May 08, 2003
One week before reload

The Matrix sequel is on it's way and the follow-up to everybody's favourite sci-fi movie of recent years is set to eclipse anything else possible. The story line looks as if it suffers from the usual cases of sequelitis (more monsters, 'return of the eliminated enemy', even more at stake (even if everything was at stake in the first film)) but on a survivable level; the environment (present day, only strangely malleable) is as cool as ever; and finally what's not to like about a sci-fi action movie whose website has a philosophy section.
The saddest thing after a close inspection of the extreme high quality trailer download is that we're still not in computer graphics nirvana. Computer generated images of everyday objects still look computer generated. The first film dealt with this through a lot of physical photography only augmented with effects, but this time around some of the fight scenes have gone full CGI and unfortunately it shows. There's a bad guy smashing the hood of a a car - looking as alive as a barbie doll, and there's Neo himself in 'The Burly Brawl' slugging it out with one hundred Hugo Weaving copies attacking. The most acrobatic shots in the scene - Neo rotating while kicking ass, and a great Weaving explosion tossing all the Hugos through the air look entirely animated. This takes a lot of the coolness out of the scenes. The great thing with the matrix compared to the Star Wars prequels or other effects heavy movies was the super realistic look of the scenes. It's a lot like all the stuff that's wrong with the latest James Bond movie. That too added all kinds of crazy CGI stuff (an invisible car? Get outta here! James bond is a hard drinking, heavy hitting, sex machine - not some alien-tech superhero) and in films whose entire coolness relies on the physical believability of the action that just takes a lot of the cool away.

Needless to say, the believeability of the action in The Matrix is also an important part of the plot, so even though that particular element of surprise is no longer there, the physical believability of the simulation is still an important aspect of life inside The Matrix.

Posted by Claus at May 08, 2003 06:12 PM
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