Hey folks, Harry here... We have had a good amount of reviews coming in for MATRIX RELOADED, and if anything... what all these reviews have done, at least for me, is to go into MATRIX RELOADED with reasonable expectations. I no longer believer there is no bar. I don't believe this is going to rewrite cinematic action/sci-fi/history. Like many comic book series, the first comic is the one we all remember forever. That a boy from a doomed planet sent to Earth by his parents was adopted by a kindly couple that raised him proper till he discovered his calling as SUPERMAN... But do you remember what happened in ACTION #2? How about DETECTIVE #28? How about TALES OF SUSPENSE #40 or JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #84 or HULK #2? They always had bigger and more audacious action, continued the arc of the hero, heightened the danger, but never ever is issue #2 more memorable than issue #1. While many might use film as their basis on THE MATRIX, the Wachowski Brothers come from a Comic Book background. For all their passion for "higher writings" they are still drawing most strongly on comic books for their overall aesthetics and dynamics. So, I'm going in expecting that fun kickass 2nd issue of a comic that had a classic #1. And, if I'm lucky... just maybe the naysayers and killjoys will be from another planet than me, and maybe I'll see this not as an issue #2, but the middle section of a great 3 comic run like Fantastic Four 48, 49, 50 or Journey Into Mystery 121, 122 and 123... or... well you know your favorite three ish runs... That's what I'm pulling for, but I also know how rare those runs are. Reasonable expectations... And I want to be blown away! Beware of spoilers...
Harry, thought you might like a "scoop" review. Hope you enjoy...
Prepare to have your hopes dashed. I went to an advanced screening of The Matrix: Reloaded last night and the epic that I was hoping to see unfold never...unfolded.
In fact, it was really a movie about details and not of the interesting or thought provoking variety. Every line and every scene pushed for something grand and profound and almost always fell flat.
First off, the action. I never thought action scenes could be so boring. Gone are the bullet time shots where we see a flesh and blood actor rotating in mid-air or defying the laws of physics. Instead, we have new "life-like" CG replacements of the actors (or their bodies) as they fly around the screen looking like...well, looking like "life-like" CG replacements.
You can spot them a mile away and you're left thinking, "Wow, that would have been cool if the actor had done it." But no, a computer game character is kicking Mr. Smith's ass instead, not Neo but CG-Neo. Whereas the story is loaded with minute details the action scenes are not. Almost every shot is a wide shot where we see the entire cast fighting. There are very few close-up details like in the first one. No slow-motion bullets cutting through water or...through Morpheus' leg, instead we have scenes after scenes that look nearly identical. "Oh, now Neo's fighting Mr. Smith. Okay, now Neo's fighting the Oracle's bodyguard...okay, now...now...(and we drift to sleep)." And all done with the strange Matrix stilted fighting style of block, punch, block, punch...jump. Maybe they didn't want to have to set up all those little cameras again but there is nothing dynamic about these fight scenes and certainly no sense of danger. Not to mention that all the characters seem to have the same fighting skills as Neo (besides the flying, of course. But is flying really a fighting skill?)
I could go on and on about the action but there is a more important point. What needed to happen with this film was a creative jump in the writing. The first film is good, a fun little flick that covered some new ground. I definitely enjoyed it. But Reloaded needed to expand the story and really show us how big and dangerous the Matrix world can be.
It seems that the Wachowski's had hoped their dialogue would accomplish this. But, sadly, they suffer from the Lucas curse of making every word that comes out of every mouth something epic. It's the ultimate case of using a two dollar word when a ten cent one will do (or however that goes). The film is packed with an embarrassing level of bombast. It's as if Larry and Andy consulted a thesaurus for every other word, as if they masked meaningless dialogue in pretty words, dressed it up like a cheap tart. I actually started to tune out in one scene with Morpheus while he discussed the intricacies of the prophecy, which I might add they never felt necessary to share with us. It was more like, "you know what has been foretold, Trinity..."
At one point towards the end (SPOILER to follow) Neo meets the Architect, the most boring man/program ever created. We're lectured to for about five minutes by this tiresome character, who could easily have been reading from the phonebook. Now, I think I have a decent command of the English language but I found the scene laughably pedantic (see that?). Although, to be pedantic you have to actually have knowledge and this character certainly did not. It was like the later X-files episodes where everything negates everything else and you no longer have faith in the storytellers.
I'll hold my final judgment until I see Revolutions but I suspect the Wachowski's didn't really have the clearest idea where they were going with this. Sure, I think they knew they wanted to make two more films, a new "classic" trilogy (and who wouldn't?), but they've lost their way at this point. Overall, it's really a boring film with little direction that's trying too hard to impress its audience. It played out like a made for TV sequel, right down to the (SPOILER) "to be concluded" ending.