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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:48 pm 
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I didn't see any threads about Matrix trilogy so I guess I'll post this here.

The rave scene from Matrix Reloaded is a true classic, on more than one level. Exceedingly high energy. Morpheus's speech is good for a few chuckles and cringes. The whole scene is a metaphysics mashup, where a group's response to impending doom is to dance. I always remember the slow-motion ankle bracelet in the mud. Energy.

It's interesting that the hyper-aggressive camera work from the rave runs simultaneous to a love scene between Neo and Trinity, where the Wachowskis' camera work seems shy by comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Sense8
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:05 am 
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That's an interesting response to the rave scene, of everyone sort of abandoning themselves to the 'rhythm of life', intercut with the sex scene. I found a previous post I made about the commentary tracks on the special edition, which are always worth listening to:
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I love the critics commentaries over the Matrix films - they're sometimes a bit harsh and off the mark (they praise the worst scene in Reloaded: the restaurant scene where the gorgeous taste of a cake unsubtly causes a female patron to have an explosive orgasm! Thinking about it, it might be more that I just find the camera move of zooming under the table and straight up between the lady's thighs until the explosion a little distasteful! Even if it is done in slightly obscuring 'digital world' vision!) but they feel very engaged with talking about what they feel works and doesn't about the series. After talking about the Once Upon A Time In China commentary featuring someone who hates the film and proceeds to ruin the commentary track, the commentaries here are great examples of commentators having real problems with some of the material that they are discussing (the rave scene in Reloaded and endless attack on Zion in Revolutions in particular!) but making their discussion of what they feel to be the flaws interesting, entertaining and amusing!

I like the philosopher commentaries too, especially when they start talking about some of the ideas underpinning the series in detail (which is where the critics sometimes snicker because they are approaching more from the perspective of how those ideas aren't really integrating well into the structure of the film), but they do have the tendency to get all "Hell, yeah! This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" about the action scenes. That's endearing and understandable but I think I could have had that response on my own!

I'd add that I still find amusing the comments that the critics made comparing the interracial free-love during the Zion celebrations in Reloaded ("filmed like a soft drink advert") to the negative-image version of the similar rave scene (even similarly located in the structure of the film) in the Merovingian's EuroTrash "Hel" club in Revolutions ("This could almost be the same extras from that last scene in different clothes", "....I think they're whiter")


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:38 pm 
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Reloaded is such a unique film. When all is said and done, the one thing I can say about the second and third Matrix films overall is that the Wachowskis ultimately bit off more than they could chew, philosophically and in terms of story resolution. There were early signs of major trouble in the original Matrix, specifically the poorly conceived premise that machines "needed" humans to generate electricity (of all things), which never made any sense to anyone, and should have been a warning sign that the story was being built on a shaky foundation.

Luckily, the fact that Wachowskis got in over the heads with this saga does not cripple Reloaded, in the same way that it absolutely sinks Revolutions. Reloaded can still be enjoyed as a fun, stylish sci-fi action film dabbling in philosophy and metaphysics, with some juicy, highly re-watchable set pieces. The freeway chase comes to mind. The confrontation with the Merovingian. The rave scene itself is sort of a microcosm of Reloaded, a mixture of mostly successful (and in some cases groundbreaking) set pieces, with a few cringe-worthy elements scattered throughout. Morpheus's speech is emblematic of the type of over-sincere, sappy cringe that would later reappear in full force in films like Jupiter Ascending.

While the casting generally "got the job done" and there were some homeruns like Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith and Helmut Bakaitis as The Architect, there were some duds also. Neo, obviously. Pretty much any film that Keanu stars in is open to this charge. Think of Point Break. He gets the job done, yes, but he doesn't bring much to the role. Also, imagine all the different actors that could have been brought in for Morpheus. Maybe one of them could have actually pulled off that Zion speech. On the other hand, the Merovingian is an example of excellent casting, as the actor was able to elevate the character far beyond the script.

colinr, I have never checked out those commentaries you mentioned, but I will do so. I think I will also rewatch Revolutions, which I've not seen in a long time.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:36 am 
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Being, what do you think of that issue of the first Matrix film being retroactively colour timed to match with the sequels? It is the reason that I still have that first DVD edition of the film which keeps the blue tint to scenes (plus the isolated score and other commentary), whereas the version of The Matrix from the special edition DVDs on is the one where the green tint was applied to match everything else.

I'm fine with all three of the Matrix films as well despite generally understanding and agreeing with all of the criticisms that get levelled at the sequels. The first film still works as a standalone film in itself, a kind of spiky, punky film too with lots of individualised characters who have their own agendas, before even the other human characters become subordinate to Neo's Jesus-figure in the sequels (the critics make a great point that while it was just Trinity who looked like the cool trenchcoated figure, joined by Neo in the climax, in the sequels everyone is suddenly in the same dehumanisingly cool uniform of dark clothes and wearing sunglasses indoors matching to the multiplicating clone Agent Smiths. The fun and even 'humanity' in the Matrix is only there in the ostensible bad guys of the Merovingian and his wife, and the Oracle in Reloaded, and then entirely absent in Revolutions once the Oracle goes as the Matrix has been so corrupted by that point).

The first film also feels as much about 'real world' concerns as philosophical ones, with some amusing points about corporate culture as we see an office drone cathartically find out that his life actually has a greater meaning and that he actually is 'special'. It might be self-aggrandising but also liberating to find out that you are not just another cog, or battery, in a machine! (Even if that liberation itself reveals another whole layer of control structures beyond the glass ceiling you've broken through!) Its also got the ultimate version of turning frustrated gun crimes and terrorist acts into another person's freedom fight in the office gunfight scenes against hordes of anonymous soldiers and guys who cannot really be kiled! (Mixed with a callousness on both sides about all the innocent people's bodies who are getting used and discarded, or killed as anonymous uniformed grunts at the end). Its quite astute about some of that stuff in the way that films that came afterwards, such as Wanted in particular, really were not.

Its also got points to make about fashion and uniformity. Standing out from the crowd, like the woman in the red dress, only works if you are striding through a sea of anonymous blandness to contrast against. You can only be 'the One' if everyone else isn't. Once even Agent Smith reveals his essential individuality in that final torture scene (his 'infection' by such close contact with humanity has made him self aware in some senses), he has become both more and essentially already lost, as the individual can only be that when they have a crowd to differentiate themselves from, not when they have eaten the entire world and monomanaically made it all about them, which is Agent Smith's journey in the sequels. He becomes self aware enough to not be content with his place in the system either, and rebel against his own programming too, but not aware in the Neo sense of his own existence being meaningful, yet Neo only being 'one of many' at the same time. While Agent Smith's path can only lead to the emptiness of environmental destruction and ruling triumphantly over a monoform world, Neo's (and Trinity's) path leads to death and sacrifice on the personal and individual level but leaves a world behind full of possibilities for others to make of it what they will.

The 'one of many' realisation is the (fantastic) big shock revelation of Reloaded in the much derided talky scene (but which I love!) but Neo is the end of a long line of 'failed Jesus figures' in the sense that they never took the responsibility of potentially sacrificing everyone for the chance of liberation and a truly uncertain future (which suggests that the original 'daring' act of leaving the Matrix itself was always a selfish move, even a suicidal one in some senses. But simultaneously it also raises very 2003 issues of unilateralism too! Only 'the One' can make the, binary, choice that affects the destiny of all). The second film feels about the move from Neo being where Agent Smith is at the end of Revolutions (master of his own domain, able to break any rule in the Matrix to transform people and fly great distances, albeit still with some restrictions in time travelled per second! Not to mention being the Jesus-figure in Zion!), but knowing that the next step is sacrifice and death. Albeit of Trinity more than himself at this stage, but I've always found Reloaded thrilling (despite generally agreeing wih the point made in the critics commentaries that the fight scenes "go on too long" and "why doesn't Neo fly in / fly off five minutes earlier?!?") because it feels like the Battle of Algiers of the trilogy. Its the freedom fighter one pitting their terrorist organisation against the forces of repression who literally all end up having the same face! While the background world itself, and the humanity being battled over, becomes increasingly blanded out and irrelevant as they get transformed or killed en masse in cathartic (if only for the protagonists and the viewers) highway carnage. At some point, the 'point' gets lost and its just the 'good guys' versus the 'bad guys', however each side is defined. And while the events in the premonitions of Trinity's end cannot be changed, the meaning behind them can be modified and she can be resurrected, as Neo bends the world to his will and puts all of his resources towards saving his love interest (like the Magdalena bombings in Carlos in some ways, as all of the resources of the organisation are used for one specific purpose!)

I still find the second film thrilling in its scope and that the Matrix still has some vestiges of humanity within it, even if it has long become a videogame open world backdrop by that point (like a GTA or Saints Row game, and I think Saints Row most took the path of the Matrix films in its fourth game that actually went into a virtual recreation of its city, and allowed the player to fly around it Neo-like!). The attention of the human characters is not about how to particularly save or liberate the Matrix, but about more 'real world' concerns of Zion and the upcoming fight.

While I generally agree on the third films almost endless feeling attack on Zion that sort of damages the structure of the film, it is perhaps boring because the real story of Trinity and Neo's sacrifice has to become so almost static and fatalistic, as the inevitable sacrifice approaches (though I love the moment of seeing 'beyond the clouds' that Trinity has before her end). Everything in the third film is almost despairingly futile, in the sense that Zion and the machines will battle futilely. Masses of people and robots will inevitably die. All for what? So it can happen all over again in a few hundred years. It is only Neo bringing an end to that cycle (aided by Trinity's steadfast love for and faith in her now blind 'seer' figure) that proposes some kind of union, rather than complete separation off of all three elements of the world into separate warring states.

Then that final fight with Agent Smith sort of goes beyond the Zion fight in upping the spectacle (the rain, the visuals, the flying, the slow motion) to an insane degree whilst still being about the exact same thing of there being no answer in conflict, but in assimilation. An assimilation that absorbs and destroys the person being assimilated under the force of the stronger willed party (basically the exact same thing that Agent Smith has been doing to others!) so its not all exactly sweetness and light!

I find the entire series fascinating as an action film that has gone as far as spectacle (and even character arcs!) can go at the end of the first film. Or maybe that's because the first film is the kind of story that works and we've seen millions of times of the anonymous person turn into a superhero, or at least become more confident in their own powers! The second and third films are sort of about the 'myth', or perhaps better the limitations, of that idea, of the cathartic nature of action films where the fighting solves everything. Instead it becomes about "choice" and sacrifice for the next generation, rather than just about liberating yourself.

So while I understand (and enjoy!) a lot of the comments made by the critics, and can really see where they are coming from its still a fascinating series of films. I especially like the way that Reloaded and Revolutions are structured in the same way, with the same progression almost through key locations. The one disappointment I had is that we don't get to spend more time in the 'backstage corridor' with keys to every other location, that could have resulted in a fantastic chase sequence through many different locations (we had to wait for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for something like that to occur!).

Speaking of the critics commentaries, they are very positive about the first film as 'the film that captured the zeitgeist' the best. But while they have some cutting remarks to make about the sequels (especially in some of the filmmaking techniques, where they get confused over side characters who we haven't seen in the film for over an hour getting significant shots, such as the overblown scored moment climaxing Reloaded that ends with one of the critics saying "Who?" to perfectly puncture the grandeur! And I really love that they keep pointing out in Reloaded that we keep getting supporting human characters incredulously repeating our main protagonist's crazy plans, seemingly just to make sure that the audience knows just how crazy Neo and Morpheus are being!), they are generally understandable ones. Mostly about the way that the 'action' and the 'talky scenes' are getting more and more disconnected from each other, while in the first film they flowed together (or the meaning was actively expressed through the action scenes) far better. While I think that disconnect is the theme of the sequels (with spectacular ox-bow lakes of action scenes that don't really have a particular emotional climax, just a point where Neo flies in and out of the scene!), I understand where they are coming from in that it is not quite as satisfying!

And they hate Zion and all the bland supporting characters introduced compared to the more vibrant supporting cast of the ship in the first film (I'll always defend Neo as a great 'blank slate' audience identification character, and Keanu Reeves has always been a much better actor than given credit for, and has a knack for picking sdome great material to headline!). Which I rather agree with too (everything is bland, and the critics make a good point that in the first film there is always something of visual interest going on in the background of a scene to catch the eye, while in the sequels it is more just grey industrial pipework stuff for the ships and Zion locations), though that I think leads them to praising the wackier Merovingian character too much (but Monica Belluci's Persephone character too, so I can let many of their comments stand!), as if he was an oasis in the desert of blandness!

But then I'd argue that Zion is meant to be a bit disappointing in itself. What happens when you get to the promised land and its just a bunch of people tribal dancing and begging for alms? Or making jingoistic speeches to pump up the crowd for an upcoming battle. Or just as officious and annoying as the bunch of officious and annoying Matrix officers you've just escaped from! On that note I particularly love the comments the critics make on Harry Lennix's thankless role in Revolutions. Lennix was only a few years from playing the fantastic role of Aaron the Moor in Julie Taymor's adaptation of Titus Andronicus, and to see his stunning performance in that film is to be even more disappointed that in Revolutions, as the critics say, he just gets the role of "guy who in the third film of a saga still thinks Neo is crazy and endangering everyone by his reckless behaviour"!


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:41 pm 
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colin wrote:
which is Agent Smith's journey in the sequels. He becomes self aware enough to not be content with his place in the system either, and rebel against his own programming too, but not aware in the Neo sense of his own existence being meaningful, yet Neo only being 'one of many' at the same time. While Agent Smith's path can only lead to the emptiness of environmental destruction and ruling triumphantly over a monoform world, Neo's (and Trinity's) path leads to death and sacrifice on the personal and individual level but leaves a world behind full of possibilities for others to make of it what they will.

I guess it plays into the whole free will/predestination debate in the film, but does Smith actually rebel against his programming? The way Smith tells it, he knew what he was supposed to do once he was destroyed (ie. he fully intended to follow his programming), but for some reason something else happened. He's a glitch, a mistaken attempt by the system to correct an imbalance (which was itself an attempt to correct another imbalance: glitches breed glitches; systems cannot actually persist around a fatal flaw no matter how the flaw's managed; eventually everything falls). So while Smith seems to be the embodiment of destructive, self-regarding ego, replacing a world with itself, is he even able to be anything but that? His individuality in the first film seems replaced by character-as-fate in the following two: he didn't get to decide who he was, and now cannot be anything else. He is a product of the flaws in the system (like, say, a criminal failed by the system earlier in life).

Neo, on the other hand (I'm guessing) breaks the cycle set for him and does something truly new (hence his name?): he joins with Smith rather than the source and has the source destroy them both, reconstituting the system and allowing Zion to persist, for now. Rather than managing its central flaw, the system agrees to treat its flaw as a separate entity, something to be at peace with. We can wonder if the machine's system has to collapse, then, and will do so all the quicker since the flaw is not only endemic but now allowed to persist beyond containment.

I don't wonder, too, if Smith is meant to symbolize Neo's moral challenge: Neo's journey is to realize he is special (he's the one), then to fall as he realizes he is also very much not special (there have been many of him), then to realize he is a key part in something larger than himself (Zion) and let himself be destroyed in a feigned heroic action (a battle he intended to lose). So Smith is a reminder of the poison of ego, the absorption in one's own specialness, which allows Neo to choose to make his specialness a tool in something much larger and not an end in itself. This makes the Matrix movies more palatable to me than, say, the Harry Potter films, which not only take Potter's specialness at face value, but rewards it with dreary constancy (there isn't a mistake he isn't allowed to get away with, or a sacrifice he makes that isn't repayed in full). The Matrix movies at least understand that being the elect is problematic.

I haven't listened to the philosophers commentary, so I don't know what they make of all this.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:09 am 
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The third film is generally considered to be a disappointment, basically for not fulfilling the promise of the first two films. On RT Matrix gets 87%, Reloaded 73% but Revolutions 36%.

I wonder if the Wachowskis perhaps made a mistake by shooting films 2 and 3 back-to-back? Had they instead given a year or two between sequels, like most films do, perhaps they might have thought of a better ending. Reloaded was a successful film, and its reception might have inspired some new ideas, over time.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:53 am 
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I think very little of the Matrix, but nearly every fan theory on what the second and third films would be about were far more interesting and well thought-out than what the creators delivered. Warners could have paid any of those guys a drop in the bucket hush money and used some of their intriguing ideas rather than settle for what they got here


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:59 am 
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I think they were probably right to do both films at the same time, because they'd never have that opportunity of the original Matrix being a mega-hit again to let them produce two films simultaneously. Revolutions would have been much different (and not necessarily better, or even made at all) if it had to wait for the box office figures of Reloaded, and it gave the filmmakers confidence to go wilder with the story in Reloaded knowing that the story could be finished in Revolutions. Its why I see the Matrix sequels more like the two Back To The Future sequels than all of the suspiciously unneccesarily lengthening "Part 1" and "Part 2" splits that only became a thing with the final Harry Potter movies.

I agree with you Mr Sausage on your view of Agent Smith and Neo. They're two sides of the same coin really (its telling that the eventual 'assmiliation' climax of Revolutions is sort of the inverse of the failed attempt at assimilation of the first film's climax!), very much yin and yang, and they both really stand for the individual who is not content with their lot and their roles in their society. Neo elevated to the freedom fighter, Agent Smith the ultimate force of control (or they could be like the archetype of two childhood buddies, one turning priest, the other criminal in Angels With Dirty Faces!). But while Neo is actually being celebrated and encouraged in his role as the One (albeit railroaded into another predestined meeting with the Architect, which is the point at which Neo makes his choice to go beyond the bounds of his role and into the unknown future), Agent Smith actually seems to be the unexpected element in all of this. While Neo's rebellion is celebrated and has been anticipated and factored into how events are playing out, Agent Smith is seen as a 'glitch' and even more of an existential threat by the machines running the Matrix. Agent Smith is the one who is pushing events into a terminal state where, even if he wanted to, the One could now not sacrifice himself and the other rebellious humans and reset the Matrix for the eleventh time. Because there is no Matrix left to go back to except the one where everyone is part of Agent Smith's repressive regime!

Its interesting in that the climax doesn't destroy the virtual world of the Matrix to allow the humans to escape. It doesn't really deal with the ruined Zion, although it leaves behind more people than apparently get left after the previous resets. And the machines still rule the world, enslaving the majority of human beings from birth. But it has forced an acknowledgement that all three groups are interdependent upon each other for their survival, rather than having to destroy the others to reign supreme. And appropriately in some ways the hope for the future comes not from the devastated 'real world' but from within the virtual world of the Matrix, where ideas can be fostered, artificial intelligences can gain consciousnesses (and consciences), and there is at least some space for people to dream bigger dreams.

Perhaps more than the yin and yang of Neo and Agent Smith the three groups of the Matrix (mind), machines (body) and humans (the soul) here are more appropriately seen through the lens of the three Hindu gods: creator (Brahma), preserver (Vishnu) and destroyer (Shiva) of worlds who have to work together as one to preserve the lifecycle.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:18 am 
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I was very clearly their target audience, but when I finally saw the first one I was emotionally unimpressed by it. I'd just gotten into 2001: A Space Odyssey and, although I couldn't wrap my head as easily around that, I guess I wanted something more profound out of what was by the time I saw it a huge part of the culture.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:23 pm 

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I've always hated how the Wachowskis significantly altered the color palette of the first film for its home video releases. I loved its gray, overcast look as opposed to the emerald overlay that it was subsequently slathered in.

The Animatrix is the only film in the series I still rewatch, and I skip "The Final Flight of the Osiris".


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:34 am 
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I quite like all the Animatrix pieces too. Even The Final Flight of the Osiris which was another stepping stone for Square's move towards releasing feature films. It features in the Animatrix a couple of years after Square released Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and that style of CGI has continued to evolve up to the recent prequel film to the Final Fantasy XV game, Kingsglaive (which despite being set in an entirely different universe from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has almost the same exact structure of the protectors of the woman who is crucial to the future of the world sacrificing themselves for her. There's even a similar trope of a seemingly impregnable domed city that gets invaded at the mid-point of both films. And since I'm talking about it, Kingsglaive also features Sean Bean in a vocal role. Does he break his streak of dying in every fantasy role he turns up in? No...no he does not!)

In particular The Second Renaissance Part I and II from the Animatrix provides the interesting expositional backstory to the whole situation (though arguably unnecessary due to the conflict being metaphorical and metaphysical as much as a real one). Or it at least is The Matrix's downbeat equivalent of the Tower of Babel sermon episode from Metropolis!
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I was very clearly their target audience, but when I finally saw the first one I was emotionally unimpressed by it. I'd just gotten into 2001: A Space Odyssey and, although I couldn't wrap my head as easily around that, I guess I wanted something more profound out of what was by the time I saw it a huge part of the culture.

I remember the first time I heard about the Matrix was seeing that early trailer just before eXistenZ in the cinema (the one scored to the music of Enigma). That seemed quite appropriate in some ways! (Watching that trailer also reminded me just how designed almost every image was in that first film for maximum visual impact)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:05 pm 
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It also served as the basis for a particularly funny Kids Next Door parody. Sorry that's the best I can contribute.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:22 pm 
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I'm not so fond of the Flight of the Osiris short, mostly because it's tied-in a movie I don't care for much (anymore, but already at the time it was released). However, most of the other shorts are both visually thrilling but also really building upon the existing material rather than just trying to fit in it. They also often have some poetic vibes, like Beyond (which is my favourite).

I've never been fond of Matriculated though.


As for the movies, I've grown less and less able to get through them, even the first one. There are some pretty good stuff in them, notably many action sequences, but as a whole, it's just way too long, especially Reloaded and Revolutions.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:57 pm 
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In retrospect when you talk about "the philosophy" of THE MATRIX movies doesn't it all read as a thinly veiled trans narrative?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:14 pm 
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I don't think it works with these films. I'd argue it has been an element of their last two movies, but the things comparable to a trans narrative in the Matrix films are so broad you could apply them to just about anything. Given the specific quotations that the Matrixes go through a more generalized assessment of the self and how philosophers define the term seems accurate. Of course the films' discussion is one which could lead into a more specific discussion of trans identity.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:16 pm 
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They may have diluted their vision, but at ripe of film lover age of 58, I watched "The Matrix" with my youngest son and it's almost a perfectly conceived action film. There's just no denying it. Lots of fun layers to it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:46 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
I think they were probably right to do both films at the same time, because they'd never have that opportunity of the original Matrix being a mega-hit again to let them produce two films simultaneously. Revolutions would have been much different (and not necessarily better, or even made at all) if it had to wait for the box office figures of Reloaded, and it gave the filmmakers confidence to go wilder with the story in Reloaded knowing that the story could be finished in Revolutions.

Certainly it's a hypothetical issue without clear-cut answers, but I personally suspect that the third film would have likely been better had the Wachowskis allowed some time between the second and third films, as most trilogies and sagas do. If they did not have enough confidence in Reloaded to take their chances, then basically they were operating out of fear, which seldom leads to good decisions. Reloaded turned out to be a major success, so the Wachowskis might even have gotten more money and support from the studio for Revolutions, had they waited. Given the clout they had coming out of Matrix, I'm sure they could have worked out a deal that gave them some time between filming Reloaded and Revolutions, while guaranteeing the funds. Doubtless there are practical reasons for filming sagas back-to-back, such as cost savings, less likelihood of key actors dying between films (though this happened to them anyway!), but if the tradeoff is that the films suffer, then to me, directors should think long and hard about this idea of shooting film sequels back-to-back. Perhaps Revolutions is a cautionary tale in this regard.

I just rewatched this entire series back-to-back. One thing that stood out to me is that the saga seems to basically run out of steam near the beginning of the third film. The action fades, the scenes become less engaging and less impressive, and the story stumbles and putters. The shootout in the lobby of the gay/trans bar in Revolutions is a hollow shell of the lobby shootout in the first film. They had run out of fresh ideas by that point.

I think if they had a bit of time between the films, they could have juiced up Revolutions in terms of writing and action, and improved the plot at least somewhat.

Matrix is one of those sagas you can watch every five years or so and really enjoy.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:21 am 
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More than a 'trans narrative' at the time, the first Matrix felt a lot more about the Wachowski's other big theme of controlling and coercive authority figures opposed to people breaking the 'rules' to try and escape restrictive lives. That really seems the through line from their debut film, the lesbian noir thriller Bound, and carried over into all the repressive authority figures (all played by Hugo Weaving again!) in Cloud Atlas.

Though there's always been that element of fluid sexuality and the celebration of people moving around between different worlds compared to others trapped and defined by their restrictive roles. It is what became in the sequels, as described by the critics in their commentary on the Zion rave as "young people just not finding it 'cool' to be seen just as one race anymore", which could easily be transferred across to gender too, with the gender-neutral wardrobes and dark glasses. But there was always that undercurrent there that while in some ways it is admirably colour-blind to 'not just be one thing' there is also a slight loss of humanity there in ignoring the wonderful specificities of gender, race, even culture between people too. That's perhaps the thing that makes the humans in Zion in danger of losing their humanity as much as the threat from the machines - having to become a homogenous group to fight another homogenous one.

It is also why it was a bit of a shame that the Wachowskis and Joe Pantoliano had that falling out after The Matrix, as Pantoliano was able to provide a bit of wisecracking ambivalence to his villainous characters, from his wronged (albeit abusive mafioso!) husband in Bound to the duplicitous escapee from The Matrix who would much prefer to be back in the virtual world. A little bit of necessary undermining complication to straightforward good guy-bad guy conflicts got lost when the Pantoliano-figure wasn't around in a Wachowski film after this. (Hugo Weaving is fantastic, but he's often been used for more larger-than-life archetypal villainous characters in Wachowski films, rather than human antagonists per se)

(And that particular element of The Matrix all seemed to flow over into Christopher Nolan's Memento after this, with probably Pantoliano (and Carrie-Anne Moss's) best roles as characters whose motivations and even identities were fluid under the gaze of the unreliable narrator, changing almost with the shift of every scene!)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:38 am 
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colin wrote:
it was a bit of a shame that the Wachowskis and Joe Pantoliano had that falling out after The Matrix

I'd never heard this before. Do you know what happened?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:13 am 
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Weaving's Agent Smith character was perfect for The Matrix, but becomes extremely one-note, repetitive and monotonous in the second and third films, helping to making those films increasingly less interesting as they go on. The fact that the third film's epic finale basically amounts to a fistfight between Neo and Smith is one of the areas I think they could have improved with more thought and time.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:04 pm 
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Mr Sausage wrote:
colin wrote:
it was a bit of a shame that the Wachowskis and Joe Pantoliano had that falling out after The Matrix

I'd never heard this before. Do you know what happened?

I'm a little concerned now as after a few years I have a horrible feeling that I'm thinking of the wrong actor from The Matrix who had the falling out!

I've had a chance to do a little digging now that I'm back on my home computer and apologise that I was wrong about that aspect, confusing Pantoliano up with one of the other members of the supporting cast of The Matrix who had the bad break with the Wachowskis. The guy who played Tank, the one non-main cast survivor of Pantoliano's 'real world' rampage (which makes more sense as Pantoliano's character was killed off in the first film anyway). Apparently the other actor had a 'verbal contract' that he would appear in the sequels but was not brought back, and presumably was replaced by Harold Perrineau's character. That might also explain why some of the stuff with Perrineau's character doesn't work quite as well as it should as this entirely new character (with wife back at home, and so on) is being rather too quickly introduced and used as the wide-eyed, born outside the Matrix, witness character to the main character's increasingly outlandish antics in the Matrix, in Reloaded especially, without the benefit of any ongoing audience identification that might have been there in having a character (one who had previously saved Neo, Trinity and Morpheus at that) carrying over from the previous film.

Though I think the general point still stands on needing a Pantoliano, Cypher-type character in the mix to irreverently comment on the antics, counterpoint some of the action and even undermine the threat of the film tipping into pretentious portentousness as a whole. That lack of counterpointing (or just people having fun with their role!) really felt like it became the big issue during various scenes in the sequels of interchangeable bands of freedom fighters arguing about middle-manager politics during a war situation! (Even if that occasionally makes me wish it had been pushed even further into Dr Strangelove-style sci-fi satire!)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:21 pm 

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Haven't watched the sequels in ages, but having rewatched The Matrix a few years ago, I remember feeling a bit let down by the rather cheap and overused near death of the hero. I can see why it was included (not only from a story wise decision, but also to include more tension and tighten Neo and Trinity's relationship) but I always felt that it cheapened the brilliance of the film itself. It always felt to me like the most uninspired turn of events in the film, where everything else, even though influenced by countless sources, still felt original in itself.
Continuing from there, has anyone here read all the inspirations for these films, including Budillard's Simulacra and Simulation and Morrisons' The Invisibles?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:52 pm 
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dda1996a wrote:
Continuing from there, has anyone here read all the inspirations for these films, including Budillard's Simulacra and Simulation and Morrisons' The Invisibles?
With references to The Matrix and other films, a neat video/doc presenting scientific evidence in favor of the Simulation Hypothesis.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:07 pm 
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Warner Bros. to reboot The Matrix, tentatively without involvement from the Wachowskis


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:18 pm 
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I'm willing to bet there will be a half-assed Trump metaphor and a reference to the "deep web" in the reboot.


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