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"Matrix Revolutions"

IT WOULD seem that the entire youngster population of Chennai, especially the tech savvy ones, were at the Satyam cineplex for the world premier of the much-hyped last part of Warner Bros' Matrix trilogy. The excitement was at a feverish pitch as it started and by the time the movie progressed with all its high tech kinetic fights, concepts of love and karma and all that philosophising about good and evil, the mood seemed to peter out - caught as it were in the final, exhaustive, brilliantly done battle scenes and its climax.

Everything that has a beginning has an end and we do hope that this is the end for the Matrix mania. There is only so much the Wachowsky brothers can stretch as a concept or as special effects. When it began the idea deposited in The Matrix was novel in terms of presentation and narration- that each one of us goes about in a real world, but are actually deceptively programmed and controlled by a sinister force known as The Machines inside the construct known as The Matrix. It was rooted in mundane life in that Anderson (Keanu Reeves) was an ordinary man hacking into computers but is drawn out and told about his special powers and let into secrets of all kinds. ``Matrix Reloaded" then came with Anderson firmly established as Neo or The One. ``Revolutions" has come to answer all questions or rather clear the cobwebs. We find Neo lying in a rather empty, sterile tube station where he meets an Indian couple (Tharini Mudaliar) with a child and they say they are between worlds. Talk about time warp! Many years ago Richard Bach wrote about time warp and the fascination with the concept continues. The members of this family by the way are also programs, under the control of the Trainman (Bruce Spence) who in turn is under the control of the mad Frenchman, Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) who we see playing a bigger role in the Matrix Reloaded. When Neo wants to get back to his world, the Trainman stops him. Meanwhile Orpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), once the sage of Zion, has now been reduced to something of a mute spiritual leader and Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss), Neo's girlfriend, learn that Neo is trapped in between worlds and he must be rescued for Trinity because she loves him and Morpheus because Neo has to save the world once again. They go and confront Merovingian at a nightclub where after a battle of brain and brawn, Trinity brings Neo back from limbo.

The state of confusion continues which is when Neo goes back to the Oracle (Mary Alice) who has changed in appearance (naturally as it was Gloria Foster who plays that in Reloaded) but is every bit as vague as the previous one. Instead of saying what is coming, she prattles on about choices and consequences. At this point the dialogue is not even worth talking about. Only the writer-director duo knows what they are talking about.

Meanwhile the machines are threatening to overwhelm the world and are planning an attack on Zion. Our favourite (judging by the cheers he got when he appeared) Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) is busy replicating and is intending to destroy Neo, Zion and take over the Machine World and The Matrix. Again it is up to Neo to keep destruction at bay. Based on the Oracle's simplistic messages and his own intuition, Neo decides to visit the machine city. This is probably the best part of the film when special effects and action come flying at speeds that are fascinating and the scenes overflow with spectacularly choreographed battles and visuals. As long as the action happens you tend to forget the corny lines that are dished out at regular intervals. But then action cannot last forever and the movie moves on to the finale when Neo and Smith try and recreate the magnificent fight sequences in ``Reloaded" flying, jumping, swishing through space - impressive no doubt, but a lot of the dramatic impact is lost in the seemingly pseudo intellectualising that follows.

A good movie is not just its special effects. It also needs characters you can empathise with and who generate real emotions. In this last episode, they have become terribly humourless and stiff. But then it could be argued aren't they from another world? Of illusion and Maya? So did The Matrix really exist? Who can answer?

CHITRA MAHESH

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