Monday, April 12th, 2004
Revolution No. 9
“So, self, what did you do with your Easter long weekend?”
“Well, self, I watched a crapload of movies.”
I rounded out this weekend with an impulse rental of The Matrix Revolutions – despite my utter revulsion for The Matrix Reloaded, I had every intention of seeing the final installment at some point – just not in the theatres for $15 or whatever a movie costs these days. Why? For the same reason I’ll eventually see Star Wars: Episode III – I have to see how it ends. It’s this same compulsion that had me watching Beverly Hills 90210 for more than three years even though I pretty much loathed the show. Anyway. I was so uninterested in The Matrix by the time Revolutions came out that I don’t think I even took notice of its release last Fall. And while I still think it made bushelloads of money, I wasn’t the only one so disinterested – I don’t recall there being nearly the amount of water cooler discussion about the third one as there was that summer for Reloaded.
Surprisingly, Revolutions didn’t induce nearly the amount of rage as Reloaded. It could be that my expectations were lowered so far that anything remotely redeeming counted as a big plus. One problem I had, however, was remembering what the hell had happened in Reloaded, so effectively had I blocked it from my memory. A brief, “Previously, on The Matrix” recap would have been welcome. Oh well. Considered strictly on its merits as a sci-fi film, it was alright. The effects were spectacular, moreso for the ‘real world’ battle sequences in Zion than the now-cliched bullet-time fights in the Matrix. The dialogue was still horribly ponderous and collapsing under the weight of its own pretentions, but that’s sort of to be expected in unambitious science fiction. And that’s where most of the problems with the last two Matrix films lie – no ambition. The promise of the first film, the potential it had to be a watershed science fiction film for the 21st century was quite handily betrayed when the Wachowski brothers opted to make a high-budget kung-fu flick (with robots and undergraduate-level philosophy essays) instead of something really groundbreaking and revolutionary. What could they have done to satisfy that promise? Fucked if I know – I’m not a screenplay writer, but that’s rather the point. It should have been something no one had ever thought of or seen before, and it wasn’t. Ridiculously high expectations to be sure, but it’s their fault for setting the bar so high in the first place.
As for the film itself, as I implied – it was actually okay. Nothing really special, but okay. Better than Reloaded, anyway. Gone were the totally superflous fights (no, “You do not truly know someone until you fight them” bullshit) – while there was still lots of fighting, they at least made the attempt of making it relevant to the plot. There was less pointless talking – everyone managed to be cryptic and corny much more concisely. The battle for Zion was pretty damn impressive for visceral carnage value but the final showdown between Smith and Neo was rather silly. I will give the Wachowskis credit for choosing a slightly ambiguous ending, even if they do dress it up in more cliche. So, no vitriol from me this time. Just a shrug and a couple hours killed – and wishing that these films would have been something I actually cared about.
Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue is going to be in the next batch of Rhino reissues on August 17 – I’m really curious to see what goodies will show up on the bonus disc. I’m betting that an album of old country covers will have some damned cool outtakes. After this one, the next one I’m waiting for is King Of America – I already have the Rykodisc edition, but a lot of the Rhino extras have been different from those on the Ryko, so hopefully there’ll be enough there to make it worth my owning two copies of one of his best albums (IMO, of course).
I thought these stitches were supposed to dissolve? They sure don’t feel like they’re going to dissolve. It feels like there’s a couple of macrame classes going on in the back of my mouth. Grrr.
np – Neil Young / On The Beach