The Matrix

1999, Village Roadshow Pictures et al

The Matrix and I have something of a love-hate relationship: While I find aspects of the film repugnant, I cannot deny its greatness as a groundbreaking film—technically, aesthetically, creatively. In a way, it's a tangible example of lightning captured in a bottle, a quality underscored by how underwhelming its sequels proved to be.

Make no mistake: despite its undeniable influence on the film industry and, indeed, our culture—having spawned an almost cult-like following—it's still just a movie. Those who cling to its vaguely philosophical messages as though they were passages from newly-minted religious tomes, even going so far as to suggest the film reveals a massive, heretofore unknown cover-up, evidently have a hard time separating reality from entertainment. Thus, my rating is based purely on its quality as a piece of filmmaking, and most definitely not any endorsement for conspiracy theories.

     

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CRAP

MEH

WOW

The Matrix Reloaded

2003, Village Roadshow Pictures et al

The original film established a fascinating premise, one ripe with potential. Sadly, the Wachowskis didn't do anything truly interesting with it. Reloaded kind of felt like an inflated balloon allowed to flutter away with a raspberry-like noise. It was certainly a technical achievement, with superior effects, but they were used for more of the same. Keanu Reeves still acts and sounds as though he's perpetually suffering from a bad case of strep throat, and shares virtually no onscreen chemistry with Carrie-Anne Moss; in fact, Trinity's infatuation with Neo sort of came out of the blue for me. Did I miss something, aside from a parade of designer sunglasses and cell phones?

 

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CRAP

MEH

WOW

The Matrix Revolutions

2005, Village Roadshow Pictures et al

Any hope that the Wachowskis might recapture their escaping balloon and infuse it with new life was lost; instead, they gave us what amounts to one painfully prolonged pointless fistfight. Gone was any sense that new philosophical questions might be probed. Even the immensely entertaining Hugo Weaving—who provided about the only reason to see Reloaded—failed to maintain one's interest, despite there being literally hundreds of him. About all Revolutions did was continue to mark the long, steady decline of the Wachowskis' careers, which has ended (for the time being) with their utterly embarrassing Jupiter Ascending.

Also see The Animatrix.

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CRAP

MEH

WOW

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