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The Matrix Regurgitated
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I've been down with a nasty cold the past couple of days, sniffling, hocking, and so forth.

But I did manage to make time to see the new Matrix movie. While I thought the action sequences were more impressive this time around, most of the best bits were given away in the trailers, spoiling most of the effect.

Instead of just a couple of characters talking like fortune cookies, this time half the cast speaks in cryptic pseudo-dialog. Some of it is all right, but it gets tiring after a while. A little cryptic pseudo-philosophizing goes a long way, Brothers Wachowski.

It also would have been a better film if it were tighter. I clocks in at well over two hours, and since the first thirty minutes are boring stage-setting in Zion, most of the front end could have been heavily edited to improve the film.

The plot is really only half an arc, presumably to be concluded in the third film, and so it doesn't work as well as a stand-alone movie. The first film was the whole Arthurian, pull-the-sword-from-the-stone, coming-of-age bit. The revelation of the nature of the Matrix is revealed pretty early on in the film. The real question the plot is headed toward is: Is this guy the chosen one? And it answers it.

The second film doesn't have much in the way of direction or focus, probably because it relies so heavily on being part one of a two-part story.

The plot works like this:

The machines are digging toward the human holdout.
The pragmatist military dude wants to beef up defense and hold them out.
Morpheus, the mystic noodle-head, wants to contact the Oracle to see what to do. Why? Don't know.
The Oracle tells them to find the Key Maker. Why? Don't know.
The Key Maker is held prisoner my some pseudo-European dude named the Merovingian. Why? Don't know.
Agent Smith is back, and apparently a rogue program in the Matrix. "What do you want?" Neo asks him. "Just like you," he says. "Everything." Huh?
There's also a weird guy in a room full of TV screens. His name is The Architect. Does he provide any answers? A couple. But parsing his dialog isn't a whole lot of fun. He doesn't sound like a fortune cookie. He sounds like ENIAC crossed with a fortune cookie.

So while the first movie stands alone very well, the second film feels like watching a first act. Still, it was a pretty good one.

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