May 24th, 2003
I've just got back from a trip to the cinema to see The Matrix Reloaded again.
On a second viewing some of the elements which bothered me first time round were less jarring – in particular, I appreciated the sheer kinetic fun of the Burly Brawl a good deal more now that I wasn't surprised at how computer game-like some of the graphics were.
Actually, all the major fight scenes went down more smoothly this time. I've noted this with other films which make heavy-but-imperfect use of CGI humans in the foreground. The first time I saw Blade II the surprise of seeing how unnaturally the CGI vampires moved in a couple of the fight scenes would jolt me out of the story for a second. Second time round I wasn't surprised, so I could appreciate the overall choreography of the fight scenes. (The exception to this rule is Attack of the Clones, in which the use of CGI versions of the three principals in the arena scene still bugs me every time I see it.)
As for the talky scenes which I felt had passed me by a somewhat first time round, I was much better able to concentrate on them this time round. I didn't come to any sudden realisation that I'd fundamentally misunderstood things first time round, which is encouraging – I'd have been upset if I'd missed some major plot point – but with foreknowledge of the way the story was due to develop a couple of the earlier talky bits (I'm deliberately being vague, because I wouldn't want to spoil a single minute of the film for anyone who still doesn't know who/what Neo encounters this time round) worked really, really well.
Overall, my repeat viewing pushes The Matrix Reloaded up from a score of 8/10 to 9/10. I'm still thoroughly unconvinced by Zion and my objections to the resolution of a certain situation Trinity found herself in stand, but I can appreciate more clearly now that the Wachowski brothers have done us proud. Instead of treating us to a formulaic rerun of the first film's best bits with slightly bigger explosions, they've done a good job of taking their original story off in an intriguing direction.
The 7th of November can't come soon enough.