Everything has an End: oooh, Deeeeep, Dude!
Saw the last Matrix movie over the weekend. It's crap. Oh yes, lots and lots of shoot-em-up bang. FX still amazing, though, we've come to expect that, haven't we, Mr. Anderson? Some nice new PC type heros. But there's nothing left of the old Matrix (#1), except parts of the look and feel. It's a inflatable doll of a movie, where there used to be a real live woman. It's paint by the numbers. It's cell-phoned in.
The first Matrix really was fresh, though it was marred as scifi by the utterly silly explanation for why the machines keep around humans. Still, it was possible with a small leap of imagination to get past that. Maybe the machines actually want to harness humans to do interesting things for them that they cannot do well themselves. Who knows. Meanwhile, the scene between Agent Smith and Cypher alone was worth the price of admission. The philosophy was, if obvious, nifty.
The second movie was bloated, but still a pretty good movie. The philosophy was perplexing. Many at the time took this as a good sign, signifying that there was a real philosophic destination the filmmakers were going to, and that the viewer needed to work a little bit, and it would be worth it when the 3rd movie came out. I always suspected it merely indicated that the filmmakers were reaching for Philosophy, at the film-student level of understanding (that is, near zero). Still, I was happy to play the game of philosophize in the blanks. I was happy to speculate on what was really happening, and what would happen. When Neo talks to the Oracle, that's a great scene.
Well, here's movie #3 and now we know for sure: the second movie was just slinging around big words. Reality is hard to underand not because it is complex. Rather, it is hard to understand because it is magical and follows no rules. Philosophy has been replaced by action, meaning by explosions, self-consistency with a cute kid. The movie is hollow to its core. Oh, sure, go ahead and see it - you want to know how it comes out, right? Well, probably worth the eight bucks on that score, but as a testament to the first two movies.
In my mind, the Matrix trilogy ends when the Architect offers Neo the choice. That's cute, but drastically stupid. I don't know where it should have gone, but I'm sure I'll think of a suitable ending.
The movie world is a hard place for the real scifi lover. It's full of visually-oriented fantasists who think that the future will look neat, and therefore, that they should be setting their magical fantasy films in the future and selling them as scifi.