|The Matrix Revolutions|
|Stars:||Ted "Theodore" Logan, Lawrence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss,|
Hugo Weaving, Hugo Weaving, Hugo Weaving...
Everything that has a beginning (and makes sufficient money) has an end. But just in case the beginning falls short of monetary expectations, it should have a decent end in and of itself. However, given said financial zen, the beginning can have a real end, as well as a middle, which might not be as good as the end, both of which fall short of the beginning's great beginning. Got all that? Good, because you can't see beyond the paragraphs you don't understand.
I took time off work on opening day to see a morning showing of the (probably/hopefully) final installment of the Matrix trilogy in its full IMAX glory. I don't know if it was deliberate or not, but I knew next to nothing about The Matrix Revolutions before the showing, aside from what I was able to glean from a couple slow-motion viewings of the trailer following the credits on The Matrix Reloaded's DVD. I knew a lot about the Smith-ariffic "Burly Brawl" sequence in the second movie from magazine coverage and such, and I knew there was a spectacular highway sequence (the sole "great" part about the movie). But for Revolutions, I found myself in the construct with no program loaded.
As you'd expect, Revolutions picks up just minutes after Reloaded left us hanging. What follows is a storyline thankfully containing much greater consistency than we saw in Reloaded. Think 'raisin bread' instead of 'a river with a couple logs floating in it.' I saw no parts, such as Reloaded's happydance/sex scene, that should have gotten any farther than the cutting room floor. Morpheus wasn't as preachy this time around, and the riddles weren't as contrived. Things were explained adequately, in my opinion, and loose ends were, for the most part, tied in a bow, though apparently with a minimum of effort. There's a reason they didn't call this movie "Revelations."
It's probably a bad thing when a computer program has more personality than its antithetical human savior. I don't know whether to fault the writing or the "acting ability" of Keanu Reeves. You may notice in the list of actors at the top of this page I don't credit Reeves by name, instead referring to him by the character's name in his defining role. I thought I saw a modicum of acting ability from Reeves in that movie The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down (an obligatory Simpsons reference), but it didn't seem to stick. Maybe they could have computer-generated some acting. At any rate, it didn't really detract from the movie, insofar as that's what we expected of Reeves. He's still as stoic as a piece of furniture, and his kung fu moves still seem out of place. Indeed, the Weavings stole the show.
Special effects are the primary triumph in Revolutions, and they were certainly compelling. While some may say the battle for Zion lasts too long and is too repetitive, I disagree. I was surprised that, during the battle scene, we didn't cut away to a slower scene a la Star Wars. The action ramps up and doesn't abate until it makes sense to do so. Some have complained about possible plot holes in this and other parts of the movie, but I think that if I can explain these "inconsistencies" away in real-time while watching the movie the first time around, then they aren't really holes in the plot.
While the scores I have given for the three Matrix movies are very similar, I should stress that the original Matrix is an order of magnitude better than its two sequels. Reloaded and Revolutions both have a similar feel (naturally, since they were filmed at about the same time), but I have to say the original movie is far and away the best of the series, for many reasons. A distant second is Revolutions, with Reloaded filling up the ass end. See, I rate a movie based on how much I enjoy it (the initial viewing). That doesn't necessarily mean the movie is "good" per se, like Shawshank Redemption good, but that I found it enjoyable, at least the first time around. That's why some movies like The Relic I enjoyed in its theater setting and rated it accordingly, but couldn't sit through again. For future enjoyment, these two sequels can't touch the original Movie that Sold a Million DVD Players (though being able to skip the rave/sex chapter in the Reloaded DVD has upped its enjoyment level). Time will tell with Revolutions. But from where I sat, in the middle of the IMAX theater, Revolutions was a damn fine show.