May 22nd, 2003


Matrix Reloaded - no spoilers if you've seen a trailer

How to review the Matrix Reloaded.....

As cultural event, a massively hyped Rhino of an film, trampling all in its path?

As geek culture, in the year of the comic book, joining X2, The Hulk, League of Extradordinary Gentlemen and others as examples of imagination gone wild with the promise of special effects that can finally match our imaginations?

As sequel, feeling the need to outdo its groundbreaking brother by upping all the stakes, from bullets to lovescenes (via the obligatory technobabble)?

As religion, with it’s talk of Belief and Prophecy, Destiny and Purpose, Oracles and Architects (and yes, all of those words sound capitalised in the film)?

Or just as entertainment, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

The problem is that it’s all of the above.

The Wachowski Brothers are clearly very clever people – they’ve seen the effect their film has had, they’ve noticed the care and attention that internet maniacs have spent dissecting the smallest detail of their films, analysing all the little in-jokes and references, and they’ve packed the new one with even more.

You can’t think of Matrix Reloaded as a single film – The first one had a definite structure, feeding you with confusing information in the first half and then explaining it all in the second (well, when I say all I obviously don’t mean it). Reloaded is obviously the first half of a film, filled with clues and build-up, but no answers or explanations – or at least not ones that actually lead anywhere except further down the rabbit hole.

Keanu and Friends are ignorant pawns, reliant on others to hand them information, one drop at a time as they fight their way past one end of level baddie after another. As is traditional in computer games, the previous Big Bad Guy is now just another monster to kill, tough, but by no means impossible. The new bad guys (Smiths - Thousands of ‘em! Twin Albinos! People with swords!) are bigger, badder, better and most definitely More. We see Zion in more detail and the cracks beneath the surface of what Neo has been told. And we get infodumped with so much confusing information in between the fight scenes that we’re going to need the DVD, a copy of the script and the help of the Internet Legion of Matrix Investigators before we actually understand what the explanations were supposed to mean (if, indeed, they were supposed to mean anything more than “Now you must go to the next level and kick the next Boss Guy in the head until his life-meter reaches zero.”

All in all it was good, but not the second coming. I will be going to see the third one, in the vague hope of seeing them bringing it together with a coherent explanation. I’ll not be holding my breath though.


Oh - and stay until after all the credits for a trailer for Matrix Revolutions.

Agent Thompson: You!
Agent Smith: Yes, me.
[turns Thompson into another Smith]
Agent Smith: Me... me... me...
Agent Smith Clone: Me too.

Commander Lock: Not everyone believes what you do Morpheus.
Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to.

The Oracle: So, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way.
Neo: You're not human, are you?
The Oracle: Well, it's harder to get much more obvious than that.


More on the carbs stuff. Two major studies have come out today on Low Carb diets.

Details here.

• After six months, the Atkins dieters lost an average 15 pounds; conventional dieters, 7 pounds.

• After a year, the Atkins followers kept off 9½ pounds; the conventional dieters kept off 5½. This difference is not considered statistically significant.

• At the end of the year, the Atkins dieters had an 18% increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, compared with 3% increase for the other group; Atkins dieters had a 28% drop in triglycerides (blood fats), while others had a 1% increase. Neither group had changes in LDL (bad) cholesterol.

I got the Fear!

The World Health Organisation today issued a new warning against non-essential travel to the entire Western hemisphere following renewed concerns about the spread of Severe Loss of Perspective Syndrome (SLOPS). Officials are warning travellers not to visit the UK, the US, almost all of Western Europe, and Canada, following further outbreaks of the disease, which has led to mass panic among the media, thousands of ecstatic children being kept out of school by their credulous and moronic parents, and increased profits for DIY stores as the idiot public rush to bulk-buy face masks and boiler suits.

A WHO spokesman said, "You'd be much better off going to somewhere like Thailand or China, because all you've got to worry about there is SARS, and let's face it, you're about as likely to die from that as you are to get kicked to death by a gang of zombie nuns."

The SARS virus has now claimed a staggering 500 lives in only six months, which makes it considerably more deadly than, say, malaria, which only kills around 3000 people every single day. Malaria, however, mainly effects only darkies what speak foreign, whereas SARS has made at least one English person feel a bit iffy for a couple of days, and is therefore considered much more serious.

The spread of SLOPS has now reached pandemic proportions, with many high-level politicians seemingly affected by the disease. The rapid spread of SLOPS has been linked to the end of the war in Iraq and the need for Western leaders to give the public something to worry about. Otherwise, they might start asking uncomfortable questions about domestic issues, and that simply would not do. Anyone who appears to be exhibiting symptoms of SLOPS should be dragged into the street by their genitals and shot.

So long

I'm off for 5 days in the Lake District.

Due to popular demand I'm leaving you with a picture of me, naked, to keep you going until I get back.

To prevent unneccesary whining, I'm sticking it behind an LJ-CUT.

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