Thursday, May 22, 2003

Everyone else is reloading; I can’t even find the damn gun

I am rapidly growing to suspect that by the end of this weekend I will be the last person in the western world not to have seen The Matrix Reloaded. It’s not that I don’t want to see it (I do, I really really do!), it’s just that my last best hope for seeing it in company came and went Tuesday - when I really didn’t feel like going out. I’m also kinda averse to seeing a film and not having someone to chat with about it immediately afterwards.

I’m sure someone will see it with me a second time sooner or later. Meantime, I’m enjoying the reviews. The best I’ve hit so far is the review by Elvis Mitchell for the New York Times (no, I will not be making fun of his name).

His descriptions of the actors are great.

On vocal stylings we have: “… murmured in the mellifluous, currant-scented voice of his mentor, Morpheus (the righteous Laurence Fishburne).” I have no idea how a recorded voice gets to be currant-scented, but it works for me.

I particularly like his description of Hugo Weaving’s character: “Agent Smith, who seemed to have been destroyed in the first film, is now a free-floating renegade who can multiply at will, a copy without an original. He's again played by the capable Hugo Weaving, who brings an exultant beatitude to laminated malignancy.”

Laminate malignancy. Love it. I also like the idea of Agent Smith as a manifestation of Jean Baudrillard’s simulacrum – a copy without an original, or a copy that subverts the legitimacy of the model it supposedly represents. (Think I've got that right. Anyone want to set me straight?) But anyway, this is a Matrix film, scratch it and it’ll ooze philosophy 101.

(Yes, I am also aware of the George Orwell reference I just made which the films use too.)

The review also delivers a bit of expectation management.

Relax,” Elvis informs me, “the staging of the action sequences is as viciously elegant as you've been primed to expect” – it’d damn well better be, is all I can say. But he adds the expected warnings:

This second instalment … is a blend of Hong Kong action, comic books, anime, philosophy and the New Testament and has the feel of a holding pattern

- and is there any reviewer who likes the dance party sequence?

Still, his niftiest use of language probably comes with his explanation of its (American) film classification:

Matrix Reloaded is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for strong language and languorous, extended bouts of the slow-motion, meticulously staged violence that has fans trembling with excitement.”

Oh yeah.

No, I’m not worried that obsessive following of the reviews will spoil the film for me. I know what to expect. Balletic violence accompanied by a thrumming bass track. The coolest, most implausible daywear ever available in a solid range of black. Sunglasses worn under immensely improbable conditions. Psuedo-philosophising and a pastiche of genre references. Semi-trailer sized plot-holes papered over with semi-plausibilities. All served up with lashings and lashings of cyber-punk-lite cool.

I’m gonna adore it.

No comments: