Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

MANSFIELD FOX: RELOADED Saw The Matrix: Revolutions last night with my roommate and his girlfriend, who's in town for a visit. My Good Lord, what a load of crap. Amazingly, it was actually better than I'd expected, if only because I had such sub-basement-level expectations from all the bad reviews I'd read. In that respect, it benefited tremendously from following the boring-cum-confusing The Matrix: Reloaded, which in turn suffered from following the mind-blowing-and-exciting-if-confusing The Matrix.

It's a shame they made the sequels, just like its a shame they made The Next Joe Millionaire. Not just because they're a waste of everyone's time and money. More importantly, they really make me question my fondness for the original. When I came out of The Matrix: Reloaded, I thought to myself "If this is what The Matrix was about, then The Matrix sucked." Needless to say, Revolutions didn't do anything to restore my faith in the non-suckiness of the original. The first movie took a neat idea and made a tight little sci-fi action movie with a very distinct (and very cool) visual style out of it. The sequel took that neat idea and pumped it full of pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo until it was ponderously enormous. In the third movie, they've let out most of the hot air, which is why it isn't as insufferable as the second. But having stretched The Matrix's conceptual skin so much, there was no way to return to the lean, lithe form of the original. So now they've got an enormous, ponderous movie that's filled with nothing. It's just a huge, pointless action movie. Which is fine: I love huge, pointless action movies. But the original Matrix was more than that. ahh, well...

There is a silver lining to all this, though. If the Wachowski brothers were going to ruin the Matrix franchise, I'm glad they got it over with quickly. It took George Lucas twenty years to get around to ruining the Star Wars franchise. In the meantime, a whole generation of geeks, dorks and dweebs (including myself) grew up believing that Star Wars has SERIOUS THINGS TO SAY, about the nature of man, about underlying cross-cultural Jungian patterns of myth and blah blah blah.... In retrospect, of course, it all seems ludicrous. For God's sake, the movie had gay robots in it! And teddy-bear freedom fighters! Why did we take this seriously?!? And yet, we did. And it made the mind-blowing-godawfulness of the prequels all the more painful. They weren't just making the original movies look bad. They were destroying twenty years worth of broadly (and sometimes deeply) held belief that the Star Wars trilogy was about something more than people dressed in ridiculous costumes trying to shoot each other with laser guns while flying around in space ships. The Wachowskis basically killed in the cradle any parallel mythologizing about The Matrix. The Matrix movies are about people dressed in ridiculous costumes trying to shoot each other with automatic weapons while doing cool, gravity defying flips. That's it. Everything else is window dressing.