Film Reviews

THE MATRIX RELOADED

By • May 15th, 2003 •

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Warner Bros Pictures
Running time — 139 minutes (including scenes from “The Matrix Revolutions”) / MPAA rating: R

The Matrix? Ha! When I opened my eyes I merged fully conscious with the DNA of the World. The ayahuasqueros I was working with in the Peruvian Amazon led me to “the reality behind reality”. It wasn’t pretty.

I know what The Wachowski Brothers are exploring and what they want to tell us.

RELOADED has a more realized emotional spine laced with an abundance of highly sexualized images but falters on verbose, philosophical ramblings. Hey guys, no time is left to ponder Mankind’s place in the grand scheme of things since the Machines have found Zion, the last human enclave. The Machine Army is coming your way. And you are out-numbered!

Neo (Keanu Reeves) is thinner, tougher, and more regally self-possessed. He’s left the computer-generated world of The Matrix and has accepted his role as The One. Wearing the priestly garb of an Armani-clad Rasputin, he’s no longer Morpheus’s (Laurence Fishburne) neophyte messiah. And his slim link to humanity is his passionately demonstrative love for Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).

There’re no more “Whoa” moments.

Zion is a very densely populated city buried deep underground. Morpheus comes in from the cold having bureaucratic business to settle and lingering jealousies to deal with. There’s old sage Councillor Hamann (Anthony Zerbe) who bongs down the drama, Zion’s quarreling council, and angry Commander Lock (Harry Lennix), the husband of Morpheus’s former lover Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith). After a shirtless, well-fed Morpheus gives Zionites the rousing speech of a zealot, the orgiastic rave begins. It’s the prelude to the impeding war with The Machines.

Neo re-enters the Matrix and is told by The Oracle (Gloria Foster) that he must find The Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) who knows the glitches in the system. He is being held captive by indulgent functionary Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) who thoroughly enjoys the illusions of The Matrix. RELOADED’s story of hoped-for human liberation is built on an internecine layer of emotional intrigue. The Keymaker’s freedom is offered by Merovingian’s love-starved wife Persephone (Monica Bellucci) as revenge for her husband’s bathroom dalliance. So no matter whether you are inside or outside The Matrix, sexual betrayal is still inappropriate behavior. Merovingian’s bodyguards are the ghostly apparitions, The Twins (Neil and Adrian Rayment), the most interesting new characters to inhabit The Matrix. Also new to the story is The Architect (Helmut Bakaitis), who claims to be the creator of The Matrix. Is he a machine? And what in the Lord’s name is he ranting about?

Finally, there’s the return of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). He’s delicious simply because he enjoys himself so much. While Morpheus, Neo, Trinity, and Niobe are all grave, it is only Agent Smith who is free from the binds of analytical structure and purpose. He circumvented “deletion” and now he’s a force unto himself.

The vaunted Freeway Chase, Neo’s fight with 100 Agent Smith’s, and the Superman flying scenes are all spectacular. The budget, the sets, and the dedication to pushing the visual landscape are all on display. RELOADED is worthy of our thrill and admiration.

The highly vetted crowd I saw the press screening with left quickly, apparently not aware that if they stayed until the end of the credits they would have seen a glimpse of the final part in the trilogy, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS.


Cast:
Neo: Keanu Reeves
Morpheus: Laurence Fishburne
Trinity: Carrie-Anne Moss
Agent Smith: Hugo Weaving
Niobe: Jada Pinkett Smith
Oracle: Gloria Foster
Persephone: Monica Bellucci
Seraph: Collin Chou
Zee: Nona Gaye
Keymaker: Randall Duk Kim
Commander Lock: Harry Lennix
Link: Harold Perrineau
The Twins: Neil Rayment, Adrian Rayment
Merovingian: Lambert Wilson

Credits
Screenwriters/Directors: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Producer: Joel Silver
Executive producers: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Grant Hill, Andrew Mason, Bruce Berman
Director of photography: Bill Pope
Production designer: Owen Paterson
Music: Don Davis
Visual effects supervisor: John Gaeta
Costume designer: Kym Barrett
Editor: Zach Staenberg

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