Review: The Matrix Reloaded

by Jake Sproul

Rating: (out of )

Every year, there is one film that everyone is aware of, everyone plans to see, and everyone is anticipating its release. Last year, that film was Spider-Man, and its record breaking box office tally reflects that status. This year, that film is The Matrix Reloaded. The original Matrix was a hit at the box office, but far from blockbuster, making $171 million is domestic receipts. It was on DVD that the Matrix really went big and established its cult following, becoming the best selling DVD of all time. Now four years later, the media is in frenzy-mode for anything Matrix. (Entertainment Weekly had two cover articles about the Matrix in the span of just a month.) With all the hype surrounding this first Matrix sequel to his screens this year, it was bound to not meet the astronomically high expectations that were riding upon it, and sadly, it didn’t.

The original Matrix blew audiences away with not only its state-of-the-art action sequences, but its inventive and intriguing philosophy. By now, everyone is familiar of the story of behind The Matrix, but I will re-cap anyways. So sometime in the near future, humans and machines go to war, and machines win. The vast majority of humans are all plugged into “The Matrix,” or, our world right now, so that the machines can harness our body energy and use it for themselves. We are totally oblivious that our reality isn’t reality at all, and this alternate reality for our brain keeps us happy and productive. However, there is one last remaining human city, that of Zion. Zion is located near the Earth’s core, where it is still warm. In addition, some humans have been disconnected from The Matrix, and bare numerous “outlets” on their body to prove it. A leader of the human resistance is Morpheous, whose quest to find “The One” was concluded in the first film when he found Neo. Also in the mix is Trinity - the lover of Neo, and “Agents,” who are faster than bullets and their goal is to kill Neo. Also important, you can come and go from the Matrix as you please when you are unplugged, and the gateway of all things is a telephone.

While the first Matrix introduced this “reality” to the audience, the sequel becomes much more episodic, as the city of Zion discovers that Sentinels, aka, octopus-looking-human-killing-machines, are nearing the city at a rapid pace, and its up to Neo to stop them. Despite the fact that almost $200 million dollars has been earned by The Matrix Reloaded, I won’t divulge the specifics of the plot anymore.

However, I will critique it. The plot of The Matrix Reloaded is, I’m sad to say, very silly, not that interesting, and ridden with ridiculous and juvenile dialogue. I have never fallen asleep during a movie, but I came close several times during The Matrix Reloaded. One could say that was because I saw a 10:00 show, and had spent that day in school, and then played a tennis match, but it was the lengthy and boring talky scenes that I think made me “rest my eyes” on several occasions. One scene in particular, featuring a laughably cliched pep-talk by Morpheous, then a rave almost made me laugh...actually, I did scoff.

There are 14 posters for The Matrix Reloaded, any number of these you may find floating around your multiplex. This staggering number of one-sheets is perhaps an accurate representation of a significant failure of Reloaded: there are simply too many characters. Since each character is wildly unique, it isn’t difficult to keep track of their names, but I really would have enjoyed learning more about a few of these characters. But since the Wachowski’s crammed so many into their film, they eliminate any chance at that. (Personally, I liked those freaky-deaky albino twins, yet they only have something in the area of 2 lines.)

Its not the back story everyone was anticipating, it was the special effects. And let me be the millionth person to say, they are marvelous. Its these special effects which manage to keep the movie afloat. As I found the plot to be quite dull, I spent most of my time in the theater waiting to partake in other action sequence. The 14 minute car chase on the freeway is as fun to watch as it is to marvel at.

In The Matrix: Reloaded’s first 4 days of release, it gobbled up $134 million dollars. After that however, the monetary intake for the film began to drop heavily, squelching any chance for $300 million total. While the first Matrix started off small, then began to take off, the sequel seems to be performing the opposite trick. The Matrix: Reloaded is a fun ride, but only during the action sequences. The conclusion of The Matrix Reloaded was a cliffhanger. How? I have no idea. The final moments introduce a new plot twist, that I simply don’t get, and I won’t be going back a second time to understand it.
© 2003 Jacob Sproul

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