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November 08, 2003

Matrix 3: First Layer

I thought that I was only going to have a few things to say about The Matrix besides thank you to George who has sponsored me in this endeavor during these days of penury. It turns out that it's going to require more than 1000 words. So since there is good news and bad news, I'll start with the bad news.

Satisfaction. Peace. Resolution. Disappointment.

Watching the Matrix is like wiping your ass with silk. It's a delightful, sensuous pleasure, but the closer you look at the results, the more you have to have to admit that there's too much crap in the fabric. So I'm going to have to first get the buttcrud out of the way so that we can meditate on the silk. In the end it all gets flushed down the toilet, but there is something to say about such contemplation isn't there?

Oracle 2.0
I'm sorry, but there is just no way that the final chapter of the Matrix Trilogy has survived the mutation of the Oracle into the new actress. This was her film and despite the admirable performance of the woman who took her place, there is a deep void. The whole soul of the Matrix world has shifted into nothingness. No, rather than nothingness a vague approximation of somethingness with wasted meaning. The Four Tentpoles of the Matrix (Oracle, Neo, Morpheus, Merovingian) have all folded into mere shadows of their former selves and formulaicly marched to their doom. When it's finally over, you're glad it's over. You can rest. All things that have a beginning, have an end. This came to a mediocre end, with a bang to be sure, but.. ah so long Matrix. No more mystery, just fatigue. And suddenly you don't have to worry about it any longer. It's over! It's over!

It is clear that the closure in this film came down to weight of the Oracle. Suddenly, everything the Merovingian said made perfect sense, and he wasn't even balanced. Morpheus became a disowned prophet. There is one scene near the beginning of the film, while it was still cool and well paced, in which the trio of Morpheus, Trinity and Seraph (The Oracle's Bodyguard) face the Merovingian. He does his sinister laugh once too many times and it breaks your concentration. Then after the world's largest Mexican standoff, the scene breaks. As they leave the Merovignian's Club, they are like Dorothy who has fronted on the Wizard, bold but desparately ignorant. They leave in their car. The look on Trinity's face in that moment as she expresses a desparate need to get guidance from the Oracle is the emotional center of the film. But there is no rescue in the Oracle. And you know salvation in the Matrix is not coming. The whole power of the Matrix Jedis is mute; there is nothing left to do but fight the machines in the real bloody world - desparately hurling a million bullets at a million metal monsters.

The change in the Oracle over-reverbrates in this film. She was more human than all of the humans. And yet she is there in a new gaunter body. Everything that comes out of the Oracle's mouth is oracular. But the smile is gone, the smoking cigarettes seem to be a painful chore. She's some other woman in your mother's kitchen and the cookies just don't taste the same. It's worse than watching the new Darrin on Bewitched. It's worse than listening to the new fake Fred Flintstone in the Fruity Pebbles commercials. It's like living with Jesse Jackson after Martin Luther King is dead. All the substance of the Oracle was left in. All the love for the woman in front of your eyes is gone. It's something I valiantly tried to deal with. Bearing the loss of Gloria Foster is more than the soul of the Trilogy can handle. And this shows how much I loved the film series, because it hurts.

Posted by mbowen at November 8, 2003 11:43 AM

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