11.11.2003

MOVIE CRITICS, TRY WATCHING THE MOVIE SOMETIME

Via Rotten tomatoes, here is a section of Rene Rodriguez review of Matrix Revolutions

Matrix Revolutions packs an undeniable visceral punch -- it's an amazing piece of technical work -- but the Wachowskis had primed us for something deeper than an action extravaganza. And that, unfortunately, they do not deliver. Game over.

Matrix Revolutions doesn't deliver anything deeper than an action extravaganza? That's like saying Twin Peaks was nothing more than a crime drama. Rodriguez only wanted to see a traditional action movie with candy-coated pieces of philosophy and Western religion added into the mix. The philosophical implications of Sati and the Oracle's actions are the core of the revolution of this trilogy. Neo would have just been another regular "One" without the existence of Sati and the Oracle's sacrifices, but Rodriguez can't acknowledge these revelations because they would conflict with the theme of the criticism of "failing to deliver."

Rodriguez continues:
Revolutions conclusively proves that the Wachowskis had little substantial to add to the premise of the 1999 original -- our reality is an artificial construct designed by the machines that have enslaved us -- when they decided to spin out The Matrix into a trilogy.

Little substantial to add? The Wachowski Brothers have blurred the line between human consciousness and artificial intelligence. They create a vision of the future based on the direction of current technological trends, just like every good science fiction story has done in the past. Has Rene given any thought to the difference between Sati's parents and the other "rogue" programs like the Merovingian or Agent Smith? The latter two have evaded deletion for a number of reasons, but are any of those reasons love? How is it possible for programs to learn love? What are the implications of a world where AI has advanced to the point that it wishes to exist for the sake of existing? What are the implications of a world where humans can choose to live between two different realities?


For all its aspirations at profundity, the story all boils down to a really big fistfight and a war between computer-generated machinery whose resolution will have you grating your teeth, much like Agent Smith himself. As a whole, Revolutions is as anti-climactic as the moment in Return of the Jedi when we finally got to see what Darth Vader looked like under that mask, and he turned out to be . . . a bald old blue guy.

How can readers respond with these type of opinions, stated as fact, that imply that the reviewer just does not pay attention to the story on-screen? What would Rodriguez say about Twin Peaks? That, for all its aspirations at profundity, the story all boils down to a "non-traditional FBI investigation into the murder of a rural high school prom queen"?

Rodriguez could at least try to acknowledge that the Wachowski Brothers have created a type of modern allegory seeded with Eastern and Western philosophies that is appealing to audiences around the planet. Rodriguez could at least try to commend the brothers for allowing a studio to take a chance on a $400 million pair of movies that aren't cut by the typical Hollywood cookie-cutter. These movies are connecting with a big audience and initiating dialogue among academics who normally don't obsess on the science or philosophy of Hollywood big budget actions. Rodriguez has chosen to completely dismiss these aspects of the films, and that is ultimately Rene's sacrifice. I'm glad that I didn't have to do the same.

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