Early in 1999, a massive outburst of publicity began for a film entitled
Matrix. The catch-cry of the media at the time was that nobody
could be told exactly what the film was about - they'd just have to see
it for themselves. A fair statement to make about any film when you're
talking about the cosmetic details, but a single viewing of this film even
while under heavy drugs revealed that applying this statement to the film's
basic premise borders on outright fraud. Stealing from every film concept
from The Terminator's conception of mankind's future, through
the Star Wars
saga's take on the combination of the Christ
and Messiah stories, and even the entire premise behind such films as
Recall and Tron, this one film has to be the
most overblown piece of work in the history of movie making. By the way,
if you don't understand what I meant with that last film title, then don't
bother replying to me because you're ill-qualified to discuss this sort
of plot with me by sheer virtue of this fact. The sad thing is that
Matrix could have been a perfectly enjoyable film if it wasn't
for that damned publicity! Here are ten reasons within the film itself
why the hype far exceeded the substance.
10. The constant re-use of the Messianic prophecy during the film. As the makers of Ghostbusters so eloquently pointed out during their audio commentary, the best way to suspend the viewer's natural disbelief is in graduating steps. While the premise of the Matrix itself was throwing the viewer in at the deep end in this respect, the constant interjections of "he [Neo] is the One" were essentially a cinematic equivalent of a foot on the head. The manner in which the Wachowski Brothers make the common mistake of confusing a Christ with a Messiah, and essentially do an equally poor job with both, had all the truly literate people I saw the film with wanting to burn the screen down.
09. The X-Files factor of the whole story. The ruthless efficiency of the world-dominating government of artificially-intelligent machinery who are so awesomely advanced that they believe themselves to be the next stage in evolution is made a joke by the fact that they are seemingly incapable of destroying one small group of rag-tag human beings whose morale is so obviously in the toilet.
08. The limitation in scope and range of the Agents, particularly that of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). A major comedic moment which would have lifted the whole feel of the film above mediocrity was lost because of this. Then there is the fact that actual intelligence revolves around such concepts as choice-making, autonomy, and perception. The poor Wachowski brothers never seem able to decide between making their villains intelligent or making them into meat puppets.
07. The mere possibility that Agent Smith could in any way be associated with the late, great Carl Sagan without people seeing how pathetic the comparison is. Carl Sagan was a brilliant man whose contribution to science is virtually immeasurable. He was also one of the few voices of rationality within the scientific community during a time when fear-mongers were but a few steps away from taking over the government. Having the Wachowski brothers paint an impersonator of him as the ultimate evil is past irritating.
06. The slow-motion action sequences. The rotational changes of camera angle were interesting the first couple of times, but after seeing ten minutes of footage dragged out to twenty by changes in the frame rate, it gets on the nerves a little. A hundred-million dollar film and you can't even write a good enough script to sustain a 130-minute film without resorting to this kind of crap?
05. "There is no spoon." This has to be, without a doubt, the most irritating line in the film, next to "he is the One". Was this meant to be a statement that our mind determines our reality? Well, guess what, mister Wachowski (either one will do as long as they were responsible for writing this dreck)? Any psychologist worth their salt would be laughing their butts off at this mere idea. (If you don't have bipolar disorder or a similar reality-distorting mental illness, don't bother arguing this fact with me as you are underqualified.)
04. The entire concept of Zion, the last human city on the planet. There is no way that human life can exist in such proximity to a planet's core, and even less chance that a city can be built there without being consumed within days by an acne-like burst of magma from the planet's core. There is a wide valley of difference between science fiction and science impossibility.
03. The constant, and underwritten, use of the Deus Ex Machina literary device. This plot device is a hangover from the days in European theatre when a director who wanted to depict a hero being lifted out of an impossible situation by the "hand of god" was limited to using a crane of some description. One would think that, in this day and age of digital special effects, a much more interesting way in which the heroes could be yanked out of the Matrix could have been used. As a further matter of fact - it already has! Lucasfilm's CGI effects producers managed this trick approximately 15 years before The Matrix premiered in a Disney-funded film called Tron. Tron also had the benefit of a much more convincing artificial world. Going backwards 15 years (something that dual-sided discs represent to me) does not equate to a good thing for me.
02. The pathetic resurrection of Neo in the final sequence of the film. This entire sequence looks as if the parts in the so-called real world were stretched out to accommodate the goings-on in the digital world. If the Sentinels were really attacking such a poorly built ship, they would have torn it apart at almost exactly the same moment Agent Smith shoots Neo.
01. The ****ing advertising!