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09 November 2003 @ 06:16 pm
I just lost my entire post on Matrix: Revolution. Poo.

Basically, it was a "good movie" in the sense that any Hollywood film these days is, fully showing off its large budget through nifty special effects, brand-name actors, and what-have-you. I was disappointed in it because it felt like it relied on the basics set by the first movie and the special effects standards set by the second movie, without creating new anything of its own. It relied greatly on cliches, and in general was pretty bland in the philosophical regard.

Neo is still as bright as a pile of bricks. Come on, Neo. Let's think about this. Who the hell else refers to you as "Mr. Anderson" on a regular basis? Speaking of Smith, there was (of course) lots of Smith. Yay Smith! I laughed so hard when he was being all evil up in the sky and LIGHTNING STRAGETICALLY FLASHED AROUND HIM. It was so wonderfully CHEESY.

The "god" of the machine city reminded me of a Goth version of the sun in the Teletubbies. It also vaguely reminded me of the giant projected head in the Wizard of Oz. Other than that, I found it somewhat annoying, because it spoke with discernible emotion - if indeed it is a true machine, it should not have anger. It should not sound like a two-year old trying to prove its independence a la "we don't need you," you know?

I also (finally) saw Pirates of the Caribbean last Thursday. I have discovered that Captain Jack Sparrow is a man almost entirely in sync with his Tao! But that's probably more thought than a movie with skeleton pirates needs or wants, really. So, to put it simply, he amuses me vastly.

Running out of time!
Current Mood: nervousnervous
Alexander Williamszamiel on November 9th, 2003 04:51 pm (UTC)
Why shouldn't the Face of the Machine have emotion? We've already established that the Machines are just as emotional as humans, with concepts of love and family which border on our own even if they don't overlap with it (or why do you think we're introduced to Sati's family as long as we were at the beginning?). Smith, Sati, the Oracle, all exemplify that while the Machines may be alien in terms of emotional stance, they're not utterly incomprehensibly so.

I'm not sure I get the charge of blandness, either. The surface was bland, yes -- but deliberately so. We know this story, the Messiah's Path, its part of every known religious catecism. That's clearly not where to look for depth. For that, you have to consider context, something that I'm rather disapointed that so few people are doing. How often do you see the subtext that humanity is, effectively, doomed, and cannot win, against an alien threat that's not necessarily inimical, or even necessarily bad, just different? In that context, the over-story takes on a subtly different meaning.
One Who Wanders: stupidabiona on November 9th, 2003 07:20 pm (UTC)
Now that you mention it, the showing of emotion makes a lot more sense. I can't really have a good debate with you at the moment, sadly, because the more I try to look back the less I remember. ._.;

As for the blandness, it felt a lot like "just another war movie" to me, with the fresh-faced recruits and endless interjections of either downright pessimissm (usually the battle-hardened military leaders) or optimism ... lots of "believe" in this that or the other thing. It seemed also like a lot of "fate" and "destiny" (though as I remember so little specifics, I can't back that up), which ... er, well, would rub against my bias the wrong way. >.>;

I feel like I'm trying to talk with half my brain removed. o_o

Alexander Williamszamiel on November 9th, 2003 11:01 pm (UTC)
Debating with me can be agonizing, since I have this obsession with micro-detail. :)

See, you missed the whole point of how the battle for Zion in Revolutions is essentially different from "just another war movie." The Zionites are absolutely, unequivocably, guaranteed to lose, before even the first squiddy's dispatched. You know, up front, without a question, that no matter what they pull out of the fire, its futile. Most of the major players in the battle have their ideals shattered along the way, and some don't regain them: Mifune dies, futily fighting the massive wave of squiddies of whom he only takes a few out. Locke has long since given in to the cynicism of his position. Morpheus has had his faith in fate and the destiny of The One irredeemably broken -- what he learns to believe in is Neo as a person, rather than Neo as a Messiah.

Yes, there's a lot of talk of fate and destiny -- and most of the people talking are either transhuman intelligences with access to massive processing power and lots of experience (The Oracle, the Architect), one of the two most powerful semi-mortal entites left in the Matrix (Smith, Neo), or people who have no idea what they're talking about and end up trusting to a fate that's a sham (Morpheus pre-Reloaded, pretty much everyone else).

The real trick to understanding the Matrix as a whole is to recognize the difference between the glittery surface statements and what's really going on, what the real history is, and who the real movers and shakers are. Once you look beyond the reflective surface coating, the Matrix is really a little dark morality tale that explodes the myth of myth, and suggests we have faith in each other as people rather than cyphers.

Ah, but I digress.
HEADCLEANER: Godspeed!antitype on November 10th, 2003 11:46 am (UTC)
It's good to see that not everyone is taking these movies at face value and writing them off... There is a lot more to them than most people seem to recognize.
Alexander Williamszamiel on November 10th, 2003 01:35 pm (UTC)
Really, the movies are written from a central standpoint of "duality," and approaching them from the position that only one facet is meaningful is a doomed proposition.
One Who Wanders: blahabiona on November 10th, 2003 03:49 pm (UTC)
HEADCLEANER: Godspeed!antitype on November 11th, 2003 10:24 am (UTC)
That wasn't specifically directed at you...
Lukesemi_normal on November 10th, 2003 09:08 pm (UTC)
Moral or message has never, ever made a movie. Where I think the two sequels fall down, rather than discussions of the philosophy behind the movies, are in terms of cinematic pacing and climax. Reloaded didn't quite realise it's potential because it had no threat to Neo. To this you'd naturally say we had Smith, but the problem was he wasn't properly set up, cinematically, to be a challenge. Even when we had the hundred man pileon, you still get the sense that Neo's only struggling a little. It destroyed Smith as a powerful character by forcing him into numbers to accomplish that power. The third movie fixed that by building Smith into a proper threat - he gains power equal to Neo, he threatens the entire Matrix itself....so why couldn't they have started building that in the second movie rather than just sort of throwing it in in the third movie? Again, pacing. The third movie felt a little rushed, and the second felt like it had no substance. They should probably have flowed a little better.

There's a saying in drama. If someone gets shot in the third act, the gun has to be on the table in the second. Smith should have been starting to be established in the second movie, I beleive, even if only as an epilogue.

Anyway, that's just me rambling. What I really agree with is what Abi said to begin with - that they didn't add enough new, instead only trying to stretch out the original. In that I sort of feel like the original movie was the definitive work, and the two following read like someone's choppy fanfiction. It has moments of creativity, but otherwise it seems scared to break away from the original and hence just ends up echoing it ad nauseum.
livinghole on November 10th, 2003 09:30 pm (UTC)
Don't forget that both movies were originally supposed to come out as one. This still doesn't do anything though

If someone gets shot in the third act, the gun has to be on the table in the second.

Much like Neo (or any other person finally being unplugged from the matrix), Smith is not fully aware of the powers he has when he becomes the virus. He decides to pick the track that seems most logical to him at the moment - multiplicity. When he realizes that having many copies of himself isn't going to work, Smith becomes more clever. First, he infests Bane. Then, by learning from his previous fights with Neo, Smith discovers the possibilities that his new body brings him. It's not until the 3rd movie that we get to see him using this. Learning takes time though--no one makes their first jump.

I just lost where I was going, but it's mostly complete =P