U.S. Release Date: November 5, 2003
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Lilly & Lana Wachowski
Writer: Lilly & Lana Wachowski
Producer: Joel Silver
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Hugo Weaving, Monica Bellucci
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
MPAA Rating: R (for sci-fi violence and brief sexual content)

Nothing Revolutionary
by C.A. Wolski

Instead of being a satisfying and rousing ending to the Matrix trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions raises more questions than it answers, while veering dangerously away from what made the original movie cool to begin with.

Picking up literally where The Matrix Reloaded left off, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the remnants off the Zion fleet are trying to make their way home for the climactic battle with the machines. Unfortunately, the messianic Neo (Keanu Reeves) is out of action somehow (we're never certain how), caught between the real and virtual worlds. Meanwhile, the stalwart defenders of Zion prepare the inevitably hopeless battle with the machines. And while the humans and their robotic masters get ready for the end, that pesky bit of software Agent Smith is up to all sorts of mischief.

Writers/directors Andy and Larry Wachowski should be admired for what they're trying to do here—create a world and mythology that resonates in the digital age. And, as we've seen with their past efforts, when they succeed, they do so wonderfully. However, there seems to be something missing here. Perhaps it's the fact the heroes spend little time in the Matrix this go around. Perhaps it's the fact that the battle of Zion could have been lifted from any of a dozen sci-fi epics from Attack of the Clones to Starship Troopers. Or perhaps it's the fact that there are too many characters, too many arbitrary twists and just too much for the movie's own good.

Fundamentally, though, Revolutions is a victim of its own success. The Matrix worked because it was a simple story, simply told—Neo was the human savior that would liberate man from machine. The special effects were cool, but integral to the story. With part three, the substance has been sacrificed for the form (the implication of the final scene between the Oracle and the Architect indicates how off-mission Neo and the movie franchise now is). The set piece battle of Zion is exciting and impressive, but the Wachowski Bros. have set up a philosophical conflict, which, though a bit hokey at times, needed to be resolved with a battle of ideas, not fists and bullets. That could have made the story as revolutionary as the title promised.

To discuss the acting here is sort of pointless. This is an action picture in its truest sense, and it's a shame to see someone with the chops of Laurence Fishburne reduced to being nothing more than a prop. Carrie-Anne Moss has some good emotional scenes, but her lack of chemistry with the wooden Keanu Reeves blunts the dramatic force of her professions of love.

The real star here is the special effects—the machine city is rendered spectacularly—which should please the hardcore fans and keep the curious interested.

But, in the end, it is probable that most people who see The Matrix Revolutions will be unsatisfied with the trilogy's climax.

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