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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Matrix Revolutions

All's well that ends well

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 6, 2003 -- “The Matrix Revolutions” is the third and final film in a trilogy of remarkable science fiction movies that began with “The Matrix,” followed by “The Matrix Reloaded.” What makes the series remarkable is that it is as much about martial arts as it is about science fiction and it is as much about philosophy as it is about anything else. This odd combination of movie genres has struck a chord with fans around the world, making this one of the most successful film franchises in movie history. The third film in the series, while not quite as good as the first film, does bring the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion.

This film picks up where the last movie left off, with humanity's last city, Zion, under attack by a huge army of intelligent machines. Humanity's last hope is a mysterious man known as Neo (played by Keanu Reeves). Neo has transcended the world of the artificial intelligence machines who have enslaved most of mankind in the Matrix, a vast computer program. Most people are trapped in the program, but don't know it. While their brains are occupied in a vast computer game, their bodies are being used as a source of power for their machine masters. Only the people of Zion are free. A new power is rising in the Matrix, however. A renegade program known as Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving of “The Lord of the Rings”) is taking over the program after tapping into some of Neo's power.

Mankind is facing danger on several fronts. The machines are attacking and even Agent Smith has found a way to carry his attack against humanity to Zion itself. Only Neo can save Zion, but first he must be saved from exile in a no man's land between the Matrix and the real world. The film brings back most of the main characters from the first two movies, including Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), is back from the second film, and there is a new Oracle (Mary Alice), who is still talking that old double talk. There is also a new character, called the Kid (Clayton Watson) who helps defend Zion against the machine invasion.

While the first film took place mostly inside the Matrix, and the second film was sort of half in and half out of the Matrix, the third film is mostly outside the Matrix, in Zion and elsewhere. The second film was pretty heavy on dialogue, while the third film is heavy on action. One of the impressive things about this trilogy of films is how ambitious it is for a science fiction series. It doesn't really hit the target it is aiming for, that is, a thinking person's science fiction series, but you have to admire it for aiming so high and achieving as much as it does. It is full of sound and fury, but doesn't signify as much as it tries to. Too often, the film settles for vagueness rather than insight when it gets down to the philosophical nitty gritty.

The film does explore interesting ideas about the nature of existence, reality and about the nature of morality, love and humanity even in an artificial existence like the Matrix. There is a very nice conversation about this between Neo and some artificial intelligence programs in the Matrix. Even though these programs are not “real” they argue that they can love each other just as real people do. There is also an element of Nietzschean philosophy in the story as Neo tries to impose his will on the universe. There is also a lot of talk about faith, and, of course, the name Trinity has religious connotations. Neo has Messianic qualities. Neo also taps into a supernatural “source” of power that sounds similar to ideas expressed by philosopher Joseph Campbell and others. The three films provide a good deal of food for thought and will, no doubt, inspire millions of words of speculation about what it all means.

So, is there going to be another sequel? The ending of the movie sure leaves the door wide open for one, and there is still a lot of money potentially left in this franchise, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are more Matrix movies in the future, despite contrary statements by some of those involved in the film.

As for “The Matrix Revolutions,” it provides a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. There weren't any real surprises in this film. It went pretty much as expected. The battle sequences were well-staged and the special effects were great. The drama was operatic on a kind of comic book level. The production design by Owen Patterson (“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”) is fantastic. Over 150 sets were created for the last two Matrix films (they were filmed as one). The film crew created a complete, imaginative, fantastic world of enormous machines, the underground city of Zion and an amazing “machine city” with its own machine ecosystem. Huge “Armored Personnel Units” (sort of like the loader Ripley used to fight the Alien queen in “Aliens”) were designed for a climactic battle in a huge domed space in Zion called the landing dock. Humans operate the APUs in a last stand in their epic battle with the machines. There were also some good fight scenes. The film has plenty of action, and some interesting ideas, too. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2003 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)