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Everything that has a beginning…

November 5th, 2003 · No Comments

…has an end! Ted and I got out this afternoon to see the final Matrix movie, Revolutions. The theater had only a handful of folks, as to be expected on this island in the middle of the day. Wonder who made it to the 6 AM show?!

Hype aside – and not even Ghandi (the move or the man) could live up to all of it! -, I think the movie does have some merit. 🙂 I was skeptical going in to see it, and I was even more skeptical this morning, when I saw the Seattle Times review’s headline , quoting Macbeth’s soliloquy of “sound and fury, signifying nothing”

I won’t reveal much of the plot. And it’s not as if this is a movie that people need to be persuaded to see. Either you know you’ll see it, or you won’t. So I’ll write a few of my thoughts below in a vague review.

I was reluctant to see the first film – we literally waited years to see it – because of the R rating. I’m just not keen on seeing graphic sex and violence in films, I always used to close my eyes during fighting scenes, as a kid and adult. After recently reading the books Exploring the Matrix and Hey Nostradamus! , I was beginning to feel more uncomfortable about the violent aspects. This film still has plenty of violence, but it didn’t seem as intense as the first film, to me. Maybe it has to do with the machines. Or maybe I’m just numbed now. The words “terrorist” and “guerilla” – even thoughts of Iraq – did come to mind – probably because of my readings. Need I say that the ending fighting scenes are over the top? The big battles to me felt a lot like tooth pulling (get it over with!), but that’s just me. I just don’t like watching those. There’s plenty of special effects, for sure. (Ted and I both smiled to see Yuen Woo-ping in the credits – again, a great chapter in Exploring on that!)

The big questions are still there: What will you do for what you believe? How much will you sacrifice? What is the power of belief? What is the difference between knowing and believing? These questions are why I like these Matrix films: the movies speak to me about spiritual truths. What is the power of prophecy? (Considering the original actress died, they did a pretty good job accommodating the new Oracle.) What does it mean to be human? What will you do for love? What is Fate? There are still great illustrations, one particularly powerful one involving Neo’s sight. And of course: What is reality?

Free will versus choice is still a big theme. Although the Seattle Times review mocked this emphasis on choice, I appreciated it. I think it is because choice is an issue I am discovering deeper in my own life, and wrestling in a spiritual way. As Ted and I have been making some decisions recently in our lives, we’ve been learning more about what it means to have free will, how God made us with the ability to choose (Adam and Eve), and how we exercise that choice. And like the characters in the movie who often wanted the Oracle to tell them exactly what to do, at times we’ve wanted to lean on specific advice from others also rather than making a choice. Most of the time we can’t see past the decision, the bend in the road and the uncertainty is scary, requiring faith. Ah, to be human! And the Matrix movies provoke the question: how much is determined and how much is our choice? The unfolding of the trilogy, including what happens with the prophecies, speaks to me now in a new way about choice.

The plot as a whole, looking at it now through the three films, or even in just this one, seems a bit like spaghetti – maybe I missed some details or moments? Or like a puzzle with missing pieces, picture incomplete. In the middle of it, while watching, I felt “this movie is a mess.” Some of it got resolved and explained and some didn’t. Questions remain. I’m trying to put it all together and wondering…and wondering…feeling a bit disappointed, a bit mystified, a bit baffled, and a bit relieved at the finality of it all.

Some fun tidbits from the first film are included, images and references, cute and cool. One thing I am sure of is that the Wachowski brothers – and their crew too – had a lot of fun making all these movies!
Yet in some ways the plot of the third one is still a bit predictable, simple with some surprises. To me, there are too many cultural and racial stereotypes. I felt that way about the second film as well. But I do like how the women characters lead (although I don’t know why one of them had to wear a tank top to do it!).

If they ever make re-make of the Matrix, I hope they’d consider hiring writers to do new dialogue. Sometimes the flat and silly speech almost made me laugh, even in the tense scenes. I kept hearing Bruce Sterlings’s words in my mind, imagining what he will write about this one….

Instead of P.O.D., Marilyn Manson and others, the closing music was more classical and dramatic, one blend of operatic plus Indian plus techno (best way I know how to describe it – Ted argues with me about the Indian/Eastern, saying it was just the voice/singing style) I wish we had opera in more of our culture rather than just movie soundtracks.:)

I liked the last line of the film. It made me think.

Tags: matrix