After waiting six months, believing, expecting, defending and anticipating, I finally saw "The Matrix: Revolutions" opening day (11.05.03) at a GREAT theater (The Senator in Baltimore)
I'm not sure I ever felt so betrayed in my life.
And as I think about it, I could sense that something was going wrong or, more accurately, that there was a specific moment in time where I could see with extreme clarity that "The Matrix" series and my own expectations were diverging.
That moment occured when I saw a "Powerade" ad in a theater last April before seeing some other film. I don't know if you ever saw it; it had an "agent" pontificating on why humans need to drink Powerade. (okay, I get the joke: humans "power" the machines that run the Matrix. They need power. Cute.) It annoyed me because I (perhaps unfairly?) thought it was WAY WAY WAY too pedestrian and mundane a thing - an electrolyte drink being exalted by the aura of the matrix. It seemed like a really cheap thing to do. It WAS a really cheap thing to do. If "the Matrix" franchise has a "brand manager," I think that person was out of their mind and should be fired - I mean, destroying brand new Cadillacs in return for, well displaying brand new Cadillacs - well who doesn't like that? At least they're freaky looking to begin with (if the early 20th century Futurists got to make a car...) , and obviously expensive, but frigging Powerade?! I mean come on.
(There's even Powerade product placement in Revolutions - they run past an ad for it in one of the scenes)
I sort of don't think there ever was a trilogy; just an astonishingly refreshing first movie and then an ocean of greed (and "virtual cinema")
Where the original Matrix was a work of art that changed filmaking, the sequels were acts of commerce, and I probably could have lived with that, except the first film had so much "right" about it that it was easy for me to suspend my disbelief at the paucity of the second film (it was like a good mainstream film, and couldn't possibly have been as good as the first, because the major revelations had already been had.) I believed it was essentially filler to get to the third story, which I truly thought would masterfully wrap things up with some major surprises, which I suppose is what happened, although I didn't expect the surprise to be that the film would suck. Revolutions felt more like the product of panic (I doubt it was) - Really, all of the cliche' war moments - the gruff commander, the "green" enlistee, the passing of the mantle, the outline is understandable, but the lack of finesse is not -- I felt like I'd just woken up in a remake of "independence (sp?) day", without any of the (albeit lame) humor that movie had. Ick.
I feel better now. Venting into the void. Sometimes the internet is just a giant barf bag.
Perhpas it's unfair and unwise to expect so much from something that comes from a place where art and commerce seldom make a truly satisfying whole.
Of course, maybe this is just another cliche', and soon the audience will wake up and realize they dreamed the whole thing, we'll get six or seven hours of our lives back, and there'll be no harm done because none of it really happened anyway, and the good parts were really good, and the execrable parts were.. not good, and can be forgotten. How much is seven hours of your life worth anyway.