Film Review: The Matrix Revolutions

So, it’s the final part of the trilogy, the final chapter in the story of Neo, Zion and the battle between man and machine. The battle for peace. And that is exactly my biggest problem with The Matrix Revolutions, it’s the battle between man and machine. It’s plot is set so far away from the principles and ideas that underpinned the original film and made it so successful that it feels almost disrespectful to stand the films together.

Having watched all 3 films in quick succession, I truly believe now you have to view The Matrix Trilogy as two entirely separate entities. The Matrix. And The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions. This is shown with the greatest strength to me in the fact that throughout The Matrix Revolutions you actually feel as though you don’t need Neo. It is strange, you almost don’t want to spend time involved with him. He seems to come across as more of a distraction to the rest of the film than the central and pivot character he started out as. His story with the final film almost feels boring; it’s the afterthought to conclude the tale and nothing more.

But my biggest complaint with how the trilogy has concluded is the fact that the world of the matrix appears to have changed beyond all recognition. It reinforces my belief that these are in fact two independent siblings that share a lose theme and nothing more. In the first film the matrix was introduced as a world created by machines to enslave man from the realities of their current situation. It was explained at great length how this was a mind over body existence and how this world was nothing more than a manifestation, a projection. And then suddenly, as it is reloads and revolves, man completely disappears? Man is entirely replaced by computer programmes, I’m still not exactly sure where, when or how this genocide happened or managed to pass by without question. The machines require man survive. Man is bred as a battery, as a source of power and yet the world created to cage them, to ensure they serve their purpose through unquestioned submission is suddenly emptied.

It just doesn’t make sense. It honestly feels like being told categorically that the world is in fact flat before suddenly, and in a way that they hope you don’t notice, it’s changed, dropped, in favour of a round sphere. And this helps explain the reason Neo feels so out of place. Neo is the link between man and the matrix. He is “The One”. The saviour. But they’ve changed his world, they’ve removed the people he was meant to be saving and as a result he is no longer needed.

The really annoying thing though, is that the whole destruction of Zion and battle for peace story line which encompasses 80% of the running time is actually a brilliant story in its own right. I could watch an entire trilogy based upon the underground world and the characters that live within it. There are constant rumours of a new Matrix film, or even trilogy. I would personally suggest they ignore trying to develop the matrix and rather develop Zion.

If we place the plot to one side for a minute and look at the cinematography, I find things becoming even more bizarre. I said in my post about Reloaded that the special effects felt cheap, tacky and almost mocking and that the film felt like poor editing of Revolutions rather than it’s own life form. These two points actually become really confusing when you discover that the two films, Reloaded and Revolutions, were filmed as one, before being split in post production.

The reason that this is confusing and bizarre is because the special effects within Revolutions are fine. They are believable and acceptable. They add to the film and with the exception of a brief, blinking clip right at the end, all the ludicrous CGI, that virtually tore Reloaded apart, is missing. I would even go as far as to say, that the CGI within Revolutions even enhances the film at time. And that makes no sense, we have two films that were created as one and yet the special effects that define this trilogy as much as anything else, are noticeably destroying one and enhancing the other.

Having finished the trilogy after jacking into The Matrix for the first time more years than I can remember, I have been left totally disappointed by what I found. I remember the films as being great, as a classic trilogy that I could easily watch over and over and suddenly, everything just seems to fail. I think it’s slightly a case that the films have aged badly. Special effects have moved on so far and so fast that the genre defining ideas that blew me away originally no longer hold the power they once did; while the plot: the ideas and the imagery that were designed to make you think, to question reality, and to even confuse, have inspired the next generation of film makers to push those limits even further yet. Spend any time in the company of Christopher Nolan or Ridley Scott’s recent examples to understand and underline my point.

I almost wish now that I hadn’t stepped back in time and watched the trilogy again. As is so often the case, the parts of life you remember so fondly from years past never quite live up to the expectations we place on them when we attempt to return in later life. I’m not suggesting you purge them from your film collection in favour of modern sci-fi/thrillers but rather, view them as the original Playstation, the game-changer, but in this modern world, it’s not an Xbox!

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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