I saw matrix reloaded on the first day it was released, with my fingers glued by bondo glue.
I've not written a review of Matrix reloaded anywhere, so here goes. I never went to see Matrix (the first one) in the theaters, even when my geeky friends came and claimed it was the shiiiit, I just ignored it thinking nothing could be close to true cyberpunk (Neuromancer). But, I was kinda wrong, when I first saw Matrix, it must have been off a DivX ;-) , and I was hooked. Matrix to me represents the evolution of the action movie with a thinking movie (ie. the philosophical aspects of Matrix).
And so I was a fan of Matrix Reloaded and I really wanted to see it, and I knew I'd go the first day it gets released. I was thinking of driving up to Chicago to see it with my pal there, but it turned out that his boss already baught tickets for all his co-workers and him. So, I would not get to see Matrix Reloaded with a Matrix Reloaded Virgin. This sucked. I din't want some geek sitting beside me explaining the whole movie while I watched it. So, as the days drew closer for the Matrix opening, I started to ignore Matrix as much as possible.
The day Matrix Reloaded opened, I was fixing my car, putting bondo on the rust my car had through years of driving in the snow and salt. I was using a cool product called bondo to create a fibreglass replacement for any rust holes in my car. Now this stuff is very sticky and I was using gloves to put the bondo on, but.... I ran out of gloves and I used my hands to stick the last piece of fibreglass with bondo. And this was one of biggest mistake I've made this year. My fingers got glued, I tried to wash them but it wont come out, I tried everthing at home, I tried gasoline too, but it wont work. So my fellow bondo conspirator (and resident expert on bondo work) said I should get some industrial strength hand cleaning stuff, so we went to Walmart to get it, on the way back we passed this new Theather Complex at the mall beside my apartment. My friend and I got into an arugment, I told him the theater was not open, but he said it's open and they are going to show Matrix Reloaded there today, I was like @QWE!@$? Anyway, we stopped by a person beside the theater and asked if it was open and he said yes, the theater was open just for Matrix and it's the first movie going to be shown in this new theather!!
So, we got tickets, and I cleaned my hand enough so that they would not be stuck together and we went to the see the 10:45 pm show. We went at 10:15, there was line, but it wasn't that big when we came there, we just stood around, I was showing off my Matrix screensaver on my Sanyo 4900. Anyway as the time for the show drew closer, more people started joining the line, (BTW they had about 10 showing of Matrix that day), and the people who just finished watching Matrix from one of the theaters just joined our line (quite illegaly) and started talking about spoliers. I waited paintely trying not to listen to any of them.
Then the moment came and we walked into the theater. Me and my friend sat at one of the best possible locations. This theater has stadium seating (so that everyone has a very good view of the screen). The screen was the usual supersize screen you find in most new theaters in the US. I was quite pleased (this is what I wanted to see in Chicago, and now I didn't have to go to chicago). Anyway the first preview was of Finding Nemo from Disney (Which just opened today) it was pretty funny, I'll watch it tomorrow.
One thing I should mention is that the girl at the ticket counter told me that Matrix Reloaded was digitally projected in this theater (like Star Wars ), but I later heard that they were using film projection and also they were using the same reel at the same time for two or more theaters (they just spooled it from one projector to the other -- -that's the amount of demand Matrix Reloaded had).
Anyways.. now to the review bit . Matrix Reloaded starts off with the pretty ok (I cant remember how it started!). In first acts of Matrix Reloaded we see the human city of Zion, which is cool and kinda what I expected, it's run by a team of old people Here we find that the city has it's usual poltiical stuff going on in the background, you see people conning and trying to take over and stuff. Anyway, that was fine and I didn't mind it at all as long as Morpheus's crew got their ship up. The whole deal was .. the machines had just started a war to end the human city by digging to where it was hidden under the ground. (Also there was mention of the Osiris from the Animatrix series.. if you havent seen it, it's where the good guys first find out about the plans the AI's had for invasion of the human city). Anyway, Morpheus totally believes in Neo now, and so does most of Zion, they practically worship him (well he can fly in the Matrix and do god like stuff).
Zion is supposed to be 100 years old, the city is inhabitied by a very multicultural buch of citzens. It was interesting to note several distinct races among a city who's inhabitans are less then the population of Maldives.
Neo starts to have dreams (oh this is how Matrix Reloaded Started off), Neo sees trinity being killed in the Matrix and he gets all worried and stuff. Anway, he also sees Agent Smith downloading himself to a human in the realworld (part of his dream). In Zion there was a major party after the group comes back home. I felt this was totally unncessary, since there was a lot of sexually charged scenes shown here that was not needed for this movie. There was a lame tecno song being played throughout the whole dance scene, a lot of people who saw Reloaded did not like this scene at all, these scenes were of Neo's metal body plugs merged with images of semi nude women and nipples (ahem). Anyway is this the matrix or some psudo-porn! I was very disspointed at this point in the movie, and wanted things to go a bit faster. The first hour or so of the movie is very slow, even though nothing new or philosophical is discussed.
And then, Neo and co gets back into the Matrix to find the Oracle. Neo finds the Oracle, the Oracle gives Neo a toffee, and then Agent Smith finds Neo.
The sweet that the Oracle give, in my opinion could be a program of some sort, she talks about how everthing within the matrix has a purpose and that everthing is a piece of code that's written to do something, eg: a pigeon, the sun and so on. She also points out the fact (huge spoiler) that's she's not human, that she's from the mahine world. Neo, is in usual..
"Uh.. dude where am I" mode and takes several minutes to assimilate anything the Oracle tells. Anyway she tells him that he needs to find the keymaker (another program), the keymaker has been locked away by a very powerful program. The keymaker is required to get to the main AI who is locked away within the Matrix.
And after she leaves, Agent Smith shows up. Agent Smith, now has the ability to replicate himself, and he seem to be real pissed with Neo for having the master program cut him loose for not getting Neo in the first movie. Anyway there is a major fight scene here with Neo and 100's of Mr. Smiths. The fight scene was ok, but when shots of Neo is shown you can make out that it's not him, that it's just a 3D model. There were lots of such imperfections in many shots. I even saw the elbow of an Agent Smith going into the body of another Agent Smith. Overall the fighting was cool with lots of Matrix effects (100x times). But, since we are so used to these effects now, it didn't have such an impact as the first Matrix had.
Anyway, after kicking Agent Smith's ass (he runs away I guess), Neo and co go to find the keymaker.
So they go to this french dude's place (who is supposed to be a very powerful program). The guy just likes power it seems and he has the keymaker locked away in the dungeons. So, he shows some cool powers (like making a girl get off with a fruit cake). I think he has similar powers to that of Neo. Anyway his wife is Persephone, the very cute Monica Bellucci. She's the only one in the Matrix world that's dressed in white (so I got her poster too -- oh she's not the only one dressed in white see below --). Anyway, Once the french dude says Neo and Co cant have the keymaker... Persephone comes and tells Neo she'd help him get the keymaker.. in exchange for a eh... eh.. kiss .. HOLY CRAP. Anyway, Neo does this which pisses off Trinity a lot (did I mention he's been sleeping with her on a regular basis now?). And then Peresphone takes them to the keymaker... who .. has a lot of keys.
This is when the french dude finds out what Peresphone has done, he gets pissed and sends his henchmen after Neo and Co. Some of the henchmen are cool.. like the two dreadlocked twins (who are real twins) dressed in white --- so it's not peresphone who's in white --- anyway these twins are scary as hell, they can become ghost like things and dodge bullets and are almost invinsible.
Trinity and Morphus grabes the keymaker and runs off. Neo stays and fights, this is a rather boring fight, there are some slo-mo sequences, but nothing great, I felt myself yawning several times, a lot of people in front of me opened up their phones and started playnig java midlet games, I myself got the urge to open my phone and ssh somewhere. Anyways, when the fight is over, Neo finds himself half the world around, and so he flies ... eh .. he flies (Neo's doing the superman thing).
Anyway, around the same time, Trinity, Morphus and keymaker are having to deal with the twins. This is the longest 15 minutes of highway driving you'd ever see in a movie. GM gave the Matrix ppl 100 new cars, and the Matrix ppl built a highway a few miles long just for the movie, they smashed all the cars, in these 15 mins. The twins and Morphus, Trinity and Agents fight while cars blow up, ram into each other and other neat stuff (some of which were in slow motion). And right at the end of the fight, Morphus finds himself with the keymaker on top of truck that's about to be hit by another truck and blown up, well they hit and blow up. BUT, in that little nanosecond it takes for the fire to engulf morphus and keymaker.. Neo, Superman, zooms out of the sky and grabes both of them. Dues Ex Machina!
And so now they got the keymaker. The keymaker tells them that the main AI can be accssed from the Matrix and that if that is disabled the whole matrix would die. Neo and co want to do this, in order to do this they had to inflitrate a huge building.. the same building Neo sees in his dreams.. of Trinity falling and getting killed. Neo forces Trinity to stay back, and he, morphus and keymaker go to find the main AI. They are backed by another group from Zion. But unknown to Morphus and co, there is a traitor in Zion, who tells the machines about Morphus plan, and the backup team that was supposed to help Morphus is killed by the traitor. And to get to the main building they have to cut power to a whole city within the Matirx, this could only be done by the backup team. Once that team dies, Trinity goes into the Matrix (defying what Neo said and thus fuilfilling his dream). She goes to the power plant (now some geek stuff), she sees this terminal, she runs nmap against a computer in the power plant (possibly the main server), once she finds port 22 open she ssh's into it as root. OK! At this point, the 4 geeks in the whole theater of about 100 people.. screamed out aloud and had to be hushed! HEH. She turns off the power.
Neo has another fight with Agent Smith, and then the keymaker finally gets the right door opened and Neo gets to meet the main AI. Who tells neo that he's the architect of the Matrix.
The architect tells Neo, that Neo has been following a pre-destined plan, that everthing Neo has done was expected. He also tells Neo that the Oracle is there to guide Neo to the Architect, that's she's part of the evil machine empire and possibly a major AI (She's unique in that she has some fuzzy logic that can do predictive sequences ... ). Now a lot of things become apparent. It seems like the Matrix has been created 6 times before, and evetime a person such as Neo becomes aware that's he's not in the Matrix the Matrix had to be wiped and redone. The archictect then says that the Oracle was used to find people like Neo, and control such changes in the matrix before it gets out of hand. The matrix is a well thought out thing it seems and a person like Neo was expected, infact Neo has become to the same door and spoken to the Architect the same time 6 times already. Evertime, Neo is given a choice. Either he take 24 (or something) people from Zion and rebuild Zion (let everyone else die) or... save Trinity and let the whole of mankind die. And it seemed liek every time he followed the obvious choice, ie. save mankind. The whole of Zion seem to be a city created by the machines for the purpose of safe guard and keep for people who become aware of the Matrix.
But, this time, Neo decides to say fsck you to mankind and save Trinity instead. So he flies out, and catchs her just after she gets ridden with bullets and just before she splashes on the road below (she was falling from the top of the building .. .ghost in the shell style -- infact it reminded me so much of ghost in the shell, i know Matrix is based on that). Anyway.. he caries her away.. and she dies....
WELL, Since Neo is god in the Matrix.. eh.. he just puts his hand into her body and massages her heart, and the Trinity in real life comes to life (BS^2).
They come out of the matrix and find the machines already on top of them, they run away and their ship gets blown, this time the machines follow them.. .but at the last moment, Neo holds out his hand and stops the machines just like he did in the Matrix (SO, Neo has the same powers in the real world. or is this the real world?).
Neo falls unconcious, he's carried to the only other ship the survived, at this point we see morphus being told that everyone else in Zion has been killed execpt for one man.
This point we see Neo on a hospital bed, the camera zooms over him and onto another man who we see upside down from the camera position.
At this point the screen goes blank and it says. "To be continued" and everyone in the theater sighed or cursed.
Phew! That was one long review. Anyway, Now my thoughts. I found the action ok, there was too much sexuality, there was a lot of mumbojumbo, there was NO philosophical discussion in the entire Reloaded. If you went to the theater expecting something like the old Matrix, be sure to be disspointed, it has no intelligent toughts of any kind.
Anyway, I have to see the Reloaded another time to listen to the plot and make out just wtf happend in it.
My Idea is this, Zion itself is within the matrix, it's a safe guard, and the Matrix is acutally a matrix within the matrix, this is very likely how an AI would think and how they would have redudendent systems. I think by killing the machine in the real world, Neo has proved that it's not the real world at all, that it's also a part of another matrix. Ie. He has waken up from a level of the Matrix that no one else has woken up from.
Now that's kinda interesting and my interpretation might be faulty. Anyways, in November we'd know the truth.
I saw 'Minority Report' last night... it was good.
I know Katz (et al.) might write a review on this movie, but before he does, let me debunk whatever he has to say about human frailty, geeks, Columbine, 9-11 and etc. Let me review it from my own point of view, cause this movie needs to be reviewed.
Philip K. Dick was a great writer, and not just that he was a visionary, he spoke of the near future, a future that was almost slightly skewed from that of ours, but at the same time highly probable. His future was stylish, frightening and very sophisticated. In time, Hollywood tried to catch up with Philip's fantasy and recreate a rendering of that future. Maybe it's the curse of Philip K. Dick, but most movies that were made from his fiction turned out to be nothing but coasters, movies such as 'Screamers' and 'Imposter' tried hard to recreate Philip's future, but failed short. Arny too did a movie ('Total Recall') based on a Philip's book, but that too turned out to be a horrible after taste (even though, I kinda liked it). Then there is that one movie, older then the rest, based on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', and that was the one that ruled them all. Blade Runner was the movie every other Philip K. Dick movie was judged against, and nothing could come close to being as good as it. And now we have 'Minority Report'.
Steven Spielberg has been a crowd pleaser for many years. He made movies that made money for the movie cartel, he was their greatest Mord Wraith. But lately (since the death of Stanley Kubrick), many things have changed about Spielberg. This man still cares about the cartel, he still is aware of the crowds that pay $8 per movie, but a madness has gripped him and from this madness he's made two movies that seem to defy everything else that he's ever made. Maybe many years from now, people would look back and read about Spielberg, and he'd be known then for making not Ryan but AI and Minority Report.
Minority Report starts hazy, in electric light shimmering as the movie unfolds, it tells of a future, much like Blade Runner, but very different. The movie is filmed in a slight shaded of blue that doesn't seem to get in the way (unlike the green in Matrix). In the near future, drug use alters some human beings, giving their offsprings the ability to see into near future (and specifically murders that take place in the near future), these children dream of murder and slept through nightmare after nightmare of very real murders. This ability was harnessed by the powers that be, and a police unit was founded to use this information catch murderers before they commit crimes. The movie starts six years after the founding of this police unit, and after many criminals have been imprisoned for crimes they have yet to commit. The crime rate in DC (where the unit was based) fell by 99% since the creation of the unit. The movie starts off with Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) tracking a new murder using the information given by the precogs. The precogs see murders, but they are not able to give an exact location of where the murders take place, they are only able to tell the names of the victim and the name of the murderer (these names are engraved in a ball of artificial wood, that rolls down and falls into place, much like a lottery where balls are used to find numbers). The detective in charge (Anderton), now has to piece together the names, the few images that the precogs showed and find where the crimes take place, once this location is found, the unit zooms off in their hyper cop transports and stops crimes just before it happens.
I went to the theater thinking Tom Cruise would just be horrible for this role, but he didn't over-act in this movie as he has done in many others. The acting on the part of Tom was OK, bounding on good. I don't believe there are any other Hollywood actors that could have taken this role and acted through it. Come to think of it, Hollywood is just made up of bunch of old cards, that get shuffled and throw ever time a movie is made. We need new faces and better actors. But, Tom's work didn't get in the way of the movie, and he did do a good job. Anderton is the wiz detective who pieces together all the precogs outputs and finds crimes, then on one mission he sees himself in the precog feeds and the ball for murderer reads his name. Anderton escapes the police house, convinced that he was framed (since he didn't know the name of the victim that he's supposed to kill in a few hours), he tries to piece together what was happening, and in the end tires to find the victim, leading to the murder itself.
There is some madness, almost Kubricken in the movie. I found an odd satisfaction in watching the excellent acting on the part of Lois Smith (as Dr. Iris Hineman), who informs Anderton everything about pre-crime and precogs. She's the brains behind the precogs and the first person Anderton locates after running away from his own department. Dr. Iris lives as a recluse in an almost fantasy like setting, her home is surrounded by genetically altered plants that act very much like animals. Anderton is poisoned by one of these plants/vines but Dr Isis fixes him after a bit. She informs Anderton about 'Minority Reports'. The three precogs are supposed to tell the future in unison, but sometimes, one of them differs and shows an alternative future, these were taken out and masked as 'Minority Reports' and hidden from the crime archive. Anderton gets convinced that there are such minority reports on his own case and decides to go look for them. The part that reminded me most of Kubrick was the point in which the old lady just pulls Tom close to her and kisses him full, it was just such a mad thing to do, and the insanity of the moment made me think a lot about Clockwork Orange. This was a scene that was not expected and it just played out so well. I love watching incredibly intelligent people who are also slightly insane.
The setting for the movie is just fifty years into our future, Spielberg has created a world rich in technology and style. For some reason, seeing the first car in the movie reminded me of Tron, even though those were motor bikes. All cars are pretty streamlined and all of them are automatically driven. Except for the red Lexus that Anderton steals halfway through the movie and the cop car the DoJ inspector uses, all other cars are pretty much alike and I guess they aren't owned by any given individual. So the cars could be public transportation. One unique feature of the everyday vehicles seem to be their ability drive up the walls of buildings (the walls are roads too). Anderton rides one of these cars from work and it rides all the up the wall of his apartment complex and stops on the car-port of his room. The flying cop transports reminded me of the starship 'Free Enterprise' from 'Tripping the Rift'. These machines transported the pre-crime cops to the scene of the crime. The cops had jet packs that they used pretty excessively in one fight scene with the fleeing Anderton (Shown in the Trailers). The troops used small spiders like robots (very cool BTW), that crawled all over the the buildings identifying people using eye scans. These spiders were very intelligent and they seem to work in a group, organizing raids almost on their own. I liked the spiders.
On the technologies involved, there appears to be quite a number of sensible advancements to current technology. The mass storage system seems to be based on holographic storage, and mobile storage seemed to be clear card/mini-cd type objects used with see through hardware. The computer interfaces were mostly see through clear plastic or glass, with data displayed within it. Anything displayed can be seen both from the front of the display and behind it, as it goes not much privacy was left in our future so this part was at least constant. Anderton also used a holographic display unit that layered out the pre-crime data as moving images in front of him. He used power gloves to sort through the data. There were various different advancement of technologies noted. Just as we have cathode ray tubes and LCD's there too were different technologies represented. For example, Anderton had a holographic unit at home that displayed everything in 3D, he spends some time watching his dead kid and wife on these displays. Newspapers came as single sheets folded into the size of an average newspaper, the news is updated live and in motion. Also, there were cyber interfaces that fully immersed the user in what ever fantasy he or she wanted. Such a place is shown when Anderton visits his geek friend's cyber playhouse. There we get to see someone having cyber and another low self-esteem dude getting off by having his cyber deck project a world that tells him he's da man. Live video and commercials are projected on every part of the world (even down in the Sprawl). There was even a huge projection up in the sky, much like the video balloon in Blade Runner.
Everywhere Anderton went his eyes were scanned and identified. The video on the wall actually adapted to whoever walks by. Anderton got bombarded with direct advertisement made just for him with his name and etc. Privacy was no longer something that anyone worried about, privacy just didn't exist. To finally escape from the cops, Anderton has to cut his eyes out and replace them with someone else's.And yeah there was a black market for body parts in the same Sprawl that we read in other cyber punk novels. People are so used to intrusion that they carry on their daily lives as if nothing happen to them when the crawly spiders invade their rooms and sting their eyes for identification.
Even though the subject matter was pretty dry, there was humor infused within
every other scene. Spielberg isn't that great on humor, but there were places where dark humor worked. For example, Anderton drops his eyes while trying to get into the pre-crime building, and we get to watch him chase his own eye balls down the hall and catch one just as they drop down a drain. There were other moments of humor, but a lot more were stale and not that very funny. The script too needed some work at certain spots, and there were moments when I just stared at the screen wondering just how dry Hollywood has become, but overall this was less dry than most other movies in recent times.
There were many plot holes, but the one that strikes the most involves the precog Agatha that Anderton abducts from the pre-crime building. These precogs are only able to see murders that are about to happen and nothing else, and that too in dreams. Given Agatha was the more powerful of all precogs, I found it silly that she was able to tell Anderton almost everything that will happen when they walk down a shopping center. For example, she tells him he should get an umbrella (cause it rains after they get out), then she tells to hide behind these balloons (cause right then the cops are looking over but they only see the balloons) and so on. This whole scene could have been done otherwise, maybe Agatha should have been just left as the weak precog clinging to Anderton and everything else left to Anderton.
Also the movie could have had three different endings. Spielberg could have ended the movie right when Anderton confronts the guy he thinks raped and murdered his five year old son, by making Anderton not follow the predestined path (since the precogs already tell Anderton the future can be changed). That would cause a neat ending, might be a cliff hanger. Then there is the 1984 type ending, in which Anderton kills the guy, gets caught and is put in the pre-crime prison where he has to forever watch the precog vision of him killing the man (That would have been the ending I would have chosen). But, this is Hollywood, so we got to please the public and the ending had to be one where the bad guy is caught and the good guy walks. So that's what you get for eight bucks.
Overall, it's a good movie, but I would not give it a 10, more like an 8. There are many movies the leaves impressions on you, few leave a lasting impression, some lingers on for days, and others haunt you for years. 'Minority Report' would fit on the same shelf where I store 1984, Brazil, and Blade Runner.