Losing Our Religion

Matrix Revolutions: All Action No Personality Makes Neo… a Video Game

What I call the “Matrix phenomenon” is something I wanted to believe in and tried to understand.

For a split second, this phenomenon allowed me to believe in a force greater than myself that was not necessarily tied to my Christian notion of God. It gave me a savior, made me believe that I had purpose, and it asked me to find my path and follow it—although I may not have fully understood.

Pity the theatrical release of Matrix: Revolutions on November 5 ruined it all for me.

Yes, Revolutions completes the story of The Matrix, but it also digresses to a predictable

video-game action movie, garnished with a little cheesy, clichéd dialogue, topped off with a vague ending that mocks the integrity of Matrices One and Two .

Welcome Train Man and Sati
Revolutions starts at the same scene that The Matrix: Reloaded finishes (halt here if you didn’t see it) with Neo and Bane in a coma on board the Hammer. Meanwhile, Zion prepares for an attack by the advancing machines.

Neo wakes up in the Train Station with a child named Sati—who, we learn, is the last exile—peering over him. The Train Station is the middle ground between Zion and the Matrix and is controlled by the Train Man, a typical-looking bum, who works for the Merovingian. The Train Man doesn’t let Neo on the Train and punches him so hard he flies backwards and splits a concrete wall. As The Train Man puts it, “Down here, I’m God.”

For the love of a god
The story of Revolutions is fueled by love. The good guys know they have no chance against Agent Smith or the Machines so they fight like hell with their loved ones in mind all the time, believing that Neo is somewhere trying to save them.

Unfortunately, this fighting turns Revolutions into an action movie and denies us the character development that made me want to believe in Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity in the first place. I felt cheated when I “woke up” and realized, “Hey, I just watched an hour and a half of fight scenes, and it doesn’t matter.”

Special effects and underdeveloped characters
Well choreographed, the computer animated fight scenes make you question whether you are watching a movie or have wandered into a game room, and Zion’s battle against the machines is distastefully fought with WWI-style trench warfare and orchestrated with medieval-sounding music. The final face off is nothing more than a gravity-defying display of magnetic repulsion and supersonic explosions.

Trinity, heroine in The Matrixand Reloaded, is reduced to spitting out cheesy love confessions to Neo. She takes a back seat to action figure characters like Niobi, Zee (Link’s wife), and Charra.

Sati was the last exile because she had no purpose in the Matrix and would have been deleted had her parents not brought her to the Oracle. Although cute, I’m not sure Sati had a purpose under the care of the Oracle either.

Matrix Wisdom
And what would Revolutions be without bits of wisdom? Of course, they will sound awfully familiar:

1. The test of choice is to make it again despite the cost. (The Oracle)
2. Gifts—I do what I have to do to honor them. (Rama-Kandra)
3. There is no escaping the nature of the universe. (Merovingian)

In the end
Did I enjoy watching Revolutions? Yes, I did. It completed a good story and satisfied my curiosity about how Neo lived up to his label of The One. However, if The Matrix really is your new religion, you may want to hold off viewing it for a while because it might rock your world.

And I certainly don’t recommend seeing it twice—it destroyed the lingering respect I had for the Matrix phenomena. And you’ll be able to catch everything the first time.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.