The Solid-State Entities Have Prevailed
I’ll get the plot summary out of the way, because if you are currently alive, you’ve already seen this movie.
Main Guy is stuck in a subway station with some South Asian robots. Meanwhile, armies of high-tech black invaders are on their way to attack the low-tech but plucky rebel forces at their hideout. The only way to stop the invasion is to send some X-Wing fighters into the Death Star. Oh sorry, wrong “High-tech black invaders are on their way to attack the low-tech but plucky rebel forces at their hideout” movie. No, the only way to save the day is to have one spaceship fly really fast into the rebel hideout and detonate a robot-killin’ bomb. And also to have Main Guy fly to the Robot City and try to strike a deal with Giant Robot Head.
This takes 2 hours.
And costs like $3,0000,0000000,000. Which is a shame, because for $10-and-the-price-of-a-CD-R, I could have done a remake of not only this movie, but the entire trilogy. Here’s how my remake goes:
Guy puts hand over the stove.
Takes hand away.
Triumphant music plays (on a ghetto blaster in my kitchen, just offscreen)
Why do I say this? Check out the premise of the whole trilogy:
PART ONE: machines enslave humans in The Matrix, and feed off their brains.
PART TWO: some rebel humans escape the matrix and start fucking with the robots. In return, robots start killing humans IN REAL LIFE.
PART THREE: after many deaths, much destruction, and tons of heroic superhuman effort, humans manage to convince robots to stop killing humans in real life. This is hailed as A HUGE VICTORY. Cries go up from the masses: “Hurrah!!! We won!!!”
But. . . dude.
Let’s take score here for a second–
Humans enslaved by the matrix: Still enslaved.
Robots ruling planet: Still ruling.
It’s like, dude, you could just have chilled in your little underground cabin watching the Poochie Episode THE WHOLE TIME instead of getting shot at in slow motion and running vertically up walls like a lunatic, and SHIT WOULD HAVE TURNED OUT THE EXACT SAME WAY. What people are celebrating at the end of Part Three is basically a return to the same status quo WHICH THEY WERE SO PISSED OFF ABOUT at the beginning of Part One.
The other major thing is: the showdown between the Main Guy (sorry, I really can’t bear to call him ‘Neo’) and Agent Smith. Apart from the fact that it’s basically like the fight scenes in films 1 & 2 but with bigger explosions, it’s fun. It’s good. There’s punching and special effects and kicking and a certain amount of suspense. But, like the whole trilogy, it’s none-too-well-thought out, plotwise.
See, at the end Agent Smith wins. At which point, the Matrix Big Computer Head Made Entirely Out Of Robotic Octopi is like, “No, I didn’t like that ending” and then it kills Smith. How anticlimactic is that? I mean, what if the great filmmakers of history decided to use that little plot device?
What if Rocky got his ass wupped, totally knocked out, but then suddenly the other fighter explodes right there in the ring, and then Rocky gets up and puts his fists in the air like, “Woo hoo!!” What if James Bond is caught in a fiendish trap by some bad guy… and instead of thinking of a clever way out of the trap (say, a laser beam concealed in an ordinary-looking cockring) he just dies. But then the villain explodes, and James Bond comes back to life, and he’s all like, “Victory is mine!!!”
Can you think of a more unsatisfying way to end a fight?
I guess some science fiction Comic Book Store Owner type guys could come up with a super science type explanation of why the movie’s ending made sense. But even if it LOGICALLY made sense, it still isn’t satisfying or good storytelling.
And the dialogue…
You’d think that at some point the producers would be like, “OK, we have enough flying robots, let’s spend some money on a script.” But apparently they were like, “Naw, let’s spend the last $100,000 putting even more highlights and reflections on the robots, and just get some kid at the 7-11 to write the script between making slurpees.”
What other explanation is there? If the CG guys had left holes in the robots ONE TENTH the size of the holes in the plot, they would be totally fired.
Look at the characters:
- TheCool Guy Who Wears Sunglasses Indoors
- The New Army Recruit Who Lied About His Age
- The Wise Nurturing Granny
- The Guy Who We Know He’s Bad Because He Has This Really Evil Laugh
- The Innocent Kid Who Says Things Like “I’m scared!”
The latter was one of my favorite scenes. Cue scary music. Cue scary pictures of armed goons running up the stairs. Cue lights going out in building. Cut to writer scratching his head, “Damn! I really need some dialogue here. Something that really captures the mood of this scene. Let’s see… ‘I’m south asian.’ No, too obvious… ‘I’m brimming with joy’… no… Oh! I’ve got it!! She’ll say, “I’M SCARED”. Because, like, she’s scared of something! It’s perfect!! Because it totally goes along with the, you know, music and the actions and stuff. (chuckling to himself) I’ve still got it!!”
“Slurpee spill on aisle 9!”
“Oops, gotta go…”
But I’m actually glad that The Matrix Revolutions had cliché characters, embarrassing dialogue, and a preposterous premise.
Why am I glad?
Because, it’s easy for a film with good characters, plot, and dialogue to be enjoyable.
It’s much more impressive for a TOTALLY RETARDED film to be enjoyable!! It’s like the Matrix guys decided to enter a race with two broken knees, and a camel strapped to their back, AND WON ANYWAY.
And I don’t mean ‘enjoyable’ in some kind of self-aware, so-bad-it’s-good way, either. I mean I REALLY FUCKING enjoyed it. I enjoyed it SO MUCH that I’m RIGHT NOW downloading a pirate copy of Matrix Reloaded, even though everyone says it’s the worst of the bunch.
So why did I really like it? EIGHT MILLION FLYING ROBOTS, is why, moron. At times I felt like some evil computers had jacked a huge cable in the base of MY skull, and were pumping insane amounts of data directly to MY brain.
I mean, they could have fired the actors and hired a trained chicken to play Morpheus, and replaced Keanu Reeves with some Sculpey and masking tape, and a motherfucker like me would not even have noticed. The special effects were that good.
Maybe ‘good’ is not the right word, because it’s subjective, it implies some artistic sensibility at work. There is nothing subjective or artistic about the CG here. If you see this movie you will. Be. Amazed. Because amazement is just the human nervous system’s instinctive reaction to 1,000 photo-realistic flying robot octopi zooming towards your head while 200 mechas fire 1,003,048 bullets at them, on a screen 60 feet wide.
I seriously cannot emphasize how insane, how GROTESQUELY overdone, those special effects were.
Of course the movie could have been better. Not just by replacing the lead actor with some Sculpey and masking tape, either. There was room for other improvements. Like getting rid of ALL the dialogue and characters, and having only special effects.
Not just the sfx for the battles, though… I would also totally have taken the elaborate cities that the animators painstakingly crafted and had the ‘camera’ pan around them reeeeally slowly so you can see them from all angles. Then I’d show the fight scenes again. In super slow motion. Then I’d do like little slowly rotating shots of the individual machines against a clean white background. For EIGHT HOURS.
I mean, it’s so wasteful to put so much detail into the stuff and then only show the stuff for a split second. All those buildings have, like, backs and sides and stuff. And, best of all, it’s already paid for!! The Whatchawahoozits Brothers hired these animation guys, they built the stuff, the stuff is the only good part of the movie, and IT’S JUST SITTING AROUND on a server somewheres.
Actually the CG wasn’t the ONLY good thing about the movie: the cameo appearances by Phranc and Ani DiFranco as Tag-Team Lesbian Bazooka Assault Squad. This was also good. But they lose points for killing Phranc and letting Ani live. That should have been a no-brainer.