May 27th, 2003

breaking bad

Matrix Reloaded

I've lost my voice (shame) but - aha - not the use of my typing fingers.

The first Matrix film began in the 'everyday' world, into which strangeness began to infiltrate. As a viewer you had an emotional commitment to this everyday world. The intrusion of an 'even more real' realm, understanding of which conferred supernatural powers, was exciting and tantalising.

The second film begins in the 'more real' realm, from which the protagonists pass into the everyday world by putting on headsets, like going into a computer game. Thus the zone in which all the combat and action takes place is not one which emotionally engages the viewer. Neo's powers, so impressive in the first film, become just the abilities of a good computer gamer.

The long strings of philosophical discourse are very poorly done, in particular the interminable droning of the 'Architect'. I honestly have no idea why they thought these were a good idea. No, there *is* a good idea somewhere in there - to do with creating an analogy between the incompleteness of any mathematical system and the requirement for political or religious dissent - but it's so mangled that it's worse than useless. Either don't do it, or do it properly.

On the plus side, although one is not emotionally engaged, the big scenes work so very hard to entertain you, that they succeed in producing a thrill. Secondly I think the Agent Smith character is even funnier in this film than in the previous. I found myself smiling whenever Hugo Weaving was in shot - sadly not often enough.