The Matrix Revolutions
by Del Harvey
Everything that has a beginning has an…end?
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All heroes must fulfill their journey. It is the essence of myth, and is perceived in many popular religions. In the third and final installment of The Matrix series, Matrix Revolutions, Neo’s epic journey comes to a conclusion, of sorts. I’m still scratching my head and trying to figure out how we got to this conclusion from the first film, and I think I have an answer.
In Matrix Revolutions, The Wachowski Brothers (Assassins, Bound) have once again exploded through the current ceiling of special effects with visuals that will make a believer out of the most skeptical viewers. There are sequences of battle between man and machine at Zion which are simply astounding, as thousands of Sentinels battle against men and women in Transformer-like robots. But the most stunning visual feast is saved for last, when Neo, aka Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves - The Gift, The Replacements) faces off against his nemesis, the amok computer program Smith (Hugo Weaving - Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Lord of the Rings). This epic battle displays the type of effects interwoven with superb action and wire work which many of the recent superhero films have been lacking, and revealing of how many future films of the genre can reach to their full potential.
Revolutions picks up where Reloaded left off. Neo, having defeated a horde of Sentinels while being outside the Matrix, lies on a medic’s bed, his soul in some limbo between the real world and the Matrix. Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss - Chocolat, Memento) is valiantly trying to save her true love. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne - Mystic River, Always Outnumbered Always Outgunned) is defending his friend to the disbelievers among the people of Zion, whose numbers grow stronger with each passing second. In order to stop the invasion of Zion, Neo must travel to the heart of the machine city, which is heavily protected and defended by a multitude of war machines. As Neo journeys to the unknown heart of the dark machine city and his ultimate fight with Smith, Morpheus and the defenders of Zion pitch an all-out battle against ridiculously overwhelming odds. These people are literally the last free humans on Earth, and their plight is staggering.
And if you have not guessed by now, I am trying very hard not to give away the ending. If you did not enjoy Reloaded, then chances are good you will not enjoy Revolutions. I’m still not sure I did. I shudder at the thought of re-watching the original Matrix just to find out if any of this makes sense. At the risk of giving it all away…
In Matrix Revolutions, Neo turns out not to be “The One,” but someone close to it. He doesn’t do battle with the machines and he doesn’t change the world. Instead, he makes a bargain with the devil, offering to put Smith out of the machine’s misery if they’ll agree to a peaceful coexistence with the humans. Including letting any pod people out of their shells if they so wish. Uh, does this sound as dumb to you as it does to me? What could possibly have driven the Wachowski Bros. to veer so far away from the promise of the first film?
Well, I hate to say it, but I think it was the Almighty Dollar. See, in the original sequel they never intended for the character of Neo to continue. But with the popularity of that character and the boxoffice bonanza realized by the studio, how could they abandon their cash cow? So instead of creating their own story, what we have is an aberration which attempts to appeal to the masses and their wallets. And it’s paid off bigtime as Matrix is the Number 1 film worldwide, as of this writing.
Oh, goody…they made a buck. I’d still rather have the original story. What we were finally given could easily be continued as a 4th film, then a 5th film, and so on. When will the studios learn the lesson of Star Wars? See, everything that has a beginning had better have an end…or else you lose the audience.
Del Harvey is a writer and the founder of Film Monthly. He is a devout Chicago Bears fan, loves Grant Park in any season, and teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.
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