Making the Grades
Back for its third attack on box offices around the world, The Matrix: Revolutions is simultaneously releasing in a reported 60 countries--including China. While it may surprise some that a metaphysical tale about ?The One? has been approved for viewing by the communist regime, I suspect even they recognized this movie for what it really is: Violent escapism with a light and fluffy topping of divine platitudes unlikely to leave anyone with a craving for organized religion.
For the rest of the free world, Revolutions' foray into spiritual high-mindedness will no doubt stimulate countless hours of water cooler philosophy with its obvious parallels to various denominational doctrines. Keanu Reeves returns as Neo, the man who a handful of faithful followers think may be the only hope for saving the few humans left on--or should I say in--the scorched Earth, all residing in the underground city of Zion.
With the angry machines on the surface determined to dig to downtown, the holed up populace madly stuffs gunpowder into shells under direction of Commander Lock (Harry Lennix). But with the battle only twenty hours away, and knowing the incredible number of forces the machines can produce, ?believers? like Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) feel Lock is putting all his bullets into one basket. Instead they put their support behind Neo's plan to go to Machine City with one of only two remaining ships, and try and stop the war from there.
Unhappy when Neo ignores his orders and leaves on what seems like a suicidal mission, Lock continues with his strategy, using equipment that resembles those Transformer toys your kids were playing with a few years ago. Gunmen sit at the heart of these giant robots and pummel uncountable amounts of ammunition into an even greater number of octopus-like aliens that are raining through the rock ceiling. The battle sequences are epic in their proportions, but it doesn't take long to realize there's no hope for this conventional tactic.
The same might be said for the Wachowski brothers' approach to this movie. It started as a nifty concept in episode one, grew into a convoluted philosophical message in Reloaded, and now has morphed into a very conventional sci-fi fantasy that has just as many parallels to Star Wars as it has to any sacred dogma it may be trying to imitate.
Huge walking robots look as ridiculous as the four-legged walkers used by Darth Vader, a crack pilot searches for a maintenance shaft she can squeeze her ship through, and an eager underage infantryman joining the preparations for war against the mechanized enemy has the boyhood zeal of Luke Skywalker going off to defeat the Deathstar.
What hasn't changed is the ferocity of the violence that ranges from the intense martial arts style confrontations this series is known for, to the billions of bullets shot at people (with bloody results) and machines. Even more needless is the brief inclusion of a scene set in a sexually oriented club where topless women dance while men fondle their breasts.
For many the original Matrix was a mind opening experience. It was one of those infinity moments that didn't offer an answer, so viewers could make their own deductions. In my opinion, that's why so many have embraced it. Yet American filmmakers have an innate desire to wrap things up--especially if there's a possibility of making even more money whilst doing so. Now that we're at the end of this story (although there is a wide open ?plug in? for Matrix 4), I can't help but wonder if the disciples of this religion really wanted a conclusion in the first place.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Matrix Revolutions.
How are enemies portrayed in movies like The Matrix: Revolutions? Is a ?faceless? opponent easier to hate? Can you think of other movies where machines and inhuman beings are portrayed as evil? Have there been any occurrences in world history where people have tried to obscure the human side of their foes?