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ISSUE 117 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/14/2003

Critic's Corner

By Molly Bayrd
Variety Editor

Friday, November 14, 2003

As John Lennon once said, "All you need is love." Such is the prevailing theme of the Wachowski brothers’ latest (and final) installment in their "Matrix" trilogy, the not-so-aptly titled "The Matrix Revolutions." While love is certainly a virtue worthy of promotion in today’s society, the only purpose it serves in "Revolutions" is to bog down an already muddled and underdeveloped plot. Yes, all you need is love, but some closure would be nice, too.

"Revolutions" picks up conveniently where "The Matrix Reloaded" left off: an unconscious Neo (Keanu Reeves), temporarily trapped between the "real world" and the computer-generated confines of the Matrix, must somehow find passage back to the sacred city of Zion. Zion, the last human stronghold in the "real world," faces the possibility of total annihilation by the machine world’s sentinel armies unless Neo can somehow locate the "source" within the machine city and bring serenity to Zion at last.

The path to peace seems a hard and trial-ridden road, but there are those left in Zion who believe that Neo, and indeed his love for the human world, will prevail over the staggering force set forth by the machine city. The story will end (as all stories must – "Revolutions" reconfirms this seemingly obvious theme throughout it’s lengthy run), and before it does, many will die and much will be lost. One should not be surprised to see the unfortunate demise of one or two main characters; "Revolutions" uses their deaths as impetus toward what viewers must accept as the film’s ultimate conclusion.

"Revolutions" seems as though it was cut from a completely different cloth than that of its two predecessors, and indeed, it has its share of faults. Though the death of actress Gloria Foster, who played the role of the Oracle in both "The Matrix" and "The Matrix Reloaded" is smoothed over nicely with a reference to the destruction of her bodily "shell" (by the Merovingian, a dastardly French villain who was introduced in "Reloaded"), the rest of the movie’s ambitious plot is filled with holes. Much is left unsaid, and while a verdict is reached on the fate of Zion, a satisfactory conclusion about the future of humankind is not presented.

Though "Revolutions" has its share of incredible action sequences and a slew of the Wachowski brothers’ token eye-popping special effects, it is saturated with sickly sentimental dialogue and unnecessary subplots that distract from its visual appeal. True, Trinity and Neo have suffered through much together, but didn’t they make their devotion to each other concrete enough in "Reloaded?" And weren’t audiences already well aware that love, more often than not, conquers all?

Will there be a fourth "Matrix?" Both the producers and actors involved with the project say no, but the movie’s ending leaves much to be desired. Should the "Matrix" franchise be someday resurrected, all audiences can hope for are a few substantial answers and a little more emotion from Reeve’s stone-faced Neo.

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