Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Anyone who knew me at a certain point in my life will remember my bug-eyed, raving, fanatical devotion to "The Matirx." This is a movie I saw five times in the theater; it is the reason I first got a DVD player. I have no idea how many times I've actually seen it. It's hard once something really new has become old to remember what it was like before. Now all movies of a certian kind look a lot like "The Matrix," but at the time nothing did. I saw it blind, on a whim, having heard nothing about it—and it just transported me. My fanaticism had everything to do with my psychological, shall we say, idiosyncrasies at the time, and has since ebbed, but I'd still happily watch it any time. "The Matrix Reloaded" is a whole other kettle of fish. What do we learn in this sequel? Well, for one thing, you can multiply the villain all you want, but when your hero is an un-killable superman fight scenes tend to lose their suspense. Also we learn that Zion is populated entirely by 18 to 24 year-olds and looks, on a Friday night, a lot like one of those early-90's Calvin Klein orgy ads. Principally, however, we learn that Keanu looks good in a skirt. This is not an incidental point, because it relates to my overwhelming impression seeing it this time around, to wit: the Wachowskis are fond enough of women, and have no objection at all to using them, but they are heart-and-soul homoeroticists. Nothing makes them happier than pushing around blank-faced, doe-eyed Keanu. Remember the bug scene from "The Matrix?" You found it hot, right? So did they, and they find all kinds of ways large and small to recapture the magic. Look for Keanu's long, grommet-studded spine lying in bed, Monica Bellucci bullying him into a lingering kiss, the Oracle fondly teasing him for being, as she first put it, "cute...not too bright, though."

Seeing TMR on high-def also teaches me one more thing: CGI looks really cruddy on high-def. Watching the scene where Keanu and multi-Hugo go at it is like watching a movie be regularly intercut with its own video game.

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