Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

WARNING:  I give away major details about the movie here.  If you haven’t seen it and don’t want the movie spoiled, you may want to wait before reading.

I’ve found that there is a direct correlation between the quality of a sequel and the proximity of planning of said sequel to the writing of the original material.  There are exceptions to the rule.  Back to the Future was planned as a one-off movie, although the sequels were done well.  (This did give rise to a few issues, like Jennifer being brought along for the ride, despite there not being much room for her in the DeLorean nor there being much for her to do.)  When the first Matrix ended, we were left with a bit of a cliffhanger.  We know that Neo is supposed to fulfill a prophecy, but we don’t know much about it.

Here, we get all the details.  The movie takes place six months after the original.  Morpheus, Neo and Trinity are awaiting word from The Oracle.  Agent Smith, who had been destroyed at the end of the first movie, is back and he has a new ability.  He sends Neo a message in the form of his earpiece, indicating that he’s no longer an agent of the system.  When Neo meets The Oracle, Neo realizes that she’s a program, herself.  She also confirms that Smith refused to be deleted, making him a rogue program.

It’s Neo’s mission to find The Source, as in where The Matrix came from. To do this, he has to find The Keymaker, who is held by the Merovingian.  The Merovingian doesn’t want to let The Keymaker go, leading to an epic battle.  The Keymaker is able to give Neo the necessary key before dying.  This allows Neo to meet The Architect, the one that designed the Matrix in the first place.

It’s revealed that there have been other iterations of The Matrix.  The early ones were unsuccessful.  The version seen in the movie was stumbled upon by accident.  It’s nearly perfect with the only flaw being a cumulative set of errors resulting in The One.  It is the purpose of The One to prevent a catastrophic failure of the system.  When the time comes, The One will return to The Source, allowing his code to be used to reboot the system.  (Neo is the sixth such failsafe.)

The Architect gives Neo a choice:  Return to The Source and save humanity or go back to the Matrix and allow the system (and, with it, humanity) to crash and burn.  Neo, of course, returns to the Matrix to save Trinity.  He tells Morpheus of what he’s learned.  The only hope to save humanity now is to destroy the machines en route to destroy the liberated human population.  Alas, that’s for the third movie.

The movie is, for the most part, an action movie.  While it does advance the mythology considerably, much of the story is spent on fighting.  (For instance, Neo has to take on several dozen copies of Agent Smith.)  It’s really this that I found a little odd.  The sole purpose of The One is to reset The Matrix.  Why make it difficult for him?  You might say that The Merovingian is fighting to get The Keymaker back, but The Merovingian comments on having to fight Neo’s predecessors, meaning that this is probably part of the plan.

It’s necessary for Neo to return his code to The Source.  I don’t know if he can do this if he’s dead, so why use deadly force?  The only explanation is something that The Oracle’s guardian said: You never really know someone until you fight them.  Had Neo not been the one, it wouldn’t have mattered.

For that matter, why kill The Keymaker?  Wouldn’t he be necessary for the next Neo?  I suppose that another Keymaker could be created.  As The Oracle said, programs get replaced all the time.  Still, why make it difficult?  If The Keymaker had died before making the key for Neo, Neo would have no way to meet The Architect and presumably return to The Source.  If Neo had died in battle, there’s no guarantee that he would be of any use in rebooting the system.

One big question, though:  How did humans survive deep under the Earth’s surface?  It’s got to be pretty hot there.  Furthermore, if the machines can dig that deep, can’t they access and utilize the heat from the Earth’s core?  Wouldn’t that be easier?  I know I’m not the first to point out the inefficiency of using humans as batteries.  Being that Neo is the sixth One, this means that the machines have probably had several hundred years to find and implement a better method of getting energy.

It’s still a good movie.  I feel like that annoying kid that keeps raising questions.  The movie is meant to be an story about man versus machine.  There are bound to be issues, some of which resolve themselves.  Like some machines, maybe they’re even necessary.

No comments :