Thursday, May 15, 2003

Caught a 10:30 pm showing of The Matrix Reloaded, and I have to say it didn't really work for me.

As every review so far has said there are some great spacial effects, and incredibly choreographed fight scenes. For me though, they lack suspense. Watching Neo, Trinity and Morpheus, I never once felt that they were in danger. In the original Matrix, they spend as much time running from the Agents as fighting them. This sets the Agents up as beings to be feared. The change from defense to offense comes off as daring and dangerous creating brilliant tension as Neo goes head to head with Agent Smith. In Reloaded, we meet bad guy, bad guy gets his but kicked. It's cool as far as it goes, but not up to the engaging level set by the original Matrix.

Also missing in reloaded are the amazing number of detail references to other sci-fi and literature that kept the detail orientated of us glued to each and every scene. It just didn't seem to be there. That or I missed all the references.

The Matrix, was an idea's movie, and Reloaded tries to keep up, but does so by talking too much. For movies the maxim is: don't tell me, show me. Reloaded spends too much time talking about ideas and not enough time working it into the action. In the Matrix the idea was the Neo had to free his mind, to have faith, and that was worked through from his first choice to follow the white rabbit to his resurrection final show down with The Agents. Reloaded's ideas don't connect with the flow of the story as well.

So what are the ideas in the Matrix Reloaded? Well there's a lot of talk about choice and how it's an illusion, or how we can only understand the choices we make. Theres a recurring theme of the connection between good and evil – turns out Neo and Agent Smith have some deep bond. There are a ton of religious stereotypes, new convert, pleading masses, faith that passes all understanding and skeptic. Religion play a much more overt role in this movie, but has less impact, less connection to the overall story.

I'll peg the central theme as that of faith, and what does it mean when things don't go the way we expect. Reloaded is defiantly the cynic's Matrix movie. By the end it looks like Neo's being the One is a hoax, and Morpheus's faith seems misplaced. But this is a cliff hanger, we won't really have a chance to understand what Reloaded is saying until Matrix Revolutions comes out in November. Will they go with an existential – god is dead, we make our own faith route? Or will they redeem the idea that Neo is the One? November is just six months away....

I'll give The Marix Realoded a 3 out of 5 on the IdeaJoy meter, it's a good action flick but pales next to the original.

- Peace

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