AntiCinema: The Matrix

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In hindsight, it’s a good thing I set out these new reviews under the proviso that it would be on my own time, and not on a set schedule, otherwise I’d be in some hot water of my own boiling. That “life” thing everyone keeps raving about (totally overrated in my opinion) keeps popping up, so good and some bad. On the good side of things, I’m managing to spend more time with friends and playing way more Magic: The Gathering than I ever have (which I enjoy, so score!). On the downside, most of my friends are drifting away for their own purposes, health issues continue to abound, and moods are… not great. Regardless, I’ve managed to finally set aside some time to watch some visual media that is relevant to this blog. Which is good. I like having things that are useful be useful. Spoilers for the end of the review though: this movie’s part of a trilogy. Which I will be watching. So stay tuned to this station in the immediate future. Sorry to all the spoiler nuts. 😛

Back in the day, I, a fresh-faced lad of innocence pure and mind whimsical (please stop laughing) used to play a PC game called “GunZ: The Duel” (so “Z”, much edgy), or just GunZ Online, if you were short on time. A game, I hasten to add, I was utterly rubbish at. Basically, the conceit of the game was that it was a multiplayer arena shooter framed in third-person. Dashing and wall-running were the main modes of transport, during which, of course you’d be trying to remove large portions of opponent’s torsos using absurdly ammunitioned rifles, pistols, revolvers, and the occasional bazooka. The more intuitive reader will by now, of course, realise where I’m heading with this seemingly random topic shift. The Matrix is, to me, a movie version of GunZ. Which, when you boil it down, makes sense, as GunZ was heavily inspired by action and kung-fu movies. As it was released in 2005, I have no doubt the The Matrix (released in 1999) was among the inspirations.

The action scenes, while intense, are just ridiculous enough to have stepped out of a parody of the genre, and if someone had told me that was the intent, I would believe them. I’m sure it’s been said numerous times around the internet, but Keanu Reeves is not a heavily emotional actor. At least, I should add, judging from this presentation. He reminds me of Randy Orton in a way, except Orton can be engaging when not on a script. Maybe that’s Keanu’s problem then? But it’s not just him though. The entire cast felt the same, except for the actress that played “Switch”, which Wikipedia tells me is Belinda McClory. Even then, she only emoted for a second or two before she died. I think Hugo Weaving was an inspired choice for the villain, if only because he can pull off emotionless and stilted. I know from other movies and shows he can do better, so what was happening here? I guess that Cipher character had some moments, but it couldn’t have been any less subtle unless he had a handlebar moustache and was speaking only in black-and-white text cards.

Realistically, the premise is interesting enough that I feel more could have been done. Perhaps this is addressed in the sequels (which are ALWAYS good, right?), but the ending felt like everything had been tied up enough that sequels would require breaking the status-quo in order to fix it. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt that it may have been a “Back To The Future”-type situation, in which sequels weren’t originally planned. I really dug on the cyberpunk (though I’m loathe to use the term) feel. Even the inside-the-Matrix scenes felt like there was an underlying grit to it. Incidentally, always cool to recognise a home-town locale in media, even if all the “cool” places (read: “tourist spots”) were removed so as to not offend Americans (:P). Some of the effects are starting to show their age, because some (most noticeably Agent Smith’s explosion) look downright cartoonish. And from a Dr. Who fan, that should say something.

Now, while I liked the film, I don’t think I’d be interested in repeat viewings. At least not for quite a while. There were some parts that seemed to drag for no real purpose, and the action got to the point of less “Whoo! This is going to rock!” and more “Oh, what’s exploding now, and who’s floating over what?” Still going to be watching the sequels, which everyone tells me are just great. 2.5/5

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