Volume 97, Issue 1
Thursday, May 22, 2003

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The Matrix Reloaded

Reloaded misses the mark

By Myles DeRosse
Gazette Staff

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.

By Brian Wong
Gazette Staff

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.


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