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The Matrix: Revolutions **
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Starring Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves
Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski

Good Picture. Bad Movie.

     The Matrix: Revolutions spoils the achievements of the first two films in the franchise and squanders potential that few films could rival.
     The first film could stand alone as its own film, but the promises of more amazing special effects and complex storytelling was enough to get audiences salivating for more.  Rarely have audiences been so thrilled as they were by the combination of action, philosophy, science fiction, and a new breed of special effects that would spawn a new generation of copycat filmmakers.
     The Matrix: Reloaded was a film overwhelmed with constant action set pieces.  The action soon overcame the storytelling to dominate the film.  Still, it took the movie goer back to that same unchartered territory that the first film introduced us to.  It also contained the single best car chase that I have ever witnessed, an eighteen minute action extravaganza peaking with a martial arts fight on a moving semi.  The film also promised better things to come, signified with its "to be continued"-like ending that had audiences divided.
     I loved Reloaded for a good long while.  It had produced adrenaline in my body like no other film has.  The thrill ride was constant and exhilerating.  Then the third film, The Matrix: Revolutions, surfaced.
     I could ignore the negative musing of fans after seeing the second film because I knew that film served as a second chapter in a three chapter story.  They would soon see how necessary Reloaded was in order to bring about the end of the series.  I have to say, crow never tasted this bad before.
     The Matrix: Revolutions is a terribly disappointing piece of work.  Repetition and missteps by the directors and writers, the Wachowski brothers, ended up sinking the franchise.
     Where Reloaded left off, Neo was stuck in a coma, existing somewhere between the matrix and the machine world.  Bane, who had been assimilated by Agent Smith, had tripped an EMP that rendered a whole series of ships defenseless against an onslaught of sentinals.  Meanwhile, sentinals approached Zion and there were preparations being made to protect it.  Neo had found out that he was only one of a whole series of Ones, but he chose to follow a dangerous path when he went into the matrix to save Trinity.
     The story set up for Revolutions had great potential.  Sadly, that potential was never realized.  Instead, the Wachowskis gave us another excuse to dislike sequels.
     Two main problems surfaced in the last film that ultimately proved to be more than it could overcome. 
     1)  Agent Smith became a cartoon.  He soon only delivered slow, drawn out syllables for catch phrases and neurotic exposition.  He no longer was menacing as he so ably was in the first film.  The second film hinted at the direction the character would eventually follow, but I never expected it to get so bad.
     2) Elementary storytelling became the means of exposition most often used.  Things created in the first film, such as the familiar "come and get it" motion of the hand by Morpheus and Neo, resurface again in the final film.  It doesn't take a brilliant storyteller to reincorporate story elements that he or she created.  But doing so in such a flashy, knowing manner shows little insight into how to finish an epic storyline.  
     The final battle between Neo and Agent Smith seemd entirely stale because it had been done better and without noticable effort in the first two films.  By Revolutions, the battle seemd old and boring by comparison to the other excellent fights we were treated to in the first two films.  While I watched Neo and Agent Smith repeatedly run into or punch each other, thus creating massive shock waves, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Is this what I've been waiting for?  Is this the climax the other films deserve?"  The answers ended up being "no" and "no."
     The film managed to take the three lead characters and make them completely boring.  The actors and actress who played them must have sensed this because they seem to be sleepwalking through their parts.
     Morpheus used to be a Yoda with attitude.  Then he was just a stock character left to experience some minor story devices.  Gone was his enigmatic qualities evidenced in the first two films.  In its place was someone we knew everything about and didn't care to know anymore of. 
     He was my favorite character of the series, but Revolutions gives him nothing to work with.  Even when his dream is realized, when he experiences something he has longed anf fought for, he's not flush with unsurmountable joy like I would have expected.  He merely strolls through his final scenes like the office dullard.
     Morpheus has become a pawn whereas he had started as a King or at least a Knight on the Wachowski chess board.
     Trinity is now only a love interest who serves the purpose of giving Neo some dramatic moments.  She was very much a simple character in Reloaded as well, but I could not have predicted how one-note she would end up.  The saucy, leatherclad Trinity who got some mojos working in the first film saw her quality disipate in the second film.  In the third film, she's just there.  Everything that she's supposed to be struggling for comes easy.  Either it comes too fast or not fast enough.  That trait is one she shares with the entire film.
     Neo was a prototype hero for the ages.  How could you not root for him?  He was going to save an entire nation.  He was going to "free our minds."  Then he became a pathetic pawn, used as a game piece by the machines and the mysterious Oracle and Architect.  You stop caring about him about the point in the movie when he no longer commands sympathy. 
     A major player in the Matrix world loses his or her life, but what should be a shattering event soon becomes a unbelievably lengthy monologue delivered with soap opera panache.  It was the beginning of the end, but I was already done with it.
     That having been said, the film does contain high-quality special effects.  But I don't see movies for great special effects.  I want the whole package, a movie that is good from A to Z.  Revolutions made the series stop somewhere between I and O.  Go figure. 

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