A little Michelangelo attached to a large lump of pop psychology, along with some Powerade, some Wagner for atmosphere, thrown in with the Terminator all create a Wachowski-style Frankenstein. But does “The Matrix Revolutions” live? Oops, they left out the heart.
The first 20 minutes of the film belong to “Moulin Rouge,” as every character proclaims his love of, well, love. Six times in the first 15 minutes alone, the word is uttered, and that’s without counting words of similar meaning. Too bad none of the actors can actually show it, as not a single romance in the film is believable. This was acceptable in the original “Matrix” because romance wasn’t a central part of the plot. Not so here. “Revolutions” is entirely about love and, oh yes, trust. Thus, the only other word spouted as much as “love” is “believe.” Everyone is supposed to believe and everything will be fine. So now they’re ripping off “Peter Pan.” Don’t be fooled: Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is no Tinkerbell, and no amount of clapping is going to bring this film back to life.
One of the major things separating humans from machines is the ability to have and display emotions, but the performances in “Revolutions” are so cold they wouldn’t even show up on one of Zion’s thermal scanners. The main trinity of the film, Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity herself, has become truly merged in acting mediocrity. It is hard to decide what is worse: Laurence Fishburne’s bug-eyed uselessness, Keanu Reeves’–(do I have to say it?), or Carrie-Anne Moss’ epic blankness. I never could understand why Neo didn’t just take off with the steamy Persephone (Monica Bellucci) when he was given the chance. In any case, to make up for this void in character, the Wachowskis go to such incredible lengths to show us the love that it’s hard not to throw up. The worst of these offenses comes near the beginning when Trinity steps off a subway car and runs in slow-motion with a swell of music into Neo’s arms. I’m not even going to comment on that one.
It isn’t all the fault of the acting; only George Lucas can top the mediocre writing of the Wachowskis’ script. Line after line thuds into the audience, almost drowning out the digital surround sound. Take a look at this beauty from a ship captain: “[Okay, people] Let’s move with a purpose.” Because they were planning on moving randomly? Duds such as these are thrown in with typical cliche action dialogue. Morpheus: “You did it.” Niobe: “No, we did it.” The problems in the script go far beyond bad syntax: there are more disconnects and holes in it than in the fabric of the Matrix itself.
Luckily, the visuals manage to salvage a few pieces from this wreck of a movie. From the intricate design of Machine City to the graceful battle sequences, there is finally some poetry. Especially interesting are the various crater shapes caused by bodily impact in different types of surfaces. But most of the special effects fail. The beauty of the first movie was the ultra-realism of bullet time and the slow-motion spins. “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” lose that hyper-realism and therefore bring viewers out of the movie. The Wachowskis’ love of anime also gets in the way at several key moments. At one point, Neo goes through the same elaborate setup to his typical fighting stance as he did in “Reloaded,” down to the “come and get me” hand flick. While this may have been intended to be dramatic, it instead comes off as an imitation of annoying Cartoon Network anime such as “Dragonball Z” or “Sailor Moon.”
This movie could have been beautiful, could have really used metaphor and philosophy to create art. Instead, it amounts to a huge waste of potential that is inexcusable. As for the entire secret plot that was supposed to blow our minds? Seventy-five percent is ripped off from a much better film, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” and the rest is just a void created by meaningless metaphysical garbage. What of the elaborate world the Wachowskis envisioned? Instead we end up with something that doesn’t even have the scope of a catalog at the bottom of the waste basket in Tolkien’s bathroom. Blue pill anyone?