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Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Hugo Weaving, Clayton Watson, Nona Gaye, Monica Bellucci, Cornel West
Director(s): Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Screenwriter(s): Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Filming Location(s): Australia; Chicago; San Francisco
Studio: Warner Bros.
Alternate Title(s): The Matrix 2
Rating: R - for sci-fi violence and some sexuality
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Sequel
The Matrix raised the bar, in terms of special effects, and kept it there for an awful long time before being topped of. Then comes The Matrix Reloaded which has once again proved the Wachowskis are undoubtable the most imaginative and innovative directors this side of Zion. The two stand out scenes come with neo kicking 100+ agents cyber punk asses and a 14 minute car chase that cost $40, 000, 000 to produce and upon seeing the movie its not hard to see why, with cars being blown up left, right and centre, death defying motorcycle stunts and a car being cut in half by an ancient samurai sword among other things. This is by far the most elaborate movie ever made and with a crew including Yuen Wo Ping, arguably the best fight choreographer in the world and the visual effects mastermind John Gaeta everyone saw it coming, but it still managed to blow away all pre-conceptions and expectations.
Let this be a lesson to you about perseverance. One of the Wachowski's earlier movies was entitled Bound and had its original cinematographer quit because of the “very restrictive” budget. They went to a man named Bill Pope next who was more than willing to work within the budget. A few years later the when the Matrix was green-lit he became the obvious choice, not only for the original, but also for both sequels, sling-shoting him into the cinematographers hall of fame. From a continuos pan, circling one of Neo’s battles, to a tracking shot that looks like it passes through traffic, the cinematography in The Matrix Reloaded is second to none.
Costumes and Make Up:
Kym Barett, costume designer and regular collaborator with Baz Luhrman, she previously worked on Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Suggested to the Wachowski's by Bill Pope, she created the Gucci does Bondage look that The Matrix trilogy is famous for. Every punch, block, kick and swirl is dramatised and accentuated by the blank, fearless look on their face and the uniform like consistency of long flowing leather jackets and pitch black shades.
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Scenery and Props:
Prascilla, Queen Of The Desert and The Matrix Reloaded share 2 mutually conclusive people, one being Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) and a man by the name of Owen Paterson. A production designer for over 15 years, he was one of the many Australians recruited for The Matrix Reloaded. His attention to detail is amazing and yet he still manages to depict a broader visual image. Although his part was somewhat down-played by the fact that the majority or props (and sets for that matter) are digital created for the purpose of being destroyed by Gaeta and his FX team, Paterson stilled played a heavy hand in the process of design.
Every single actor gave the performance of his or her life in The Matrix Reloaded. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss have upgraded from roles in Point Blank, What’s Love Got To Do With It? and Baywatch collectively to the paramount film trilogy known affectionately as The Matrix.
Marilyn Manson, RATM and the two Robs (Zombie and Dougan) have all returned for the second soundtrack, following up from the original Matrix soundtrack. The success of the first film has had an impact so some songs here are more tailored to the sequel and we have song titles such as Reload and Zion while the others follow more of a pattern, all featuring dark, electronic rock rather than all out heavy stuff. The first few tracks kick things off in style; a great Linkin Park instrumental and a song from Manson’s new album. Dougan’s ‘Furious Angels’ is a head nodder but frankly doesn’t offer much more than remixing the strings from his ‘Clubbed to Death’ classic from the previous soundtrack. The album then slows down slightly in the middle with Team Sleep slightly straying from the feel but then things pick up again with some rocking stuff from POD and Unloco. The last three tracks get a bit more clubby with Oakenfold appearing on two of them and both being especially catchy with ‘When the World Ends’ being a stand-out track. If your purchase the soundtrack the second CD is what fans will be really after. At last, mistakes have been rectified and the actual score is available on disc! So all the classic Matrix sounds are here in various forms including the classic main title. The first few tracks here are short and sweet and it’s not until ‘Chateau’ that things begin to get interesting although yet again Rob Dougan relies on the same sound, but it’s still a cool remix. This disc will appeal to die hard fans but casual listeners not keen on movie scores may want to think twice about this one. Pop it into your drive and you can wet your appetite some more with some movies about the world of the Matrix, a trailer for Reloaded and a lengthy look at the Animatrix, featuring each glorious episode in detail. Finally, there’s a documentary about the Enter the Matrix computer game featuring some of the cast members in interviews. A great buy from any point of view.
Plot summary (brief):
The machines have found the last human city, Zion, located in the Earth's core, and armies of sentinels are sent to destroy it. Neo (Keanu Reeves) must race to beat them there and then launch a final battle pitting the last remaining unplugged humans against the machines. Reloaded ends in a cliff hanger, setting up November's finale, The Matrix Revolutions.
20 years ago, “You’ll believe a man can fly” was just a nice tagline. With the release of The Matrix Reloaded, that promise becomes a genuine reality.
Historical Background and Setting (time place occasion event):
The first film had a slight advantage initially because of its relative anonymity. Reloaded on the other hand was encrusted with 4 years of expectations and anticipation. Inspired by the cyberpunk literature of Philip K. Dick, and drawing from a smorgasbord of traditions, including Greek philosophy, Gnostic mysticism and Eastern spirituality, writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, who redefined the sci-fi genre in 1999 with The Matrix, pose age-old questions concerning the nature of reality and free will set against a futuristic backdrop. And they can pose them in style with a budget of USD $300m (more than five times the original movie’s budget).
Crew Backgrounds (actors, directors etc):
Many problems came about during the filming of the two sequels. Reeves’ sister had a cancer relapse. Fishburne severely sprained his wrist. Carrie-Anne Moss broke her leg. Aaliyah, the famous R&B queen, who was cast in a major supporting role, died in a plane crash before shooting commenced and Gloria Foster (the Oracle whose pronouncements goad Morpheus to find the One) died at 64 shortly after finishing Reloaded.
Social Comment (themes/issues/messages/social events covered):
The cultural impact was amazing. Supporters, proliferating not unlike the agents, have published more than 1000 web sites (many of which have more content and detail than the official site, www.enterthematrix.com) along with half a dozen published books written by fans. They say any publicity is good publicity and with the amount of imitation “bullet-time” sequences (Scary Movie, Stick Death and Max Payne to name a few) it is fair to say that The Matrix has one of the biggest fan bases ever.
Do we live in a matrix? It’s easily established that taking a pill can alter your perception of reality. We also know that the human body is very capable of sustaining life while unconscious and that during that time, the brain is alert and suggestible. The real beauty of The Matrix is that it is so surreal, so out of this world, but with extremely believable special effects and a conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories it does make you wonder.
“Why do my eyes hurt?” Neo asks his liberators in The Matrix, to which Morpheus replies, “You’ve never used them before.”