November 10, 2003

When Geekery Abounds

After a screening of the final installment of the Matrix movies, Matrix Revolutions at the IMAX theater (where the screen is "bigger than God") at Lincoln Center, Cinecultist sat down with our friend Matt to discuss the movies. A first time contributor to the site, Matt's cinema studies credentials are minimum (he owns only 2 DVDs!) but with his anime/kung fu genre expertise, and that job of his in computer programming all make him an excellent representative of the Wachowski's target audience. We talked about geekdom, Hong Kong cinema influences and how Monica Bellucci in that white latex dress could convert even the avowed hetero Cinecultist to a fanboy's fantasy lifestyle.

Karen: So, I really enjoyed that website link to Pointlesswa's Matrix Resolutions recaps
you sent me, that was some
hard core geekery. Is it sad that I liked it so much?
Matt: I don't know, Karen. Maybe you learned something about your self?
Karen: What would that be Matt? That I'm a not so secret geek? That all my friends are geeks? That I'm living the geek life? What does this say about the Matrix and my relationship to this series? That I'm predisposed to love it?
Matt: If it walks like duck, and talks a like a duck, and goes to lots of movies about ducks -- you see where I'm going with this.
Karen: Although to be fair, I'm not the only one. Variety reports that it did $204.1 million worldwide in 5 days, some new record. I must not alone in my intense but disavowed geekdom. Those Wachowski brothers will now be able to afford to become women and then men again and then something else entirely. Cats perhaps.

Have you read anything about the simultaneous release across time zones thing? I think that was a brilliant p.r. move on their part.
Matt: That's serious anti-piracy.
Karen: I heard some dialogue about the piracy issue, but actually I think it's something more than that - a worldwide blitz to make the premiere not New York or Los Angeles centric.
Matt: Makes sense. My guess is it will happen more and more for big movies, to go worldwide more or less at once. (To screen the movie at the same hour in all time zones is kinda dorky, though.)
Karen: It seems like the smart choice and uber-dork. Have you heard anything about that video game or the Animatrix? There was an unbelievable pre pre pre hype between each of the installments of the series.
Matt: I played the game, part of it. I watched the Animatrix. The Animatrix bits are worth while. There are 9, I think, by six or seven different studios/directors. I believe they're all Japanese animation studios and the styles vary widely, which is interesting.
Karen: It fills in the back story, right?
Matt: Two or three of the shorts do. The others sort of extrapolate from the matrix universe. Not necessarily in consistent ways. Which is fine. The backstory involves how humans and machines had their original falling out with each other. "Blacking out the sky", etc. but not so much. in Revolutions, the sky is scorched, and the machines rule the surface
of the earth. Assuming the "real" world is really real.
Karen: that sounds sort of interesting. God, I can't believe I just said that. I am so far gone, aren't I? Is there more stuff with some of the periphery characters? Like Jada Pinkett Smith?
Matt: She is the heroine of the video game. You choose whether to control her, or her sidekick Ghost, through the missions.
Karen: Is there more Monica Belluci? Do we get to, for instance, have her kick people's asses in that white latex dress? In which case, I might consider investing in this computer game thing.
Matt: If only. Maybe in the porn parody of the movies.
Karen: Man O, man. You know that I don't bandy about this distinction but I think I might have to say that Monica could convert me. To the dark side. She's amazing.
Matt: I'm all for girls gettin' with girls. Being male, and such.
Karen: I know. I've heard. Anyhow. So best parts, then worst parts? Of the movie, not lesbianism.
Matt: Best parts: the club scene was OK... err...scratch that. The damn French guy talked too much and the gunfight in the "coat room" was just a reprise of the lobby gunfight from the first movie except with circus freaks, so that was dumb. Were there any good fights?
Karen: Best part for me (besides the brief Monica appearance): The final showdown in the rain, especially the slow motion sequence in the warehouse. The black outline of the obvious stunt doubles looked pretty great.
Matt: I liked that sequence -- but when they were flying around and stuff, that was dumb.
Karen: But just as dumb as the scene in Reloaded where they're fighting and then Keanu just flies off, for no reason other than because he can. But as I was saying after the movie, there's something sort of unsatisfactory in the way they're so evenly matched, Agent Smith and Neo. It could've gone either way.
Matt: Well, that fight was a draw, so he escaped. Of course, he didn't have to fight in the first place. I think the idea was that were opposites, thus equal, thus neither can really win.
Karen: Not to say that flying as a motif isn't common in Hong Kong magical martial arts films. Everyone flies in those but there it seems "reasonable" for some reason. I'm thinking of Heroic Trio, or Green Snake, a film directed by Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China) that I've seen that's about magical characters who are spirits and kick ass. Both Maggie Cheung movies.
Matt: You just out-geeked me, go you! Dork!
Karen: Both worth seeing. Or even in Dragon Inn, an oldie but goodie, the characters fly in that, up into the rafters of the inn as they're kicking ass with swords. Worst parts of Revolutions: the ham-fisted dialogue. Dear me, it was dreadful. So would you recommend Revolutions to your geek friends who didn't attend this weekend?
Matt: I'll tell them it's not that bad.
Karen: That's what I'll say too. Better than Reloaded, not as good as the Matrix. The sad downward cycle for all trilogies in my opinion.
Matt: Maybe not better than Reloaded, I'd say.
Karen: Note to all filmmakers of franchises: Stop at the first one! We'll all be happier for it.
Matt: Right-o. Speaking of stopping, want to set odds on another sequel?
Karen: Oh, Absolutely. Some sort of sequel, for sure. Making money breeds wanting to make more money. It's the American way.
Matt: Money talks. And when they do, I'll likely be there opening weekend. Doing the geeky duty. Dork duty.
Karen: Good for you, represent. It's like what I told my Dad when the last Star Wars came out. I know it's going to be bad, but I can't not go. You have to go. Something compels you. Now if we could just identify that drive, figure out a way to sell it and go to Hollywood, we could be millionaires many times over.
Matt: It is your Destiny.

Posted by karen at November 10, 2003 11:07 AM