The Wachowski Brothers’ second installment in “The Matrix” trilogy trounced box office records, but failed to resonate as strongly as the initial chapter. All of the major players from the original film return in the epic fight between man and machine.
Keanu Reeves plays the Superman-esque Neo, the chosen one to fight for the freedom of the humans. By having an unstoppable hero, the action sequences lose any real sense of danger, especially the “burly brawl” between Neo and 100 Agent Smiths. Furthermore, the rave scene in the human settlement of Zion is laughable and idiotic.
The successful parts of the motion picture stem from the fascinating characters of the Oracle, the Merovingian and the Architect. The infusion of philosophy about the matrix itself and the role of Neo enable these subdued roles to become far more gripping than the flat main characters.
The DVD captures all of the action in a near-perfect transfer coupled with a pristine Dolby-Digital soundtrack. However, the two disc set lacks interesting features. There is no commentary track by the enigmatic creators and the featurettes do little but explore the special effects. Luckily, the inclusion of the hilarious MTV Movie Awards parody is a stroke of pure genius.
A bloated DVD exacerbates the fatal flaw of the film, its reliance on plot as simply a means to demonstrate more special effects. With the imminent release of the final act next Wednesday, fans better hope that the final stand between mankind and the machines is something as instantly memorable and revolutionary as “The Matrix,” not as pedestrian and run-of-the-mill as “The Matrix Reloaded.”
Movie: 3.5 stars.
Picture/Sound: 5 stars.
Features: 2 stars.