The ratio of lazy sequels to masterpiece originals seems to be grow year on year, but thankfully this film is not just louder explosions and prettier effects…
Filmmakers seem to believe that by taking their original successful formula, keeping it vaguely the same, but having "More, More, More" of it on screen they can paper over the cracks where originality, narrative and storyline once lived.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones arrived with wide scale epic battles stuffed with shiny computer animated soldiers for as far as the eye could see.
It now seems Terminator 3 has opted for the same trick with the new trailer boasting of waves of gleaming PC-rendered terminators, as if to say: "Looks how many we can have running around on the screen without our graphics workstation processor slowing down!"
The audience is meant to be impressed with these new levels of CGI sophistication and what can be achieved.
Sometimes this works, like in Lord of the Ring’s menacingly-dark Orc onslaughts, but other times, as was the case with Attack of the Clones, there’s so much on the screen that you just don’t know what to focus on.
Matrix Reloaded seems at first to go down this route
We are introduced to the city of Zion, the last pocket of rebellion in a world controlled by machines. We are treated to the spectacle of Ben-Hur-style hoards of extras, complex CGI cityscapes and impressive transport ships and technology, including some really rather lovely “mechs.”
Further in, we realise the iconic "wire fight" scenes have also been chemically enhanced, and as with Terminator 3, more characters on screen at once than ever before, but this is a plus point when you spend the whole time being genuinely amazed at what the Wachowski brothers and their choreographers and effects wizards have achieved.
As for set-pieces, to explain would be to spoil, but there are a number of truly inspired scenes to make even the staunchest cynic have to manually lift their jaw from the floor.
The fairly economical use of characters in the first film is countered in Reloaded by a deluge of new faces.
This would be fine if not for the fact we are required to learn more about the Matrix and the complex plots that stem from Neo and his mob as they try to, well… the end goal does seem to get lost among the set pieces and pseudo-existentialism.
Obviously, this is one for the .
But this is being churlish; you do not have to understand every element of The Matrix and our Zionist rebels’ seemingly hopeless battle against it. To get the gist is all the you need to be entertained here.
If your mind needs further filling in you need look no further than commissioned short films downloadable from , which leave no stone unturned to describe how the earth turned into a sleepless nightmare overnight.
The characters’ seemingly hopeless battle against dark powerful forces in the centrepiece of this trilogy leaves more than a few questions unanswered, ready for the third and final movie.
In a throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Neo’s superhuman skills could be classified as Jedi on steroids, and the films are obviously a serious influence, as are hundreds of Japanese anime films.
But, Reloaded stands apart from this heritage insofar as it represents the antithesis of techno-thrills unsurpassed by any movie to date.
Anyone who sees this movie will be glad to know they have only to wait until November for the final instalment: Matrix Revolutions.