Thursday, November 13, 2003

Up With the Machines!

So, I did go and see the new Matrix movie today, being, as previously established, a glutton for punishment. And... Yeah, well, what can I say? It was about what I expected.

Actually, the first 45 minutes or so weren't too bad at all. There was a fair amount of the not-nearly-as-profound-as-they-want-you-to-think philosophical speechifying that really annoyed me in the last movie, but I only felt the urge to look at my watch once or twice, and not terribly strongly, at that. Then we got to the interminable combat sequence, and I found myself longing nostalgically for the pretentious philosophy speeches.

I think a large part of the problem -- not the whole problem, mind, but a large part of it -- was that I really had no reason whatsoever to care whether Zion survived or not, ugly, boring place that it is. Indeed, fairly early on, I pretty much made the decision to root for the bad guys. I mean, come on, admit it. Agent Smith is really, really cool. And Neo is... well, Keanu Reeves.

Speaking of rooting for the bad guys, there's something that occurred to me while I was watching said interminable combat sequence. I'm sure this isn't remotely an original observation, but it strikes me as interesting and rather ironic that the humans' technology all feels very clunky and mechanical; whereas the Machines themselves have a much more organic kind of design. And it seems to me that there's something of a metaphor there for the movie as a whole. Truth is, almost without exception, the AIs we meet in this film have more character, more emotion, more life in them than the humans do. It's just a pity that they didn't also get more screen time.

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