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Realized during “Revisited”

November 12th, 2003 · No Comments

The other day Ted went out shopping and picked up a copy of The Matrix Revisited at Best Buy. For $10, it’s like a movie date. So Sunday night, we watched the DVD.

Yeah, we’re behind the times: I think Revisited has been out now for at least a couple years. But it is different to watch it after seeing the other two movies in the trilogy. We probably had a different perspective than we would have had watching it a few days earlier, before “Revolutions”. And I think it helped me understand what happened to the last two films.

For an image-conscious crowd, the look is obvious disheveled. It’s funny to see the too-cool cast looking like they need haircuts and shaves. Carrie-Ann wore a knit hat and a blanket. Keanu looked like he hadn’t seen a mirror in days. Hugo Weaving had a ponytail – which I didn’t remember in the movies – was that his Elrond hair for his LOTR role? Perhaps the point is to prove how hard they are training? There are a lot of scenes of the crew practicing their fighting.

It’s worth watching the DVD to see some sights: Keanu babbling about Baudrillard. (I had heard he had to read the book, but I didn’t know he had to read it BEFORE he read the script.) Seeing Woo-ping in action, hearing his commentary (translated) and watching his blocking tapes. I was intrigued to see the detailed original drawings. Watching Kym Barrett describe her work on the costumes inspired me to imagine the fun of experimenting with fabric, textures, shapes and sheens. Insight into some of the special effects was cool too: for example, I had just assumed that Neo’s mouth melt was completely done on a computer – I didn’t realize that Keanu had to spend five hours with his mouth covered up (writing notes instead of talking) in order to act that interrogation scene…

It’s probably worth watching Revisited just to see the directors. I was surprised that the elusive won’t-give-interviews Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry, participated. There’s lots of footage of the two of them talking, and there’s also footage of how the two directed, in a very involved way, often one of them acting and demonstrating while the other explained the scene. (Was it me, or is there a bit of a Tweedledum/Tweedledee feel to the two brothers?:) )

Even after seeing Reloaded and Revolutions, it was great to see the original film again. Keanu’s confusion and Weaving’s evil were classic. I find too that Trinity’s action-feminity was the strongest in that film also. Morpheus, well I felt something’s happened to him in the sequels – like a hit in the head? – and he’s never been the same charismatic leader since. While watching the DVD, Ted sighed, “This movie was a masterpiece compared to the two sequels.”

And in Revisited, I found clues to explain the dramatic differences between the first and subsequent films. Laurence Fishburne explained that in the Matrix Morpheus is “masculine” while he is more feminine in the real world. Well, that explained some things.

The DVD discussed the Wachowski brothers history, how they made comic books first, then films. How much they loved comic books. That explained some things too. Instead of thinking about the trilogy as some kind of cosmic philosophy, maybe I should just think of it as one gigantic cinematic comic book. Comic book, yeah, that fits better.

There’s talk about how the Wachowskis at first wanted to do all three films, but had to settle for making one, The Matrix. One of the brothers, I think it is Larry, said something like “all the ideas we’ve had in our entire lives” were put into the The Matrix. Yeah, that explained a lot. Like what was left to put into #2 and #3…..?

Tags: matrix