As I stood beside my fellow film critic we both aimlessly stared off into the Potomac River. We were torn on a single issue: should we throw ourselves in or burn every theater in the world so that no man, woman or child would accidentally wander into one of the most overblown, self-important, epic pieces of void that is “The Matrix: Revolutions” (Warner Brothers).
With the final chapter of the Wachowski brothers’ trilogy, the viewer finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) trapped in a middle realm between the matrix and reality. Able to plug into the matrix without actually “plugging in,” he finds himself confused as to just what his purpose is regarding the man versus machine war. With everything thought to be true about his existence a possible lie, as was fleshed out in “Matrix: Reloaded,” everyone in the film is confused – the humans, the machines and, most importantly, the viewer. With just 22 hours before the “army of calamari” (a.k.a. the machine squiddies) reach Zion, the humans scramble to find any means for survival. But don’t forget the rogue third party, as Agent Smith has his own game in mind; namely, to destroy everything, acting as a sort of avatar of destruction for both man and machine.
Now there are issues ranging from the massive to the miniscule in my critique of this film and, unfortunately, in the space allocated, I can afford to bring up only the former – to do otherwise would require a tome’s worth of space.
The plot line of “Revolutions” is one of the most poorly constructed I’ve seen in a long time. With gaping holes of missing information about the epic war and its conclusion, what seemed most recurring was that the humans made a point to make their lives as hard as possible. Common sense evaded all the characters in the film as if they were ditsy teens in a horror movie. If there were a choice between taking the elevator or the stairs to the top of a tall building, they would hack off their right arms and attempt to climb it brick by brick.
Throughout the entire film’s storyline, nothing feels neccessary or engaging, which is a serious problem considering a battle for humanity is supposed to be taking place. Watching the battle for Zion is torture, as platoon of monkey’s with guns could have strategized better.
Next comes the cheap dialogue, of which Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) took a surprisingly small part. Addressing skeptical themes of ambiguity in human emotions and knowledge and existential themes of loneliness, hopelessness and the importance of individual choice, what could have been great messages – had the film not bitten off more than it could chew – ultimately boiled down to melodramatics totally devoid of impact. A great theme is only as good as its delivery, and it is here that “The Matrix” nosedives.
As Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) goes off on a nihilistic tirade about humanity, it seems as though the Wachowski brothers are making up for lost time by cramming as much as possible into one breath. This is while Reeves appears as clueless as a valley girl even during his epiphanies.
“The Matrix” series is renowned for its religious and mythological iconography, yet “Revolutions” seems to add similar iconographic elements as if attempting to interject bits of ancient canon in order to feign “greater meaning.” A Keanu Reeves/Jesus Christ metaphor was only effective in that it provided me with an immediate desire to be crucified and stabbed with a spear. It’s clear enough that Neo is supposed to be a Christ-like savior, but just because one gets the message doesn’t mean the message works well.
Even the special effects paled in comparison those of the first two films. However, it was not that the effects were poor, but that “The Matrix” has undoubtedly sheared the special effects sheep one too many times in the past, leaving little to experiment without producing a standard “ho-hum, seen it before” reaction.
The Wachowski brothers have failed to create an intelligent action epic finale. Any themes of intelligence are drowned out with overtaxed clich?s and unnecessary battle sequences ultimately ending in one of the most absurd and clich?d endings I’ve ever seen.
With a plot line whose epic nature is completely underwhelmed by its delivery, “Revolutions” may very well live up to its title, because once the worldwide premiers let out, a riot may be the only viable vent for disenchanted fans.