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Movie Review: The Matrix Revolutions

“‘Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why do you persist?’

“‘Because I choose to.'”

Warner Brothers made a daring decision in 2003 to release both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions in the same year, something no studio would have the gonads to do today. It was a move that may have cost them. Reloaded had a box office haul of $740 million while Revolutions ran out of gas at $427. Over a billion for two films is a good day’s work but had the third and final chapter been held hostage until the next calendar year, it’s possible the sum might have been doubled.

The two sequels were made concurrently, similar to Peter Jackson’s initial photography of all three Lord of the Rings films simultaneously and despite that, The Matrix Revolutions is an disowned cousin of its older family.

I’m unsure if the studios put pressure on the Wachowskis. Given how long ago these films were made, it’s information not readily available but it’s certainly worth wondering. The Wachowskis are artists in the purest form. It’s hard to believe they’d bend but with pressure, sometimes it’s only a matter of time before we break.

Image result for matrix revolutions movie poster free use

The Matrix Revolutions runs like an imposter, a copycat and shell of its former self. It lacks original tone and message and becomes a The Hobbit: The Battle of the Seven Armies gorefest rather than what the material dictated. A series thus far built on heavy dosages of thematic dissertation and sociopolitical undertakings runs like a wounded soldier jacked with Toradol.

That might be a bit harsh. The Matrix Revolutions still offers a pedigree on spectacle. As with everything else, it can’t compare with its elders but it hasn’t completely lost its identity. It knows what it’s good at and where its talent lies. It’s just overzealous and doesn’t know when a little subtlety and tact would be to its benefit.

With its brains run amuck, chapter three is a nonstop shoot ’em up reminiscent of scores of blockbusters who have tried bullet porn as a cinematic formula. The Wachowskis are capable of much more and audiences deserve better than this effort.

The Matrix Revolutions gets so bold as to throw in a Man of Steel bout in its final stage, one whose punches can only land so hard given the lethal combos we’ve seen in earlier installments, flurries this match never brings whether because of preparation or fatigue. I think it’s more likely the dog’s heart wasn’t in the fight.

This trilogy built itself on complexities of the human psyche and lectures of intellect. This was a welcomed approach. I think viewers would agree most action novellas don’t get very mentally taxing. Many of them are braindead. Go read my review of The Fast and the Furious, for example. I could hyperlink quite a few more of them. At times, it feels like they’re this blog’s calling card.

This trifecta’s want to be an individual made it appealing and enabled its rebellious nature. It meshed well with the punk nature of the 90’s. It both had its own style and adopted it from the direction America was taking at the time: one of character discovery, technological innovation and an expanded understanding of what was and wasn’t possible. All three of those identities are present in The Matrix. It’s little wonder why this premise caught on. Yes, the visual flourish was some of the best of its decade but the message was what really hooked you. Visuals can awe you at a high level but story and character are where it’s at, my dudes. The Matrix had that.

The Matrix Revolutions? Not so much. Established characters find their arc limited to the arm strength of a teeball player while any new supporting characters or transfers from part two will find their script lacking any emotional impact. The writing the Wachowskis’ reputation is built on doesn’t arrive and in bonanzas like this, actors find themselves doing more action than acting.

With few lines and much of the camera’s time spent on visual effects, Keanu’s presence is shortchanged. The film’s second act completely removes him, leaving nearly a half hour absent of two of the franchise’s principle characters and very little of the third. Without the team’s star playmakers, the unit struggles. Better casts can hold a film together, carry the torch per se but not The Matrix franchise. The series has orbited Neo from beginning to end. Abandoning that orbit has consequences for everything else in the system. Keanu Reeves in his signature role is almost purposefully pushed aside in the finale, abandoning the choir with a dissonant chord.

I found myself waiting for the cavalry during this presentation. Surely, the generals will send them in. It’s a neck-and-neck race and they have the aces. We’ve seen them before. What are they waiting for? Why is this the path they chose?

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The Matrix, L.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Matrix Reloaded, WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old Virgin)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Triple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull Island)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath RaceWind River)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Matrix Revolutions: 76.

Allured by theatrics rather than its own talents, The Matrix Revolutions tastes of betrayal and views like splatter art: disinterested and without any sense of decorum. People dabble in blotches hoping to accidentally uncover splendor. The first two introductions already had it and so, while it’s an average picture, The Matrix Revolutions feels like a waste of time.

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Movie Review: The Colony

Another Netflix film that proved to be a waste but isn’t that the secret of Netflix? I watch a crapfest, I go back to Netflix anyway. I think it’s a love/hate relationship.

At some point in the future (the Wikipedia page says 2045, but the film never mentions that), climate control becomes a problem. The people of Earth make machines to control the climate until one day, Mother Nature responds with snow. Forever. The world freezes over and only a select few are able to survive in bunkers below the ice.

It’s almost the exact same thing as Snowpiercer except that Snowpiercer occurred on a train and we knew why the train was created, whereas The Colony says there are bunkers because there are.

Our main star is Kevin Zegers from Air Bud. There, I said. It bothered me the whole movie. I thought I might have seen him on an old Disney TV show or something but no, it was that kid that got outperformed by a golden retriever.

Laurence Fishburne decided to tag along for this film as well, which I wasn’t wild about either. The Colony had The Tragedy written all over it.

Watching films like this has actually been depressing recently so I’m going to start watching some “real” films over the course of the next two weeks. Films that make me smile are on the agenda now. I can only make so many sacrifices for you guys. I give, give, give and now I’m taking, haha.

The Colony is the one that pushed me over the edge because geez this movie is boring, uneventful and unintelligent.

Our welcoming party is a couple of guys running down the hallway screaming with a monotone score in the background. Whoop, don’t care about them. Have fun in hell, you two.

Then here comes Sam (Kevin Zegers) to see Mason (Bill Paxton) about to kill some guy for having the flu, saying he has a choice, that choice being to walk in the freezing temperature or take a bullet.

So Mason says he’s got to protect the colony and shoots the guy despite Sam’s protests. Sam goes to Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and tattles on Mason and Briggs is like, “We must address this immediately.” The film then forgets all about that and never mentions it again.

That’s far more information then I normally include, but it’s a prime example of how unsatisfactory this opening scenario is. Narration to drop some context feels tacked on rather than required and the “perilous” conditions that Sam consistently comments on during his monologue don’t look that sickly. What’s the big deal? Flu is a problem because of a lack of medicine but aside from that, it looks like you’ve got your own farm and garden down there. Looks like a good enough setup to me.

Substandard scripting is a fatal flaw throughout this film’s 93-minute running time. I’m thankful it was only 93 minutes though. The script was begging for a sitcom-length film.

I say sitcom length because that’s what The Colony reminded me of: a sitcom. I’m a huge fan of Two and a Half Men with Charlie Sheen. Sorry, Ashton Kutcher, but the show isn’t the same without “Duh, Winning” Sheen.

If you haven’t watched this show, I guess you won’t get this reference but Charlie (the character Sheen plays, not Sheen himself) in my opinion, was one of the best comedic acts of the last decade. A dirty sense of humor and an unabashed personality, Charlie welcomed the spotlight like a greedy kid on Christmas and bloomed in it.

However, Charlie was not created in thirty minutes. I only watch the show on re-runs on TV so I have no way of knowing what the show was like at the very beginning but I think I can safely assume that it wasn’t amazing but was adequate enough to keep people around.

The reason I’ve always preferred movies to television shows is because it takes so long for shows to form characters. TV shows bring events over the course of a day or two in a 30-minute segment, including commercials, so really it’s like 22 minutes. It’s a long and tedious process. Which details about this person am I including in this episode or am I just delving into some good ole’ entertainment? How do the writers demonstrate this trait in under 22 minutes because it’s unlikely this character will have the screen to himself for all of the episode?

TV writing is a delicate process and also a tedious one for the audience. Television drags on into four or five seasons minimum, meaning people like myself are pouring hours upon hours of our time into the product. So, when our story turns to gunk, like Lost did in its latter seasons, it’s not just depressing. It’s offensive. If a bad movie is like slapping the audience in the face, a TV show that spirals to hell is like a stab in the jugular. “Not pleasant” does not accurately describe this experience.

I watch movies specifically because I actively avoid being stabbed in the jugular. I can sustain a slap. A stab in the jugular? Well…

When I watch a movie that forgets what form of media it’s in, I get disconcerted. Makes the crew look like they don’t have a clue what they’re doing and more often than not, that’s the case.

A movie is afforded the time to develop a character in a little over two hours, which in my opinion is far more difficult than producing a character over the course of multiple seasons. Imagine marrying someone after knowing them for two hours? Sounds rash, doesn’t it? You’d prefer marrying someone after knowing them for a few months, wouldn’t you?

That’s an accurate analogy to the movies vs. the sitcoms. If you prefer being rash, you pick the movie. If you’re more careful, you pick the TV.

It’s just an analogy and I would never recommend marriage after two hours, but that’s the task scriptwriters are gifted with. This isn’t peas and carrots. It’s more like doomsday clocks and ink pens.

I understand the tripwires and minefields involved in script writing but completing something this reprobate is disrespectful to my time and my intelligence. Don’t understand why everyone wants to slap me.

Ironic as it may be, it still sickens me that the characters in The Colony held the same interest over me as the snow blizzards, which involved some rushed sound editing. My ability to genuinely not give a worm-filled apple for this film proceeded unhampered throughout and once again I can add another loss to Laurence Fishburne’s record. If you don’ understand this reference, in the coming weeks, I’m going to write win-loss records for a bunch of actors/actresses/directors, with a win meaning their performance was great, memorable or didn’t brew angst in me and a loss meaning the exact opposite- eternal damnation. Fishburne’s been in eternal damnation quite a few times with me.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (ErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly Madison)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for The Colony: 26.

The film suffers from seemingly uninvolved director Jeff Renfroe, but the woes don’t stop there. The characters are like paper-thin napkins trying to conceal a clearly soiled table and no acting prowess is unfurled for something that is this much of a shenanigan. That, along with some blatant foul plot points, makes The Colony a “wow, just wow” burrito of unprocessed ingredients.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

Now let’s talk about these failing plot points!

The colony receives an S.O.S from another colony that they’ve been keeping in radio contact with since this all started. Sam, Briggs and another character of zero importance leave the colony and go on a one and half day journey to rescue those who may still be left and discover what all went wrong.

And the big reveal is: cannibals. Yep, that’s it. Just cannibals. No crazy monsters or aliens or a disease or arctic zombies or rabid animals. Just cannibals. Feeling the letdown already.

How the cannibals got there is sketchy too. A signal is sent over the airways that a heat spot has begun. This random dude on the camera shows that there’s soil and of course if there is soil, that means there’s a chance for new life. So this colony, colony 5, led an expedition to where the signal originated and the search party never returned. The cannibals found their tracks in the snow and followed them back to the colony where they proceeded to kill everyone.

Of course, one major flaw with that: IT IS POURING SNOW ALL DAMN DAY 24/7! Unless those cannibals were able to track miles in less than an hour, they would have lost the trail and frozen to death, which also makes you wonder where they were before this illogical convenience dropped itself into their lap but I guess that’s not important.

So the character of zero importance is killed by the cannibals and Sam and Griggs escape through a large windpipe the size of a coaling factory exhaust  cone and drop a bunch of dynamite down there so they can’t follow. They take shelter in the night inside a medical evacuation helicopter next to a bridge to get to the other side of a thousand foot drop canyon. Keep in mind it is pouring down snow hardcore and it’s freezing. Sam and Briggs have passed many people frozen to death in the snow.

The next morning they wake up, come outside and pull out their binoculars and look at that, here come all the cannibals.

IT HAS BEEN A SNOWSTORM ALL NIGHT LONG, IT’S BEEN PITCH BLACK AND YOU DON’T HAVE ANY DAMN FLASHLIGHTS!!! Does a lust for human flesh make you nocturnal?! Like, what?! It’s also important to mention that if you’re a cannibal, apparently you can’t speak because there’s no dialogue spewing out of any of these guys and the leader is bald and doesn’t wear a hat. I don’t care if you think that’s cool or not, producers, that guy’s freezing to death.

Briggs gets Sam to the other side of the bridge and then sacrifices himself, demolishing the bridge with a stick of dynamite.

Sam gets back to the colony and the cannibals somehow track him. I guess they just long jumped that 100+ foot gap but at this point, who really cares?

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