November 07, 2003

You Say You Want Some Revolutions

Oh No!
It's Time For Another Installment of ...
BAD CINEMA WITH BEN

Today's Feature: "The Matrix: Revolutions"

WE HAD A SNEAKING SUSPICION that "Revolutions" would turn out the way it did. One warning sign was that critics weren't as thrilled about the film as they were with the two previous installments of The Matrix series. Another was that the theatre was only 20 percent full, despite there being both a 10:30 p.m. and a 10:50 p.m. showing of the film. As it turned out, those critics were all right about it. Despite our hopes, they were all right about it.

For "Revolutions" has a case of sequel-itis so bad that at one point during the film, right-thinking Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) found himself with some new partners: Agents Mahoney, Hightower and Tackleberry.

Ha, ha! Of course, we jest. But Gad! there were so many awful cliches and so much silliness that we were bloody well near expecting to find Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) had been replaced with Kate "NEEEEEEEEO!" Capshaw. We are perfectly serious when we say that*. For we found "Revolutions" incredibly disappointing in nearly every respect.

First point of complaint: the acting is even worse in this go-round than in the first two movies. Perhaps it's just us, but we think it telling that Mr Weaving turned in a far better performance than any of the other main characters, and he's playing the part of a robot. Yeah, OK, so he's an evil computer program -- don't you nitpick -- but the point still holds. Mr Reeves delivers his lines as if he had suffered a lobotomy before shooting; and none of the other lead actors are much better.

Now, to spell out the rest of our complaints, we realize we will have to include a great many spoilers in doing so. However, because some Rant readers may still want to see the movie, we are placing said spoilers in the "extended entry" box.

Hence, if you still wish to see the film without having it ruined, don't click on the link. On the other hand, if you would like a rare chance to see us write in an unrestrained fashion -- click on.

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* This joke seems so obvious we can't believe we were the first to come up with it. If you know who did, please leave a note in the comments.
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SEE? IT WASN'T WORTH YOUR $9 for an evening show anyway!

Anyway, our second complaint has to do with Agent Smith: namely, where the devil is he? Good God. We're guessing it took nearly an hour before we saw our favorite right-thinking plainclothesman show up to knock some sense into those troublesome do-gooders. Even then, it was a brief showing, and we had to wait until the inevitable mano-a-mano fight scene for Smith to really get into good form.

This circumstance, quite frankly, was appalling. Smith was the main bad guy in the first film and also in the second; he is reduced to a shadowy figure of evil in the third and final installment. In place of Agent Smith screen time, we instead get to see bunches upon bunches of battle scenes in which the crazed machines fight the plucky humans.

This is not to say the battle scenes were not impressive; indeed, we admit that they were pretty cool. They were also so extensive we feel the scenes certainly had to satiate any male viewer's inner thirst for watching lots of expensive heavy machinery explode with great effect. That said, they were also so extensive they very much took away from the rest of the film.

There is much more that we could complain about; indeed, we could go on for six or seven more paragraphs. But we shall limit our complaint to perhaps the biggest flaw in "Revolutions" -- namely, the ending.

GAD. This was the most unsatisfying and miserable ending to a movie we've seen in a very, very long time.

You see, near the end, Neo and Trinity go off to the machines' city in an attempt to prevent Zion -- the human city -- from being destroyed. Along the way, there is much trouble after Neo fails to destroy everything in their path, and Trinity is badly injured. To be perfectly precise about it, she is shish-kabobed six ways from Sunday on a variety of sharp metallic objects. Anyway, one would think these wounds would cause her to expire immediately; but no!

Rather, she survives long enough for her and Neo to have an extended conversation about their estate planning. Not even Hamlet went on at such length. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the good people of Zion are dying en masse as they fight on against the loathesome machines. Yet we're supposed to feel, as a much better actor might once have put it, that Neo and Trinity's problems amount to a hill of beans.

Neo, after that, soldiers on into the machines' city: in fact, he gets to the very point where he needs to be so that he may end everything. Then, right as he comes face to face with the machines' collective intellect, he changes into Jacques Chirac and cuts a deal. In return for peace, he declares, he shall destroy Agent Smith once and for all. Needless to say, Neo wins, and the war stops. All the machines go back home while the bruised and battered humans begin looking over their insurance policies.

Now we ask you: what the hell kind of ending is that? Good Lord. It's as if back in 1943, the Allies all of a sudden said, "Hey, we've taken back most of Italy -- that's far enough." After all, in this line of thinking, it's better to have peace in our time than actually free people suffering from tyranny and torment. And, as such, everyone stops fighting, and all is well with the world again; at least, as some of the computer programs note, until the next war breaks out.

We are sorry, but this doesn't cut it for us. Oh, sure, we expect things to go perfectly well over in Europe in terms of fan reaction to the ending, but for us, it just didn't cut it at all.

Sadly, when it came to "Revolutions," there was precious little that cut it at all.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 7, 2003 02:14 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Thank you for your review. You've just saved me $9 and a few wasted hours!

Posted by: Allison at November 7, 2003 10:32 AM

Well, that's my good deed for the year :-D.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 7, 2003 10:20 PM

... in all seriousness, Allison, I'm glad you enjoyed the review. I try to have a lot of fun with them!

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 7, 2003 10:20 PM

Ben,

I enjoyed the movie and have to disagree with your WW II analogy. Much more of it was the Gospels portrayed rather fast and loose. The battle scene was awfully long, but the final showdown with Smith was really cool. Then again, as you point out, the acting was awful. Nonetheless, the movie is worth going to if you've already seen the first two, just for the sake of curiosity. It's not nearly as good as the original, of course, but still a cool movie.

Best,

Matt

Posted by: Matthew Rubush at November 8, 2003 01:51 PM

The whole thing was awfully Manichean, if you ask me!

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 8, 2003 03:50 PM

Ehh. I'll half-heartedly catch it and "2" on Saturday afternoon TV someday maybe.

BUT, I am looking forward to the Transformers movie (although I'm really hoping they use the classics -- Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Bumblebee, etc. -- instead of some later iteration).

Thanks for the Bad Cinema. Good stuff as always.

Posted by: Kevin White at November 10, 2003 06:49 AM