The Matrix Reloaded - Dystopian Vision Our Only Choice?
The Matrix finally
opened and judging by the crowds outside on Granville Street last night,
there were more than just a few as keen to be part of the experience as
(Neo), Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus),
Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith), Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobi), Adrian Rayment
and Neil Rayment (The Twins), Christine Anu, Steve Bastoni (Captain
Sorren), Monica Bellucci (Persephone), Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson),
Collin Chou, Randall Duk Kim (The Keymaker), Nona Gaye (Zee), Lachy
Hulme (Sparks), Roy Jones, Jr. (Captain Ballard), Harry Lennix (Lock),
Matt McColm (Agent Thompson), Monique Montez, Harold Perrineau,
Jr., Rupert Reid, Che Timmins (Radio Man), Gina Torres (Cass, Dozer's
widow), Clayton Watson (The Kid), Lambert Wilson (Merovingian)
Curiously, although it was an event and the film at least half-way lived
up to the hype, there were some odd moments before the film opened. Seeing
the trailer for Terminator 3 was quite sobering. First of all it was received
in silence. A big cinema crowd is usually quite vocal in its likes and
dislikes and I remember being in the audience when T2 was trailered a
number of years ago and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone wanted to
see it. T3 well maybe its just too late, too much post-apocalypse
for these times. Nice to see Claire Danes in something big and for Arnies
sake, at least no one laughed. Which I am afraid happened when Tom Cruises
latest The Last Samurai trailer appeared. OK it wont
be here until December, but I dont know if we are ready for Tom
in a Samurai outfit.
So onto the Matrix Reloaded.
Here at last then Larry and Andy Wachowski have brought us the second
part of the trilogy and the final instalment will be shown in November.
Youll know it stars most of the same people as in the first, unless
they died, or even if the did, like Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith, he reappears
in multiple roles. (I do mean multiple). Keanu, Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence
Fishburne, Anthony Zerbe all return and yes it is true, if you havent
seen the first one you wont know what is happening at all when you
see this. The dystopian message is as strong as ever and the special effects
are spectacular, the pace extraordinary, especially the fighting sequences
on the freeway. The beat, the pace and relentlessness of the sequence
is amazing. When Keanu flies, it outdoes Superman big-time with the sheer
force of it pulling up cars and debris in his tracks. Its always
nice to see Monica Belluci with her clothes on and the look, feel and
musical underpinning of the whole film is sharp and seamless.
But what does it all mean? What about plot?
We do get some exposition at the end of the third act from the architect
of the whole thing and lots of information that states that this isnt
the first Matrix, but the sixth, but then again I am not sure that actually
helps. People have written books about the Matrix likening Keanus
Neo character to Jesus and the plot similar to his last days. There is
always a Judas out there to do someone like Neo in, an Oracle to take
enigmatic advice from and a plethora of villains out to string him up.
But they wrote the same about Dune and hey, does anyone remember
Philip K Dick in all of this, who seems to written all of this stuff many
times over in the 50s .
To tell the truth I enjoyed the film and probably need to see it again
to remember it all there is so much going on. Harold Perrineau puts life
into his character as Link, the man who can interpret code and do incredible
things with computers and gets to go home to the lovely Nona Gaye. The
opening sequences of a mass rave in Zion with everyone getting
it on is a turn on and of course quite opposite to the sterile machinations
of life in the Matrix. It defines what to be a human is right from the
word go; but is it better?
There are many anomalies.
In the Matrix you can have any kind of life you like, any kind of sex,
of course you have to live permanently in the 1990s and the freeways
are jammed solid, but wouldnt that be better than life in an underground
cave and no sunlight. Indeed can a human live without sunlight? I dont
think so? So Im wondering if those who leave the Matrix are getting
a better life just because they can choose? And is life in a cave better?
Whenever we film the future, it is always dystopian. I guess we cant
help it. We imagine every generation is living in the best times and everyone
else is going to have to worse.
But life now is better than 1860? 1920? 1950? Pick any year. It might
be that the future might be fun, crowded but fun, and SARS, AIDS, West
Nile Virus aside, cures for cancer and the common cold might actually
happen and machines and computers may not take over. We have been imagining
that robots will take over our world for more than a hundred years (ever
since Nikolai Tesla demonstrated a robot at the Worlds
Fair in Buffalo, New York around 1890 something). We live in fear of being
controlled by machines apparently. That fear may indeed come true if they
are designed by Microsoft of course.
Keanu Reeves is stoic throughout this film, when he jacks into the Matrix
he is wearing a wonderful Italianate priests/monks robe that adds to his
saintly posture. Carrie Ann Moss is all tricked out in black
plastic and there is this full-on video game thing going on here. Back
in reality, everyone is in leather or rags, again emphasising that life
in the Matrix is richer in texture and colour and with better wine and
food. The rich have discrete erotic lives and their security is scarily
wraith like, but, of course, no match for Neo who is becoming more superhuman
as the film goes along.
Is there any meaning to the Matrix? Or is it just entertainment? Certainly
it is a mile better than X2 and any of the more recent Star
Wars or indeed any sci-fi movies since the seminal Blade Runner
but it is simplistic, the dialogue pretty unmemorable and theres
the pity. Political messages dont need to be delivered by speeches
and this is the cardinal error of this current film, too many speeches.
Yes Ill be in line for Matrix Redux in November. I guess you will
© Sam North