November 5th, 2003
|11:59 pm - King James, Isaiah 54:16|
I'm writing this post later than it says I am, so it may not be coherent.
I just just got back from seeing The Matrix Revolutions with my sister and her boyfriend. Early reaction is more or less good, especially after the "New Matrix flick sucks so bad it could pull the moon out of its orbit" link (which actually reads like the rant a Matrix fanboy would post to discredit Matrix detractors) posted on Fark today.
About twenty minutes in though, I realized that the Other Holy Trinity of movies basically follows the same formula as the original Star Wars series: The first film introduces the basic operating concepts of the universe, and contains a full story arc in case box office sales negate a sequel. The second film deepens the story by unmasking some of the major concepts and making some huge earth-shattering revelation. The main character loses a hand (whoops, that only happened in Empire). The third film goes crazy with special effects and does something to piss me off. Namely the adulteration of muppets in Jedi, and reminding me of my brief high school obsession with MechWarrior in Revolutions.
No, The Matrix Revolutions is just hard, fast and fun. Not a lot of substance to it. I definitely preferred Reloaded to this one, and I think the ending of the trilogy was a cop out. There were two places I wanted the ending of Revolutions to go, and it didn't do either. I think they both would have been better choices. Keep in mind that any time one film deliberately ends a series, a lot of people will complain about the ending.
It's also worth pointing out that I hated the first Matrix film. Actually, I didn't hate it at first, but I got really sick of it. Most of my friends in high school were a year my junior, and The Matrix came out on DVD the very same weekend that they were all home from their first semester at college. I went to a lot of parties that weekend. I saw The Matrix at least five times in bits and pieces.
I was studying computer programming, and I began to find flaws in the movie. Not little "unbuttoning-rebuttoning shirt" flaws, but enormous drive-a-truck-through-the-plot-hole flaws. I don't know where to begin -- you couldn't design a system with so many problems. It would simply collapse on itself. The Matrix Reloaded cleared this up quite a bit. It didn't fix the plot holes, mind you, but it allowed for them. I doubt that the Wachowski were worried about justifying the story to computer programmers; they just expanded the plot in a way that worked really well for me. So the second movie I loved.
The third movie takes "kick ass, wow the audience" approach. It's fun, and while it may not be the almost-cerebral experience Reloaded was, it needs the framework of the first two movies to stand. Given that, it's a good (enough) film, and it certainly pushes the envelope. I might not shell out $8 to see it in a theater again, but it's probably the best trilogy of action films released entirely since my birth. I had to put all those stipulations in there to disqualify the Other Other Almost Holy Sort Of Trinity of movies, the Killer Tomatoes series (which began in 1977 (prior to that, even, if you count the original Super 8 version), has four films (possibly five soon), and doesn't really count as action).
Besides, it's only a movie.
Current Mood: mellow
Current Music: I Gotta Go! -- Washin' My Hands
|Date:||November 6th, 2003 01:14 pm (UTC)|| |
If you say you were actively hoping for a "it's all a Matrix-within-a Matrix" ending, I will have no choice but to eat your children.
Well, that was one of the endings I was hoping for. What's wrong with it? Other than the fact that Hollywood would never do it in a $110 million dollar film?
Actually, no. I take that back. I was not hoping specifically for an "it's all a Matrix-within-a Matrix" ending, but they'd set things up in such a way that it would've worked. What I was expecting was for things to resolve for the machines, but not necessarily for our protagonists.
The "it's all a Matrix-within-a Matrix" ending would've fit into that, but there's no logical reason the Matrix would have to be structured like that. Then again, given the fuction of humans within the Matrix, there's no reason for the Matrix to exist at all.
I'm just pissed off that we got an ambiguously happy ending when they set up so many (possibly better) depressing ones.
|Date:||November 6th, 2003 02:34 pm (UTC)|| |
In the words of Julia Grey: "The last critically-approved happy ending was written some time in the late 19th century."
Frankly, I consider an unremittingly depressing ending just as much of a cop-out as an unremittingly happy ending (which is why I didn't like either ending for 28 Days Later). It takes no more creativity or vision to dash all your protagonist's hopes than it does to fulfill them all. An ambigously happy ending is, IMHO, generally the best kind of ending because it doesn't cop out either way. Mind that this descriptor runs a pretty wide gamut, from the end of Hamlet to The Firm to Preacher.
And I am adamant that any ending which makes all that preceded it an exercise in futility (the way a MW/IAM ending would) amounts to an abuse of the reader in any format longer thna a short story/one hour TV show.
Have you seen the movie yet? If not, it might be best to do so before we argue the ending.
You're not the only person who wouldn't be able to handle the MWIAM ending -- that's probably why nothing like that happened.
As stated above, based on the circumstances under which I saw the first movie (ie, over and over and over again while taking courses with names like Theory of Large Systems Design) I probably dissected it in a different way than the casual viewer. From a system-design standpoint, the Matrix doesn't work. Either everything experienced by the humans must occur within the Matrix, or the Matrix itself must be either a) infeasible (which is how I chose to view it prior to seeing Reloaded) or b) superfluous. The ending presented by The Matrix Revolutions forces me to choose between these two possibilities, and in the interest of repeat viewing enjoyment, I have to assume the Matrix is a superfluous oversight on the part of the machines.
The MWIAM ending would at least have justified some of the major design flaws. If nothing else, it would have been a revelation and perhaps a motivation for thousands of slightly-overweight twentysomethings to cancel their already planned DVD Box Set Special Edition viewings of the trilogy in favor of going outside.
|Date:||November 7th, 2003 01:35 pm (UTC)|| |
Pardon me while I verge on flaming.
If you want to pick apart the logic of the movies, you don't need to take Theory of Large Systems Design; try Biology 101. Humans as a power source? Huh? As electricity-producers, human beings are noticeably less efficient then, say, hamster wheels. They needed an excuse for the Matrix to exist at all, and it's a pretty lame one. Combine with this why you would need these pod-dwelling "copper-tops" to experience anything but breathing, and you've got a very flimsy logical base for your universe. I personally deal with it via suspension of disbelief, admittedly easier for me because I know next to nothing about network design. (But show me a Civil War movie...)
And the MWIAM ending would not qualify as a "revelation," as I had been dreading this possible cop-out ever since seeing the end of Reloaded. Further, pardon me for feeling that alienating your entire audience is NOT a good thing. Telling an interesting story, making people care about your characters, and then doing your damndest to punish the audience for buying into your tale isn't the action of a visionary artist; it is, IMHO, the action of a cunning sadist. I'm not saying it's all got to be happy and smiley; I _like_ Reservoir Dogs. But saying that you've just watched six hours of people imagining they were significant is a devastating postmodern cinematic trick only for critics (both professional and amateur); for people who prefer to, y'know, ENJOY themselves at action blockbusters, it's just another variation on the "it's all a dream" cliche.
|Date:||November 7th, 2003 02:26 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Pardon me while I verge on flaming.
Kyle, you ignorant slut, that's what I just said.
Neither one of this is wearing the other down, so here is a final summary of my points:
1. Of course Hollywood doesn't dash our hopes -- they'd like to make their money back.
2. The ending to Revolutions feels (to me, anyway) tacked on and unrelated. Even if you don't like the idea of the ironic ending, the story at least sets us up for it. Thus:
3. Any conclusion renders the rest of the story futile. The secret to making an ending work lays not in the ending itself, but in the means by which it is reached. The MWIAM ending would have worked for me in that it follows logically from the story presented. The ending we actually get does not.
So there you go. Anyway, do the Saturday non-Rocky plans extend to me? You'd better give me an answer, or I'll likely show up either way.
Just a couple tings. (yes, tings, not things.)
#1. I have not as of yet seen the endinds to either Reloaded (due to bad script writing) or Revolutions (because I just haven't seen it yet).
#2. The MWIAM concept renders, for me, a sort of deus ex machina type ending, because it isn't the characters or their choices that create the drama in a certain set of situations, but it's something beyond the scope of the characters. Reloaded gave the characters a chance to BE characters, and create action through themselves (Agent Smith, for example, and The Oracle). By going to MWIAM, the actions and choices of the characters become null and void, and there's actually no point to the movie. While it might give the ambiguity enough to go to another trilogy, those movies tend to suck donkey balls (Star Wars episodes 1 & 2, anyone?).
So, MWIAM for me, means that no matter what Agent Smith, Neo, Morpheus, Trinity or the merry batch of hunter seeker killer robots do, it doesn't matter in the end. That's a cop out. So what are my current alternatives?
A. Neo kicks the Robots ass, and humanity prevails over adverstiy once again.
B. Neo battles the robots, fails and robots take over and massacre all the humans, making massive amounts of blood that eventually get in all their gears and they all die.
C. Neo battles the robots, but gets killed by some humans who are then taken back into the Matrix with the ghost of Cypher laughing in the background. But we don't see how all the actions turns out and are left hanging, thinking that the robots won.
D. Neo battles Agent Smith and loses; see above.
E. Neo battles Agent Smith, but they tie, and make a comprimise by giving all of humnity a choice of whether they want to remain in the Matrix or live as free individuals, and the movie ends.
There are a few other possibilities, but those are the ones that are the most probable, given the circumstances set before in Reloaded. Not one of them is an extraordinary cop out, with the exception of C, which enters into the deus ex machina thing. I'd like to see B, of all things. So did I make any sense or does this all seem like it's coming out my ass?
|Date:||November 7th, 2003 04:30 pm (UTC)|| |
Okay, let's talk about an ending I wouldn't have minded.
First of all, I didn't want the Matrix-within-a-Matrix ending. It would've made a better ending than what we got, but if the trilogy had ended with the MWIAM, it's unlikely that the second or third movies would have had repeat viewing value.
I wouldn't have minded so much if the ending (stop reading if you don't want another possibility eliminated) had happened like this:
1. Neo is given some level of command and begins allocating people and resources to ... whatever it is he needs to allocate them to.
2. Neo fights Smith and/or the machines and is defeated or for some other reason does not actually "win." He is not killed.
3. Simultaneously, Zion is attacked. Most/all of the people there are killed.
4. Twenty four humans remain: Neo, and (coincidentally) seven men and sixteen women who begin to rebuild Zion per the plan suggested by the Architect in Reloaded.
This is not a great ending either, but I would rather have seen it. In fact, everyone I've spoken with thought for most of the movie that this is where the plot was going. It didn't.
I can't speak for you (I can't really speak for Kyle, but I'm going to anyway), but Kyle's issue with the MWIAM ending is that justification is the burden of nihilism. I'd rather have an ironic, depressing ending in a film like this because I can't stand the main characters. They're filthy, unpredictable, motiveless and amoral. I'm not sure I can say that I was rooting for the machines, but I would've been happier had our protagonists (all) been screwed over in the end, ala Brazil or Evil Dead II.
You can skip the first paragraph if you're bored.
Let me state, perhaps a little more clearly my issue with the MWIAM ending: it renders the whole series of movies unimportant. If we get to that, the part of Reloaded, where it's revealed that this series of events HAS happened before multiple times, becomes just another part of that cycle and we're left in just a circle. Not significant. Why make show all this if it isn't different. But that's contrary to the whole point of the movie that SOMETHING (even if it is Neo's incredible lack of genetalia) is different. MWIAM gets us to that very point of insignificance, because we end up exactly where we began and the cycle is complete. As Kyle rightly pointed out, that would be "the work of a cunning sadist." While the MWIAM is hinted at in the scene I mentioned above, it just won't work. It's supposed to be an ending of a trilogy, but MWIAM doesn't actually end anything and I'd leave the theatre pissed off because there was no point to the whole thing and my spending a combined $24 over the years to see them all was spent to see something completely unimportant. Basically, for me, the MWIAM ending gives Spaceballs a more significant ending.
Just for a quicker summary: MWIAM for me, is just a sign of bad writing. This pisses me off. It renders the entire plot and story meaningless and insignificant. This pisses me off further. (What? I'm a writer! These things piss me off to no end.) So it's just a cop out from a resolution, which is the entire point of an end. Again, that pisses me off.
I tend to agree with you that what's needed is a nice slaughtering of the protagonists. I don't like them either really, but you have to admit, that they ARE sympathetic. And pathetic. But there are many fun ways to screw over all the protagonists in the end. Like I said before, I'm all for that, as they actually aren't any characters, because there's no growth, no room for growth and their path is already set, just like a Bond film. The appeal for me, is in the characters that are unwitting characters. I'm pretty sure Agent Smith wasn't supposed to be a character, but a more of a stagnant, consistent personality. Instead, he truns into this great, Ahabish person capable of growth (not just multiplication, mind you). I'd like to see Revolutions and get HIS perspective, so that when what I'm going to assume is the predictable hollywood ending (where the Protagonists succeed and humanity prevails over those cute, hunter-seeker killing machines) happens, it becomes a tragic ending. I don't expect this to happen, but it's my only fantasy for that movie. That, and a lot of bloodflow, pools of blood and dismembered protagonists.