Take the Blue Pill
You cannot imagine my crushing disappointment. After months of speculation with fellow geeks about the many varied ways The Matrix trilogy might resolve itself and fully expecting the Wachowski brothers to go far beyond even the wildest theories we mere mortals could conceive of, we get this. Anticlimactic. Philosophically puny. Downright nonsensical. We’ve been cheated. We’ve been misled. It’s like discovering there’s no Santa Claus and getting socks under the tree in the same year.
I’m so stunned and bewildered that I can’t even manage to be angry. The first stage of grief is denial, after all: I’ll just pretend that The Matrix Revolutions never happened. It works, this fannish denial. No Trekkie actually believes that the “Spock’s Brain” episode of classic Trek really exists. I’ve yet to meet a Doctor Who fan who will acknowledge “The Trial of a Time Lord,” and that’s — allegedly — an entire season of that show. And we all know that the finale of Blake’s 7 is but a wisp of a rumor, never confirmed. So I will continue to live in the universe as it existed at the end of The Matrix Reloaded, in which Neo is still comatose and the Sentinels have not yet attacked Zion, a universe in which I finish the story in my head in a far more satisfactory way.
This is an excellent argument for you to stay away from Revolutions. Like Schroedinger’s cat, Neo and Trinity and Agent Smith and everything else can remain in a state of quantum fluctuation, neither here nor there, their futures unset — for you, at least — if only you never let your eyes fall upon the film.
Then again, if you never see Revolutions, you’ll never believe how the Wachowskis squandered the awesome potential of the first two films. They set up what could have been the next major step forward in human mythology — at least, that’s how one brilliant guy I know saw it, a goosebump-
Where the Wachowskis originally, with the first two films, combined humanism with the numinous to create a metaphor for our developing relationship with machines, there is nothing at all metaphoric about Revolutions. The film is in fact so literal that it trips itself up too many times, and inconsistencies that we might have dismissed in a story more allegorical suddenly stand out as simple sloppy writing. Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith: Return to Paradise, Scream 2), with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne: Event Horizon) at her side, races against time and against Sentinels in order to pilot her ship back to Zion in time for the EMP weapon the ship carries to be of use in defending the docking bay against the advancing armies of Sentinels. But if EMPs are so useful against Sentinels, why doesn’t the Dock have one? And if EMPs are not stationed in the Dock because they’re too dangerous to the computers and other machines of Zion, why doesn’t Niobe — and Morpheus and all the other crew members of the two ships patrolling the underground tunnels — know this?
Why should I be wondering about this kind of absurdity? I should be pondering layers of meaning and metaphor… but none are there. Why do I find myself increasingly annoyed at how often the Wachowskis have to smack us over the head with the story rationale for the recasting of the Oracle (after Gloria Foster’s death) with another actress (Mary Alice: Catfish in Black Bean Sauce)? It’s a clever conceit they came up with to explain it, but why must they repeat it over and over and over? We get it. Don’t they trust us? There was a lot of implied trust in The Matrix, that we could keep up with some complicated and convoluted ideas. Now, we’re treated like children.
Simplistic? It gets worse. The centerpiece of Revolutions is the battle of the Dock, in which swarming hoards of Sentinels attack the entry point of the city of Zion after some huge-
It’s enough to make a geek cry. I feel like Cypher back in the first film, asking for his blue pill and to be reenveloped in the comforting fantasy of the Matrix. I don’t wanna remember nothing. Not-thing. *sigh*