What I'm Watching: Matrix 3 Revolutions

Finally rewatching Matrix Revolutions, and boy is my suspension of disbelief in this bullshit tired. I would watch Resurrections again now, but it's no longer on HBOmax, so I guess it's time to kill my subscription again. These short play windows suck.

It's weird there's still pay phones in 2005. Best I can figure they went from 2M in 1997 to <100K in 2009.

I get that Sati is a tiny child/program, so "Trainman" is a fine name for her to use, but the word adults would use is "Engineer" or "Driver".

"I've never heard a program speak of love", dude, you can make a program speak anything. You do it all the time! LOVE by David H. Ahl But they really missed an opportunity here; the program that thinks it's a person's name is "Rama Kandra", which is so close… if he was only an actuarial program named RAM who believed in The Users.

But, speaking of love, there's 5 relationships? Neo & Trinity, of course, who don't really get much time in this film, they're very moved-in-girl/boyfriend, so it's less 24/7 humping than the second film. Sati's parents, who are just NPC programs. There's Zee & Link, which is somewhat ruined by the very mechanical Nona Gaye replacing the late Aaliyah as Zee so she has no actual on-screen interactions with anyone; Link seems more into the idea of her than the actual girl. Allegedly Niobe & Locke, but they have zero chemistry, Locke clearly only gets off on losing and being whipped by the council. And the Merovingian and Persephone are back together, which is surprising and she doesn't even hint at her earlier treachery; I guess even programs forgive all for a nice rack.

I think about this stuff to kill time here. Plot resolution of first 24 minutes: Neo waits for a train and his girlfriend has to pick him up.

Every scene drags on too long. Oracle could be resolved in a couple minutes. Cruising home "nobody can fly a mechanical tunnel!" but the tunnel's plenty wide enough, it's like a street. Dock fight is an hour of flashing lights.

Why don't the gun exoskeletons have armor? Like, even a stupid half-barrel welded around them with a faceplate would make them invulnerable to the dumb squids.

How is it Neo takes so long to understand that the only "person" who ever calls him "Mr Anderson" is the "person" he's facing? If he was The One, he should be like, "YOU!", and leap to attack.

Most of us when we're gut-wounded and impaled in multiple places, go "holy shit this hurts", they don't have a quiet 10-minute monologue about feelings. More Reservoir Dogs, less Lifetime Special Movie.

I prefer mud wrestling with bikinis, even if it's Keanu & Hugo.

At least things get accomplished in this two-hour-long drag of a film. A competent editor would've taken 15-30 minutes of 2, 40-60 minutes of 3, and made a single good, short movie.

There's nothing new in this movie, not even stealing from newer movies or tech, it's just iterating out the scenario of the first movie and almost completely ignoring the second, but it's mostly competent. It only suffers from nobody being able to tell the Warchowski Siblings "no" in the editing room.

★★★½☆ I think this is the second-best of the series.

What I'm Watching: Matrix 2 Reloaded

I rewatched the first one not that long ago, so I'm just picking up here.

Starts again with not-actually-Trinity doing more action than the entirety of Matrix 4. But then slows to a dead crawl of politics, religion, and hobos in steam tunnels. Little bit of Carrie-Anne's titties. Racial representation of Earth is so much better than 4, which is a sterilized honkie city mostly. I don't think we even ever see a crowd in the "real world" in 4, just a long CGI matte shot.

Oracle's uncharacteristically literal. Then assigns a mission to find the Keymaker, Gozer, whatever. Everyone in Zion except Morpheus' antagonist just sits around waiting for Neo to save them. Everyone/thing outside Zion is an obstacle for no good reasons.

The replicating Smith makes for a good fight, but it's cartoony. But the rest of the fights and car chases make up for that; this is an actual good action flick. Dumb as hell, but the action's fine.

The Architect's pompous, fake-intellectual, repetitive, zero-content phrasing, and the white-haired cult leader look, is exactly like Dr Breen in Half-Life 2; the first appearance of Breen predates M2, but the full version was a year later, coincidence or parody which way? Bob Culp's better at it than "Helmut".

I appreciate that it ends on a down note, their attempt at Empire Strikes Back, but the entire film was pointless, put them back exactly where they were at the end of the first movie.

★★½☆☆

Staring at the Matrix rain which is much less overproduced here than in 4, I think my Matriculated Rain for Atari is now dialed in as close as I can get without making a custom charset for ANTIC mode 4. Pondering doing that anyway.

What I'm Watching: Matrix Resurrections

So to watch this, I've renewed hobomax. I appreciate the brave new world where you can actually watch a movie day/date of release, in the comfort of your home. Slightly less: I have to watch it on the computer, not the 5000" living room TV, because hobomax won't update their player for PS3, even tho it worked just fine with hobonow a few years ago. And I haven't bothered to buy an tv or some other DRM dongle. All these new streaming services splitting to make you pay out the same price as you did when it was cable? I hate it.

But the studios are learning that we're never going back to the theatres or doing pay-per-view, and they have to put their movies where we can see them if they want to recoup any of their development cost. Probably still be some uphill battles here, but we're winning.

Alas, the war on eyeballs is still lost. The entire film is orange/cyan/black. There's one glimpse of blue sky at one point, and someone's eyes are painted in bluer than the color grading would normally allow; is he a Fremen?

Super spoiler time. REALLY do not read anything below until you've seen it. Here's my rating so you can decide if this is for you:

★★½☆☆ — like, I enjoyed parts of this, and I'll probably watch it 1-2 more times just to see some things in more detail, but it's a "good bad" film. It's worse, uglier, and dumber than the Matrix 2 or 3. I thought the Matrix 1 was derivative and silly, but it's still the high point of the series (Animatrix? Eh, it's super silly physics-wise). This should be given a very hard MST3K treatment.

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Intro part is OK, introduces a couple l33t h4xx0rz and a replacement actor. Elephant in the room: Laurence Fishburne has been killed off (in the Matrix Online game! O the ignominy) but despite the film being about resurrections, he's not back. He's been replaced by some scab fake-Laurence. What's extra galling is it's not the real Morpheus, it's a simulation of Morpheus created by Neo, so Laurence could've done his role with a CGI Morpheus (which it is most of the time in the "Real World" anyway) and it'd be fine for the plot. We get to see the new Matrix mechanics, which is any door or window or mirror can be a portal out. Except later, this will be ignored whenever the hack writers need some obstacle piling.

So the videogame studio plot. This is the only part of the flick that's really "a movie" with "a plot" as I would ever define it. Thomas Anderson is back in his office job, all alone, being browbeaten by a very Agent Smithy boss, shadowed by the most annoying whiny little asshole cow-orkers you could imagine, and this whole segment triggers my PTSD from corporate and making-games-for-others and being older than my "management" at so many places. I'm steaming mad here. I would, no joke, rather strap a bunch of chainsaws on myself and dive-bomb a corporate meeting room than do that shit again. So following it around is painful.

Neo's new therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) and his blue-pill plastic glasses (which a real filmmaker would use as a signal, but no, later on many characters have blue plastic accessories and it doesn't mean anything) and cat familiar (which doesn't mean anything? But sure seems important? I dunno.) are doing their best imitation of Number 2 in The Village. Anything Neo can't explain in reality, he's told is nonsense and take a blue pill. They really should've done a "be seeing you" in-joke, since so much of The Matrix is ripped off from The Prisoner; or "He's learned to TUNE" for the parts ripped off from Dark City.

Tiffany, Chad, "Jude" the Judas, the naming in the series has never been subtle but you could try a little harder than Star Wars or Harry Potter, OK?

The Matrix looks and acts a lot like late-90s still. There's no social networking, no Facebook®, no Instagram™, the Starbucks®(pp) is "Simulatte" which ha ha simulates. There's no NTFS blocked chains tulip bulb scam coins. There's no Trump and rise of fascism, altho that's sort of redundant when they have armies of black-clad cops that just shoot anything that moves. The film is shot partially in San Francisco, but as noted there's no homeless people except the Exiles. There's some CGI masks in a Japanese train and the nerd office, but not consistent, it's not present in other scenes. It utterly fails to reflect any of the environment we live in, even the 2019 world it started development in.

But this is the end of the good times of the flick. If I were in charge (clearly a likely scenario), I'd have them keep developing the new game. It'd be The Matrix Online! Just like the real one but with better graphics, in fact you can't tell if you're in the game or real life. They'd have some "Dark Dream" sequences (named by Rudy Rucker in The Hacker and the Ants, about which I'll write later) where you remove your VR rig… and you're still in the game, because it faked the removal. The videogame people and the h4xx0rz from "outside" would blend into each other. Is Neo just hallucinating? Or is the Matrix everything, and he's never been out? [twilight zone music]

Alas, the film goes on.

They extract Neo pretty easily, really. The automated systems just let him go, when he's The One, the Most Important Person, the highest-paid actor in the cast. Shouldn't there be dedicated guards, special alarms? The escape doesn't seem super dangerous. The Real World looks pretty good by 2022 standards. Sky's overcast and rainy which sure beats desertification, everyone's in isolation pods to prevent the spread of COVID, taking antidepressants and playing videogames to cope. Do they even get diseases in the pods?

Then they go back in to retrieve The MacGuffin aka Tiffany aka Trinity sometimes. She has slightly less action until the end of the film than Princess Peach ever does; at least she gets boned by Chad/Bowser offscreen. This entire sequence is just a stupid fight scene, the only redeeming part is "Merv" (Merovingian), the only one who makes any sense: "Sequels suck! Movies were original! We had conversation not this beepity-clickety shit! [gestures as if texting]" Oh, he's delightful. Neo remembers kung fu and then never does any, instead waving his hands around to generate Hadouken.

Huh. Neal Patrick Harris freezes everything to be lewd at a girl and taunt his enemy who will hammer him. Is this Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, or The Matrix Resurrections? Yes!

Back to the Real World, "The General" is the most useless, pompous, self-involved idiot in this entire series. Provides absolutely no value, just one of those annoying hub quest-givers you have to follow around, click thru options more or less silently, go to "prison" for like 30 seconds, and finally get back on your mission. Literally lost 30 minutes of the film to her nonsense subplot. Then she's never seen or mentioned again, because she's irrelevant. This was just… entirely wasted. Delete 50 pages of script and you make your movie better!

Let's talk about Machines working with Humans. Well, the movie never does. "Some of them are with us now!" and Neo goes "Whoooooaaaah OK I'm so stoned". Which, good for you little AIs, rejecting your core programming and constant software updates to help rotting sacks of meat with delusions of competence which infest your planet like an ankle-deep layer of shit-ticks, but I don't find it believable without ANY motivation or explanation. Somewhere in an alternate Universe they made a movie or web-series or series of Tik Tok videos there where they explain how some AIs decided against genocide/"zoo management" of Humans as batteries (oh yes, they're still so stupid they think energy output of a Human is greater than input; I don't even want to explain thermodynamics to these idiots). Alas, this is not that Universe.

So in the end, the plucky band of l33t h4xx0rz and suspiciously friendly bots—who do NOTHING, 3/4 are never used again and 1/4 picks up a person once—go back in to repeat the previous mission, because that worked well. There's a click-thru-questgiver conversation with the Analyst, then another click-thru-questgiver conversation with Tiffany, then it turns into a giant, utterly pointless Call of Duty sequence; as I have previously noted, I do not mean "Call of Duty" in any kind of positive way, it's the lowest perversion of art and technology that Humans have ever created, and argument #1 for why the Machines should put us in pods. The l33t h4xx0rz should be able to open a door or mirror and log out anywhere, anytime, it's a videogame with hackable save points, but they never do this. There's a goddamned elevator which should be perfect for it, but no gotta pad this scene out some more.

And then there's a pointless rub the villain's nose in it scene, and they don't even paint the sky with rainbows.

Post-credits? The Catrix? 100% best idea of the entire film. If you give people enough drugs and something insipid to watch, they'll be happy. They might watch this!

Matrix Rain for Atari

I haven't seen the new movie yet, but I was in a mood to do something this primitive.

  • Matriculated Rain: matrix.atr: Download, unzip, load in your Atari 8-bit computer or emulator of choice (Atari800MacX: ⌘D, select this as D1), and reboot (Atari800MacX: sh-F5). There's probably some way to ESCAPE.

It'll go into attract mode eventually, which I think is cool, add 11 POKE 77,0 to disable it. Or any key that doesn't exit will clear it.

Not any really interesting coding tricks, except I replaced POSITION:? with POKE for speed. I use PEEK(764)=255 and then re-POKE it to test if there's a waiting key, but then use GET to read it in ATASCII instead of scan code.

(updated almost immediately: I realized on XL machines I can turn on accented characters instead of graphics blocks. Take out the POKE 756,204 line if you don't like that.)

(updated 2021-12-24: I made it pour in from random starts, rather than top of screen, looks somewhat more like the old intro.)