The Matrix Reloaded

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The Matrix Reloaded is the second installment of the Matrix series, written and directed by the Wachowski brothers and released by Warner Bros. in North American theaters on May 15, 2003 and around the world during the latter half of that month. The Matrix Reloaded earned $281 million in the US and $735 million worldwide. The other parts of the second installment are the computer game Enter the Matrix, which was released May 15, and a collection of nine animated shorts, the Animatrix, which was released on June 3. The Matrix Revolutions was released six months after this film, in November 2003.

Contents

Overview

The Matrix Reloaded was largely filmed at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, Australia. The freeway chase scene was filmed at the decommissioned Naval Air Station Alameda in Alameda, California. Producers constructed a 1.5-mile freeway on the old runways just for the movie. Portions of the chase were also filmed in Oakland, California, and the tunnel shown briefly is the Webster Tube connecting Oakland and Alameda. Some post-production editing was done in old aircraft hangars on the base as well.

While surpassing the first part of the trilogy in cinematography and special/visual effects budget, some fans have suggested that the sequel adheres more closely to the action genre, with less of a focus on the intricate plot and philosophical musings that made the first film the subject of intense fan devotion. This opinion is not universally held, however. Some viewers have argued that the philosophical insights of the first movie were overrated, while many others have expressed satisfaction with the consistent continuation of the original film's plot and metaphysical speculation in Reloaded.

Reloaded earned an estimated $42.5 million on its Thursday opening day in the United States, a new record surpassing the one set in May 2002 by Spider-Man, which took in $39.4 million on its first day. The movie earned $91.8 million over its first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, establishing it as the second-best opening weekend ever after Spider-Man's 2002 record of $114.8 million in ticket sales during its three-day opening weekend. Reloaded garnered the biggest debut ever for an R-rated film, topping by far the $58 million for 2001's Hannibal. Reloaded eventually broke Beverly Hills Cop's 19-year-old record for the top-grossing R-rated film of all time, holding that record only briefly, until it was taken by The Passion of the Christ a few months later.

Most of the main characters from its prequel, The Matrix, are included in Reloaded, including Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). There are also many new faces such as Link, the Merovingian, and the Architect. Filmed simultaneously to the third movie, The Matrix Revolutions, it includes action scenes such as a chase involving over 50 vehicles, including motorcycles and 18-wheelers. In addition, there is finally footage of Zion, the underground city alluded to in The Matrix.

The film was banned in Egypt because of the violent content and because it put into question issues about human creation "linked to the three monotheistic religions that we respect and which we believe in". Egyptian media claimed it promoted Zionism since it talks about Zion and the dark forces that wish to destroy it.

Pirate copies of The Matrix Reloaded appeared on file sharing networks such as BitTorrent and eDonkey2k within two weeks of its theatrical release. Unlike some pirate copies of new movies, which are covertly filmed from a cinema screen, the Reloaded copy is high quality, and is believed to have been made from a film print. [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/2940270.stm)

Plot

The film presupposes familiarity with the storyline of The Matrix.

Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), fresh from her adventures in Enter The Matrix, calls an emergency meeting of all Zion's Matrix operatives. She has successfully recovered the information left by Captain Thaddeus (in The Final Flight of the Osiris): 250,000 sentinels are tunneling towards the underground city of Zion and will reach it in 72 hours. Commander Locke, the ranking military officer of Zion, orders all ships and their crews, including Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus, to return to Zion to prepare for the onslaught of the machines. Morpheus defies Locke's directive and asks one ship to remain at "broadcast depth" to await word from the Oracle. Morpheus believes that when she contacts Neo, the Prophecy will be fulfilled and the machines will be stopped. Captain Ballard and his Gnosis accept the challenge.

The Gnosis does receive a message from the Oracle, and the Nebuchadnezzar ventures out. But one of the Gnosis crewmembers, Bane, encounters Agent Smith, who seems to copy himself onto Bane. Bane/Smith then leaves the Matrix.

In the meantime, Neo is having trouble sleeping and is haunted by dreams where he sees Trinity fight with an agent, crash out a high window, and get shot in the chest on her way down. Neo is led by Seraph, a bodyguard to the Oracle, to a courtyard, where he meets with her again and have a conversation which in some respects parallels their conversation of the first film. She is aware of Neo's sleeplessness, puzzling since that was apparently only an affliction affecting Neo in the "real world." She drops strong hints that everything in the Matrix is not what it seems. She also gives some information on her own nature.

The Oracle explains that there are other self-aware programs beside the Agents that have various roles in running the Matrix. Sometimes these programs go awry, and, somewhat analogous to the free humans, they voluntarily disconnect themselves from the Source, the machine mainframe, and exist in exile in the Matrix. The implication is that she and Seraph are two such rogue programs. In order to end the war and save Zion, Neo must reach the Source.

To return to the Source, Neo must first seek the Keymaker, another rogue program. His keys give access to all the "back doors" of the Matrix. The Keymaker is held captive by the Merovingian, a dangerous program among the eldest in the Matrix.

The Oracle wishes Neo good luck and exits the courtyard just before Agent Smith arrives. While it appeared that he was destroyed at the end of The Matrix, Smith explains that he and Neo are now somehow connected. Now no longer an Agent, he, like Neo, is free from the rules of the Matrix, and desires to exact revenge. He has gained the ability to convert anyone he touches into a duplicate of himself, and recruits a gang of self-copies to attack Neo, resulting in an extravagant fight scene dubbed "the Burly Brawl." At a stalemate, Neo uses his new ability to fly (first shown at the end of The Matrix) and escapes.

Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus leave to visit the Merovingian, an aesthete who exists in the Matrix mainly for his own enjoyment. He is accompanied by his wife Persephone and the Twins, two albino bodyguards. The Merovingian makes some oblique remarks about cause and effect before refusing them access to the Keymaker. Denied, the trio leave, only to be unexpectedly led by Persephone, who is upset with her husband, to the Keymaker. Trinity and Morpheus escape with the Keymaker by car and are chased onto a freeway by the Twins, who are later joined by two Agents in a 15-minute car chase scene. Neo stays behind to fight a half dozen of the Merovingian's followers, earlier versions of Agents who are described by the Oracle as being similar to "vampires, ghosts and werewolves".

In the real word, the burrowing machine army are a little over nine hours away from reaching Zion. In response, the entire hovercraft fleet is strategically placed for a surprise counter-attack before the army reaches Zion.

Inside the Matrix, having survived the freeway chase, the Keymaker explains how to reach the Source: "There is a building. Inside this building there is a level where no elevator can go and no stair can reach. This level is filled with doors. These doors lead to many places--hidden places. But one door is special. One door leads to the Source." To access the building, its alarm must be disabled and to do that the electricity must be cut. In addition, the core network of the electricity grid must be accessed and the emergency fail-safes deactivated. For 314 seconds, the mainframe can be entered (a reference to Pi), but the Keymaker warns, "Only the One can open the door, and only during that window can the door be opened."

Trinity manages to bring the power grid down, while Neo follows the Keymaker's instructions and opens the indicated door. He enters a room surrounded by television monitors and encounters the Architect, who describes himself as the creator of the Matrix. In a lengthy exposition, the Architect reveals that the Matrix is much older than previously thought. He says this is the sixth version of the Matrix and that Neo has had five predecessors. The first version of the Matrix was designed to be perfect, but humans refused to accept the perfect universe and it failed.

Subsequent versions were designed in which nearly 99% of subjects accepted the simulation. Still, a certain fraction still rejected the artificial nature of the Matrix. The Oracle assists by giving the prophecy of the One to the non-conformist humans, prompting them to disconnect themselves and remove a threat to the Matrix's stability. Zion is allowed to exist for a period, but is periodically destroyed in order to prevent the instability from becoming unmanageable. The One is then merged back into the Source, not before saving a small group of individuals from Zion's destruction to build the next version of Zion and allow the cycle to begin again. This is what the Architect now intends to happen to Neo, allowing the Matrix to be "reloaded" or reset.

The Architect offers Neo the choice of two doors, One leads to the Source and to the reset. The other leads to Trinity, who, as Neo's dream predicted, is being chased by an Agent. Neo chooses to save Trinity, apparently at the expense of the human race. Neo manages to bring Trinity back from the dead and returns to the real world.

Morpheus is dismayed that the Prophecy has been unfulfilled. Neo tells Morpheus that the Prophecy in fact represents "another system of control". The Nebuchadnezzar comes under attack by Sentinels and the crew must abandon the ship. Outside, in the sewers, they run from the sentinels, but Neo senses something has changed. He can "feel" the Sentinels' presence, even though he is no longer in the Matrix. Somehow he disables the sentinels with a burst of electric energy, but then he falls unconscious and enters a coma. The crew is rescued by another craft. The film concludes with the news that the surprise counter-attack has failed. Someone set off an electromagnetic pulse early and five hovercraft were immediately disabled and they were quickly overrun by the machines. The unconscious sole survivor is revealed to be Bane.

Discussion

In this film, Neo returns the favor to Trinity by bringing her back to life this time. The scene used visual effects which some see as illustrating a healing energy coming from Neo, that merges with the rapidly fading energy of lifeless Trinity. It could also be seen as another manifestation of Neo's ability to manipulate items (in this case, a human heart) within the Matrix.

At the end of the movie, when the crew is forced to abandon the Nebuchadnezzar due to a Sentinel Tow Bomb attack, Neo uses his abilities to destroy the sentinels in the "real" world. This twist has sparked a flurry of discussions, many of which suggest that the "real" world that Neo and the rest of Zion occupy in is another Matrix inside the Matrix. Or alternatively, they never really escaped from the first Matrix and it's all been an illusion. Most viewers believe the first theory. Neo asks the Oracle in the third installment why he could do what he did, and she tells him the power of the one comes from the source, thus giving him some supernatural powers even in the real world. While most viewers were disappointed by the third installment, some specifically point this answer (one of the few answers given by the third installment) as a low-point. The answer is considered elementary, especially in contrast with the otherwise-high-brow (arguable) film. A blogger wrote, "a third-rate screenwriter could have come up with a better reason."

Another theory states that Neo's ability to produce an electromagnetic pulse in the real world is the result of receiving programming from digesting a piece of candy given to him by the Oracle, although we never see him consume it. Receiving programs via foodstuffs is demonstrated by the Merovingian earlier in the film.

There are various references to philosophy, mythology and computer science. The scene in which Neo fights Seraph is a simultaneous reference to the spirituality of martial arts and to challenge-response authentication. It is also suggested that the Oracle is actually an oracle machine. A cleverly constructed technical detail is Trinity's use of an ssh exploit, which had not yet been discovered (and thus fixed) in 1999 (the year which the Matrix simulates), to break into a computer. The "hidden floor" full of doors is floor number 65, which is a multiple of 13.

Characters throughout the movie continually remind us that Neo is still only human. At the beginning the Agents say, "Only human." The Merovingian says, "You see, he is just a man," when Neo's hand bleeds briefly. The Architect tells Neo, "You remain irrevocably human..." Whether these are meant to guide or mislead the viewer is debated.

In the Architect scene, some of the screens show images from Neo waking up in the real world. It is unclear how these images supposedly from outside the Matrix could be known to the Architect inside of the Matrix, unless perhaps the Architect can read Neo's memories.

The Unix utilities Nmap and sshnuke appear during one scene, in which they are used to shut down a power station.

Soundtrack

Don Davis, composer on The Matrix, returned to score Reloaded. For many of the pivotal action sequences, such as the "Burly Brawl" he collaborated with Juno Reactor. Some of the collaborative cues by Davis and Juno Reactor are extensions of material by Juno Reactor; for example, a version of Komit featuring Davis' strings is used during a flying sequence, and Burly Brawl is essentially a combination of Davis' unused Multiple Replication and Juno Reactor's Masters of the Universe (which also appeared in its original form in The Animatrix).

Rob Dougan contributed again, licensing the instrumental version of his eponymous Furious Angels, as well as being commissioned to provide an original track, ultimately scoring the battle in the Merovingian's chateau.

As with its predecessor, many tracks by external musicians are featured in the movie and its closing credits, and the soundtrack album. Leitmotifs established in The Matrix return, and some used in Revolutions are established.

Cast

The cast of The Matrix Reloaded is largely the same as The Matrix, with only minor additions.

The character of "Tank" from The Matrix did not return, reportedly due to actor Marcus Chong's salary demands and conflicts with the Wachowski brothers. The character's role of ship's Operator is taken over by newcomer Link, Tank's brother-in-law. In passing, Tank is mentioned to have been killed; no details are provided, but it is possible that he died shortly after The Matrix due to wounds inflicted by Cypher.

Actress Gloria Foster died during the editing. Her role of "The Oracle" is reprised by actress Mary Alice, here and also in subsequent sequels and video games. Her change of appearance is specifically addressed as a programmatic quirk in Enter the Matrix.

Additionally, Aaliyah was originally cast to play the part of "Zee" until her untimely death in the summer of 2001.

External links

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