Advance Review of The Matrix Reloaded!!!
by Md. Fuad Zain
The summer movie season of 1999 started rather innocuously with a "small" film called The Matrix
. It broke many rules of Hollywood, among them: making a sci-fi/action movie that looked like it had a budget of US$100 million when it was only made for US$65 million; daring to tell a complicated and intriguing story while still respecting its audience's intelligence; daring even still to require that its leading actors perform their own kung-fu wirework stunts in wide shots without insert cuts. The gamble paid off handsomely as it shot the careers of the Wachowsky brothers and Carrie-Anne Moss through the stratosphere, gave Laurence Fishburne that extra coolness and revived Keanu Reeves' bankability. Four years later, The Matrix Reloaded
Basic plot detail is below. Click if you dare.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The movie starts with the threat of the Machine Army looming dangerously close; The Final Flight Of The Osiris, The Animatrix short film, is the prelude to The Matrix Reloaded that tells this story.
Neo (Reeves) is now part of the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. Morpheus, who leads this crew of four, believes strongly that the end is near once Neo finds The Source. Trinity (Moss) and Link (Harold Perrineau), as the operator, completes this band of hackers. Together they have to make the Prophecy come true or risk the fall of Zion.
Keeping them from completing the task is Agent Scott (Matt McColm) who took over when Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) went missing from the System. Complicating matters is Mervengioni (Lambert Wilson) and his thugs, The Twins (Adrian and Neil Rayment). But help comes from Zion's other soldiers, Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Ghost (Anthony Wong), and an unlikely ally, Persephone (Monica Belluci). Still, the badass Agent Smith is not too far behind Neo and this time, he has a new trick up his sleeve.
From the first action sequence, you know you are in a hell of a ride. It also shows how much more money Andy and Larry Wachowski were given for their sequels. Their script is inventive, intriguing and involving as before. The quasi-philosophical scenes in the movie is so mind-boggling sometimes that you feel as though you are in the middle of an existential lecture. Still, there is enough humor scattered all over to lighten up an otherwise intense sci-fi/action movie. And yes, the script assumes that you've seen The Matrix
. As before, the Wachowskis' direction is deft and beautifully precise. From the subtlest tender moments to the exhilarating action sequences, these brothers prove that sometimes two heads in the director's chair are better than one.
Reeves shows again why he is the perfect choice for Neo. His wide-eyed and befuddled scene with the Oracle (Gloria Foster) works brilliantly and serves as the first-time audience's empathic connection to the movie. Fishburne also proves that he is not only a great actor but that he should run for President! Moss, Weaving, Belluci, Wilson and the Rayments were given some great crackling and memorable one-liners. Smith and Wong are under utilized perhaps because they are featured prominently in Enter The Matrix
, the video game tie-in that serves up a more complete story to this neo-classic trilogy.
After The Matrix
, every other action film has used and overused the bullet time effects to death. If you wonder how John Gaeta and his visual effects team could pull off that gee-whiz factor, then wonder no more. The first action sequence hints at this but it is only when the burly brawl sequence plays out that you realize the extent of innovation they came up with. While the CGIs could use a little more massaging, that sequence will make your jaw drop as to the complexity of it all. The piece de resistance must be the highway chase sequence - an instant movie classic. Not even the most seasoned Grand Theft Auto players and perpetrators can predict what will unfold next. This sequence will have your palms sweaty and your heart racing by the time it ends.
Complementing this department is the rest of The Matrix
veterans. Dane Davis' contribution as the sound designer and supervising sound editor will definitely be appreciated by home theater enthusiast, with its sweeping, encompassing and dynamic mix of gunshots, shell casings and explosions. Don Davis' score blends perfectly with the original film's score while still evoking something primal and edgy with the more extensive use of percussions. Bill Pope's work as the director of photography is really meant to be enjoyed on the widest screen possible and Zach Staenberg cut the film to almost perfection. Incidentally through their work, The Matrix
won four out of four of the nominations it received in the Oscars in 2000 for Best Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing.
What you saw in The Matrix Reloaded
trailer was just enough to whet your appetite. The Matrix Reloaded
shreds the first two episodes of the Star Wars
saga to pieces with deeper and resonant themes - though that's not really hard to do. It is a bolder and scarier ride and it will have you at the edge of your seats. You would be cursing in French just to see if time could pass fast enough for the fourth quarter of 2003 to come because that is when The Matrix Revolutions
and Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
arrive at your cinema screens. And do stay until the end of the credits for a two-minute preview of The Matrix Revolutions
The Matrix Reloaded
Sci-Fi/Action, Color, 2003
Director: The Wachowski Brothers
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Belluci, Gloria Foster, Harold Perrineau, Matt McColm, Adrian and Neil Rayment, Lambert Wilson, Anthony Wong.
Sound Format : Dolby Digital, DTS and SDDShttp://www.thematrix.com/
(PS - I tried posting on the Official Review threat but it was closed!)