All But Dissertation
No dissertation--none of the time!

Sunday, May 18, 2003  

We went to see the movie "The Matrix Reloaded" on Friday night. Yes, all of us, even the son. We own "The Matrix" (also rated R); he has seen it a number of times, and he has demonstrated in many situations that he knows the difference between fantasy violence and real violence (that is, violence that is staged on a screen and pictures of true violent acts). I was concerned a few years ago that the pseudo-gnostic themes of the movie would mess with his mind, but they haven't. So after reading a number of reviews, we took him to his first R-rated movie in a theater. He agreed in advance to put his head down and close his eyes during the orgiastic sex scene. This scene, which was gratuitous in every sense of the word, ended up being only one of my grievances with the movie. I was longing to love it; I think the first movie did what it did really well, and I have been anticipating the second one for over a year. But it was a huge disappointment. It was pretentious in its muddled, incomprehensible philosophy; it was derivative of itself; it had no charm, no warmth, and little humor. The biggest laugh from the audience came at the end of the sex scene at the sight of the plugs down the back of one of the characters.

It's difficult for sequels to match the level of originals. Part of the appeal of "The Matrix" was the element of surprise, and it would be really hard to recapture that. But there were also a number of allusions in the first movie that made it fun to watch, such as all the references to Alice: from the white rabbit tattoo to going through the mirror to the bunnies on television in the Oracle's apartment to the reflections on doorknobs and sunglasses. The only literary allusion I noticed in this movie was the prominent "101" in a building. Perhaps there are more, and I need to see the movie again. But I don't want to see the movie again. In the theater in which we watched it, the film was almost a physical assault. The noise level, the almost constant action--it was overwhelming, like being in a rock concert, and my head buzzed for hours after we left the theater, like it does after a rock concert or a long flight.

My son, of course, loved every minute of it, but he will be allowed neither to see it again nor to purchase the DVD.

A few good things about the movie: the car chase was incredible. The choreography of the fighting was pretty cool. But again, it had no warmth and no charm, like, say, the fight between Morpheus and Neo in the first one. Darn. I really wanted to like the sequel.

posted by Lady of Shalott | 1:32 PM
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