Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
Australia/USA, 2003. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, NPV Entertainment, Silver Pictures. Screenplay by Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, based on their characters. Cinematography by Bill Pope. Produced by Joel Silver. Music by Don Davis. Production Design by Owen Paterson. Costume Design by Kym Barrett. Film Editing by Zach Staenberg. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2003.
While machine-controlled sentinels storm their way towards the city of Zion, Neo (Keanu Reeves) continues his quest to find out what his purpose is as “The One”, the saviour of humanity against the cold-hearted computers that have taken over Earth. This messy second sequel to the Wachowski brothers’s highly superior 1999 science-fiction classic accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of making 2003’s earlier Matrix film (Reloaded) actually look good. While it had a patchy story and very shallow characters, not to mention uninteresting fight sequences, it at least featured some visually inspiring sets and nifty gadgets. This time, the final showdown between man and machine is a boring CGI festival that is more like something left on the cutting room floor during editing of a Terminator movie. Most of the plot development that takes up the first numbing forty-five minutes is left purposeless until a shabby ending that ties it up all too quickly, and the major conflicts of the film have confusing outcomes that are explained inefficiently by pointless dialogue. Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo’s great love Trinity grows more lethargic as the films continue and Laurence Fishburne as the stoic Morpheus has too small a purpose so as to be hardly noticeable. Even the delicious villainy of Hugo Weaving as the cold-hearted Smith is given far too little to do until the end, with his showdown against Neo written in so haphazardly that it only confirms your suspicion that this film is making itself up as it goes along. Sadly, none of the creative spirit or vigour of the first film has remained, and instead all we’re left with is half of one story spread out over two overly long, commercially exploitative films.