AntiCinema: The Matrix: Revolutions



Like I predicted, this review’s “news” section is mostly rambling filler. Not sure how that differs from the usual, if I’m honest, but i can see a benefit into spacing these things out a little more. If only so I’ve got different things to, if you’ll pardon the joke, waffle on about. Nothing really new besides the completion of my “Omega Ruby” team completion (Beautifly, Gardevior, Crobat, Donphan, Poliwrath, Hitmonlee for the curious), and a start on the new Smash Bros. title. So with that…

Now, I’m trying to think of the best ways to frame these points wihtout feeling like I’m crossing some lines, but I don’t really have enough experience with the discussion to know where the mines lay, so I’ll just say it: Neo is supposed to be Jesus, yes? The energy resembling wings of light, the pose that is basically like a crucifiction, the whole thing with the betrayal guy. Neo is Techno-Jesus. Except, he’s also Superman and Goku to boot. Seriously, I read comics and manga that are less ridiculous about their power-creep than this film. But I said “points”, which leads me to my next potentially sore point. There are a lot of black people in Zion. It’s not a bad thing at all, becuase it doesn’t make a difference to the character or the story in any way. It’s refreshing to see what amounts to a major Hollywood picture with a more diverse cast than is “expected” It’s just, it’s like someone pointing out a nearly-invisible crack in a pane of glass: Once you know it’s there, you can’t help but notice it. Had no problem with it until I noticed about halfway though Reloaded. Again, good to see.

It seems I’m doomed to encounter parts of films that run for several times longer than they need to, for the sake of filler. The entire chase sequence of the ship in the tunnel could easily have been a fraction of the runtime it took, but I guess it was necessary to make it feel like it was on parity with the “real world” Neo vs. Smith fight. Not technically Smith, the betrayal guy. Can’t remember his name, doubt he’s important enough to be in the credits anyway, but you know what I mean.

Again, I should mention the design of Zion and what it entails. Every moving part looks like it’s ready to rust shut or fall apart, which is the best coice for the setting. Conversely, why do the machines need skyscrapers? Are they just co-opting the city the took over? You’d think they’d have torn it down for a more efficient design. At the very least, try not to make it like a concept art sketch of “DARK FUTURE CITY” that someone’s glanced at and decided to call it a day. On the subject of criticism, I return to the figt sequences. Again, the beautiful free-flowing back-and-forth ruined by the wire effects, only this time they’re adding literal flight. Just throw a Spirit Bomb and be done with it, you’ve already taken enough piss.

Emotionless acting and really quite bad dialogue just didn’t help at all in this outing. But I feel I might have to take a bit of a contentious stand here: it wasn’t a bad movie. Certainly not a good movie, but not bad. It was bland and forgettable with a bit of an unfortunately aggresive religious tone, but it was inoffensive. And if that’s the best one sentence review you can get: “Not bad, not good, it certainly exists.”, maybe you should look at different creative options. 2.5/5

AntiCinema: The Matrix: Reloaded



Ha! Only a single day late! Take THAT, past me! Now, since it’s only been a couple of days, there’s not going to be much in what I consider the “news” section of the review, and probably the same or less in the next one. I mean, it’s been hot, which is expected for a traditional Aussie Christmas, but other than that it’s same old-same old. The only real thing that’s happened out of the usual grind has been the setup of my streaming tech for later this week. Oh, I’ll be streaming starting from this week. You may have noticed the addition to the calendar on the main page, but probably not, provably no-one ever reads these but me anyway.

So we’re pretty much dropping most of the story of the movie in favour of the action sequences, yes? I could tell. there are still some overarching plot threads but on the whole everything feels like a mix of killing for time and working unnecessary angles. Sure some of you may say that the introduction of Zion and its inhabitants are important to the story, which I can see the argument for, but to me it felt a little vestigial. We already knew that there was a single city as a last outpost-type deal, so the whole section dragged on a bit too long for my preference.

While I’m on the topic of “things dragging on too long”, that section with the French guy? Ugh, talk about a slog. I will give them, however, that the fight sequences flowed beautifully. Until the wire harnesses came into play. One second, there’s a fantastic back-and-forth of weaponry and fists, intertwined in a stately dance; the next, someone’s catapulting backwards while tumbling, looking both (a) rather uncomfortable, and (b) incredibly, offputtingly fake. Now, I know there;s supposed to be a suspension of disbelief on the audiences’ part, and I know that the fighting was basically a tribute to Eastern cinema at large, but really? The effects were so much better until everyone was jumping around like a flea with fleas. The Agent transformations in particular are much improved (to my eyes) from the last film, but then they show us that? Not a fan.

The aesthetic used for Zion and the ships continues to impress. It’s almost like a near-futuristic civilization was destroyed, yet lingers in a decaying post-apocalypse. I do have an issue with the costume department though. The Agents I get, they’re basically all the same anyway, so they have their suits as a uniform. But is there an explanation for the humans basically all in black leather with sunglasses? Is the height of imagination really just a trenchcoat and mirrored lenses? At least the original movie had someone wearing white, and someone else with a band t-shirt for crying out loud. Nope, it’s “welcome to the real world here’s your chaps”. Not even ONE person visualises the rags they normally put up with?

I can see why some people dismiss this out of hand. It’s hard to tolerate, but there’s enough breadcrumbs to keep you involved and watching. Maybe not enough to come back for seconds, but why would anyone want to make more money off repeat cinema viewings? Mad people, that’s who. 2/5

AntiCinema: The Matrix



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

AntiCinema: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog




I’ve been trying for a while to convince my brother to watch this with me after previously watching it by myself a while back. Yes, throw your tomatoes now, I’m cheating, big whoop. Before this, my exposure had been limited to Desert Bus For Hope and (for the wrestling fans) a CM Punk “tribute” video, so I at least had an idea that, given a chance, I’d like it. Much to my chagrin, however; after navigating the hoops to watch it online as I had done previously (via, oh let’s call them InterPix. I’m sure that’s not obvious), it had been removed. Well, it had apparently been intended to be see on YouTube and the likes anyway, so no big loss.

Given what I know about the actors, I’m not surprised how well they perform in a musical setting. If I had to complain about anything it’s that the songs felt a little too packed together, but given the nature of the release format I guess some concessions have to be made. There’s enough of Nathan Fillion acting as a smug prick that left me wanting more (which, having the boxset of Castle on hand, I’ll be right), which is a testament of the old adage. I also would’ve liked to see more of Billy’s/Penny’s relationship, even if it was just more awkwardness, but I can see how it might wear thin over time. Out of the characters on display however, I felt a little underwhelmed by Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as the titular Dr. Horrible. Maybe I was expecting more, but he felt a little, empty, if that’s the right word for it. Interestingly, the story’s climax led to a fun discussion over the usage of superpowers in storytelling, specifically how if you do manage to cause pain to someone with invulnerability it very well could be a mentally debilitating experience, but it’s far from a permanent solution. Which is all in good fun.

Overall, I can see why people like this movie (if that’s an accurate term) so much, and I can count myself among those numbers. I also want to set an example for, you know, children and stuff. 4.5/5

Also, the ratings have returned. So there’s that.