For those of you who have never seen The Matrix, I will attempt to explain it to you.
Thomas (Neo) Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a programmer by day and a hacker by night. He knows something isn't right with the world, but he can't place his finger on it. Here enters Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne ) and Trinity(Carrie-Anne Moss). They explain things for him, but he needs to trust in them because it's really wild. According to them, the world is an illusion - a computer program. The truth of the matter is that the world is a wasteland that this computer program makes everyone think things are normal. Humans are really inside of pods and are providing the energy needed to keep this vast network of computers running. Morpheus is but one rebel from the city of Zion- the last bastion of human civilization buried deep underground. It's Morpheus' belief that Neo is The One. He bases this belief on conversations with The Oracle (Gloria Foster) a woman who can see the future. And The One is strong enough to go toe-toe with the master computer and people who protect it. These people are called agents and they will stop at nothing to keep the illusion going. Neo defies the agents and defies death. Even causing the agents to have to come back with something better. In computer language, the computer looks at Neo as a virus and wants to rid itself of him. And here is where the second movie picks up.
Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity have been fighting the good fight. Zion is now home to 250,000 people as they have been able to successfully reeducate more folks. But Zion is in trouble. The computer has sent 250,000 machines - one for every person in Zion - called sentinels- down to Zion to kill the humans. The Commander (Harry Lennix) has ordered all of the Captains, including Morpheus, to take their ships and set up a parameter around Zion to protect it. He figures that they have 36 hours before the sentinels reach the city. Morpheus has other plans, though. He wants to stay in the Matrix to receive more guidance from The Oracle. This open defience is complicated by the fact that Morpheus' ex-girlfriend, Captain Niobe, is now the current girlfriend of the Commander.
The Oracle sends Morpheus and his crew on a path that conflicts with the Commanders orders. Well they be able to accomplish what the Oracle has in store for them and make it back in time to save Zion?
The Matrix is one of my favorite movies. I've always loved how it broke the brother rule and let's face it, it so damn cool. Being a software tester, I also got all of the computer references. Having said that, I wasn't feeling this one like I felt the first one. It was pretty good, but it wasn't great. The first one broke new ground in terms of special effects and I expected this one to do the same. There was some cool stuff in it, but nothing to make my jaw drop to the ground. As I've said before, CGI still looks a bit too cartoonish for me. The first one wowed me without the use of a CGI Neo - this one could have too. But that is not what almost ruined this movie for me. It was the score and the plot devices. First, the score was horribly intrusive. The music zigged when it should have zagged. It was down right annoying. Remember in the first one when they go to save Morpheus? Remember how almost every bullet was accentuated by a drumbeat? Well this time the music was off tempo and it threw me off, that and I just don't think the appropriate music was chosen. You never know how important music is to a film until they screw up. As with most second parts of trilogies, part 2 is used to build the story and give you a little insight into the characters and what drives them, as well as, explain a few things to the audience. Well this audience member walked away more confused than when I went in. That was frustrating because I "got" it - up until now.
In short, I didn't really gain anything, story-wise, from this movie. We learned that Neo has only tapped into probably 1/10th of his power. We learn how much he really loves Trinity. We learn that not everyone believes Morpheus and that he actually has some drama in his life and that he should have been named Confucius.
I really enjoyed Jada Pinkett-Smith's character - as brief as it was. Trinity tends to be the one who is going to kick ass and take names, but Niobe was no slouch it's a shame she wasn't more prevalent. I'm usually Nona Gaye's biggest fan, but she didn't do it for me, but I'll chalk it up to her coming to the part late. Harold Perrineau Jr. was a breath of fresh air as the new ship operator and I really liked seeing Zion up close. Monica Bellucci and Lambert Wilson were hilarious as a computer geek and his scorned wife. And while the special effects didn't bowl me over, they were fun to watch nonetheless and the fight scenes were awesome.
Even though it hurts my heart to not be able to give this movie a green light, I wouldn't hesitate to see it again and pay full price. By all means make sure you catch it on the big screen.
There is bug in the program, hopefully it will be fixed in the next installment.
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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2003
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