The Matrix Revolutions Review

by Marshall Garvey (hunter48 AT goodpeopleunite DOT com)
December 15th, 2003

"The Matrix Revolutions" (2003)
Review by Marshall Garvey
Rating (0 to 5): 4 Grade: A-
Starring Keanu Reeves (Neo), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Jada Pinkett Smith (Niobe), Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith), Mary Alice (The Oracle),
Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski
Produced by Joel Silver, the Wachowskis, Grant Hill, and Bruce Berman Written by the Wachowskis
Original music by Don Davis
Warner Bros.
129 minutes
Rated R for sci-fi violence and brief sexual content

When the end credits for "The Matrix Revolutions" started, I wiped my brow, slumped back in my chair, and breathed. After a somewhat peaceful and more dialogue-focused first half, the film had hammered me down to the point of exhaustion, but in a good way. Despite a mediocre tag given by critics, "Revolutions" proved to be quite the ride, and while creating a few gaps for a possible fourth film to fill it more than made grade as an otherwise excellent third staple in an influential sci-fi series.

As a whole, "The Matrix Revolutions" feels more like part of "The Matrix Reloaded". Take away this film's setup and you could piece the last half right into the latter film, but since three hours would be far too long for an actioner it's better that the directors, Larry and Andy Wachowski, decided to make a third. Earlier on I felt it could have been the best in the trilogy, but it cut away from a few promising characters such as a program smuggler (Bruce Spence from "The Road Warrior") who runs an underground train. There is, of course, the Frenchman Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) and his wife too, but these characters are soon forgotten under a torrent of bullets as the battle of Zion goes on for more than an hour. As a conclusion to the story, it all works, but there is one minor flaw: the setup baits us for the upcoming carnage, and even when it's all over you're still hoping for more. That, however, is perhaps the only complaint you'll hear from me about this film.

Until the release of "The Return of the King", "The Matrix Revolutions" can be seen as the latest "Return of the Jedi". The battles are many, the villains are greater, and a few people die (sorry... I'm not telling). The plot: the machines of the Matrix are closing in on Zion, a human refuge city. As citizens prepare for battle, a strange thing happens to the lead hero Neo (Keanu Reeves): he's cast into an underground train station somewhere between the machine world and the real world. He's rescued, but before that he has visions which he know must mean something, although he can't quite figure them out. He turns to the wisdom of The Oracle (Mary Alice), but, as she tells him, neither can see beyond their visions. One thing is certain, however: tonight, the fate of both the machines and man will be in the hands of Neo and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), Neo's smooth, cunning adversary.

This part of the film is more reliant on dialogue and concentration on the plot, but the second half is stolen by Jada Pinkett Smith as Captain Niobe, who along with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and a few others dodge and blast machine sentinels on a mind-blowing chase through Zion's tunnels. Meanwhile, as bullets fly and the bee-like sentinels rain from the sky in the city, Neo and his love Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) set out for the machine world to resolve the war once and for all, and Agent Smith (along with a few friends) can hardly wait.

The fighting style and special effects of the "Matrix" movies, despite their incredible distinction in these films, have otherwise become so familiarized that they are almost routine. "Revolutions" doesn't lose any of the series' punch in that sense, and, indeed, it has many shots to fill you with awe and wonder. In spite of its own themes, anyhow, there are also a lot of throwbacks to other great science fiction films. There are questions of love and humanity as well as some epic shots of the machine city, reminding one of "Blade Runner". One nightclub scene features people in freakish, bizarre clothing that's somewhat like "The Road Warrior", and there's much that echoes "Aliens" too. One thing's for sure: if you loved the power loader sequence in that film, you'll have a blast with this one.

"The Matrix" and its sequels carry as much atmosphere and dark mood in their cinematography as they carry slow-mo fights and shootouts. "Revolutions", like the other two, is light on bright colors and much more focused on dark ones. This method of atmosphere is unique, and although some have attempted to copy it ("Battlefield Earth", anyone?) it is hard to duplicate, and combined with the vast CGI the impact is gargantuan.

This movie is another one of those films with a cast so great you have to appreciate it as a whole. I like everyone, but my personal favorite is Hugo Weaving's Agent Smith. "Like what I've done with the place?" he says to Neo as the two meet for their mano-a-mano showdown under the pouring rain, but there isn't a lack of audience onscreen. On the sidewalks and behind building windows, hundreds of other Agent Smiths look down upon the two fighters below. Who could ask for a more faithful crowd?

With nearly an hour of the movie being devoted to the battle of Zion, there can't be a lack of exhilaration, and there isn't. From the minute the first shots are fired the battle had me sustained throughout. The pre-battle preparations even got me excited, and the end result isn't just satisfactory. Why, it was exhaustive and fist pumping too. All in all, it's just plain kick ass.

"We know what has to be done," says Trinity at one point in the film. So do the Wachowski brothers, whose direction of this great trilogy never wears thin. Whether or not they will make a fourth film I'm not sure of, and there are aspects of the ending that are best left to the audience's imagination. On the other hand, I take back my earlier complaint: perhaps there are things to be answered. Either way, "The Matrix Revolutions" reverses the typical sequel syndrome by actually providing more rather than narrowing the scope. While seeing it in theaters (even if it's not IMAX) is a treat, waiting for video isn't a problem. That way you could piece everything together with the previous films. For the time being, though, I implore you to seek this out before it leaves theaters, which could be soon.


This review is purely of my doing, and I do not copy off other reviewers.

So, what does this rating system mean anyway?
*****-A masterpiece of filmmaking that should be seen at all costs ****1/2-A fabulous movie. An absolute must catch.
****-An excellent show. Be sure to see it.
***1/2-A good film. Recommended.
***-Decent movie that could be a lot better.
**1/2-Average movie with a number of flaws.
**-Pretty bad with a few saving graces. Instantly forgettable. *1/2-Bad. Don't see it.
*-As much fun as having your seat kicked for two hours. 1/2-Like drinking liters of cough syrup. Boycott it. 0-Death may come

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