Usually, my first paragraph is much more clever than that, but I am a bit at a loss for words right now. Needless to say, I was more than adequately impressed by The Matrix Reloaded, as was most of the country this past weekend.
Let’s just get the obvious question out of the way. Was it better than the first one? That’s definitely not an easy answer to give. Honestly, I don’t even know. Looking back, I gave The Matrix a rating of 3 BOBs and here I am giving The Matrix Reloaded 4 BOBS. Maybe if I could go back in time, I would give the first one 4 BOBs, maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe after the final film comes out, I’ll change my mind again. It doesn’t really matter, because I really can’t compare the two movies. The themes are totally different, I left the theater feeling differently both times.
The Matrix was about birth. The birth of a hero, a messiah, a man was told to us and we sucked it all in as if we had never heard the fable before. We were given a whole new kind of special effects to be ripped off in every film since (Charlie’s Angels, I’m looking at you) and parodied in everything from Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo to Scary Movie. Philosophy became cool again and people were thinking about the possibly artificial world around them…
…And then, four long years later, The Matrix Reloaded comes along to slap us in our once-again complacent faces. As one would expect, the theme of Reloaded is life. Life is struggling to take hold in the cracks and recesses of Zion, as epitomized by the bizarre mud orgy scene. As repressed as these people are, they still know how to party. The special effects go beyond the first one, leaving even more room for poor imitation (Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, I’m looking at you). Even though I was more than a bit distracted by Neo’s pretty dress flying about, the look and feel of the film was even more stylized and fashionista. But underneath all the pretty trappings lies a grave message. What if everything you have been told your entire life is WRONG? You find that you’ve put your faith in the wrong God, a God that may be playing with you, a God that in all likelihood doesn’t even exist?
Without getting into territory that would ruin your experience of the film, the notion of free will and predetermination is the underlying problem that Neo must face. Does altruism exist? Do the choices that he makes really benefit the people of Zion and not just himself? Are they even his choices at all? On a smaller scale, these are questions that all humans must ask themselves. In dealing with these issue on a massive scale, Neo must solve these problems not just for himself, but for the entire human race.
I can only presume that the theme of the third film, The Matrix Revolutions, will be death. The film harshly concluded with a “to be continued” right in the middle of the action. Argh.
Be sure to stay through the credits to catch the only peek of the sequel that you’re likely to get for several more months. The credits are looooooong and you’ll have to sit through a Dave Matthews song. (Please let his cirrhosis come soon!) It’s actually not that bad a tune, but the credit is due to Paul Oakenfeld for remixing it.
Of course, not everyone is happy about the film. The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation is boycotting the film due to it’s biased depiction of albinos. No shit – read it for yourself. The Virus twins were one of the most entertaining bits of the film – they didn’t make me want to go run over an albino in my car or anything. I did, however, want to run over the Merovingian in my car. I hate those French bastards. Not because of the recent difficulties, I hated them way before that.
So, I’m thinking about trying to find a clear latex dress like Persephone’s. I wonder what the odds of that are?