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The Matrix Revolutions (***)
Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Written by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Principal Cast
Keanu Reeves -- Neo
Carrie-Anne Moss -- Trinity
Laurence Fishburne -- Morpheus
Hugo Weaving -- Agent Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith -- Niobe
Monica Bellucci -- Persephone
Gina Torres -- Cas
Mary Alice -- The Oracle
Anthony Zerbe -- Councillor Hamann
Bernard White -- Rama-Kandra
Nona Gaye -- Zee
Tanveer Atwal -- Sati
Helmut Bakaitis -- The Architect
Gina Torres -- Cas
Clayton Watson -- Kid
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

The Matrix Revolutions "This doesn't make any sense!" cries one character near the end of the final film in The Matrix trilogy. How nice of them to review their own movie.

It would be a waste of time to point out the many absurdities. Superman's battle with General Zod didn't make a whole lot of sense either, and it didn't set off any alarms. It wasn't supposed to make sense. The battles in the Matrix are Superman vs. Zod raised to the nth power, and can be enjoyed on that level.

The movie is too long. I'm going to give away a few plot points, but I don't think you need a SPOILER WARNING, because the plot is not the point. The plot is a serviceable, standard frame on which to hang the action. After the scene where Mr. Smith takes over Oracle I lost interest for about a half hour. My mind wandered. My interest returned when the action became less spectacular and more focused. This character, who I recognize, has to do that, so that that character, who I recognize, can open the door and let a third character in. In other words, special effects that just splash all over the screen are boring. Special effects become interesting when you are interested in the characters, when you understand what they are trying to do, and when you know what obstacles stand in their way.

It doesn't take much to get us interested in a character. We don't need the kind of characterization found, for example, in Luther, which is playing on the screen next door, or even Luthor, every Wednesday night in Smallville. We just need to know who we are rooting for. We need to know what he is trying to accomplish. And we need to know what constitutes a win. The most spectacular battle in the world won't interest us if we don't know which side we are on and what the definition of a win is. (Gratuitous political aside: That is the problem with Iraq. We don't know what the definition of a win is anymore.)

Silly as the battle suits are (zero protection against shrapnel!) my interest revived and stayed at a fairly high level throughout the rest of the film. There is one particularly nice moment just prior to the final confrontation.

One advantage the battle between Superman and General Zod had over the battle between Neo and Mr. Smith is that in the real word, a battle can have consequences. In the Matrix, a battle is an arbitrary string of zeroes and ones.

Why does Neo win? For the same reason Superman wins. Superior will power. Over on the next screen, in Luther, we are told that everything is predestined, that the human will is illusory. But what a magnificent illusion!

More contrasts occur to me between the story of the founder of Protestantism and the story of the savior of Zion City. First, while Martin Luther's thought has been simplified and somewhat homogenized for movie audiences, the contrast between the level of philosophical discourse in the two films highlights just how sophomoric the "philosophy" of the Matrix is. Second, Luther clearly articulates the dichotomy between salvation by human will and salvation by faith alone. The Matrix tries to have it both ways. Neo saves the world by both will power and by faith (and by love and the prize in the crackerjack box and the kitchen sink). By touching all of the great philosophical bases, you don't really touch any of them. Why did Neo triumph this time after failing the five (or is it six?) previous times. Because he did. That's why.

But the fight scenes kick ass, and we still get a thrill when we hear the words, "Welcome back, Mister Anderson." See The Matrix Revolutions in a theater where the sound is turned up REAL LOUD!!!!!

Copyright © 2003 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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