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James Lileks reviews "The Matrix Revolutions"
The Bleat ^ | 11/07/03 | James Lileks

Posted on 11/08/2003 12:09:32 AM PST by JURB

..
I had to clear my mind. Zero out the drive with random bits. A movie might help. Went to the mall, stood outside, thought: do I really want to do this? I’ve read the reviews – well, not the reviews themselves; people drop spoilers so casually now. (I should note that I consider anything more detailed than a cast list a spoiler.) But I’d gotten the scent from the headlines and the message boards chatter: Matrix 3 was worse than 2. But I had to see it at some point. Might as well be now.

If you recall last spring’s review of #2: I thought it was a ponderous, boring mess. Sure, it had a certain buzz, but so does a beached flyblown whale carcass. The metaphysics were sophomoric, the acting stiff and pained, the action without consequence or drama. The FX, while amazing, were just a demo reel for new CGI programs. Nothing meant anything. Why should I root for Zion? The machines had built this enormous civilization for themselves, and the guys down in the Rave Hole hadn’t even figured out how to make decent shoes. Me, I’d be begging for admission to the Matrix, but not Morpheus and crew: oh, no, you’re not sending me back to the world of steak, tailored shirts, cigars and fine bourbon! I’m staying right down here in the Temple of No Particular Deity with Cornell West and that guy who used to be in Night Stalker!

I’m kidding, but not by much. See, the humans started this war. They lost. The machines enslaved them, and made the Matrix so they’d have happy dreams and turn out lots of energy. (The machines can build everything except nuclear power plants, it seems.) Supposedly the war still goes on, but I don’t know why the machines even bother with the human remnants. In M3 the machiens mass an astonishing invasion force, a million tons of angry tentacled metal. Memo to machines: the human live in a pit. In the ground. It would be easier to roll a stone over the ventilation ducts, wouldn’t it? Pump in some cholorform and fill the place with water. But nooo. The machines have to attack and destroy Zion, so the machine world will be safe from their gravest threat: three dozen heavily armed acrobats in black trenchcoats and sunglasses.

That’s how I felt before I saw the film. Zero investment. So I paid my five dollars and prepared for that unique sensation you get in modern movies: being bored while battered repeatedly in the head.

Credits. You get that familiar creepy green, that tell-tale chord on the sountrack, and then you’re back where you were with the credits in the second movie, flitting through the pixels. But this time there was something different – the viewpoint zooms in, and in, and in, and a golden fractal blooms for a second; hmmm. Then you’re out, and out, and out, and back into the movie. And it is slooooow.

For starters, anyway. Slow but not annoying; not yet. That’ll come, you figure, when we start talking about choice and destiny and belief and who is the One and all the rest of the stuff that gargled bong-water. I winced when we had Yet Another Metaphorical Character introduced - The Trainman, this time. He shuttles programs here and there, a real sensitive and charon’ kind of guy, etc. (Last time we had the Keymaster, and I kept expecting Rick Moranis to show up.) But this early scene had a certain beauty. It was set in a train station (purgatory, I suppose) and it introduced a few characters who had no Great Meaning. They weren’t essential to the plot. They had no symbolic weight. They smiled. They seemed like people, not archetypes, and right there I was reminded again what was wrong with the entire Matrix series. For all its hoohah about People, it has few individuals and very little humanity. Mannikins vs. Robots.

That’s why we love Agent Smith. He’s the only one having fun. He’s like the Tony Roberts character in a Woody Allen movie. The director wants us to fear him – but who wouldn’t want to knock back some cold ones with Agent Smith? Missster Liiilechs, I’ve missed you. Have a beeeeer. Don’t tell me the Merovingian would be fun to kick around with, because his entire persona is based on the sort of Frenchman who’d only put down his copy of Existentialisme Pour Les Idiots because it was his turn to load the little kids into the SS train cars. Morpheus was fun enough in the first film, but he turned into a mopey doughnut. Trinity went from mannish to man, ish. The Oracle is an interesting character, but Christ! Try to get a straight answer out of that woman!

Are these cookies for me, Oracle?

I think you know.

No – seriously, are you saving them for someone? Because you said you had company coming over later, and I don’t want to take them if you’d intended them for someone else, so -

You don’t know what you want to do, child. Look at you, all serious now. Lawd. But sometimes we do things we want to do, not knowing what we don’t think we shouldn't.

I - I don’t understand.

Neither do I. I wish I could tell you, Neo. I wish the script was better. But it’s not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to look away and smoke somewhat unconvincingly.

I’m burying the lede again, aren’t I.

I loved this one. Yes. Yes, I did. Chalk it up to the same reasons I enjoyed SW: Episode 2 – low, low, low expectations, matinee time frame, need for diversion, juvenile love of spectacle, guilty indulgence in sci-fi nonsense. But it’s a better movie. It looks and feels more like the first than the second. There’s 62% less pontificating. Smith is Smithier than ever. Yes, some of the death soliloquies take a day and a half; yes, every war cliché is on parade with its pants down; yes, yes, yes. Yes there’s the council of Sonorous Robed People discussing the imminent extinction of humanity with all the passion of some suburban selectmen debating a sewer extension; yes the future of the species depending on someone manually piloting a blimp through a drinking straw at 2394 MPH instead of turning it over to the computer; yes yes yes. Yes the final scenes don’t exactly make sense - how did Neo do that? What exactly did he do? What happens now?

Doesn’t matter. The invasion of Zion was one of the most impressive visual achievements I’ve ever seen on the screen – and this was one of the set-pieces the critics sniffed at. The scenes en route to the Machine City: whoa, to quote the poet. And the final fight between Neo and Smith is every comic book I read as a kid come to life and amped up beyond anything I dreamed. I never thought I would see things like that. Having seen them, I’m grateful. Five bucks for that? Hell, I would have paid eight.

We still see the limits of technology, though. Computer graphics can make a thousand flying squid flow through a hole in a vast concrete dome; they can bring to live tanks the size of mountains, animate robot oracles whose face is made up of a million pieces of metal swarming in frantic concert.

But they can’t take 27 pounds of Laurence Fishburn.

When I’ve seen a movie I found interesting, I go back to the reviews I’d avoided. One such review was on Ain’t It Cool News, penned by AICN’s head red, Harry Knowles. Mr. Knowles is an interesting character for a variety of reasons – he lent legitimacy to the fervent fan-boy demographic, gave them a voice and some influence through the popularity of his site. He got a book out of the site; good for him. He got a TV show which runs somewhere on the planet, and is producing a movie; good for him. He has passion for movies and a voracious appetite for the genre. Bravo!

Alas, he cannot write. He is a horrid stylist; he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts; his politics have the sophistication of a preschool crayon drawing, and his self-confidence in his insights is matched only by his inability to see how fatuous his work often sounds. Mr. Knowles is often held up as an example of New Media, one of those outsiders who’ve wrested the mike from the old tired media. Usually I support that sort of thing, but if ever there was an argument for restricting the role of Critic to the white-gloved aesthetes, the Lucius Beebes, the Jay Shermans, the guys who, y’know, have done it, with a laidy, nudge nudge, it’s Harry Knowles. His review of Matrix 3 proves that if you can’t say something coherent, just say it in purple-tinted boldface 20-point Arial:

You see, The Machines… They’re the United States and Capitalism. Ultimately they want society operating in the 9 to 5, eat your food, grab a movie, raise the kids, go to church and get back to work sort of daze. That’s the Machine way. Don’t worry about the “MEANING OF IT ALL” just do your job, be a battery and power the big society forward.

No, Harry, the machines symbolize any organized society that lacks or denies free will. If you think that’s the United States, then consider the number of times the authorities have come to your house, pried you off the sofa and put you to work in the steel mill.

It takes a special kind of idiot to think that people who go to church and raise children don’t worry about the Meaning of It All. It’s not the banality of Knowles’ remark that’s remarkable, it’s the fact that he holds himself out as someone who doesn’t do the 9 to 5, raises kids, goes to church, and goes to work in a daze. He has a completely different life - made possible entirely by Capitalism, and the United States.


Ultimately… Neo, Morpheus, “the rebel alliance” – essentially… In a lot of ways… they’re the bad guys. You see, they’re fucking everything up. The come into our “Society” blow shit up. Yes, he wrote that. And posted it. Cause problems. Get all violent and shit. Do little hit and run missions. Neo is for his people… basically, he’s Bin Laden living in a cave somewhere…

Oh, my God.

9/11 was a “little hit and run mission,” eh. Noted.

and the Machines… they’re drilling to put a stop to it all. Now, the problem is… the only person that can put a stop to “The War” on Terrorism are the terrorist.

He are, are he?


Essentially, Bin Laden has to come forward, tell his people they’ll be ok, give himself up, negotiate a cease fire and allow his life to be the symbol of peaceful co-existence between both cultures. “The Machines” and “The Humans” “The Capitalist” and “The Fundamentalist Extremists”

Get this man a seat on the Security Council. Only Nixon can go to China! Only Kirk can go to Chronos! Only Bin Laden can make peace, if he agrees to be the symbol of peaceful co-existence between Capitalism and Humans.

NOW… What is Agent Smith? Essentially, Agent Smith was Communism. If we are all the same, then there is no reason for violence. Resistance is Futile. Communism was fantastic as it represents an ideology that the Capitalist and the Extremists both hated. And it was spreading and taking over and trying to assimilate cultures and suppress belief systems. Or you could say AGENT SMITH is that Born Again Christian type that is trying to eradicate another’s belief system… and ultimately – the elimination of both either politically, humanly or functionally is a move towards peace.

You can’t make this up. You can only stand in awe. If I can untangle the wet knotted shoelaces of Knowles’ prose, he seems to be saying that we can only live in peace when everyone agrees to believe in nothing but peace. Why, if we stop insisting that people should be free to choose, and they stop insisting that everyone should choose Islamic law, we’ll all get along just fine.


Ultimately, it’s about reaching understandings by which both sides can co-exist and live. It’s about stopping the madness because it is madness. Because tearing each other apart is a waste of resources. The toil on both societies is counter-productive to co-habitation on this big green planet of ours.


What societies? The Capitalists and the Bin Ladens? What the hell is he talking about? Who’s tearing who apart? The Religious Fundamentalists and the Rebel Alliance? The Imperial Stormtroopers and the Ewoks?


Ultimately what they believe or we believe is inconsequential.

Spoken like a man with no beliefs. Or, more accurately, spoken like someone who thinks that line above demonstrates some sort of intellectual sophistication lost on people who do the whole work-kids-church thing. Trust me, Harry – what someone believes is of great consequence. And if your society believes nothing it ends up making its last stand in the Temple of No Particular Belief System with the squiddies hammering on the door, possessed of a terrible certainty: they believe you should die.


What gets you through your cold dark nights and hours of depression to that day in the sun… well it may be entirely different from mine, but what doesn’t work is governing by MESSIAHS positive or negative.

Keep in mind this is a movie review about a movie where Keanu Reeves flies around and saves the world because he is, well, the Messiah. Sort of. In any case, who’s being governed by Messiahs on this big green planet of ours? Any self-appointed Messiahs out there addressing his Parliament, pushing through a new highway bill, smiting the unbelievers, extending the minimum wage?

Then we have a society RULED as opposed to a society governed. That’s why all Messiahs must die. Why religion should stay out of governing bodies, and ultimately we should adopt a live and let live sort of way of life.

We’ll tolerate the machines enslaving our species, and they’ll tolerate our desire to live underground and hold raves. Win win.

And the fighting, well… as all good geeks that were raised with WARGAMES, the only way to win is not to play. A lesson that is hard fought and learned in this film.

Yes, they fight to learn not to fight, because what does Neo’s fighting do for the humans? Beside liberation, freedom, and an end to war? To quote a politician, I suppose that’s a good thing. But they had to fight to get it! Ashes, I tell you – these triumphs taste like ashes!

I don’t know what’s more frightening – the idea that anyone takes this boy seriously, or the idea that he’s right: an entire generation got their moral instruction from a Matthew Broderick movie about a computer named after a Burger King specialty.

I took away something else from the Matrix trilogy: it is a product of deeply confused people. They want it all. They want individualism and community; they want secularism and transcendence; they want the purity of committed love and the licentious fun of an S&M club; they want peace and the thrill of violence; they want God, but they want to design him on their own screens with their own programs by their own terms for their own needs, and having defined the divine on their own terms, they bristle when anyone suggests they have simply built a room with a mirror and flattering lighting. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a God. But they can’t quite go all the way. They’re like three movies about circular flat meat patties that can never quite bring themselves to say the word “hamburger.”

Philosophically, the Matrix movies are banal, but they’re no worse than the empty animism of George Lucas’ Force-centric cosmology. As dramas, they lag – but Wagner wasn’t thrill-a-minute, either. The moments of emotional connection are few, but they’re there, almost like Burma-Shave signs spaced out every hundred miles. Overall, they’re overrated, but overall they’re worth it - there are times when they have the same strange thrill you got as a kid when you chewed tinfoil and it hit a filling. New, strange, electric, disturbing. The first movie is still the best; the second is still the worst. Amazing sights await in the third, and little else, but we live in a world of amazing sights. To top what you’ve seen so far in your life is no small feat.

And certainly worth five dollars.


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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: ai; lileks; matrix; wachowski; zion

1 posted on 11/08/2003 12:09:33 AM PST by JURB
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To: JURB
Heheheh... pretty good review. He does a tremendous job of hacking apart that ridiculous review by the other guy. What a pile that was.

I haven't seen Matrix 3 yet. What makes me not want to see it is that there is something I "figured out" in the 2nd movie that doesn't seem to be in the 3rd. Several things that happened in the 2nd could ONLY happen if Zion were itself another layer of the matrix - Neo could not "zap" machines nor could Smith upload himself into Zion. My understanding is that Matrix 3 does -not- make Zion an aspect of the Matrix. If that's the case, it makes the 2nd movie even worse than it already was. I would've preferred the logic of the trilogy to be predictable and reasonably logical than to have it be unpredictable but make absolutely no bloody sense.

Qwinn
2 posted on 11/08/2003 12:31:15 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn
To seriously 'critique' the Matrix series of movies, one should rent the Animatrix DVD or purchase it. It's a collection of anime type productions, from various producers that expand upon the Matrix storyline and dive into it and give it that human touch. He's right, M2 and I have yet to see M3, but in M2 the acting was off and was eye candy for the most part and plot development, I am sure, for M3.

Being a SCIFI buff and fan and also a full time computer geek, I think I understand the Matrix series of movies more so than the average person who is not fully computer literate.

It's hard to verbalize this into words here, but I am attempting to explain that there are certain underlying principles with computing and artificial intelligence that one day could mimic what occurred in the Matrix.

What excites me about the series is that for the first time on film based media for a large audience, the Wachowski (spelling) brothers (producers/writers) have attempted to throw the "what-if" scenario with regard to future technologies run amuck. It is simply their interpretation of what could happen.

Another movie series is somewhat similar, but is more violent and has definite, concise modes of action .. Definitive beginning and ends - That is the Terminator series of movies.

What is unique about the Matrix, to me, and to many others, is that every individual that watches the triology gets out of it exactly what their preconceived notions were with it.

Instead of a movie series based on certain cause and effect relationships, the Matrix challenges one to think in a philosophical sense and to ponder, in humanistic ways, what if? ....
3 posted on 11/08/2003 12:46:13 AM PST by Gorons
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To: Qwinn
What makes me not want to see it is that there is something I "figured out" in the 2nd movie that doesn't seem to be in the 3rd. Several things that happened in the 2nd could ONLY happen if Zion were itself another layer of the matrix - Neo could not "zap" machines nor could Smith upload himself into Zion.

EXACTLY!!! Welcome to the paradox of the entire series. Obviously there are barriers to the so-called "physical" world versus the world that exists in the "matrix".

Once one gets into the Matrix, the normal rules of physics do not apply. Except - For 'the one'. The 'one' is simply an errant subroutine or program, if you wish, a human brain developed via the virtual reality imposed upon the human incubators / energy producers that the machines rely upon for their energy needs.

Now, if there is a true phsyical world where one can become unplugged and free of the influence of the Matrix, this stands to reason that no matter how good a program may be, or programmers working on a project such as the AI that led to the War with the humans, then this is exposing the frailty of the human mind and failing to think of possible consequences of actions later deemed unacceptable to 'the machines' which led to the revolt.

M1 did a good job of identifying and personalizing this type of debate.

M2 did a good job of identifying what happens when people are released or freed from the bondage known as the Matrix. Human behavior is simply that, we make mistakes and will continue to find fault with ourselves. The machines however, and the keymaster and the oracle, and the mainframe that governs all aspects of the Matrix are interesting plot developments to me.

took away something else from the Matrix trilogy: it is a product of deeply confused people. They want it all. They want individualism and community; they want secularism and transcendence; they want the purity of committed love and the licentious fun of an S&M club; they want peace and the thrill of violence; they want God, but they want to design him on their own screens with their own programs by their own terms for their own needs, and having defined the divine on their own terms, they bristle when anyone suggests they have simply built a room with a mirror and flattering lighting. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a God. But they can’t quite go all the way. They’re like three movies about circular flat meat patties that can never quite bring themselves to say the word “hamburger.”

I don't agree with this. I don't believe they ache for a God. I believe they ache for independence and to face a foe so overwhelming that chances are they will perish in the end. I believe that what the producers were attempting to accomplish in the series is how lack of faith (spirituality), lack of discipline with regard to how the Matrix evolved, and the ensuing wars that occured (BE SURE TO WATCH ANIMATRIX!) are all perfect examples of the fallacies of what happens when Humankind attempts to manipulate the world around him with no regard to the outcome. It's a textbook example of no matter what you engineer, it's only as good as the thought processes that go into product development cycles and remember humans are invariably bound to failure more so than success.

I cant wait to see M3. I have high expectations of this conclusion (?) as we might see spin offs in other anime productions and maybe even another feature length movie that deals with the philosophical ramifications of human kind and technology. Humans, by design, are bound for failure left to their own devices. Given the choice, the humans decided to create machines to supplant tasks no longer suitable for human rapproach. The matrix was designed by humans, and is not a perfect system but "almost achieved" equillibrium. Why it failed is because of the very nature - Mankind created it, added failsafes, the AI from the mainframe adapted and coelesced alternative programs to deal with the safeguards (or opposite of) to deal with insurgent actions from the Matrix world, or the physical world.

Overall, the series opens up many people's imaginations and everyone gets what they take from the plot development.

For me, it's a very intriguing look at the future because one day, it's very feasible this could occur in real life.

Human nature is not perfect. Neither is AI and computing, hence the strike/balance one gets the feeling of while watching the series. Nothing is perfect in this world, the Matrix. Nothing is perfect in real life either.
4 posted on 11/08/2003 1:22:03 AM PST by Gorons
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To: JURB
This reviewer has the right attitude. His observations of the movie and especially of uberFANBOY Knowles was dead solid perfect. The entire Matrix series was at best a B-movie. Lots of action and special effects and producers just as strange as Ed Wood.

If you look at it as a B-movie, you don't mind the fact that Keanu Reeves can't act and that one of the major stars, Lawrence Fishburn, has gained over 40 lbs since the first movie, which is about six months in the Matrix timeline. You'll also enjoy seeing Hugo Weaving continue to ham it up as a whacked out agent with a serious identity crisis -- everyone just has to become Smith. His acting style, though overdone in Lord of the Rings, is just perfect for his character in the Matrix. All of the battle scenes, special effects, and tense moments make the movie an enteraining piece of eye candy.

Even though it is eye candy this movie made me think. It made me realize how shallow we are and how quick to forget what is really important. If you look at the first Matrix movie the things you looked to have resolved concerned the machines controlling the humans, using them to produce their energy, growing humans in fields and liquifying some to produce food for the others. At the end of Matrix 1, we want to know how all the little hints and threads in this movie are woven into a resolution, hopefully one that benefits the human race.

By the end of the Matrix 3 little has been resolved except that the machines are no longer attacking Zion. Are the machines still using humans for their own benefit? Yes, the humans are still batteries, the machines are still killing and liquifying humans to feed others and the real world outside of Zion is still uninhabitable for human life.

That few people seem to be bothered by this is what has caused me to start thinking. Have we become so desensitized by all the flashy CG that what has really happened goes over our heads? The machines won people, they still have everything they ever wanted except now the vacuous humans in Zion have "PEACE." Morpheus dreamed of the end to the war and now they have it. Their greatest wish has been fulfulled. Not justice for all humans -- just peace and there will be fewer people willing to fight for justice for all now that some have peace.

Just like the politics of those who are willing to give up everything they know is right because of their desire for peace. You will never have true peace without justice. The Machines know it will be a matter of time until the humans wise up, but they had this whole thing planned from the beginning. Everything they did including the careful creation and nurturing of the One and the One mythology was to counterbalance and control what they perceived as human behavior and tendencies. So that they could continue to use human beings for fuel while on the other hand making humans feel they had accomplished something.

The ending of the movie with the Oracle, and the little girl was very disturbing to me. The false sense of security from the Oracle the humans were given with this token acknowledgement of Neo by the little girl reminded me of something political. The patronizing condescending treatment of blacks by the Democratic party. The same way they have pulled the wool over the eyes of my people, the Oracle and the Architech have pulled the wool over the eyes of the people of Zion.

It seems the Wachowski brothers may have pulled the wool over the eyes of a few others too, but not so many as they would have liked.
5 posted on 11/08/2003 1:46:52 AM PST by Waryone
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To: Waryone
The ending of the movie with the Oracle, and the little girl was very disturbing to me. The false sense of security from the Oracle the humans were given with this token acknowledgement of Neo by the little girl reminded me of something political. The patronizing condescending treatment of blacks by the Democratic party. The same way they have pulled the wool over the eyes of my people, the Oracle and the Architech have pulled the wool over the eyes of the people of Zion.

If you watched the ANIMATRIX DVD set, you will discover that the machines set up shop in the middle east as their hub.

Zion is a label where humans live outside the matrix.

Is it just me, or have any others noticed the parallels to the current affairs occuring in the middle east vs the civilized Western nations? Was this coincidence or planned?

Something to chew on. :)
6 posted on 11/08/2003 2:03:27 AM PST by Gorons
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To: JURB
Lileks bump
7 posted on 11/08/2003 2:19:05 AM PST by Dajjal
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To: Gorons
I don't agree with this. I don't believe they ache for a God. I believe they ache for independence and to face a foe so overwhelming that chances are they will perish in the end. I believe that what the producers were attempting to accomplish in the series is how lack of faith (spirituality), lack of discipline with regard to how the Matrix evolved, and the ensuing wars that occured (BE SURE TO WATCH ANIMATRIX!) are all perfect examples of the fallacies of what happens when Humankind attempts to manipulate the world around him with no regard to the outcome. It's a textbook example of no matter what you engineer, it's only as good as the thought processes that go into product development cycles and remember humans are invariably bound to failure more so than success.

I have to disagree with you because of what you mention. They have imperfect machine gods sharing control of the Matrix, the Oracle and the Architect. There is an imperfect machine god, the 01 -- Deus Ex Machina. The humans even offer up prayers to who knows what and rely on their own strength or some myth of unknown origin. These imperfect humans designed machines which can never be more perfect than those who created them. Certainly these are not fit to be the humans' god. The people are in need of a true and perfect God, the one who answers prayer, who works all things together for their good. The one who truly controls everything. All three movies sorely lacked this understanding.

I agree with Lileks, only I would remove one word and exchange it for a few others. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a the one true God.

8 posted on 11/08/2003 2:30:06 AM PST by Waryone
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To: Gorons
I have a 14 year old son so yes I have seen the Animatrix DVD and heard first hand about the Enter the Matrix game. So yes I do know about all the backstory those platforms contain.

But the real question is what has really happened in the way of progress over the span these three movies? I know you haven't seen Revolutions yet so I'll stop here.
9 posted on 11/08/2003 2:37:16 AM PST by Waryone
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To: JURB
I took my sons to see this movie, expecting to not like it at all. The second Matrix movie wasn't very good and the reviews for this one said it was just as bad.

My boys and I thought it was very good.

If you're looking for the meaning of life, look elsewhere. If you want to see a good sci-fi flick, go see this one.

10 posted on 11/08/2003 2:56:17 AM PST by Do Be
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To: Do Be
My son and I will be seeing it today. I've gotten three reviews and they all say it is a lousy movie. I didn't like most of the second one but he did. Hope to enjoy this one.
11 posted on 11/08/2003 3:28:05 AM PST by tal hajus
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To: Qwinn
MAtrix 3 is ok. Just saw it today. The graphics and cinematography is great, the invasion scene superb, the plot stupid, the acting insipid and a number of open plot lines. The review was spot on, I was rooting for Agent Smith (as I was during the first movie).

But this is no Star wars, the Matrix will not build up a cult following like 'Wars.
12 posted on 11/08/2003 7:34:22 AM PST by Cronos (W2004)
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To: JURB
I haven't seen any of the Matrix movies, but I love the way he sliced and diced Harry Knowles. Highlight:

Alas, he cannot write. He is a horrid stylist; he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts; his politics have the sophistication of a preschool crayon drawing, and his self-confidence in his insights is matched only by his inability to see how fatuous his work often sounds. Mr. Knowles is often held up as an example of New Media, one of those outsiders who’ve wrested the mike from the old tired media. Usually I support that sort of thing, but if ever there was an argument for restricting the role of Critic to the white-gloved aesthetes, the Lucius Beebes, the Jay Shermans, the guys who, y’know, have done it, with a laidy, nudge nudge, it’s Harry Knowles.

13 posted on 11/08/2003 7:41:38 AM PST by Snuffington
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To: Snuffington
Knowles is an absolute moron. He can't stop fawning over anything filmed by his personal jesus, Michael Moore.
14 posted on 11/08/2003 7:49:47 AM PST by LanPB01
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To: Waryone
Machina. The humans even offer up prayers to who knows what and rely on their own strength or some myth of unknown origin. These imperfect humans designed machines which can never be more perfect than those who created them. Certainly these are not fit to be the humans' god. The people are in need of a true and perfect God, the one who answers prayer, who works all things together for their good. The one who truly controls everything. All three movies sorely lacked this understanding.

I agree with Lileks, only I would remove one word and exchange it for a few others. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a the one true God.


Ok, I can understand your viewpoint on the series. It's quite understandable. While searching for the one true God, I think the movies takes on a religious implication that ... I suppose, is not intended for finding "God" or a some semblance of such an entity.

Here is where I think the Wachowski Brothers attempted to expound upon. There is no God in this world. Humans freed from the Matrix seeking some semblance of God for comfort and strength. That is how Neo ties up for M3 (Which I've yet to see). From what I have read Neo evolved into a diety/God for the people of Zion. Now is this required? Or was it thrown in to appease the overall goal of the trilogy?

Let met expound ...
Take religion / God / Spirituality out of the equation when you reflect upon the series.... The overall problem is that mankind developed these machines, the machines became cognizcent enough to place demands on humankind, but were rebuffed.

If you have NOT watched the ANIMATRIX ... It's imperative to view it .. The plot tie in is amazing, and really is required viewing to fully understand the transition between M2 and M3.

There is ALOT of history with the ANIMATRIX series that is not present on the movies and without watching the DVD, there is a lot of storyline/plot development that is missing.

I dunno, in my opinion there are certain goals that need to be attained in certain order for real life humans in Zion to get the upper hand on the machines.

At the basic level it is survivial (M1), at the staging level it is setting expectations to lead into M3 (M2), and in M3, as Ive mentioned before, I have yet to see and the reports I've been reading about Neo somehow developing into a God or diety that the people of Zion are craving for direction, is simply a ploy to lead to future movies and/or animatrix features.

Correct me if I am wrong, but is finding God/Spirituality/Fellowship so important to the people of Zion, compared to say, discovering themselves and escaping the perils of Morality via self-discovery?

It's a double-edged sword to a degree. What's more important? Discovering "God" or discovering that what it takes to survive into the future is the ability to distinguish the difference between the Matrix and true reality? Why do they need God in order to establish their community?

IMHO, the storyline is definitely geared to the what if? scenario based upon the actions of human kind (or lack thereof). We can turn this into a religious debate, or a philisophical debate. It's rather easy and left open to interpretation on the reader's part as to which he'd like to adopt.
15 posted on 11/08/2003 11:49:38 AM PST by Gorons
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To: JURB
But they can’t take 27 pounds of Laurence Fishburn.

LOL. Good one.

Hey what's the hamburger references all about? Does anyone know?

16 posted on 11/08/2003 12:09:42 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: Waryone
...and that one of the major stars, Lawrence Fishburn, has gained over 40 lbs since the first movie, which is about six months in the Matrix timeline.

That's not weight. It's extra RAM! ;)

17 posted on 11/08/2003 12:24:25 PM PST by Timesink
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To: Qwinn
Why would what Neo can do necessarily be limited to within the Matrix?
18 posted on 11/09/2003 1:28:01 AM PST by I_dmc
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To: Waryone
By the end of the Matrix 3 little has been resolved except that the machines are no longer attacking Zion. Are the machines still using humans for their own benefit? Yes, the humans are still batteries, the machines are still killing and liquifying humans to feed others and the real world outside of Zion is still uninhabitable for human life.

You're certain this is how things stand?  Could it be otherwise?

19 posted on 11/09/2003 1:37:16 AM PST by I_dmc
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To: Gorons
Yes, and the machine city was known as Zero One....Zion.
20 posted on 11/09/2003 1:38:17 AM PST by I_dmc
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To: Cronos; All
I saw it.

There's 2 hours I'll never get back again.

To begin the parade of annoyances, Cornel West got way too many lines this time and I couldn't help thinking that the limp, deadpan performance by the Crown Prince of Academia was actually one of the best in the film.

I have to give some kudos, though. The second best part of the film (you always have to give props to the CG department) was the acting by the traitor guy who does a dead-on impersonation of Hugo Weaving. It took me about 90 seconds to know he was channelling Smith. It took Neo 4 "Mr. Anderson"s and 2 roundhouse kicks to the head to figure it out. In his case, the acting was too good. Whoda thought?

If Neo and Trinity never told you they were in love, would you believe them? I thought from the beginning that their love was only because Trinity was the only chick on the ship. Neo would have fallen in love with Morpheus if Trinity weren't there. Her death scene was eternally long and too long in coming.

OK, explain this to me: A rag-tag bunch of humans living underground and having their civilization wiped out every few generations manage to build highly sophisticated robot-suits???

The special effects were breathtaking, but I found myself not caring a whit as to how they related to the story. If there was a story. Oh, and the Oracle had to re-form herself. I get it. It wasn't because the actress that played her last time died. It was all part of the story. Riiiiiight.

But to top it all off, here we have some sort of Messiah, a chosen one who sacrifices his sight, his lover and (probably) himself for . . . detente.

What the hell is that? No great revival of the human race. No revolution against the machines. No revelation that the real world was just another level of the Matrix and Neo's journey was pointless. Nothing interesting, just a promise by the architect to leave Zion alone and to release the humans if they manage to one day become self-aware and want to leave the Matrix. (I suppose they'd have to go through that red pill/blue pill nonsense.)

What a rip-off! These idiots were celebrating because they get to live in squalor cowering from the all-powerful (and all-benevolent, apparently) machine.

Of course, if the Whatchamacallit brothers actually intended that, it would be a brilliant and highly cynical take on the nature of man and God.

Somehow, I don't think so.

Oh, well, at least one of the villains was French.

"Everything that has a beginning, has an end." Mercifully.

21 posted on 11/09/2003 2:17:26 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: AmishDude
Make that the Clown Prince of Academia. Sheesh.
22 posted on 11/09/2003 2:20:33 AM PST by AmishDude (Rotten insomnia!)
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To: AmishDude
And what was with that Train scene at the beginnign of the film? It had absolutely no relevance to the rest of the film. Huh? Two programs give 'birth' to another program. woooooo!!! And they feel 'love' for that 'program' they create, wooooo! IF the little girl program gets destroyed can't they create an exact duplicate once more? It's NOT a HUMAN Being, heck, ti's not evena roboto, it's a program
23 posted on 11/09/2003 3:12:23 AM PST by Cronos (W2004)
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To: Gorons
"EXACTLY!!! Welcome to the paradox of the entire series. Obviously there are barriers to the so-called "physical" world versus the world that exists in the "matrix". "

It's hard to say your wrong on this one point without giving away an important part of the movie...
24 posted on 11/09/2003 4:16:00 AM PST by beaware
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To: beaware
Don't worry about spoilers, Lileks' review is full of them, that's why I posted mine here.
25 posted on 11/09/2003 6:31:16 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: AmishDude
But to top it all off, here we have some sort of Messiah, a chosen one who sacrifices his sight, his lover and (probably) himself for . . . detente.

In this case, he won far more than detente. He actually won free will for the people still stuck in the Matrix. Remember what the Oracle said at the end? "What about those who want (emp. added) to leave the Matrix?" What about the change that she and the Architect said was so dangerous for her to do? It was referring to the free will won by the people.
26 posted on 11/09/2003 7:30:04 PM PST by Quick1
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To: Gorons
What excites me about the series is that for the first time on film based media for a large audience, the Wachowski (spelling) brothers (producers/writers) have attempted to throw the "what-if" scenario with regard to future technologies run amuck. It is simply their interpretation of what could happen.

Another movie series is somewhat similar, but is more violent and has definite, concise modes of action .. Definitive beginning and ends - That is the Terminator series of movies.

Is it me or did your second paragraph completely contradict the first?

"The Matrix is the first series of movies to deal with this concept....except it wasn't, Terminator did first."

(Although it didn't deal with that topic itself, Tron is another film the Matrix is derivative of, IMO).
27 posted on 11/09/2003 9:26:58 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Quick1
I mentioned that, he got a promise. Whoopdeedoo. Oh, sure, the Architect said that he had to keep it. Wait until he feels threatened. (I know it's fiction, but this is supposed to have some "deeper meaning".)

Personally, I think they just wanted to keep the franchise alive.

28 posted on 11/10/2003 6:04:26 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: JURB
Haven't seen it yet, but will Bump.
29 posted on 11/10/2003 6:17:53 AM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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To: JURB; AmishDude
Jusy saw it.

I won't even attempt to write a long meaningless bongwater-induced essay on the philosophical implications of the storyline. I REALLY enjoyed the first movie. The second was disappointing and I actually was drumming my fingers on the arm of my seat in the theater during some of the fight scenes because I was totally bored. Now, the third. Hmmmmmmmm............

I'll make one comment: The amalgamated face at the end of the movie, representing (I guess) the AI conciousness says, "It's finished". Isn't that Christ's line? Shouldn't Neo have said this since HE'S the Savior? I didn't like this misattribution of the words. It spoiled the ending for me.

All in all though, amazing special Fx during the fight for Zion.

Awaiting ROTK.

30 posted on 11/10/2003 7:45:34 PM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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To: DoctorMichael
I think any specific religious/philosophical references are pointless. I agree with a poster on another thread: It's a mish-mash of disjointed references to different philosophical and religious ideas.
31 posted on 11/11/2003 8:53:22 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: Quick1
In this case, he won far more than detente. He actually won free will for the people still stuck in the Matrix.

The problem with this is that, by the rules previously expounded within the Matrix trilogy, less than 1% of humanity ever even questions "the Matrix" in the first place. 99% will be content to exercise their "free will" by staying in the Matrix (which is going to get better and better as the AIs can now reproduce and evolve; i.e. the little girl who created a colorful sunrise).

In short, what Neo "won" was a victory for the machines over humanity: 99% will stay in stasis, the "select" 1% will be freed to Zion (a dismal underground city) to disco-dance all day long, and no more serious efforts at rebellion will occur anymore (why should the humans rebel anymore? Neo fulfilled the "prophecy" and the war is "over"!). Who wins in this deal? The machines.

32 posted on 11/11/2003 1:15:13 PM PST by Dr. Frank fan
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