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The Matrix Revolutions

Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss
Written and Directed by the Wachowski Brothers

IN SHORT: Reloaded, reloaded. [Rated R for sci-fi violence and some sexuality. 127 minutes]

A while back we received an eMail asking us what, exactly, we didn't "get" about The Matrix? Our response: "If we got what we didn't get, then we would have gotten it and there wouldn't be a problem." Knowing that, we did what we did for The Matrix: Reloaded and RSVP'd for two viewings of The Matrix: Revolutions. One on a regular screen and one in IMAX. We strongly suggest that you seek out the IMAX screen because the overwhelming visuals are even more impressive on the really big screen.

That is what The Matrix Revolutions reverts to, visuals overwhelming story. Dummies like us, who don't spend our waking hours getting all the needed background from net chat rooms and boards, could say that the film looks great even as we wonder what the hell the story is -- that was our excuse for the first two flicks. Now that we know what's what we can be fair and objective. As a stand alone film, The Matrix Revolutions isn't a good film for the simple reason that it's not a stand alone film. It doesn't bother to restate much characterization or recap its story as it moves full bore towards its climax. As the second part of a two part story, though, it rocks sufficiently to keep us interested. For that we thank fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping who, once again, provides much of what makes these films worth watching. If you don't have a local theater doing a special combo show, and you're not already waiting on line for tickets, find a really big screen teevee and roll the DVDs one after another. If you're expecting us to explain the why and wherefores of the final battle between man and machines, you're coming into this story way too late.

It's very simple, dear readers. If you "get" what The Matrix is about and drool over the thought of a final conclusion to the story, you'll probably be satisfied with what you get. You'll be too tired to cheer -- we sat with two different audiences and, surprisingly, there wasn't a yelp of any kind out of either of 'em. How positively you react will depend on how deeply you're into the mythos. We are, admittedly, not. So we grabbed the DVD of Reloaded and fired up the surround sound a couple of hours before a screening of Revolutions. The film works much better that way -- we hated it as a solo outing.

Revolutions' choreographed fights are evenly matched by its special effects, the pay off being a really big, and very long fight scene depicting the Sentinel attack on the human City of Zion. Its second set piece is the battle to end all battles between the rogue Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and the potential savior of humanity, Thomas "Neo" Anderson (Keanu Reeves). There's a new Oracle (Mary Alice), who spends as much time pointing out that she's a different actress (originator Gloria Foster passed away before filming started) as she does advancing the story. More important is an expanded role for Morpheus' (Laurence Fishburne) ex-love Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and a special role -- the kind actors dream of playing -- for Neo's better half, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).

Fight scenes aside, yes, there's some story time devoted to the politics of Zion. There's more time devoted to the traitorous behavior of, if not the reasoning behind the behavior of, the man called Bane (Ian Bliss) and a wee bit more information about what the importance of the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) is. If none of that makes any sense to you, Matrix Revolutions is not the place to start. For every question answered there are at least two more questions laid on the table. All this and a big metaphor tops off an ending that we should have figured out years ago.

If you're straddling the fence about it, do as we did and roll Reloaded first. Back to back it's a much more satisfying sit. That this is a better film as the conclusion to the story that should have begun two hours earlier was best put by another critic we know who said:"I think I almost understood this one." That's without playing the Enter the Matrix vidgame which, apparently, fills in all the background that the movie doesn't want to bother with. Involving the game market, as well as utilizing the internet to supply background information may be a brilliant multi-platform marketing strategy, but our concern is strictly with the film content, and that's only half a story.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Matrix: Reloaded, he would have paid . . .


Rent to complete the set. We've written it too many times to repeat but repeat it we shall: you shouldn't have to pay for two movies to get a story that could be told in one. It would be a very long one but, again, those extensive fight scenes pad as much story as they move it along.

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