May 15, 2003
MOVIE REVIEW: Matrix Reloaded
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW (VERY MINOR)
Wow, what a sensory overload.. I need some time to digest that.
Lincoln Square, 10PM. The crowd was far less geeky than at Star Wars or LOTR.. a surprising number of people who look like they might possibly not be virgins. We got there at 8PM, at which point the line already stretched from Broadway to Columbus.
They let us in about 8:45 and the mad dash for seats began. Two opposing camps of dorky middle-aged guys got into a heated battle over one row.. one guy said "listen, I'm an attorney, and I can assure you the theater's policy would not allow this.." and the other guy triumphantly cut him off with "Well I'm an attorney too!" It was a sad spectacle.
After everyone settled down, finally the curtain rose up..and we watched about 5 commercials, which were heartily booed. Then the trailers.. Charlie's Angels 2 (looked alright), Jason vs. Freddy (the crowd went nuts), T3 (actually looked good in these clips), and some Tom Cruise samurai movie that got clowned.
Then, finally, the movie. As mentioned in most of the negative reviews, they explain the workings of the Matrix in much more detail than the first. This entails a lot of portentous yapping and philosophizing, which sometimes slows the pace to a crawl.
Lawrence Fishburne somehow manages to make Morpheus even more pompous than before, and his speech to the people of Zion is especially comical. I kept expecting him to break into Cyrus' speech from The Warriors (Can you dig it? Caaan youuu diiiig iiiit?). The rave/sex-scene montage that follows is a complete waste of time, and I'm pretty sure it was pieced together with unused footage from the Britney Spears "Slave" video.
But none of this was surprising, actually I expected worse after reading the reviews. The flaws were obvious but easily tolerable, because I came to see phenomenal action and visuals, and on that level this movie delivered like a motherf***er.
The freeway chase scene was ridiculous. The much hyped "burly brawl" was mind-blowing.. yeah the CGI was pretty obvious at times but it didn't detract from it, for me. The movie is packed with so many gorgeously crafted scenes, it was impossible to absorb it all in one sitting. I wanted to rewind every scene and watch it again in slow motion.
The cast was pretty solid.. Keanu was his lovably dopey self once again, Hugo Weaving kicks even more ass than last time as Agent Smith, and Harold Perrineau is a great addition to the crew. Jada is cool but it seems like they are saving her good stuff for the third chapter, along with several other cool characters that are introduced briefly. Once again there are an astonishing number of people of color, for a sci-fi movie. This had more Black characters than most films that are marketed as "Black movies".
All in all, that was easily the most fun I've had at the movies this year. I'm still coming down from the adrenaline rush, seeing it on opening night with the hardcore heads definitely adds a lot to the experience. But I'm pretty sure you'll have a good time no matter when or where you catch it.
Be warned about two things: 1) It ends very abruptly, with no resolution whatsoever. 2) Yes, there is a short trailer for the third movie, after the credits end. Surprisingly, the next installment seems to involve a lot of people floating around in slow motion while shooting and/or kicking each other.