The Matrix Revolutions
dir. the Wachowski brothers
Opens Wed Nov 5.

And so the bloated series ends, bringing about a resolution (of sorts) to the toil and tomfoolery of Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, et al. What is the Matrix? Who is the Oracle? Are the Machines defeated? For those who still care, each of these questions is answered, in a way, by the conclusion of the trilogy, which means that geeks obsessed with the Wachowski brothers' tangled vision will surely depart the multiplex happy--or, if not happy, at least fully armed with plenty to argue about.

But what about the rest of us? Having never found myself really engaged by the Matrix universe, the release of The Matrix Revolutions is a bit of a shrug. Yes, the series' action sequences are spectacular, but once the ample dust settles in the three films, there is the script to be dealt with, and the script--for all three films--is really a rather sizable embarrassment. The Wachowskis have ideas--many, many ideas, most of which are copped from other ventures, be they religious or sci-fi--but the dialogue has always been a clobbering affair, at best adequate, at worst outright painful. The result, through parts one and two, and now part three: Please shut up, Neo and Morpheus, and go back to the jumping and slapping of the bad guys. Or at least blow something up.

Obviously, I'm not the intended audience for the Matrix films, at least not anymore. The first Matrix was meant for mass viewing, but its slog of a midsection, Reloaded, appears to have divided the population between those who are still interested and those who are not. Because of this, the Wachowski brothers deserve a certain amount of praise; eschewing the standard sequel format (more of the same, only not as complicated), they have taken the very brave (and very expensive) step of yanking the reins of their universe away from the population at large and handing it squarely to the geeks. Reloaded was such a twisted and revisioned affair, such an abrupt turn, that the only ones who could remain on its rails were those who were profoundly interested in the story to begin with; we idle fans who liked the boom but yawned through the chatter were left at the station.

Which brings about a question: For those of us not obsessed, is The Matrix Revolutions worth seeing? The answer is yes, but only if you nonetheless feel an urge to see the entire storyline through to its completion. Much like its sibling Reloaded, Revolutions is built upon the promise of spectacle; to attract mass consumption, the Wachowski brothers again offer mucho bang for your buck, this time in two lengthy sequences: the attack on the city of Zion by the nefarious Machines, and the final showdown between Agent Smith and Neo in what appears to be a monsoon. The assault on the city is an inspired fit of futuristic warfare, with the humans mounted in giant GoBot-like machines firing thousands upon thousands of rounds at the invading Sentinels; the final bout between Smith and Neo is mostly spent aloft, the two gents pounding and pummeling one another through the raindrops, sailing about like plastic bags caught in an updraft.

Both sequences are exceptionally well executed and a triumph of special effects, of course, and combined they may offer just enough to make Revolutions' long sit worthwhile. But if Reloaded left you feeling bored and/or hornswoggled, probably the thought of witnessing Revolutions just for the punches and explosions--of which there are far fewer than in part two--will not be an enticing option.

And, really, I can't say that I blame you--you're either tapped in to the Matrix, or you're not. For those who are tapped in, the series finally reaches its end. For those who aren't... well, the series finally reaches its end, which means soon--after the DVD release, as well as the threat of the inevitable sequel--we will no longer be visited by Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, Agent Smith, the Oracle, and the rest of the digital bunch. We will finally be free from the Matrix.