The Matrix Revolutions

  • Leather
  • Black Sunglasses
  • Pseudo-Profound Mumbo Jumbo


Directed by Frauds

"Keanu, if you take this red pill, both of the sequels will go back into the matrix."

This is the Review About What I Believe Must Be Written About the Language That Is Used By Wachowski Brothers In Their Movies About What It Is That The Matrix Must Be

After the universal panning of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, many asked who would inherit George Lucas' legacy as Hollywood's premiere mythmaker, especially when it was obvious that Lucas himself wasn't up to the task. Many nominated the creators of The Matrix upon its summer 1999 release, but with the winter release of The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson made his bid for the throne. In the wake of the disappointing box office of The Matrix sequels, and assuming that The Return of the King fulfills its promise, we can declare Jackson the rightful heir. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, instead, reveal the Wachowski Brothers as inheritors of legacy of the new Lucas, not the old.

Volumes have already been written about why The Matrix sequels are so bad, but I want to focus on the most insistently Lucusian aspect of the films: The dialogue, which is the most telling sign of the Wachowski's limited storytelling capacity—the worst dialogue of any overblown, two hundred million dollar movies, including Attack of the Clones. Consider this bit of self-understanding from Morpheus:

"I know only what I need to know. I know that what I need to do is go to the Frenchman."

That's twenty-one words that could easily be reduced to ten ("I know only that I need to see the Frenchman"), or maybe even seven ("I need only to see the Frenchman."). Why do the Wachowski's double the number of words? Because the more words, the more meaning, even if those words are short. Would Hamlet sound nearly as turmoiled if he said, "Do I need to be?" (five words) than if he said, "To be, or not to be—that is the question." (ten words)? I think not, so the more syllables you can pack into a sentence, the more profound it will sound.

Or, at least that seems to be the logic of the Wachowskis. This is their chief means of developing Morpheus' character—he must be the the source of all knowledge about the true state of our existence because he's this self-aware: "'She told me what she always tells me: What I needed to hear." Ok, but what does that tell us? Not much that "She always tells me what I need to hear" wouldn't have. Or these Morpheus-isms: "I can only hope that you know what you are doing." "Neo is doing what he believes he must do."

Why all these "that"s "what"s and "do"s? The Wachowski's punch up lines with empty pronouns, and unnecessary auxiliary verbs because the lack of antecedent gives them a vague, pseudo-profound quality. They never drop the relative pronoun "that" from an subordinate clause ("We hope that Neo will save Zion."), or define what "what" actually is. The extra infinitives "(to) do," are simply redundant: "Work" often implies that the work needs to be done, so it can often remain unsaid. This line gives us case examples:

"I don't know what he can do to save us. But I do know that as long as there is a single breath left in his body he will not give up and neither can we."

The phrase "what he can do to" could be replaced by a simple "if he can" without sacrificing meaning—again, note the extraneous "what" and "do". Also, "I do know" isn't necessary because Morpheus must know, or think he knows, if he's going to say it. "Left" doesn't add anything, either. In fact, the whole phrase is puffed with filler to make it sound a lot more important than it actually is. This isn't just a Wachowski problem; literature is trending toward the vague, that if meaning is obscure, then it must be profound.

Take this line as an example:

"Karma is a word, like love, a word that means 'I am here to do what I need to do.'"

I have no idea what that means. Of course "karma" is a word, one I thought concerned destiny. But the Wachowskis make us dig through a series of undefined pronouns to make a circular definition. That's not profound; it's just murky. The cleanest line in the whole of the trilogy plays precisely to my frustration with the dialogue. The Frenchman tells Trinity to "Bring me the eyes of the oracle, and I will give you your savior," to which she replies, "I don't have time for this shit" and kung fu's his ass. You got that right, sister.

The Pitch:
Line of George Lucas' Dialogue from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
"The Animatrix"
1 The Matrix Revolutions
See It For:

The crew tries to figure out if The Matrix Revolutions is going to make its money back overseas.