Monday, May 12, 2008

REVIEW: The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded

Year: 2003
Director: Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

After being in development for 4 years, The Matrix Reloaded is finally a reality. After the successful first film in 1999, It was only a matter of time before we got the inevitable sequels. I loved the first one and while I was watching it, I just didn't want it to end. So when I heard that the sequels were in production and after laying my eyes on the very first teaser for the films, I was seriously about to have a heart attack. I waited patiently day by day for the movies release. The more trailers that Warner Bros. threw at me, the more hyped up I got. I marked my calender and made this the most anticipated movie of the year. Well the wait was definitely worth it because The Matrix Reloaded was a box office smash hit grossing an estimated $738 million worldwide on a budget of $150 million.

Plot Outline:
Neo (Keanu Reeves) had proven himself to be The One destined to free the human race from the Matrix, an artificial intelligence that has most of the population unknowingly trapped in a dream world. Those who escaped the fantasy settled to a city called Zion, where they're in preparation for a war against the invading machines. Neo still has his doubts, but none are shared by his lover and companion, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), nor Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), the man who discovered him. But Neo, curious to discover what further action he should take, heads into the virtual world to search for the Oracle, who tells him to search for the Keymaker. Meanwhile, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), formerly one of the Matrix's prime enforcers, has become a rogue program, slowly taking over the system with an interesting reproducing technique. Now the machines are digging and it wont be too long before they reach Zion.

After reviewing the first Matrix only a couple days ago, I knew that the Wachowski brothers have set the bar too high for this sequel to triumph its predecessor. The plot in the film is much more deeper than the first film. Their were alot of un-answered questions in the first film that get answered in this film. The first one was great, but it didn't really give us alot of detail and Reloaded really excels in this area. We now know more about the Matrix than we first knew. The films tone also is alittle more darker in this sequel. The characters are much more matured in this film. We get introduced to too many characters that it tend to leave some people alittle confused on whats really going on. Their are many big scenes in the movie, but none is bigger than the fight between Neo and 100 Smiths. If their is a downside to this movie, its that the movie ends with a surprising cliff hanger. A cliff hanger that no one saw coming, but one that really leaves the audience hanging.

Mostly everyone from the first film return in their roles and I'm happy about this because I would have seriously not gone to see this movie if Neo or anyone else was played by someone else. Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the main character Neo and he gives a good performance. I wasn't generally impressed with his performance here compared to the first one, but its still pretty good. Laurence Fishburne returns as Morpheus and he does a good job in his role. He gets a much bigger role in this film and gets to talk more than he did in the first film. Carrie-Anne Moss reprises her role as the sexy leathered Trinity and she does a good job in her role as well. She definitely has a much bigger role in this film compared to the first one and shes more close to Neo than ever. Hugo Weaving returns as the sinister Agent Smith and he gives a great performance. I very much enjoyed his performance in the first film, but I always felt he didn't give it his best. He certainly shines in this sequel.

Whether its the fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith or the intense car chase near the end, this movie looks fucking amazing. With a 4 years gap between the first one and this film, the technology definitely increased. I can honestly pick about any scene in the film that I would use to demo off to friends. Zion looks absolutely breathtaking. Their are more slow motion sequences that look great and much more polished this time around. Having release much later than the first film, the movies source is much more cleaned up. The films color palate looks more darkish greenish rather than the blue overcast we had in the first film. Just like the first film, I couldn't detect any grain. Detail is also on the plus side with the film looking quite good on this DVD. I said it with the first film and Ill say it with this one too, The Matrix Reloaded is something you should definitely keep your eyes on when it eventually hits High Def.

Composer Don Davis returns to score this sequel and it sounds great. I already thought the score he composed for the first film was great, but it sounds even better here. Theirs also more music he created for The Matrix Reloaded and they all sound wonderful. For those who enjoyed the Rob Dougan music you heard from the first will be pleased to hear that there's even more music from him in this sequel and believe me when I say this, their all great. They usually appear during fight scenes, but the music matches so well with the fighting that I couldn't care much. Since their is more action this time around, the bass gets used more thus resulting in some serious house shaking rumble. The bass is so crisp and loud that it makes watching the movie oh so sweet. Dialogue in this film is slightly on the downside. While its not as bad as you might think, but it certainly could have been much louder.

The Matrix Reloaded is a great sequel to the 1999 smash hit, The Matrix. The story is good and much more deeper than the first film, but it doesn't capture that same feeling I had watching the first film. The concept of agents chasing you isn't used much since now Neo is "the one". The cast is great for the most part, but Keanu Reeves could have been alittle more excited for this film seeing as how it helped his career alot. The visual effects are hands down amazing. It makes the first film look like child's play. The soundtrack in Reloaded is much more engaging than the first film with the score returning and sounding better than ever. The bass work is also very impressive and easily gets my vote for being demo material. I knew from the start that this movie wasn't going to be better than the first film, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. I give my props to the Wachowski brothers for giving their best and making this film a worthy sequel. I can recommend this movie to anyone who's seen the first film.

Grade: B-

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