Let me say right away, I donít believe the Matrix saga is over.† Iíll give reasons why I believe this is the case at the end of this review.†
This episode goes back to what the Wach Bros do best, that is make one action-packed and spec eff dazzling flick!† It is still philosophically naÔve and 2nd rate on that score.† There is a ton of allegory and symbolism, but what would you expect from these guys?† This time the religious theme is heavily Judeo-Christian.† For instance, Neo, at the conclusion assumes the role of Christ, and saves humanity.† He is even portrayed in a crucifixion stance, and dies for us.† Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) cannot be mistaken for anything but an Evil entity: The Devil.† The super-intelligence of Machines is just as surely, a manifestation of God.† The Judeo part?† The war on Zion represents Masada being massacred by Rome.† You might remember Masada was the stronghold fortification of a Jewish sect that was besieged and destroyed by the Roman army in antiquity.† This is very nearly what happens in M-3 to Zion. There is symbolic symmetry too.† Smith becomes human, leaves the Matrix, while Neo can invade the Matrix at will.† In the end, Neo exchanges places with Smith, (recalling the role Father Karras in The Exorcist) to vanquish the diabolical villain, and you thought supersymmetry was hard to understand.
However, we are not served so much moralizing, and ontological theory this time.† Though, there are some attempts in this direction.† There is a little talk with the new Oracle, whom explains that Neo must discover the way out for Zion (read Humanity).† There is the implication of two opposites clashing in which Neo must effect the resolution in this exchange.† An implication that is played out in the second best sequence of the movie: the Duel of Smith and Neo.† The new Oracle is much improved, less affected, and more endearing than her predecessor.† Actually, Agent Smith gives us the best Existential speech the film has ever delivered during his battle sequence with Neo.† He questions Neo, while whipping his ass, on why he seeks to continue with a meaningless cause.† He taunts a seemingly beat Neo, on how whatever he does, it has no purpose, and how it would not save him or his human brethren.† I could just see, Jean Paul Satre and Albert Camus saying: Well, kinda basic, but heís on the right track.† At the conclusion, we are left with our old friend The Architect approaching the The Oracle, to comment that all is well.† He means by this, that Machines and Man can coexist.† She reminds him, he must honor the deal heís struck with Neo.† He sarcastically responds: What? Am I human?† The implication is an AI and humanity will coexist in peace.† Yet, rather that openly state this, the Wach bros imply it.† We are left, to wonder, just who is this Oracle?† Is she a sub-AI God that challenged the Supreme one?† It seems, they have decided in this concluding segment, not to beat viewers over the head with their philosophic ideas, but to seduce them with a romantic tale.
The invasion of Zion sequence is everything fans hoped for.† We see the Sentinels; a cross between octopus and insect, burst out of a drilled opening in the circular vaulted ceiling of Zion and multiply into endless numbers. The rebels are on the defensive and from context we understand their predicament.† They are fighting against immeasurable odds.† Still, they fight on, and as the action increases to a fever pitch, the multitudinous sentinels unite to form a greater force, in so doing, seeming to gain the upper hand on the Zion defenders.† It is not losing rebels pitted against a certain end we are watching, but pure power against a determined resistance. The sentinels unite their numbers to form an unstoppable force.† Yet, the resistance does hold them back.† Gladly this time, the countdown is not to the last second.† There is a rescue coming.† The highlight of the movie, this sequence has adventure on an epic scale. It is not trying to build suspense, but engaging the viewer in moment-to-moment action.† Embedded within it are the exploits of two girl warriors, sabotaging the Machine invasion force.
But the clichťs and remnants of other blockbuster films are still painfully evident in M-3. At the end, with Neo outstretched like Christ on the cross, a huge face appears.† It seems to be taken right out of Lord of the Rings.† Its voice is bass deep.† It booms out: What do you want! †This is Hollywoodís conception of God.† Itís not new. It goes back as far as The Wizard of Oz and beyond.† I wonder why canít God, appear with 3-inch thick glasses on, and a voice like Mike Tysonís. Then have him say: Yeah, whadda ya want?† With his voice about 4 octaves above tenor.† Neo would reply: Youíre the the, I mean?Ö† Yeah, thatís right and donít say nuttin, Ďcause Iím real sensitive about it too! †No good? Ah, well just a thought. What is it with this face thing? Wanna show God, get a face. At least that's how it seems to work in Hollywood. Why not two hands? Or feet?†
The romantic dialogue in this one was so, cornball and overdramatic, why almost melodramatic (just add violins).† This stuff was as bad as those 1940ís boy-girl love scenes.† And there are at least two of them.† I almost expected one of the female principal actresses to start crying uncontrollably look away and bury her head into crossed arms, then hunch her shoulders up and down.† After which, she looks back and says: Goíon you big dope, goíon git yourself killed.† Then she turns back and continues crying uncontrollably with hunched shoulders.† The dialogue was really THAT BAD!†† † What did I expect?† Well after the metaphysical speech of the Architect in M-2, more than this.† By the way, the Architect gets a one-liner in this one.† And ya know, everybody is heroic in Zion town.† Not one cowardly guy in the bunch.† Tops in this category is the Captain that fought the juggernaut invaders.† Too much heroism makes a film lose its dramatic tone.† Wach bros, even a classic like the Magnificent Seven had at least one punk (Robert Vaughn).
Okay, they didnít read Frank Tipler, the offbeat physicist and his metaphysical opus.† Itís a hell of a coincidence that the thematic elements of this film resemble this work.† No, those blond dreadlock guys didnít come back, nor did the kid as I predicted.† I ainít no damn Oracle ya know!† To the good, they gave Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) a nice heroine role.† She looks like beautiful Cicely Tysonís daughter doesnít she?† Anyway, why will we see a sequel?
Here are three good reasons why:
P.S. 2/22/08 Well it looks like I was wrong again about a sequel. Damn, I'm not such a wit when it comes to making predictions of remakes. Could've swore these bros would give us an M-4. Alright, that's it, no more Oracling for me. But, you do know there is 2009....uhhh...maybe..nah...as they say on the congressional circuit in D.C. school's out.
Look for M-4, sometime in September 2005.