ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  the wachowski bros.

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  138 minutes

RELEASED  -  15 may 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the matrix reloaded

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $127,000,000
the matrix reloaded - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the matrix reloaded at

buy the dvd from the matrix reloaded at

neo and the rebel leaders estimate that they have 72 hours until 250,000 probes discover zion and destroy it and its inhabitants.

the film's concluding highway chase sequence took 45 days to shoot (longer than many films' entire shooting schedule).


picture from the matrix reloaded

picture from the matrix reloaded

picture from the matrix reloaded

picture from the matrix reloaded

picture from the matrix reloaded

picture from the matrix reloaded


three out of four possible stars

The Matrix Reloaded is a different beast than its predecessor, but it by no means goes the way of most sequels and destroys the original. Instead, the Wachowski brothers seem to have modified the spirit of the original in order to create a film as exhilarating as that first venture. Though the editor could have been somewhat more zealous during the first hour of the film, The Matrix Reloaded is still an incredible achievement of special effects, stunt choreography, and philosophical hoo haa. More than the first film, Reloaded throws about a plethora of mind warping philosophical ideas. Thoughts

But given that this "sequel" is so different in spirit and look from the first film, I will be addressing Reloaded's successes and weaknesses as a separate entity from the first film. This movie deserves to stand on its own both because of its achievements and its differences from the first release. The most obvious achievement of this film is its special effects and computer generated images. If anything, this film easily surpasses anything visually that's ever been put on the screen. With rumors abounding about the out of control costs on this film (the two final Matrix films are said to have cost 150 million each) and star Keanu Reeves's willingness to give up his back end share of the profits, one can only imagine how this film could sink a studio (in this case, Warner Bros. is the distributor and co-financier) if it failed at the box office.

But The Matrix Reloaded won't fail at the box office. And this is due in part to the fact that it's the most anticipated film of the year. But it will also owe some of its huge grosses to its strong cast, incredible special effects, and stunning fight choreography. This is an incredible film on every level and other than the editor's refusal to take a better reign on the beginning of the film, this movie is stunning in every way. While one might stop short of proclaiming it "practically perfect in every way" (to quote a well-known film icon), this movie is still one of the best things that will come to the screen in 2003.

And it probably equals or trumps most of the films that have come out in the past few years. As itís not fair to compare a film like this to an independent production (say, for example, Far From Heaven), Reloaded gives all the big budget films a giant run for their money. This film is light-years ahead of the special effects created in the over-hyped Spider-Man of 2002 and has more impressive CGI sequences than either Star Wars - Episode II or the second Lord of the Rings film. More money does not always equal a better film, but amazingly enough, in the case of The Matrix Reloaded, that giant chunk of change made a huge difference.

For example, whereas it was too easy a task to discern when "Spider-Man" was being represented by an animated figure, it requires multiple viewings of Reloaded to see just where an animated figure was inserted in the place of a live actor. If one is able to take one's attention off the film for a moment (as viewers will undoubtedly have their jaws on the floor during most of the action sequences), it might be possible to determine when a real actor is not on the screen. But with it being so obvious in other special effects bonanzas when an actor is not on the screen, the fact that it takes some persistence to see this in Reloaded means that the producers spent their money very well.

Though half of the charm of this film comes from its cast. Where would this series be without the melodious voice of Laurence Fishburne? While it may strike some viewers as passť that Fishburne, playing "Morpheus," and nearly all the characters speak with English accents or slightly affected American accents, perhaps this can be chalked up to the idea that everybody suddenly speaks English three-hundred years from now. And despite the "affected" accents of much of the cast (whether they're English or not), Fishburne still creates one of the most bad-ass characters to come upon the screen in a long while. Though Carrie-Anne Moss is not far behind. Her work in other films has been of questionable quality, but for some reason, her portrayal of "Trinity," Neo's love interest and all-around kick-ass is right on the money.

Bringing to the screen yet again his trademark "surfer" tinged accent, Keanu Reeves anchors the large cast of the film well and proves that even men can wear dresses well. And his talent for learning and performing fight choreography is quite the eye-opener, as his stunts easily eclipse most of the fight sequences put to the screen in the last decade. Owing mightily to the talent of choreographer Woo-ping Yuen (who was assisted by his brother, Cheung-Yan Yuen), the fight sequences in Reloaded are completely eye-popping. And in this area, the editor was very successful in cutting the film together.

Rather than making a cut every second and disrupting the choreography, the actors' abilities and choreographers' talents truly shine in long running shots that run for seconds rather than nanoseconds. The choreography is completely believable because of how much fighting the audience actually gets to see, rather than being treated to a confusing mess of cuts and jumps ŗ la "Hollywood Style." Perhaps the editor's faults can be forgiven in light of this success. Though the wild cinematography of the film cannot be discounted either. There are certainly the usual array of sweeping, swinging, and climbing camera tricks littered throughout the film, but with the advent of the production's digital capture system to portray human characters, cinematographer Bill Pope seems to have had more freedom to whip his camera around than have DP's before him.

As a feature film, The Matrix Revolutions is a visual stunner and contains enough eye candy to fill one's need for the stuff for at least a year. And though some of the innovation plot-wise of the first film is gone from this sequel, the Wachowski brothers (who also wrote the film) made sure to replace the freshness of the plot with other never-before-seen tricks and creativity. The movie contains more than the usual share of philosophy and this addition of "thought" to such a special effects oriented movie makes the story more robust than the typical actioner.


Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content © 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs © warner bros. 2003
home | archive | ratings | links | about | contact