Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Discuss: The Matrix Trilogy

Karen: What do you think of this film series? Personally, I loved the first film, liked parts of the second, and didn't care for the third much at all.



Anonymous said...

i have to agree with karen... it's been awhile since i saw them, but from what i remember, the first stood on its own just fine.

the second had some good fx, but seemed like it just reworked the first story...

and the third... not that parts weren't fun to watch, but for me didn't fit very well with the first one

dbutler16 said...

I also agree with Karen. I thought the first one was a groundbreaking classic. The story and the special effects were great. The second one was OK. It was visually interesting, though the story was nothing special. The third one was somewhat of a disaster, in my opinion. When I think of The Matrix, I mostly just try to think of the first one and forget that the other two exist. Just like I try to forget that the X-Men existed after about #158, or that any of the Bendis stuff has happened, or the original Star Wars trilogy. However, these are topics for another day...

Inkstained Wretch said...

I mostly agree with you, Karen. I liked the first (but wasn't blown away), found the second film baffling and never bothered to see the third.

The first was very clever, being probably the best use of the "what-you-think-is-reality-is-really-a-staged-illusion" conceit in a film. (I haven't seen Inception though.)

It is a smart gimmick that gives the film some intellectual heft while at the same time providing a clever explanation for some brilliant action set pieces.

Even the casting of Keanu Reaves works because his "Huh? What?" persona makes selling this conceit a little easier.

The second film seemed to be re-writing the rules of the first one at random. I was completely confused a half hour in and began to wonder if the filmmakers weren't just playing a joke on the viewer. After that, I had zero interest in the third film.

david_b said...

I've always heard interesting things about the first one, but never watched any of them, too much CGI and effects.

Not my style of movie, I guess.

Hoosier X said...

When I walked out of the theater after seeing the first one, I remarked, "That was pretty good for a stupid movie." My friend Joe went ballistic because I thought it was kind of stupid.

Never did see the other Matrix films. Was Carrie-Ann Moss in them?

William said...

I am totally with Karen on this. I loved the first Matrix movie, really liked a lot of elements of the second (the action scenes), did not care at all for the third one.

The first movie was a very good and original sci-fi flick that mixed together several genres like comic books and kung-fu movies. It had a tight story that nicely adapted the premise of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey. A story in which a novice (NEO) finds himself reluctantly thrust into a quest for something (usually a weapon of power such as a mystical sword) but in this case the weapon is the power to manipulate reality in the world of the Matrix. The weapon will then enable the hero to vanquish some great evil that is oppressing the "people". This is an ancient and time-tested formula that is the basis for almost all hero stories (think Luke Skywalker, Frodo, Harry Potter, etc.). The hero is guided through and trained for his quest by an older mentor/warrior/teacher (think Gandolf, Yoda, Ben Kenobi, Mr. Miyagi, etc.). In the Matrix this, of course is Morpheus. The hero is also aided in his quest by a band of allies with various skills. (It's pretty obvious who these characters are in stories like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.) In the Matrix it is the other human freedom fighters (especially Trinity). The hero in these tales faces many dangers and fights against impossible odds, but somehow prevails, completes his quest, vanquishes the villain and usually saves the world in the end.

The first Matrix achieved this formula very nicely and was a satisfying story.

The Matrix 2… not so much.

Now, I am a certified Kung-Fu movie aficionado and M2 was basically a $200,000,000 kung-fu movie, so I actually kind of liked it for that aspect. However, the fatal flaw of this sequel is that (much like Highlander 2) it completely ruins the first movie. In the first Matrix movie we had a band of outnumbered, outgunned humans fighting impossible odds against a tyrannical machine society. The human's only hope is to find a legendary hero to rise up and save them from extinction. They seemingly do this and after many exciting battles, betrayals and close calls, the humans finally (by the narrowest of margins) manage to survive and gain the upper hand against their nearly omnipotent enemy…

…but not really.

Because you see, we find out at the end of the Matrix 2 that everything that has happened up to this point was actually a plot by the "Architect" of the machine society. That this scenario (the quest for THE ONE) was completely designed, orchestrated and controlled by the bad guys themselves. WHA…??? In a very ridiculous and confusing ending we have "Colonel Sanders" conveniently explain to NEO that this whole time he and his human allies were being manipulated by the "system" to carry out some convoluted pre-planned plot that is necessary to fix a "bug" in the Matrix and this scenario has been repeated many times over several generations. Oh that's just GREAT!

So what that basically means is that the entire first movie (and most of the second) is now TOTALLY POINTLESS!!! All of the danger, and impossible odds that our heroes have survived were all part of some elaborate "play" that they didn't even know they were in. So, in effect they haven't accomplished anything whatsoever. All of their heroics and sacrifices were for NOTHING! Way to stick it to your fans, jerks.

The third movie just plain sucked and was just some thinly veiled religious allegory with Superman thrown in. Nuff said.

MattComix said...

Overall: Meh.

Though I found the first one at least kinda interesting, just not

I had to love that ending shot with the phone booth though.

Brett said...

Loved the first one, trying to forget that the other two even exist. I don't even think I've watched Revolutions since my first viewing.

IMFI Pty. Ltd. said...


Can't put it better.

vancouver mark said...

Interesting that last week you asked for opinions of Dark Knight and now The Matrix. I think there's a similarity between them in that both were striking and original stories that were executed beautifully, but then led to very poor sequels and ultimately had a rather negative and tediously derirative effect on works that followed.

Karen said...

Indeed Mark, in both cases I was interested in posting these two subjects because they were both so influential. One could argue whether that influence was for better or worse.

One of my problems with the continuation of the story from the first film is with Neo's character. By the end of the Matrix, he had transcended the matrix -he could see past it to the true reality, and therefore, manipulate everything. I assumed he had become godlike.

But then in the second film, he's basically a flying kung-fu fighter. Of course, there might not be much of a story if Neo can control the reality of the Matrix, but it did seem like a step backwards.

There were many other things that bothered me - the whole Zion thing -but I think I'll follow dbutler's path and just try to pretend the other films never existed.


vancouver mark said...

I've heard both Christians and Muslims say that the original Matrix really spoke to them, in that once a believer awakens to the Word they can see the nefarious forces working through our society and culture, and it all never looks quite the same again.

Sharper13x said...

Almost in complete agreement, but for me, the downward spiral was so severe that I still haven't even seen the third one.

I missed the first film in theaters because of my own stupid bias against the old sic-fi plot where everything takes place inside a computer. I don't like it because it removes all the drama. The hero is inevitably superman, so what difference does the plot make?

When I finally saw that movie on DVD, I was blown away and really mad at myself for skipping it in theaters. They did what I thought they couldn't do, which is make that tired old premise really interesting.

However, every negative thing that I thought would be in the first film, showed up in the second. They had simply postponed the inevitable by treating the entire first movie as the first act of a trilogy. Once the cat was out of the bag, it all got pointless really quickly.

About halfway into number 2, we watch a 15 minute fight scene where Neo must contend with hundreds of copies of Agent Smith. 2 seconds in to the fight, you have to ask Neo, "why are you fooling around with these guys and acting like you are in any jeopardy at all? You are Superman! Just end it."

And sure enough... one eternity of tensionless fighting later, Neo suddenly remembers that he can do anything and blasts them all at once. No point to it at all.

By the end of number 2, then, nothing the characters did "mattered" anymore. All the drama was gone.

But man, that first movie was really brilliant. I've seen that one maybe ten times now. Once for the second, and 0 for the third.

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