It's time once again for Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly watching of a movie I own, then ranting about it. We're finishing off The Matrix Trilogy with The Matrix Revolutions. This is in my notes at May 4, 2014.
Time to bring our little trip through the Matrix trilogy to an end. I know most of the fan rage is directed at the second one for squandering the great potential of the franchise, so I think that most of the fandom greets The Matrix Revolutions with indifference. After the second one, they just kind of checked out. But hey, things are a trilogy, so I'm sure they stuck around to the end.
The current trend in action films is for the entire third act to be just one long, protracted action sequence. See The Avengers and Michael Bay's Transformers films for prime examples. And since the Matrix Revolutions is the third act in our saga, it's amazing, watching it again, how much of the film is long, protracted action sequences. The defense of Zion from the invading machine army is a spectacular action and visual effects sequence, but after a while, you start wondering what the point is. And you start to see it for what it is: padding. I don't know at what point it was decided to make a trilogy, but I'm sure that in order to get one, the Wachowskis just took their script for The Matrix 2 and started stuffing in some filling.
Another problem is with all the philosophizing and the establishment of this universe, the third film really starts to feel weighed down. They introduce new concepts that they barely have the time to explain, like the Trainman and his Train Station. It's been 11 years since the film, now, and I still haven't quite figured out how that works. I think I finally cracked it. In the machine society, several computer programs gained sentience, and they seek refuge in the Matrix to live in peace. And the Trainman and the Train station is the...router?...that connects the Matrix to the machine society. I think. Still not sure how Neo got trapped there in the first place.
As I've blogged before, and I'll blog again, that is where it starts collapsing under the weight of its own mythology.
Although, they do finally explain Agent Smith and how he managed to survive and gain his new powers. If Neo is "The One," then Smith is "The Opposite One," designed to be Neo's equal and balance out the equation. Which, to me, actually explains the ending. In situations like this in other cartoons and comic books, I've always thought, "Well, if he's your exact opposite, doesn't that mean you cancel each other out? Isn't the only way to defeat him is by making the ultimate sacrifice?" And the Wachowskis are the first filmmakers who ever said, "Yup."
The ending is still a bit of a disappointment. After seeing how the machines have brutally enslaved humanity, I'm sure that most walked into the film hoping it would end with the end of the machines once and for all. But instead, the machines and humanity broker a peace, thanks to Neo's sacrifice. As I said in my review at the time, it's a fine ending...just highly unexpected.
That being said, there's a few great moments. Like when our heroes go to visit the Merovingian again to rescue Neo. The Merovingian once again begins philosophizing and issuing another challenge for our heroes, when Trinity, no doubt reflecting the mood of the audience, says, "We don't have time for this shit," pulls a gun, and simply demands what they want.
And in the Matrix Revolutions, Trinity provides what is my favourite moment in the entire franchise. Trinity and Neo are heading to the Machine City. To escape the killer robots, they climb their ship higher and higher until they break through the clouds that block out the sun. Trinity sees the sun and the sky -- the real sun and the real sky -- for the first time. Carrie-Anne Moss gets such a look of tranquility on her face at seeing at and can only muster the word, "Beautiful." I think it's also the only time in the entire franchise that blue, or at least sky blue, is used in the colour palette, giving the whole scene just a different look from the entire franchise. I love it. Love it so much.
When all's said and done, though, you tend to walk away going, "Huh?" and "They're ending it like that?" Winds up leaving you a little dissatisfied. But, there's still some good stuff in there.