Review of "Matrix Reloaded", 3 of 5 stars

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Mike Shea, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Mike Shea

    Mike Shea Guest

    When the Matrix first came out I was blown away. It easily hit my list
    of best movies and second best science fiction movie next to Blade
    Runner. It perfectly combined themes that were almost totally doomed
    to fail, kung fu, gun fights, and science fiction. Its characters were
    superheroes but by design. While Matrix Reloaded is a good sequel, it
    does not break free of the original. It is the next part of the story,
    not a story itself. The special effects are grand and the story isn't
    bad but it isn't the complete shock to the system that the original
    was.

    While the Matrix was simple but extreme, Matrix Reloaded is
    complicated. There are about three or four scenes that seem to have
    more words in them than in the entire first movie. Where the first
    movie has a brilliant conversation between Neo and Morphius on their
    first meeting with very few words, the second has what seems to be
    line after line of dialog between our heroes and the Merovingian, a
    rogue computer program who has something Neo needs. The conversation
    makes a little more sense when you've seen the whole movie, but there
    is still quite a few wasted words. The Persephone scenes are worthless
    and after three viewings, they're embarrassing. It takes a little
    while for the movie to fire up, but the scenes of Zion are excellent
    science fiction all on their own.

    Reloaded makes up for a lot of this with more of the excellent action
    we loved in the original. Besides the battles between our heroes and
    the Agents, we now have gangs of rogue forgotten computer programs to
    battle. It makes for some excellent battles, the peak of them a huge
    car chase that puts all Bruckheimer movies to shame. The fight scenes
    are very well done, but I can tell when they're computer generated and
    when they are not. In years to come it will be as obvious as the
    bluescreening in Star Wars. Nothing makes up for live action and in
    Reloaded, they use live action whenever they can. The kung fu is
    stronger than it was in the original, the actors spent almost eight
    months in martial arts training and it shows. The actors continued to
    do all of the fighting insted of stand-ins. Some scenes, like the
    fight between Neo and Seraph, seem to be kung fu for the sake of kung
    fu, but even Neo makes fun of them; "you could have just asked".

    The DVD release of Reloaded is excellent but lacks a much desired
    director's commentary that the original Matrix had. It has an
    excellent 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture, a powerful Dolby Digital
    5.1 soundtrack that made my walls shake, and a second disc with no
    fewer than six special features. It is a top notch DVD but desperately
    needs a commentary track. Once again, I've sworn off DTS sound as an
    unneeded format that complicates an already overly complicated field
    and Matrix Reloaded shows there is no need for it.

    This week I saw Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill in the theater and was
    blown away by its originality and by an embrace of violence that so
    many others shun as a human weakness. It is an original movie in a
    world of "safe" Hollywood re-hashes and copies of plots done a
    thousand times before. I like Matrix Reloaded, but what was once an
    original film has turned into a series that attempts to best itself.
    While Matrix Reloaded succeeds in being an excellent science fiction
    action movie, it doesn't shake the world like the Matrix or Kill Bill
    did.

    Mike Shea
    http://mikeshea.net/about/
    http://liquidtheater.com/
     
    Mike Shea, Oct 16, 2003
    #1
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