Pondering The Matrix

A few nights ago I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up, they were once again playing The Matrix on TV. I was starting to wake up anyway so I decided to watch it.

I was in high school when this movie came out.

I could go on for days about the superiority of 90’s fashion and haircuts (example: tight pants were “tapered,”not “skinny,” and people were right to mock them). But what’s really important is that The Matrix is a fun action-adventurey sci-fi movie with a theme. And not just any theme– a theme that makes sense!

As an aside: seriously, pick any lame movie at random from the 90’s and the actors are cuter and have adorable little punked out haircuts and everything’s sort of sweet and DIY — like there wasn’t an art director or fancy wardrobe designer…because everything hadn’t become so completely corporately bland and predictable…

Ahem. Moving on.

So Keanu Reeves is like this Dilbert-type with a lame cube job…

Until he discovers what we’ve all suspected: that this crappy, downsized world is just some bad dream. Dude.

Yup, turns out that the truth is:

That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

Morpheus must be talking about graduate school.

But seriously, the movie has powerful themes: overcoming the oppression of the system, believing in yourself, fighting the good fight. When it came out, I remember it was marketed as just another hacker movie. So it took everyone by surprise that it was you know, kind of pretty smart.

Even the lame things about the movie are kind of cute and inoffensive.

Product placement: not very subtle.

Character actor: hammy (but effective).

But overall, it holds up.

So it was perfect that they were showing The Matrix Reloaded immediately afterwards.

When I saw this in theaters, I remember being at least moderately interested in the first couple of scenes.  After all, 1) I liked the first movie and 2) it was hyped to shit.

Watching it again afresh, the first thing that seemed weird was the scene with Zion Command. Anybody notice anything about this scene? Anyone?

Namely, that it looks like it’s from some other movie? Like, a totally different universe than the one the original movie is in? Everything about this scene is wrong wrong wrong – from the Kubrick white to the HORRIBLE dialogue.

And then the cheesiest worst line: “Door’s open, bed’s made. Welcome home.” Ugh, seriously awful.

I was drifting away mentally when they started making it all about the political intrigue of Zion.

There’s this guy that looks like Obama that is trying to pull rank over Morpheus…

Look, I don’t make Obama jokes but with this I clearly don’t have a choice.

And there’s also like this… Board of Trustees?

Who’s taking the meeting minutes?

But if that isn’t exciting enough, we get the subplot with how Link’s wife is pissed that he’s away from home too much. I can’t wait to learn more about these characters and their marital arguments!

I couldn’t find a screenshot of these characters arguing because the Internet agrees that it’s just too boring.

And, I have to say it…

We’re seriously going to spend the first half an hour of this movie on the very important plot point of Neo and Trinity trying to find a place to do it?

But I actually think the series died at the Rave.

Because in the first movie, when they talked about Zion being the last human city – a homeland for the homeless – we were all definitely picturing Burning Man in a cave.

And, fair readers, did you catch the masses of Zion residents wearing glittery crop tops and dangly jewelry? Not to be nitpicky, but WTH? Was there a nearby street vendor selling club clothes and Ren Fair anklets? I guess everybody on the ships was wearing boring stained cotton undershirts and sweatpants because they were rocking the grunge look.

Mr. Max disagrees and says I fell asleep just as it was getting good (and by good, he means awful).  He maintains that the worst scene involved the meaninglessly weird looking twin characters with the dreads turning into “ghosts” and floating through something.

I’ll have to take his word for it, because I was fast asleep by that point.

One comment

  1. I remember seeing Reloaded in the theaters and wishing to die during the rave scene. I think I was blissfully ignorant regarding the existence of Burning Man at the time, but yeah– precisely. After that, I didn’t care what happened to Zion, and I definitely didn’t see the third movie.

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