The Matrix is a movie that will go down in film history.
From the stunning visual effects to the imaginative and intelligent
plot, it raised the bar for all motion pictures to follow.
Even higher is the bar set for the sequel. How is it possible for
The Matrix Reloaded to live up to its predecessor? Is four
years of production and a $300 million budget enough to create a
sequel that won't be killed by comparison to the original?
The Matrix Reloaded is essentially the first half of the
story that follows the revelation that Neo (Keanu Reeves) is "The
One" a modern-day messiah who possesses the power to
beat the agents of the Matrix.
Reloaded opens with the revelation that "the machines"
are digging towards the city of Zion to destroy it; and they are
only 36 hours away from reaching it. For the human race to survive,
the machines need to be stopped.
Reloaded is filled with choreographed fight scenes and
special effects that are downright jaw-dropping. But possibly in
an effort to outdo The Matrix's fighting, many of these
scenes are extremely long and do little to advance the plot.
Also, in the true form of recent science fiction sequels, Reloaded
has a romance between two major characters, Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Anne
Moss), as one of the major plot lines (see: Anakin and Amidala in
Star Wars II or Arwen and Aragorn in Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers). Although it helps to give the movie a more
human feeling, the overuse of romance makes parts of the movie seem
more like a "chick flick" than a sci-fi film.
One of the main problems with Reloaded is that it ends
without any real closure: the story won't be complete until the
release of The Matrix Revolutions, which is six months
away. At the end of the movie, you'll be on the edge of your seat
wanting more, but that will just have to wait.
With kung-fu fighting, Baudrillard philosophy and guns lots
of guns the 1999 original Matrix was incredibly
influential. Some viewers even claimed watching the film changed
their entire lives and spent countless hours staring at spoons.
But Reloaded won't have the same kind of impact as its
predecessor as the Wachowski brothers sacrifice the simple storytelling
and subtle grace of the original film for a confusing slam-bam action-adventure.
Perhaps the difference is more a matter of the story's evolution,
yet one can't help but miss the bewildered Neo (Keanu Reeves) in
his initiation into the world of man versus machine. In the first
film, we walked with Neo on his path of realization; in
Reloaded, Neo seems to be way ahead of us he can
freakin' fly like Superman now for God's sake.
Where Reloaded fails in quality, it tries to make up with
in quantity: there are more villains, more superficial relationships,
more sex and even more contrived action-movie dialogue. Suddenly,
Reloaded seems more like overloaded in its excessiveness.
Redeeming moments include the return of the Oracle (Gloria Foster),
who engages in another charming scene with Neo, and the fighting
is once again spectacular. Most notable is Neo's battle with 100
Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving), a scene so beautifully rendered that
computer programmers in the audience will weep.
But despite these glorious moments, the tendency of Reloaded is
to balance the highs with lows and the filler those scenes
without tornado kicks, fire or flying offer little of the
intrigue that bent spoons or coloured pills did in the first film.
If Reloaded is any indication of what Matrix Revolutions
will be like, the trilogy finale might not be as revolutionary as
it promises to be.