ninth symphony films - movie reviews

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

DIRECTOR  -  the wachowski bros.

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  129 minutes

RELEASED  -  5 november 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the matrix revolutions

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $110,000,000
the matrix revolutions - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the matrix revolutions at

buy the dvd from the matrix revolutions at

the final chapter of the matrix trilogy wherein the citizens of zion, the last human city on earth, must defend themselves from the invasion of millions of intelligent machines.

premiered at the telluride film festival in august 2003.


picture from the matrix revolutions

picture from the matrix revolutions

picture from the matrix revolutions

picture from the matrix revolutions

picture from the matrix revolutions

picture from the matrix revolutions


three out of four possible stars

It hardly seems appropriate to call this film a sequel to the previous two Wachowski brothers films as The Matrix Revolutions is so totally a different animal than the original 1999 film and Reloaded. As a timely piece on the increasing dependence of the human race on technology and computers, The Matrix was released before the mania of the "new millennium" had subsided and just when the Internet was becoming a truly ubiquitous piece of society. And in Revolutions, the Brothers seemed aware of the fact that it would be impossible to create another incredibly original film that dealt with the exact same characters and story-line, so they made a sequel that was different and nearly as impressive as the original.

And Revolutions is yet another completely different take on the war between machines and the human race. In what could easily be called a perfect example of an exciting and beautiful action film, The Matrix Revolutions is so standard in its approach of its genre, that it's difficult branding this film as deficient in areas where the other two films were superior (such as in concept, pacing, and philosophy). While Reloaded easily contained too many instances of dead weight in its running time (its length could have been trimmed by the elimination of some repetitive "thinking" scenes), Revolutions contains too much action.

Simply put, the characters never slow down long enough to allow the audience to really appreciate what they've just seen. Though the epic battle sequence between the citizens of Zion (the last human city on Earth) and the above-ground dwelling machines is certainly one of the most stunning action sequences ever edited together, it seems so "normal" in its presentation. From the cliché battle cries of the humans - that amorphous "ahh" roar that issues forth from any character when he (it's usually a he) is about to die to the jumping of the story-line to different groups of people involved in various aspects of the fighting. Is it wrong to expect a more creative approach to a battle scene?

Since the computer generated imagery in those fight scenes and in most of the other blue-screen heavy sequences stomps all over the technological advances presented in any recent CGI-heavy films, it seems only natural to expect that the story and editing (working in tandem) would be presented in an alternate, if not newly ingenious way. It will probably be one of the great cinematic mysteries as to why this film is just so normal (for lack of a better word). Here we have this incredible world created by a visionary duo of filmmakers and for their grand finale, the Wachowskis decide to make Revolutions as interesting as the next big-budget action picture.

For all the inventive technology created solely for the special effects of the film (virtual cinematography, for example), this film seems too often like a walk in the park of any other big-budget Hollywood produced action film. While Reloaded contained a rather large amount of stationary scenes where philosophical ideas about life and death were parlayed for many minutes at a time, Revolutions takes an entirely different road. It's almost fascinating how different a road this film takes than its two predecessors. One would think that two films shot simultaneously would retain a sense of commonality in their execution, but these films might have been shot in entirely different decades.

But since one can't hold this film to the same standard as other recent giant-budget movies (The Rings trilogy, for example), the fact remains that The Matrix Revolutions is, nonetheless, an exciting action film. The audience will indeed have witnessed battle sequences and fighting the likes of which is contained in this film, but that's not to say that it's not an entertaining slice of action. The Wachowskis and their crew have created a unique and entertaining product in their formulation of the "Matrix" reality, but perhaps Revolutions was just too big for them. Maybe they just couldn't handle the pressure. Maybe having 200 million or so dollars at their disposal turned their brains to mush.

Whatever the state of the directors' minds though, the actors retain their sense of wisdom through strong performances, even if their brain-power isn't used to its full advantage throughout the entire film. One of the most interesting angles of The Matrix world is that there is a great importance placed on love and the things people do because of it. For an idea so wrapped up in the ideas of man versus machine, the very basic emotion of love takes up a very large and interesting part of this puzzle.

The natural divide between the action movie genre and love stories is toyed with in this film and the reliance by the filmmakers on the emotion of love rather than simple mechanical plot points gives the film an edge on the standard action movie. Though this idea was more interestingly presented in the first two films, the thought that "love conquers all" still remains in this movie to a small but welcome degree. The filmmakers (namely, the directors) might have used this emotion simply to point out the assumed difference between man and machine, but if that was their intent, they seem to have involuntarily created an action movie with a heart. For all their slick leather outfits and shiny black sunglasses, Carrie-Anne Moss (playing "Trinity") and Keanu Reeves (playing "Neo") have a magnetic chemistry with one another and it is their love which will grab the audience, as much or more than the special effects have the capability to do so.

There seems to be love in the air everywhere in Zion as nearly every character has a romantic relationship with somebody else or has some sort of familial drama that is played out over the course of the film. Despite the film's tendency to appear quite standard in its approach of its genre, the characters are still the beating heart of this film (whereas other action movies seem to rely much more on the action and plot). That specific point keeps the movie from being "just another action flick" at the multiplex. Though the story veers once too often into religious allusions (specifically Christian references) through story and character, the message is not too pedantic save for the closing minutes.

The Matrix Revolutions is not a revolutionary film. But it is more than a well-made action movie. The ingenuity of the original idea still remains and overall, the film is a visual stunner and should be a crowd pleaser. While the phrase, "crowd pleaser," might turn off more discerning patrons, potential viewers should know that just because a film can be labeled "entertaining" doesn't mean that the experience isn't an impressive one. Given the stratospheric CGI on the movie, it seems prudent to see the film on the big screen, and with strong performances across the board, there is always something to interest the viewer over the course of the movie's 129 minute running time.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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