Pretty cool gallery of theoretical rock album covers by modern artists.
On an IP note, it's unclear from the site whether or not they got permission to use names and likenesses for the project. One hopes that even if they didn't, most of the artists would recognize the fandom nature of the effort and the importance of free expression in the art world -- not to mention that all the proceeds go to charity.
So I saw Matrix Revolutions tonight. And man, did it suck. I mean, it really stank. Unlike loads of other sci-fi geeks, I actually thought M:Reloaded had some decent parts (e.g. skip past the worthless Rave/Zion sequence and all the mechanical love scenes between Neo and Trinity). But the third and final installment of the triology had me looking at my watch within half an hour of the opening credits. Here's why: Little to No Ass-Kicking
In the first Matrix movie, there was mundo ass-kicking. In fact, the movie starts out with Trininty kicking serious cop-ass. Then you get Morpheus kicking Neo-ass in the gym simulation and then much ass-kicking when they try to rescue Morpheus, including the final showdown with Agent Smith. More than simple, beautiful fight scenes, ass-kicking is a central theme to any underdog vs. the Man movie: the good guys are better than the bad guys but just outnumbered, outgunned, outspent, etc, etc.
In the second movie, you had less ass-kicking. Oh sure, there were a few good scenes (Neo vs. Frechman's henchmen, Neo vs. the Smiths, Morpheus vs. the Agent on top of the truck) but they were few and far between, surrounded by lots of robotic dialogue and didactic plot explanations. Plus, the ass-kicking didn't really satisfy any dramatic tension. In the first film, all the fight were necessary because there was a goal to achieve: saving Morpheus, getting back to the ship, becoming the One. In the second movie, all the major fight scenes were dramatically flat. Neo fights Smith because he wants to but can (and does) leave whenever he wants. Morpheus fights the agent on top of the trailer while they wait for something interesting to happen, i.e. Neo to save them. Neo's fight with the henchmen is simply a delay tactic so that Morpheus and Trinity can get away with the Key Master. The best battles in any movie or book are the ones which put everything on the line and are climatic moments in each Act. Matrix II pretty much eliminated that whole component, which was intrinsically present in each fight scene in Matrix I.
Matrix III didn't even have any real ass-kicking to speak of. There are a few token moments for Trinity to show off her patented freeze-time moves and there is a small scene where the Oracle's guardian teams up with Morpheus and Trinity to take on the Frenchman (again -- gee, couldn't you recycle some other plot device?). But other than that and the final scene of the movie, which I'll talk about in a second, it's almost all standing around, running away, and looking scared.
Now the Zion battle scene was cool -- don't get me wrong. But it was only cool visually. And even then, it was so complex visually that it was often hard to comprehend all the different elements juxtaposed onto the screen at the same time. All that aside, there was still no ass-kicking. The humans basically get their butt kicked for 40-some-odd minutes only to have some last minute heroic by Jada Pinkett Smith (one of the few actors who actually earned her pay in the flick). The scene with Smith flying her ship toward Zion at kamakazi velocity is partcularly telling because it shows Morpheus at his most impotent moment in the movie -- clumsy and questioning and unsure of himself. Gone is the confident, ass-kicking Morpheus that Lawrence Fishburn made so cool in Matrix I. He is replaced by a limp overweigh fish who simply takes up screen space.
Now, the final scene. Neo fights the enhanced Agent Smith. This was a pretty cool scene. And definitely had ass-kicking potential. In fact, Neo gets in some pretty good licks. It's a showdown scene again, with everything on the line. And then it falls flat. Neo is defeated and simply surrenders, somehow destroying Smith in the process and ending the movie. That's it. No dramatic come-from-behind victory. No ingenius human resourcefulness to outsmart the machines. Just some weird techno-hocus pocus and boom, we're on to sunny sunrises and happily ever afters. Soooo disappointing!
I'll give the Wachowski brothers credit for a few things: they know how to create an incredible world of technology and illusion and how to visually film action sequences. But they failed at almost everything else. Even the homages/allusions to Star Wars and Superman were obtrusive and too similar in all the wrong ways.
To sum it all up, I'm glad the trilogy is over. Hopefully Larry and Andy W. can now move on and try to make another original movie, hopefully with some more original ideas and some dramatic tension. But as for me, I'll stick with the One True Matrix and try to forget there ever was a Two or Three.