Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Took The Wrong Pill

Last night I caught the beginning of The Matrix Reloaded on cable. The first thing I noticed was that Harold Perrineau of "LOST" plays Link, which means that I hadn't seen this movie since I started watching back in 2005. The second thing I noticed was kind of stupid. Guess I have really moved on.

You see, I had a passionate love affair with The Matrix. It started off healthy enough. Back in 1999, I caught my first glimpse of it. It looked intriguing. I liked what I saw. So in April of 1999, I saw it in theaters. I was blown away. Completely in love. Couldn't wait to be together again. So I grabbed some other friends who knew nothing about it and dragged them to it.

Later I got the film on DVD and watched it a few more times. It always made me happy. Maybe this whole thing was a little annoying to outsiders, but really they were just jealous. This was still nothing out of the ordinary.

Then things started to get bad.

I bought The Matrix Revisited, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with tons of footage. I wanted to know everything about it. But instead of making us closer, it just made me wish there was more to see. (To this day, I still haven't watched much of it. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.

Upon hearing that the plan was to make it a trilogy, I was beyond excited. I was...obsessed. It wasn't healthy. (I know that now.) But I liked it, and I thought that it liked me. So I went with it.

I read everything I could about The Matrix Reloaded. About the massive fight scene and the freeway chase scene. (I still think it's really cool that they BUILT part of a freeway in order to have complete freedom while filming it.) I knew that they planned for it to end with a "cliffhanger," though the ending they ultimately went with was far from one, in my opinion.

Knowing all of this impaired my initial viewing experience somewhat because I was dying in anticipation for the two huge action sequences, and near the end I kept trying to guess where it was going to cut off.

But I didn't mind. Besides, I had other viewings to make up for it. (More on that in a second.)

Prior to and immediately following the second film's release, I purchased the following things:
The Animatrix (still pretty cool, actually)

The Animatrix soundtrack (Mistakenly, as it came in a package with the above DVD, and I thought it meant the soundtrack to the first film.)

Enter the Matrix (not cool, actually)

Matrix action figures (only two)

And I wrote a review/theory blog entry so long, I'm surprised it didn't break a server.

Pretty bad, right? I didn't know what I was doing to myself. But that's not even the worst part.

I saw The Matrix Reloaded in theaters FIVE TIMES. Three of those times were in the first 24 HOURS.

And later I wrote a blog entry so long that I'm surprised it didn't destroy a server.

Yeah, it was bad. I wouldn't listen to critics (professional or my friends) who pointed out that the fight scene between Neo and hundreds of Agent Smiths was pointless because it accomplished nothing, and he just ran away at the end. I gave a far-fetched reason to try to justify it.

And I wouldn't listen to those that said it was style over substance, relying too much on its camera effects. My argument was that it INVENTED the effects, so it could use them as much as it wanted.

I'd probably still be locked in this unhealthy relationship if it wasn't for The Matrix Revolutions, which crushed my soul. Talk about a bad break-up.

I could spend pages talking about why I hated that movie, but instead I'll just say this: While seeing it in the theater, I had to pee badly for the last twenty-five minutes. After it was all said and done, I wish I had just gone to pee. That would have been much more interesting that what I saw.

So my love dissipated, and I hadn't seen anything other the first film until last night. In addition to watching the beginning, I checked out the freeway chase scene.

While some stuff is cool, I was underwhelmed. Definitely style over substance.

We had fun, Matrix, but I'm happy now. Stay out of my life.


Anonymous said...

Ah. Finally someone understands what happened to me and Star Wars: Episode I.

Jonathan K said...

I can absolutely understand that happening with Episode 1. It's even easier because it already has/had such a huge fan-base.

steve jones said...

That has always been the mystery about the Matrix movies: forget all of their alleged symbolism and significance, they're really just BAD MOVIES. Interesting ideas, but such poor writing and acting that it's hard to concentrate. I was late getting to the Matrix party (didn't see the first one until 2003), so I was predisposed to take them with a grain of salt, but it was almost impossible to take them seriously when I saw how they were just shoddy examples of filmmaking.

At least with LOST, the acting, writing, and direction are of a uniformly high quality, regardless of how you feel about the deeper questions behind the show.

The best part of my anti-Matrix fandom, incidentally, was watching all the Matrix cult people try to disown the entire series after the disaster that was Matrix:Revolutions.