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Resumé Copy Writing Disappointing Sequel Proves 'The Matrix' Franchise Needs Reboot
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  The Matrix Reloaded
  Warner Bros.
Astonishingly, the people who created The Matrix seem to have no idea what made it so good. This is the only logical explanation for the fact that The Matrix Reloaded is just plain bad.

The Wachowski brothers have clearly lost their way with this sequel to the film that helped define a generation. In the present installment, we follow the further adventures of Neo in his quest to free humanity from the clutches of super-intelligent machines and the all-encompassing computer program they use to delude everyone into believing the robot coup never happened. In their minds, people think their lives are unfolding more or less as expected but, in reality, their bodies are locked up in a post-apocalyptic beehive getting less exercise than does a potted plant. Neo and a legion of fellow escapees must find a way to thwart the evil machines and avoid recapture. To do this, some of them re-enter the virtual reality of the Matrix and subvert it.

But this is not what the first film was really about. The story was not about these adventures per se. It was not just about the ultra-cool fight scenes that introduced movie audiences to the concept of "bullet-time." It wasn't just Carrie Ann Moss drop-kicking bad guys and running up walls. These elements were integral to its entertainment value, yes, but the first film was a revolution fantasy about looking at things in a new way and dealing with the consequences through love and loyalty -- and, okay, kung fu.

In the first film we were made to care about our loveless and pathetic protagonist and his humdrum life as he seemed adrift, as so many people are, in a cynical and lonesome cityscape of cubicles and punch-clocks. We cared about him because he was trying to find out why life was like this and because he was not falling prey to the pitfalls of addiction and destructive relationships that so many others do. He was looking for answers and staying true to his quest. In a real sense, he was every unmarried young urbanite trying to intellectualize himself happy with the help of a computer and a little too much solitude.

When the answers he seeks come looking for him, he takes a chance and leaves his world for theirs and pays the price big-time. Those inhabiting his old reality are not happy he has switched sides and seek to deprive him of his life, his livelihood, and, worse, the hot new woman he just met. Anyone who has ever made a major change in lifestyle can relate to a metaphor that illustrates this kind of peril.

And that’s what The Matrix was. A metaphor.

But for what, exactly? Well, it doesn't take a genius to recognize the hidden meanings behind the fact that in the first half of the movie Neo is taking orders from white-bread America -- his boss, the FBI -- and in the second half he's heeding world-weary but wiser poor black housewives and hipsters. What 20-something white guy would have guessed that what he really needed wasn’t the right password but a little insight from an older black woman who’s been around the block a little?

So the lonesome computer enthusiast who thinks for himself allies with the ethnically diverse downtrodden masses. Together, they see the system for what it is and help free each other’s minds. Throw in a little kung fu and they begin to prevail over the straight-laced, homogenous corporate bloodsuckers.

The metaphor is certainly open to interpretation, but the social commentary on the dehumanizing effects of an increasingly technical society seems clear.

For any metaphor to have meaning, however, it must convey something. It must be a metaphor for something. And that’s what the brothers Wachowski seem to have forgotten. The Matrix Reloaded is a total sellout. Our hero isn't in the trenches with his new compadres any more, he's flying over their heads, literally, like Superman, and duking it out with Eurotrash bad guys like it was some sort of Schwarzenegger picture. He lands long enough to have sex with his girlfriend or stand around and look iconic in his shades. If The Matrix was a roller coaster you got to ride, Reloaded is one you merely get to watch. And as watching goes, these filmmakers set themselves a pretty high bar for visually interesting fight sequences with the first film. The ones in Reloaded pay off if you try and ignore the fact that it's quite often a completely computer-generated Keanu you see lunging around. But you won't care. This picture's got no soul. All the right actors are there in all the right outfits, but there's way too much of a BattleStar-Galactica-come-Star-Trek-Next-Generation contingent marching around in tunics and talking of "ships" and "crew" like they had invaded this film from some stupid made-for-SciFi-Channel movie-of-the-week. One particular scene seems matched shot for shot out of the BattleStar Galactica TV series: Our spaceship pilot gets home to his rebel abode and gets a bunch of smack from his warrior wife about being more careful when flying through the Alpha quadrant.

Brav … o.

There is a nod to the let’s-stop-alienating-ourselves-from-each-other theme of the original film in a strange scene that reminds us how fun it is to dirty-dance with strangers in bare feet as long as the music’s too loud to actually talk to one another. But this part of the movie manages to be at once perfunctory, intrusive, and next-to meaningless.

Certainly there are a number of sequences which do recapture the sheer glee the first film took in high speed and unlikely acrobatics. But as part of a silly story that meanders around its expensive sets like a braggart reenacting a real fight he once had, they fall flat.

The true failure of this picture is that it is not  at all about anything real. The first film identified a real-life phenomenon and painted a romantic story anyone could identify with. The sequel doesn’t advance the social commentary but instead re-hashes, reminisces, and blows things up in hopes we won’t notice.

It is almost as if the fearsome “agents” from the Matrix paid a visit to the Wachowski brothers and "suggested" they make a less poignant follow-up. Who will the agents come for ne …?

Ignore everything you have just read. See The Matrix Reloaded. It is good. Stop by the concession stand on your way in and spend four dollars for a Coke. All is well.

Disappointing Sequel Proves The Matrix Franchise Needs Reboot by Erik Gloor
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