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The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

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NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the version of the movie included in "The Ultimate Matrix Collection" release. The original DVD for this film had no commentary tracks.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Philosophers Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber Rating:7.1/10 (8 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by zombking on January 20th, 2008:Find all reviews by zombking
Of the three "philosopher" tracks, here is where our "brothers" really hit their best notes. During the fight sequence with many Mr. Smiths especially, they really go deep into some of the harder aspects of the film, and they even acknowledge that there are two scenes where everyone got lost (you know the scenes... that's a joke.)

See my reviews for the other five.
Commentary 2: Film critics Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson Rating:5.8/10 (8 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on January 27th, 2005:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
The dissenting critics further wallow in their own ignorance here, proving beyond even the tiniest of doubts that most of their breed clearly did not understand the philosophical underpinnings of the Matrix films. At one point, one of themactually claims that this film’s characters are not as vividly drawn as those in the Star Trek universe, which is hardly befitting criticism of a film that has no long-running television antecedent.

This commentary track ( like its sister tracks on the other two films in this set) is easily one of the most fascinating ever recorded, but not for any insight it imparts, for these three snivelling douchebags appear to have little to offer. No, their participation is a stroke of brilliance on the part of the Wachowski brothers, who clearly realized that MOST, if not ALL, film critics missed the boat on their trilogy, and who probably knew that giving these guys nearly seven hours of discussion time would once and for all prove the superficial, condescending and altogether arbitrary nature of much film criticism. Believe me, if these guys can get paychecks from big magazines, ANYONE CAN.

The discussion is largely a laundry list of things they don’t understand about the film, with the assumption that if THEY don’t get it, the rest of the world didn’t get it (in fact, most of the world DIDN’T get it, but that’s the genius of putting a philosphers track on these DVDs as a complement to the critics), and therefore the films, in their opinion, are just visual encyclopaedias of cliche. They find the action scenes cliched and the dialogue scenes boring, but never once in this entire track do they give any indication that they’re even TRYING to understand the deeper meanings, instead opting to sniff derisively through their nostrils and giggle at the arch dialogue (which it often is) as though the whole endeavour is beneath their superior critical faculties.

Here’s a typical extract that proves they’re grapsing at thematical straws, from the sequence in which Neo is flying above the clouds, “doin’ his superman thang.”

British critic: “Doesn’t that music there really imitate Superman music?

American critic #1: “Yes it does.”

American critic #2: “But you wonder to what end?”

British critic: “Yes.”

American critic #2: “For me it slightly shatters the integrity of the fiction world to evoke another comic - I mean, if we can think of this as a comic book, another comic...

American critic #1: “I think it does, and it confuses the powers, it confuses the meaning of the character, yeah, to rub it up against some, er, to inject it with another one...

American critic #2: “Plus the idea that Superman would be soooo famous and important that even after the end of civilization as we know it...

British critic: “...he’s still remembered.”

These three are great at pointing out what they think are visual influences stolen from earlier films, and applying their own (often wrong) interpretations with the assumption that you’ll simply “get” where they’re coming from.

The Matrix movies are suffused with an inclusive, pan-cultural form of semi-religious philosophy that stems from their creators’ interest in a variety of such subjects. Whether or not you share these views, or hold any of it to be worthy of discussion, the simple fact is, it’s THERE, whether you like it or not, and it’s deeper than the film’s glossy surface constructs. Love or hate such new age proselytizing, ff you aren’t able to at least access it with a trip online or to your local bookstore or library, any criticism can only BE of those surface constructs, which is EXACTLY what the critics fixate on, with an endless list of superficial visual “things” they’ve “seen before” while falling noticeably silent during the (admittedly draggy) dialogue scenes, and only to admit they frequently don’t know what’s going on.

Oddly, and as another example of the collective cluelessness on display, they also think the filmmakers should have made the cars in the Matrix more “futuristic,” proving they are completely unaware of the late-90’s “era” that has been programmed into the Matrix itself. At one point, the snivelly critic from Vogue (David Thompson, I believe) notes that he doesn’t understand why the machines need humans to survive. Of the three, Thompson comes off not only as the most clueless, but also as the most excited to be having his superior condescension heard.

Kudos to the Wachowski brothers for including these three dim-bulbs in this deluxe collection. Their remarkable lack of insight is a testament to the largely empty craft of populist film criticism, something the brothers undoubtedly endured with ironic smiles on their faces during the profitable theatrical tenures of their movies. Certainly, there are some critics well-educated enough to see beyond the both the popular zeitgeist and what they perceive as stale cinematic constructs, but these three, I’m afraid, represent the rule more than the exception.
Reviewed by Blunt on July 8th, 2005:Find all reviews by Blunt
Believe me, I've not much time for critics. However, I am firmly in the camp that thought the Matrix sequels were inept, laughable and utterly pretentious and, I've got to say, this track is a gas. They don't discuss the philosophical subtexts of the movie because (like me) they don't really think there IS any - or that what there is adds up to anything even vaguely comprehensible. But they DO consistently put their fingers on everything that's wrong about it as a piece of cinema.
It'll be a pretty sour experience for MATRIX lovers but, for the haters, it's pretty great (and often quite funny). Kudos to the Wachowski Bros for including this novel extra (but check out their text intro - it reads like Comic Book Guy wrote it)
Reviewed by zombking on January 20th, 2008:Find all reviews by zombking
I must disagree with my compatriot Brian once again and say that even though the critics just miss the point at times, they start to realize during this film that they have free reign on what they can say, so they start digging, but this won't be finished till the third film.

The second Matrix film started out odd but "cool" as they say, and the critics acknowledge this. They recognize the brilliance of the chase sequence, but are also quick to point out that the lines are getting cornier by the minute.

See my reviews on the other five.
Reviewed by Thames Ironworks on March 29th, 2009:Find all reviews by Thames Ironworks
A nice alternative to the usual fluffer pieces, and you can't help but laugh along as they show up the holes in this flawed movie.