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Zero Hour has arrived with Revolutions, the much anticipated final chapter of the Matrix trilogy. Would the people of Zion be saved? Could Neo really be The One? And, most importantly, is The Matrix: Revolutions a true revolution for action cinema, or are the Wachowski brothers just spinning their collective wheels?
Like many fans, I had a theory about what I thought might happen in this movie. Here, for the first and only time in print, is that theory: I imagined that what Neo and the people of Zion believed was 'reality' was actually the older, more perfect matrix mentioned in Reloaded. This would explain both why Neo was able to wield control over it and why Agent Smith was able to cross over. Next, taking into account that Neo's 'real' world was just another virtual construct, I speculated that perhaps Neo himself might be a program. That the scenerio of Neo fighting for Zion is said to have repeated itself six or more times would seem to lend credence to this. Was Neo one of the older, more difficult to destroy programs mentioned in Reloaded? Could he have been a virus programmed into the system as Humankind's last free act against the machines? Rearrange 'Neo' and you get 'One'. It is said that Neo is The One, and binary machine language consists of zeroes and, you guessed it, ONES. As a program, Neo would be doing what he was programmed to do, without necessarily knowing why. Luckily, the Oracle program was there to help guide him. During the course of Revolutions, Neo would discover his true nature, his fight against the machines strengthened by his love for Trinity. His resolve would be further reinforced by her tragic death. Once the Neo program had completed its run, bringing an end to the war and freeing Humankind from enslavement, Neo would come to an end. To succeed, Neo must, in a manner of speaking, die. So, as my theory would have it, Neo sacrifices himself to defeat the machines, machines that were ultimately the architects of their own undoing. See that? Everything wraps up quite nicely. We get a definite end to the saga, as well as some nifty Christ parallels and a full circle of events. Revolutions, get it?
Now that I've seen The Matrix: Revolutions, I can say without a doubt that my theory was, oh, what's the word... wrong. I see where I made my mistake. I rather foolishly believed that all the 'deep thought' of The Matrix: Reloaded would actually amount to something. Turns out, little of it was important. The resulting story is heavier in action than Reloaded, but lacking in answers to most of the thought provoking questions that Reloaded raised. I suppose that what I really should have been paying attention to were the video games and the anime. Oh, well. We all live by the choices we make.
Now, about the actual film... let's get the complaints out of the way first. Besides taking a completely different direction as far as storyline is concerned, I was also disappointed to see no action sequences in Revolutions that top what we've already seen in Reloaded. Zion's puny defenses are especially lame. Meanwhile, Neo & Trinity pull a disappearing act that lasts far too long! Do the Wachowski's think we can't follow two subplots at once? Also, the final showdown between Neo and the Agent Smiths was fun, but not as original or satisfying as it could have been. Lastly, not to give anything away, but the ending was a total cop-out, blatantly designed only to further merchandising concerns and, Morpheus forbid, possible sequels or prequels. Whoa... am I saying that The Matrix: Revolutions sucks? That depends on how you look at it. If taken as a single film, all on its own, it's virtually impossible to make any sense of Revolutions. After all, Revolutions is really just the second half of Reloaded.
Which brings us to the good stuff. I'm talking action now, not plotline. To start, the battle for Zion, especially the second half, is fantastic! And forget about bullet-time, now it's ass-kicking time! In fact, Neo never fires a gun in Revolutions. I thought that was cool as far as developing Neo as a one who desires, above all else, peace. Then again, who needs guns when you can blast through the matrix with fists and kung-fu? I also liked that the humorous moments seemed to be more balanced than in the ever-so-serious Reloaded. Agent Smith is one, no, make that several funny guys! To sum up, the trip to Revolutions end may have been more shallow than I had expected, but I still enjoyed getting there.
Taken as one long movie, The Matrix: Reloaded & Revolutions actually works pretty well. Fans of the series should be, for the most part, pleased. As for myself, when the first Matrix film was released, I didn't think it needed any sequels. After seeing the complete trilogy, I still don't. Reloaded and Revolutions are okay, but The Matrix still rules!