||Matrix Reloaded Proves There's
No Glitch in This Intense Cyber Sequel
By Carol Soon
With impressive high-tech computerized Kung Fu fighting and the introduction of thought provoking philosophy, "Matrix" took us by surprise in 1999. Now the highly anticipated sequel, "Matrix Reloaded" has our eyes ogling and our hands clenching as we receive mindless doses of fast action fighting, riveting car chases, and intense cyber love making. "Matrix Reloaded" released on May 15th in 3,603 theaters nationwide, earned about 74 million in the first two days of its opening. Daniel Garris, writer for online box office report, says that, "That figure places The Matrix Reloaded 36% ahead of the $54.5 million 2-day gross of Attack of the Clones last May." "Matrix Reloaded" and "Matrix Revolutions", the third and last film of the Matrix trilogy to be released later in the year, shot together took four years of making and cost a reported 300 million. However, to the disappointment of many, "Matrix Reloaded" only holds our attention as a video game would, and with successive interruptions to present complex, philosophical and religious thought, it is hard to understand what exactly is going on.
Morpheus fights of the Ghosts in Matrix: Reloaded
The Wachowski brothers, directors of the Matrix trilogy, vision of a machine controlled matrix continues in the sequel, as the black-clad, freedom fighting crew returns to battle the machines. Neo (Keanu Reeves), now becoming more aware of his powers as "The One," gets more chances to show off his gravity defying martial arts moves. Neo fights hundreds of Agent Smiths, knocking them over like bowling pins, as they attack him like ants over a piece of bread. He has also acquired the ability to fly like Superman, which comes in handy in multiple scenes. Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) does fairly well in a car chase and dare devilish motorcycle action, with not a trace of fear on her face, as she rides toward oncoming traffic, dodging bullets and sideswiping cars. The palpable love between Trinity and Neo is also accentuated in the sequel, with a candlelight love scene. However, interrupting flashes from erotic rave party scenes in Zion and overbearing, background Techno music undermined the sense of romance.
The sequel continues with the plot line presented in the original Matrix
The sequel continues with the plot line presented in the original Matrix: there is a virtual reality programmed by machines to control and disillusion human beings into captives remaining "plugged into" the matrix, while having their lives sucked out of them. The machines called Sentinels are drilling toward the underground city of Zion with rapid speed, where the awakened free human beings are taking shelter from the machines, giving the humans 72 hours until they feel the impact of the machines' mindless rage of destruction. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) preaches more adamantly of a prophesy that he believes Neo is The One who will save the humans from destruction by the Sentinels. Neo in the meantime is overwhelmed and preoccupied by his love for Trinity and disturbed by his recurring nightmare of her falling from a building as bullets shot by an agent whiz by her. Yet new characters are introduced to freshen up the plot and heat up the tension. Morpheus goes face-to-face with opponent Commander Lock (Harry Lennix) over an issue more deeply rooted in the past history between Morpheus and Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), who is now Commander Lock's love interest.
Defying orders, Morpheus and his crew go in search of the Oracle (Gloria Foster) while Commander Lock prepares the city of Zion for battle. Upon finding the Oracle, Neo is instructed to find the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim), a small Asian man who plays a minor but significant role as the one who can create keys used for different purposes and prisoner to Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), an all but predictable evil, power hungry man who is not willing to give up the Keymaker easily. However, Persephone, the beautiful seductress wife of Merovingian takes a fancy to the apparent love between Neo and Trinity and offers to take the humans to the Keymaker, in exchange for a passionate kiss "just the way you kiss her (Trinity)" from Neo, which stirs up an adversarial feminine reaction from Trinity. This scene is followed by crazy fighting action much like the flying, gravity defying martial arts shown in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," within the home of Merovingian, as Neo tries to keep Merovingian's men from pursuing Trinity, Morpheus, and the Keymaker. This scene then rapidly shifts to a breath-taking car chase on the freeway, as fearless Trinity narrowly and skillfully drives in and out of lanes, while pursued by the evil, shape shifting agents, and the newly introduced alien twins (Neil and Adrian Rayment).
The effort, time, and money put into "Matrix reloaded" to try and top the surprising effects and great responses from the first "Matrix" is evident. However, the difficulty of producing a film that sets the middle ground to a trilogy the film ended with "to be concluded -is noticeable. The film leaves the audience dangling with curiosity and frustration at having expected more than to be seeing endless fighting and hearing tedious and complex speeches.
Several scenes are noteworthy, however, because it gives the audience relief from the fast-paced speed of fighting scenes. Neo, after another sleepless night finds comfort in company with Councilor Hamann (Anthony Zerbe), a fatherly figure, who evokes Neo to question whether the machines are necessarily bad, and the idea that humans cannot live without machines just as machines cannot live without humans. And once again, the soothing, comforting, and ambiguous conversation with the Oracle, presents an almost surreal, timeless moment away from the dangers and perils of war, causing the audience to almost forget the urgency of the situation.
Many viewers will come to watch for the simple thrill of action and because they are curious as to how "Matrix" is continued.
The Wachowski brothers incorporate many religious, mythological, and philosophical contexts, such as Neo being the Messiah, while Morpheus is John the Baptist, prophesying that the one to save all mankind is Neo. We see reference to the Old Testament with the battle ship called Nebuchadnezzar and the city of Zion, as well as to mythology with the characters, Persephone and Niobe. Many philosophical questions are also thrown out, such as: What is good and evil? What is power? What is love? Do we really have a choice? Is everything cause and effect? What if our world was really formed by one genius programmer who seeks only perfection in his creation? All in all, although these questions are thought provoking, some may feel that there is too much to take in and understand in one seating,
"Matrix Reloaded" is bound to split the audience between those who are thrilled and awed with the movie and those who are disappointed with a sequel that may not quite have lived up to their expectation. However, many viewers will come to watch for the simple thrill of action and because they are curious as to how "Matrix" is continued. We can anticipate the release of "Matrix Revolution" this November, to finally conclude and give peace to our curiosity and thirst for more Matrix action, with greater development and insight into the characters and possibly, a roaring last battle scene between the machines and humans. Lets hope for a more developed storyline and less mindless fighting in what we hope will be a grand conclusion to the Matrix Trilogy.