Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Sunday Scene: Matrix Reloaded

Today I want to talk about a scene I don’t like. It's not that I completely dislike the film, but this scene encapsulates some of what’s wrong with it, which is a shame because the first film is great. I’m talking of course about Matrix Reloaded. Besides the slightly perplexing story, the weird soft porn sweaty dancing grotto, the obtuse architect and the completely exasperating way that Neo wont explain anything to anyone; the main crime of Reloaded is the over-use of CG images.

The first film prided itself on the actors doing all of the action, and the only CG component was the environment that the fights took place in; and having just watched some of the DVD extras there was plenty of wire-work in Reloaded too. But it is as if the Wachowski brothers were determined to be bigger and better than the first film, artistic integrity could go hang; and the only way was to have cartoon Neo!

For almost three minutes the burly brawl is great. Keanu is definitely there, Hugo is definitely there (as are plenty of stuntmen with Hugo prosthetics), and the choreography is fantastic; then suddenly I’m watching a cartoon! But in the attempt to give the cartoon Neo some texture, his black outfit is suddenly brown! There are also several moments that are slowed down, which just serve to make Neo look even more comicy.

Like I said, there is still quite a bit of wire-work in this sequence, unfortunately this just makes the CG sections more obvious when cut together. There are other obviously computer generated sequences in the film, such as Neo doing his Superman thing, but this is rather more forgivable for looking cartoony; the issue I have is when it is unnecessarily used in a fight scene that is unnecessarily over-long. This is all a great shame because it really undermines everything that the actors achieve and all the work that went into the first film.

What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Am I being too harsh?