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The Matrix Revolutions (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Revolutions Recalibrated (behind the scenes overview). CG Revolution; Super Burly Brawl - view the final Neo/Smith showdown with storyboards and behind the scenes footage; Follow The White Rabbit; Neo Realism: The Evolution of Bullet Time; Super Big Mini Models; Double Agent Smith; Mind over Matter: The Physicality of The Matrix; Future Gamer The Matrix Online. 3-D Evolution; Before The Evolution (3-D timeline including the movie trilogy, The Animatrix and Enter The Matrix); Theatrical trailer; Weblinks.

EVERYTHING that has a beginning has an end, and so it is with some regret that we must finish our journey with Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and co, as one of the greatest science-fiction trilogies of all time draws to its close.

But once the dust has settled, and the final punches have been thrown, was the journey worth taking, and can Revolutions bring the franchise to a satisfactory conclusion?

The answer is both yes and no, given the film's ability to frustrate and delight in equal measure.

Picking up pretty much exactly where Reloaded left off, Revolutions finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) drained of power, and adrift in a no man's land between the Matrix and the Machine World.

While Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) holds vigil, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), attempts to come to terms with the revelation that the One, in which he invested a life's worth of faith, is merely another system of control invented by the architects of the Matrix.

To make matters worse, Zion is hours from collapse, as the Machine army bores its way into their stronghold, intent on the total annhilation of mankind, while the rogue programme, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), emerges as a bigger threat to the Machines than the humans themselves, threatening to destroy everything and everyone he comes into contact with.

With so many loose ends to tie up, and given the nature of the psychological arguments put forward at the end of Reloaded, it is little wonder to find that Revolutions has trouble realising the sum of its ambitions, and disappoints on a number of levels.

Questions remain unanswered, while the film has a tendency to become bogged down by its special effects.

So much effort has gone into sequences such as the Battle for Zion, and the climactic Super Burly Brawl between Neo and Smith, that there seems even less time for explanation and deliberation than ever before.

And while said sequences are mightily impressive, raising the bar still further in terms of what we have seen, one is left pining for the comparative simplicity of the first film, in which the effects and fight sequences dazzled without ever threatening to jeopardise the elements which made the story so great.

At its best, Revolutions recaptures the excitement of those early days, particularly during an early exchange, in Club Hell, between Trinity and Morpheus and Lambert Wilson's marvellously sly Merovingian, while also serving up an exhilarating variation on the infamous lobby scene from the original.

Yet at its most over-indulgent, the film overdoses on spectacle, never more so than in that final fight scene, which promises more than it ultimately delivers.

So much hinges on the outcome of the fight between Neo and Smith that the resolution ultimately feels something of a letdown, even though the film's money shot (the impact of Neo's fist colliding with Smith's face in unprecedented detail) is as spectacular as could have been hoped for!

But then ending has never been something that any of the Matrix movies have been particularly good at, especially given their propensity for leaving things open.

And so, despite being promised that this is the final chapter, certain revelations and discussions, post-set pieces, offer the possibility of more to follow, should the Wachowskis ever be convinced to do so.

Disappointments aside, however, there is still plenty to admire, with the dark tone a welcome change from the usual saccharine-laced finales.

And in terms of technical achievements and visceral pleasure, the Matrix continues to be peerless, setting new benchmarks for the rest to follow, and remaining consistently intriguing and entertaining throughout.

It's just that, rather than feeling overwhelmed, as we did, when the original first enthralled us, there is an inclination to feel underwhelmed by the finale.

While the decision to invest so much time on effects means that the impact of the emotional stuff suffers somewhat too, leaving you with the feeling that it is the machines (or the effects creators) that have emerged as the overall victors when all is said and done.

Revolutions, while brilliant in places, falls some way short, therefore, of achieving the classic status you feel it deserves. But that shouldn't stop you from seeing it!



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