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?


  1. This is one of my all time favorite fight scenes! I agree that the CGI is a bit obvious here and there, but overall this spectacular battle knocked my socks off. And call me a insane, but I'm huge, huge fan of the Matrix and Matrix Reloaded. I just love everything about this sequel. And let's not forget that it's being made 9 years ago, and flaws like imperfect CGIs should be easily forgiven. :)

    1. George: I guess that I was too negative when I started writing this piece. I do like the film, and a lot of the scenes such as the freeway chase and the fight in the Château are really spectacular.

      My problem with this scene is the obvious use of the CG when every effort was made in the first film not to use CG characters; that's what made the first film so great. Otherwise you may as well just watch the Animatrix. Yes it was 9 years ago, but The Two Towers came out 6 months before and Gollum is Academy Award winning perfect! No excuse for lazy brown cartoon Neo.

  2. And to add insult to injury, they even use a comical bowling pins getting knocked over sound effect when he throws one of the Agent Smiths into a large group of other Smiths. It's like you're watching it thinking "that's cool... that's cooler... that's... stupid!" But all the cool kids were doing the same thing right around this era, not always to great effect, like Catwoman, Blade 2, even Harry Potter fell into the early CGI actor replacement trap. At that point in time, it only worked when it wasn't put in the forefront, and this movie absolutely put it in the forefront.

    1. Exactly, the background CG in The Matrix was perfect because it wasn't the focus; but then in Reloaded they slap you in the face with it. Unnecessary.

      Cheers for stopping by Bubbawheat. I found you through the LAMB, and really liked the way you wrote. Catch you later evil Bill and Ted! Come to think of it, that's what Neo should have said to all the agent Smiths!