I was slow to see The Matrix when it originally came out in 1999. I first saw it as a bootleg MPEG file before seeing it in the theater. I watched it again later when it came out out on DVD. I liked the movie but do not consider myself finanical about it. I liked the hacker stuff. I also liked all the subtle and not so subtle references to things like Alice in Wonderland. Matrix is of course best known for its computer special effects.
When I heard of the sequels I was excited because they were filmed back-to-back. I knew they would have to out-do themselves. They could not just use bullet time. The audience would want more. In anticipation for the new movies, there were also a series of animated shorts called the Animatrix. These shorts were excellent. Watching these shorts later gave better insight into the coming movies. There was also a video game called Enter the Matrix which included over an hour of new video which further gave you backstory. I have not played this game.
Upon seeing Matrix Reloaded I was impressed with the special effects. They had gone beyond bullet time. The climatic freeway chase is incredible and pushes the boundary of computer special effects. On the other end of the spectrum is a fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith where Smith keeps making copies of himself. Neo fights 10, 50, and then hundreds of copies of himself. The fight scene starts off good. It has some humor in it but as the fight progresses, it begins to look more like a video game than a movie. In the end, it looked so cartoonish as to not really keep ones interest. The action actually became tedious. There were references to ghosts and vampires. It would have been good for them to follow that theme a bit more. The movie has a pretty good story and comes to a satisfactory conclusion before leaving us with a cliffhanger. I have come to enjoy the movie a bit more now that it is out on DVD.
With The Matrix Revolutions, I had hoped that the series could redeem itself from its sophmore stumble. The movie promises to resolve the conflict between man and machine. Since there have only been 6 months since the previous movie, there is not much change in the state-of-the-art. The special effects in the third movie are less impressive than the second. A climatic fight scene takes place at night and in the rain. This must have been done to make it easier to hide the special effects. There was no plot explaination for the rain. The movie did feature minor characters more than the previous movies. This was good. Jada Pinket Smith’s character was especially interesting. Another thing that I liked was the APCs. They were shown in the second movie but we get to see them in action in the third.
If you generally enjoyed the first two movies, you may want to give the third one a pass at a matinee. If you did not like the first Matrix, there’s nothing new here to attract you to the sequels.