This is a review of: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions.
This trilogy has ingrained itself in popular culture and significantly influenced many other films. But like many popular works, it brings nothing new or interesting to the table.
Plot & Writing
The films’ basic premise is ridiculous, with machines using humans as a power source (I’m sure nuclear fusion is only fifty years off though) and keeping their conscious minds active for nonsense reasons. Lots of other ridiculous stuff, such as the body suffering injury since the mind believes it has– that must be why I wake up gargling blood every time my throat is slashed in a dream.
The massive amount of human murders committed by the main characters is particularly absurd. The lives of fellow humans are treated as utterly irrelevant. The films’ defense of this is that a life of illusion is worse than death; Morpheus and his followers kill people in order to save humanity as a whole. It’s a tired argument and has been used as an excuse for innumerable acts of destruction throughout history–from the Soviet Union to modern Islamic terrorism.
None of these people asked to be saved, most would probably prefer their artificial existence to life in an underground orgy cave. That one world is supposedly fake is a weak argument at best: for the average person there is no way of knowing that the other world is anymore real, or even that it is not the fake one. Like a terrorist running into a crowded market place and blowing themselves and those around them up, Neo and his cohorts dish out death and destruction on humanity in order to ‘save’ it.
In the context of the movies, this rampant killing can be dismissed as just a way to deliver awesome action sequences. What is disturbing is the amount of real world people who cheerfully encourage and justify the psychotic violence committed by the series’ characters.
Although it has some interesting lines of dialog, For those of us who are aware of things such as Nick Bostrum’s Simulation Argument, the concepts in The Matrix are neither new nor particularly interesting, just dumbed down versions of interesting concepts, with a heaping of meandering philosophy.
Like many works of ‘science’-fiction, it is light on the science and heavy on the fiction. Religious and mystical themes ooze from every facet of the films.
Like many films of the early to mid 2000s, the latter two Matrixes make extensive use of CGI before computer graphics were particularly convincing, the result is lots of goofy looking scenes that standout with their low polygon visuals contrasting the real environment. Although there is also some impressive CGI work for the time that blends well with the film.
The action scenes range from impressive and exciting to overblown and monotonous.
The popular opinion is that The Matrix is the only good film in the series. In reality, I would say the latter two films are more entertaining. They at least realize that they have nothing interesting to say, and focus on delivering some entertaining action.