A bit of a spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen Reloaded, don’t go further. Though I don’t think I gave any major plot points away, better safe than sorry.
Now, on to the message proper:
You know what I don’t get?
Why were people expecting some kind of blisteringly good story from The Matrix Reloaded? Like that was what made the first great. What made the first great was the action, pure and simple. The effects, the bullet-time, etc. should be mentioned too, but they’ve become memorable, and the standard-bearer of films to come, and have been spoofed numerous times because of the way they were used to present what was the main attraction: the action. When people talk about The Matrix’s contribution to cinema and pop culture history, is anyone with a modicum of taste going to say, “Yeah, the acting in that film was really amazing”? Or “Such crackling dialogue, like a sci-fi David Mamet!”? Fuck no! It’s the action!
I’ve been getting these reactions from people, that they feel cheated or something by the story. I mean, we’re talking about a summer film here. Even if it is the most anticipated film since Episode 1, when was story The Matrix’s strong point?
The score was horrible. It was actually worse than Don Davis’s work in the first.
The dialogue is terrible, but it’s far, far better than in the first film. Neva and I watched it before Reloaded and it was amazing how some of them were able to keep a straight face during some scenes. There’s one part, for example, and I love this: Neo wakes up, right, and Morpheus IS IN HIS FUCKING BED! IN THE SHADOWS! AND BEHIND HIM! AS IN BETWEEN THE WALL AND NEO! WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?! Anyway, he uses the word “prophesized.” PROPHESIZED!!! And let’s not forget every single line that escaped the now-gone Tank’s mouth. Everything from “Mm! These are exciting times!” to whatever he said in that long sentence he mouthed off before finally shooting Cypher.
If you stop to think of it, the structure of Reloaded is actually simple: fight – monologue –fight – monologue – fight – monologue. And each monologue is a badly written, intentionally ambiguous/amorphous/confusing (take your pick) one. The Merovingian takes the cake for me personally because I FUCKING HATE his accent. The Architect was like the host from Masterpiece Theater: dry and boring, no menace (which would’ve been nice), and full of ten-dollar words you’d need a dictionary to decipher everything. He also used up all the clever Latin transitional phrases: vis a vis, apropos, ergo, etc.
If there is a valid reason for people to be disappointed with Reloaded, besides Keanu getting a butt shot while Carrie-Anne Moss doesn’t, it is because the fight scenes, so tantalizing in the trailers, could not possibly have met what we had in mind, what we wanted, what we demanded after four years of waiting. The CGI, in particular, was so obvious, it was distracting. The effects technicians still haven’t perfected human movement.
On the whole, though, I enjoyed myself. I loved the action scenes, even if the CGI sucked. That’s all I was really there for anyway. Story, dialogue, acting: call it window dressing. I was never expecting much in those departments anyway. The first is still better.
What scares me is that supposedly these guys want to do an adaptation of my beloved V For Vendetta for their next project.
Anyone seen the teaser trailer of Underworld? It’s an unabashed Matrix rip-off with what looks like the plot of Blade, except it’s werewolves (I think) instead of vampires. But still, it’s Kate Beckinsale in tight leather. I’m so there.
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