Friday, January 31, 2014

Movie Talk - The Matrix Trilogy

Well, I’m at the end of Martial Arts Month. I’m definitely going to do something like this next year. There were other things I wanted to do here, but I have to end it somewhere. So, I’ve decided to look at a trilogy that combined martial arts, philosophy, religion, and a post-apocalyptic landscape: The Matrix trilogy.

I don’t remember when I first saw the The Matrix. I know I saw it before the sequels came out because I was already a fan of the movie. I was kind of a fan of the franchise. I’ve only seen snippets of The Animatrix.  I even played the tie-in game, Enter The Matrix, which wasn’t as bad as people said it was. I saw both movies on VHS when they came out respectively. I even remember that I saw a snippet of The Matrix Revolutions during a band trip in New Orleans. Over time, I decided to add the movies to my collection. When I came up with the idea of doing this month, this trilogy was definitely on the list. Since I hadn’t seen the movies in such a long time, I’ve watched them all this week.

The Matrix
The Matrix was released in 1999 by the Wachowskis. It’s about a computer programmer/hacker named Thomas Anderson aka Neo. Neo is told by the legendary Morpheus that the world he lives in is not real. It is a simulated reality called the Matrix and all humans are plugged into it by The Machines. In the real world, humans are enslaved by the Machines and are used like batteries. After he’s taken out of the Matrix, Neo joins the human rebellion that is trying to free humans from the Machines. Neo also finds out that he may be the “One” who can help end the war between the machines.

Synopsizing this movie is hard. I can see why Will Smith didn’t do it. Yes, Will Smith was almost Neo and I’m kind of glad that didn’t happen. I think it’s safe to say that this movie is awesome. It may not be in my top 10, but it’s definitely close. First, I like the main characters. While Keanu Reeves is not that great of an actor, I really think this part suited his abilities. Neo is your “average Joe” who gets thrown into a bigger world, Morpheus is the cool-looking mentor who has all the answers and Trinity is the awesome butt-kicking love interest. Agent Smith serves as a pretty cool villain and gives the Machines a face. I also liked other characters like Cypher, Tank, and the Oracle.
Neo: Woah! Is this real leather?
Morpheus: Of course not! It's rubber. 

The story’s well told and it sticks to the basics. I like that a lot these different concepts from philosophy and religion are entered in and used well. While I’m not well-versed on them, they don’t interrupt the story and the characters. If anything, they help move things along. The fight scenes are pretty awesome and pretty gritty. There’s not much to say about them since they’re awesome. Lastly, the special effects and music are pretty top-notch.

The only thing that might knock it down a peg is some of the acting. Don’t worry, I’m not just talking about Keanu. It just seems stiff at times. Also, some of the dialogue isn’t that great. Still, that doesn’t stop me from really liking this movie. It’s a pretty exciting movie from beginning to end.

Favorite Quotes:
Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Tank: So what do you need? Besides a miracle.
Neo: Guns. Lots of guns.
Neo: I know kung fu.
Agent Smith: You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...
Morpheus: Welcome to the desert of the real.

The Matrix Reloaded
The first sequel to The Matrix was released in June of 2003. It seems like 2003 was the year for the franchise since this and The Matrix Revolutions were released in the same year. It takes place six months after the first movie. Here, Neo and the rebels are doing their best to free humans from the Matrix. Their war with the Machines is coming to a head. He’s also displaying the awesome powers he gained in the last movie and he’s now having visions of Trinity’s death. Worse, Neo also has to deal with the return of Smith who’s more powerful than ever.

If there’s a way I could describe this and the next movie, it would be this: overblown epicness. The movie ramps up the action, the philosophy, and the religious overtones in a big way. I guess that’ll happen when you throw a crapload of money at two brothers. Now, I really liked the action in this movie. I especially loved most of the fight scenes. The fight scene in the Chateau is definitely my favorite one in the movie. The music is in “epic mode” all the way through the movie. Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, and Smith were in fine form. I also liked seeing Neo deal his powers as well as a being somewhat of a messiah to the people of Zion.

I also liked that we get to see more of the Matrix and older programs like The Merovingian. There are a lot of questions answered and those answers bring only more questions which is nice. I only liked some of the new characters added.  I liked Link since he’s basically a replacement for Tank and he provides some levity. I also liked Monica Belucci’s character and I’m not saying that because she was H.O.T. either. Niobe was another awesome butt-kicking woman who was cool. The movie also ends in a pretty chilling cliffhanger and leaves you wanting to watch the next installment.
These awesome graphics were brought to you by the Playstation 2!

While I liked the special effects, I do have to admit that they take over the movie at times. They’re good, but there’s so much of them. The philosophical concepts are not bad, but some of them can get a little annoying at times. The Merovingian and the Architect are prime examples. While I liked seeing Zion, it wasn’t that great. Some of the Zionians were kind of annoying. Then, there’s some of the acting and dialogue. It’s just not that good. I find that is something I’m saying about all of these movies.

Overall, I like the movie, but it does get weary to watch after a while. So much is thrown at you and you really don’t get a chance take it all in. Still, it starts out well and the action is pretty good.

Favorite Quotes
Morpheus: Tonight let us make them remember: This is ZION, and we ARE NOT AFRAID.
The Architect: I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I've been waiting for you. You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.
Agent Smith Clone 1: It is purpose that created us.
Agent Smith Clone 2: Purpose that connects us.
Agent Smith Clone 3: Purpose that pulls us.
Agent Smith Clone 4: That guides us.
Agent Smith Clone 5: That drives us.
Agent Smith Clone 6: It is purpose that defines us.
Agent Smith Clone 7: Purpose that binds us.
Agent Smith: We are here because of you, Mr Anderson. We're here to take from you what you tried to take from us. Purpose.
Neo: If I were you, I would hope we don't meet again.

The Matrix Revolutions
The final movie in the trilogy was released in November of 2003. It starts right after the last movie ended with Neo passing out and somehow being transported to the Matrix. Trinity, Morpheus, and others do what they can in order to save Neo. After Neo is saved, he finally gets some answers on everything by the Oracle in her new form. He and Trinity decide to head to Machine City to end the war while Morpheus and other rebels head back to Zion in order to save their people. It all leads to a final fight between Neo and Smith with Smith threatening to destroy everything.

When I first saw this movie, I kind of had a “meh” feeling about it. When watching it now, I kind of still feel that way, but I do think it was an okay conclusion to the trilogy. Everything is still overblown and it’s still trying to be the most epic thing ever. The action is still good for the most part. The fight between Neo and Smith is definitely the most memorable thing about the film. I think Man of Steel took notes from this fight. I also thought Mary Alice did a nice job as the Oracle, but I still missed Gloria Foster as the character.  
Over-the-top gun fights... I like it!

Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus were still in good form, but we get less of them here. I did like seeing Neo deal with his all of the madness and I did like seeing Morpheus’ faith get tested. Smith was a straight-up beast here. There’s a reason I threw him on my Favorite Villains’ list. The concepts involving philosophy weren’t too over the top here. They helped move the story along. The questions brought up in the last movie finally get answered here. Most of the effects were good and the music rocked as usual.

I’ll freely admit that the attack on Zion was pretty dull. Maybe it was the fact that none of the main characters were even at Zion during the attack. You also couldn’t even tell what was going on at times with the effects in that scene and the final fight. Then, there’s the ending. It feels a little empty. After that epic fight, just about anything would feel a little lacking. As usual, the acting and dialogue was shaky at times during the movie. Overall, it’s an okay finale to a decent trilogy.

Favorite Quotes:
Morpheus: I don't know what he can do to save us. But I do know that as long as there is a single breath left in his body he will not give up and neither can we.
Agent Smith: Can you feel it Mr. Anderson? Closing in on you? Oh I can, I really should thank you after all. It was, after all, it was your life that taught me the purpose of all life. The purpose of life is to end.
Roland: Slow down! This ain't the Logos!
Niobe: Hold on to your lunch, Roland. Here we go.
Roland: Holy Christ, I didn't know this ship could do that.
Neo: I'm all right, Trin... but I think you're gonna have to drive.
The Oracle: Everything that has a beginning has an end.


Overall, it’s a decent trilogy. I will say that it tried to attempt a lot. It fused a lot of concepts together and some of them worked for the most part. It’s not my favorite trilogy, but it is one I recommend. I definitely recommend seeing the first movie. It’s one of the best sci-fi movies out there. Check out the sequels if you can handle the overblown epicness. Well, it’s been said that everything that has a beginning has an end. Therefore, I end Martial Arts Month. I don’t know what’s next, so Peace and God Bless.

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