bros. The fact that any sequel is judged by it's own predecessors may not be any fault of the movie's own either. It's just that the sheer, radicalized scope of the first installment is etched indellibly into our motion-picture connoisseurship, perhaps to be forever unrivaled, even by its successors. The four-year eager anticipation for Reloaded was a phenomenal leap in most respects, whetting the appetite for untried effects and furthering the intriguing storyline. And waiting that long paid dividends in the long run whereas waiting five months for Revolutions left something to be desired. It sure felt a lot different sitting in the theater after four years of Matrix DT's and to be infused with the bliss of the green-hued opening credits. After only five months, it felt a wee bit revisited. But still, it got me in the theater.

Sure enough, the effects were dazzling, but I was left wondering if there was to be any progression in the magnitude.....any new ground to be broken. Admittedly, my imagination was not as apprehended as it was in Reloaded, which may be my own issues. I was satisfied with the effects (mainly the battle for Zion) but left with wanting more than the conclusive fist fight. Perhaps on a second viewing, I might think differently as it's hard to take in a Matrix film in on one showing.

Some of the characters teetered on a bland predictability, often coming across as flat. Morpheus waned into the background, but perhaps out of necessity due to Neo's transformation. The Oracle wasn't as provocative as in Reloaded, fading into a tired reiteration of the primacy of "love" and choice- arguments we were well convinced of in number 2. Some of the emerging and somewhat more tantalizing characters (the Merovingian and Persephone) were left dangling and unresolved. Sometiimes the characters appeared somewhat self-absorbed, almost self-aware that they were "actors" in the Matrix film phenomenon (which was a trait in Reloaded, i.e., the way the camera would painstakingly catch the characters glancing knowingly at each other as if to compel us to go, "hmmm," -chin in hand).

I was half expecting the Oracle and the Freud-esque Architect to snuggle at the end, given the waxing propensity of the film toward lovey-doveyness (a sentiment shared by a few males in the theater that night as I heard a mumbled, "get a room!" during one of the many smooch-embraces in the film). Maybe this direction was in default to the feminine principle given attention here as opposed to the masculine, overt visual stimulation afforded the male movie-goer in number 2 (concurrent to a definite yin/yang-ness applied to the Oracle and subtly throughout the movie.........if you're not convinced, listen to the content of her conversation with Neo in the kitchen and then take note of her earrings).

Many good film genres employ type-scenes to tell their story. For instance, in Western stories, we all know the meaning of high noon, town square, blowing tumbleweed and ten-paces-then-shoot. That is the Western's way of resolving the protagonist/antagonist conflict. The Matrices offer us many new type-scenes that will be employed for generations to come even as they are being copycatted as we speak. The curious variable is that any and all type-scenes can occur simultaneously or detached, in layers and in multiple sequences on corresponding or unrelated planes/dimensions. That is the grandest contribution herein. The linear progression of the Western shootout by comparison is over-and-done-with....the viewer walks away with the finality of what has just transpired. In the Matrix, one walks away not with finality but with contradicting multiplicities that only converge paths, not resolve them. Fuel for the mystery and a wanton invitation to another sequel. Or not.

Now for my sappiness.............the best part of the whole evening was that I got to hang with my buds! That trumps any movie.

The film overall was an acheivement on many levels and it will garner its accolades from its most ardent supporters while lacking major critical acclaim. We can begin to fathom what an interesting ride this was, now that it's over. Or is it?