By Chuck Russel | May 17, 2003

I’m gonna keep this relatively short and sweet because believe me, come Monday, most of the world’s population will have a migraine due to the memory of the Wachowski’s biggest filmmaking ‘F**k you’ to the viewing public since George Lucas started committing his own brand of movie evisceration with the latest Star Wars franchise. Also, I will assume all of you know the Matrix story thus far.
I, like millions of others, went to the Wednesday night screening of “The Matrix: Reloaded” with the regular enormous crowd of midnight screening zombies who, like me, love nothing more than a loud pointless summer movie to hoot and holler at. The lights went down as everyone cheered and booed the 45 minutes of trailers and digital dog commercials. Then it was time for the main event…that’s when the terror started.
The film opens with what seems like a special effects clip reel of Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) doing Matrix-y things – jumping, shooting, flying a motorcycle (basically the trailer) when all of the sudden Neo (Keanu Reeves) wakes up from a dream?! One minute in and they’re already using the “dream” trick, which will happen again and again. Suddenly you notice that even though this film feels more expensive, it’s missing something, you can’t put your finger on it. Next thing you see is Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) and the crippled dude from “OZ” piloting their ship in the real world as they prepare to re-enter the Matrix. Thus begins the picture as our cast of characters begin the first of what will be MANY, MANY conversations about “choices”, “the one”, “saving Zion”, and again “choices.” Remember that annoying feeling you got when you saw Episode 1 and how every other scene had a conversation about midichlorians, the council, treaties and symbiant circles? Well that sounds like Shakespeare and Iceberg Slim brilliance compared to this diarrhea of writing. So then out of nowhere, agents appear and Neo fights. If this isn’t making any sense so far don’t worry, it’ll get worse. After that, the gang gets to Zion, the place we’ve been hearing so much about. It’s a slacker shithole, complete with “Fraggle Rock” stalactites and lava effects. And so begins the introduction to a buttload of new characters who live in this Woodstock ’96 paradise. Next we endure a series of scenes with Morpheus getting chewed out by the Zion equivalent of the yelling police chief from so many “Beverly Hills Cop” movies. Note that you will be spending at least 20 minutes of this movie with the council: a group of old fart actors that sit at a leftover set piece from “Return to the Planet of the Apes” and are dressed like a bunch of Jar Jars. Next, Morpheus gets on a rock n’ rave stage to give a speech to the people of Zion about bubbleblahblahgoobity goop. Understand that after a few speeches your brain turns to mush and English sounds Chinese mostly because you just don’t care and the visible fact that the Wachowski’s bought a Thesaurus after the success of the first Matrix.
What’s next? Do you really, really want to know? A half hour rave! A HALF HOUR F*****G RAVE! At this point, the friend I went with walked out and went home cursing. He was smarter than I.
From here on out there is truly not much more to talk about. Here’s a highlight list of the tremendously bad things to hammer your brain.
1. A total of about five scenes sprinkled throughout the film of Neo talking for no less than 10 minutes to new characters in the Matrix who all speak in Thesaurus jargon about “programming”, “hacking”, “oracles”, and again “choices.”
2. Long, expensive action scenes where (I s**t you not) the effects look ten times more cheap and green screened than the first Matrix. Keanu’s stunt double gets more screen time than he does. And through it all, you really feel your eyes getting heavy and truly wishing you were totally s**t-faced for the experience.
3. Lots of multiple Agent Smith fighting that is never explained. The Wachowski’s assume we’ve seen all three films already and understand what’s going on. Also, NOBODY EVER BLEEDS OR GETS HURT. It’s like watching someone play their Nintendo with a Game Shark where every cheat code has been activated.
4. Really, really, really bad soundtrack choices. Remember how in the last film the songs went hand and hand with the action? This time, the filmmakers opted for cartoony big orchestrated music. (Think the “Back to the Future” ride at Universal Studios.)The soundtrack CD includes new music by Marilyn Manson and P.O.D., etc., but none of these tracks are used.
5. And finally, FINALLY the last 45 minutes contains some of the most amateur, confusing editing ever seen in a big budget film like this (or any film for that matter). Characters are literally killed and then re-appear talking to each other again. The trailer made more sense than the actual film.
The audience was generally quiet compared to the squeals heard at X2‘s premiere a couple of weeks ago. Many (including myself) walked out as soon as the credits went up, even though everyone knew that the trailer for “Matrix: Revolutions” was added to the end credits.
Now I, like many of you, love nothing more than a type of film that almost writes itself: the summer blockbuster. Every ticket for “The Matrix: Reloaded” should come with t******e clamps and a car battery just so the viewer could have something else to divert their attention from, hands down, THE WORST EVENT FILM EVER MADE! Even worse than Godzilla, if that’s possible. The online buzz already has some of the “Matrix” fans defending this film, but come two years from now, every one of them will be trading in their “Matrix” boxed set at the local DVD trader along with Spider-Man.

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  1. charlesvan says:

    The fans were really in for a shock when “Revolutions” came out. This review nails it completely; with the portentious dialog, confused and slapped together plot, this movie has all the characteristics of a big-budget bad sequel. But when you get to the third installment you see that the Wachowskis are no longer even bothering to try. The 30 minute rave was a fair warning of things to come. Most, I kid you not, most of the second sequel is just people shooting at zig zaging machines with machine guns, while all the characters, and even the ultimatums, choices, and plot conundrums facing them shoved aside.

  2. Jared Bond says:

    No comments on this review? I can’t believe how well it nails it, and especially since it is written, if we are to believe it, as a first impression. Most people are too shell-shocked from a massively anticipated movie being not at all what they expected to be able to accurately evaluate it. With this movie in particular, since so many things didn’t have any conclusion, they couldn’t really blast it because they all assumed it would make more sense once the third movie came out.

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