Why is it that now, years after I first saw the films, and even more years after they first went to air, that I find myself met with a sudden urge to write about how horribly, awfully, terribly bad the Matrix Trilogy really was?
The films were bad, after all. But perhaps it is only now that we can really appreciate their badness - for they have a badness that reaches across the years, that only seems to deepen and be enriched by the interval of time, a badness that has an immediacy and a force now that is even greater than when they were first released. Of course it is easy to feel apathetic about a film that has not been released yet - at the start of the last century, the entire world felt apathetic about greats of the cinema such as Citizen Kane, and The 39 Steps. But it is only truly, wretchedly bad films that are able to inspire ever greater bouts of apathy following their release: such are the Matrix films.
Many of the smaller filmic elements were uniquely bad, of course, possessing their own special quality of indefinable crapness, alternately disappointing or boring or sickening you according to their own particular metric. The murky, pond-scum green wash in which the entire trilogy seemed to have been shot, for instance - who thought that up? Is this really what they use for mood lighting these days? Or the presence of Keanu Reeves, who somehow spends most of the time being upstaged by Carrie-Anne Moss's boots.
But what really elevates these films beyond the individual badness of their elements - connects all these individual badnesses, if you like - is the plot. It begins as something merely unoriginal (guy finds out that the entire life he's been living is a hallucination), but rapidly becomes completely implausible (humans are used by robots as an energy source - WTF? - to power the Matrix - WTFF? - which is used, principally, it seems, to keep humans in check so they can continue to provide power to the Matrix, in a neverending chain of circular unreasonableness), before becoming utterly ludicrous (for no particular reason at all Neo, the guy who discovers his entire life has been a hallucination in the first film, gains messianic powers and is packed off to defeat the robots).
What horrible, horrible films they were. Naturally, they made an absolute motza at the cinemas. None of which, thank God, was contributed by myself.
There are some things which remain unchanged by time, things which "age shall not weary nor the years condemn." Cheese will always get mould on it. Socks will always grow extra holes. Trains will always continue to run late, no matter how many upgrades a train station gets. And the Matrix will only continue to be bad, no matter how many times we revisit the films over the years. These truths are eternal, and should fill us with a great, warm wave of reassurance and gratitude.
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