By Lorna Baker
This time, I’m pitting a trio of sci-fi films against each other: The Matrix Trilogy!
When Neo (Keanu Reeves) is woken up from his mundane life, he realises that the world he lived in was a computer generated construct. Along with a band of freedom fighters, including Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus and Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity, they battle the machines behind the matrix and a rogue programme called Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Let the battle commence!
3rd – Matrix Reloaded (2003)
If there’s one thing that the Matrix trilogy and the directors, The Wachowskis, do brilliantly; it’s the fight scenes! The freeway chase is breath-taking, showing the fluidity of the fights we’ve come to expect from The Matrix. One of the stars in this outing is Hugo Weaving. As a generic agent in the first film, Weaving’s rogue machine character Agent Smith is finally given the chance to shine, showing how even a computer programme can show malice and vindictiveness. Where this film falls down however, is the complexity of its story. Whilst it poses some philosophical points on the nature of human choice, it becomes bogged down with too many layered characters and plot points. Having two realms of story – the computer-based Matrix and the real world of Zion, means that you’re juggling two very complex stories which quickly becomes confusing.
2nd – Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Where the second film stalls with complex stories and characters, the final film in the trilogy focuses on the two main plot lines. It deals with the fight against the machine army in Zion and the battle between the main character Neo and arch-enemy Agent Smith. The final fight between the latter two has to be one of the most spectacular fights in the series. The cinematography involved is superb and the special effects are stunning. As climactic battles go in this trilogy, this one tops the pile. The fight with the machine army provides rare moments of emotion and awe coupled with some great action sequences. The focus becomes less on the philosophical aspects of the series and more on the climactic battles that the saga has long been teasing. This is a better, more concise effort than Reloaded, but lacks the ground-breaking impact of the first.
1st – The Matrix (1999)
There was only going to be one winner in this battle, and that’s 1999s first delve into the realm of the computer-generated construct that is The Matrix. This film changed cinema, the action sequences were ground-breaking and inspired many films and video games (remember Princess Fiona imitating the bullet time effects in Shrek (2001)?). The bullet-time effects and the wired fight choreography are visual-pleasing and the plot is far more streamlined. Confining most of the narrative is an intelligent move to make a complex story more manageable and understandable for the audience whilst it still poses the interesting questions about what’s real and what isn’t. Whilst the whole series was a commercial success, the sequels were not up to scratch with this sterling first effort by the Wachowski’s.