in the rhyme of sickness

been pretty damned sick for several days now. i seem to have covered the entire spectrum of sick activities and unhappinesses. do we all go through this? why does it seem like “i can’t think straight for all the dizziness and congestion” is just a stage before “its in my chest now, so I’m tired and my throat hurts.” with possible side roads through vomit and bowels and such. i’m frustrated by the lack of anything new. and the time wasted.

thursday was spent out of my mind, festering and aching in a ball. Friday was clear headed but 8 kinds of gross, with elements of extreme nausea. today seems to backslide to congestion town and dizziness. hmm. the feeling of backwards progress is the worst part.
so blah blah. i bought some junk food and mailed a letter, and blah blah, it seemed to break the endless cycle of “drink water, nap, wake up 20 minutes later desperate for the bathroom – repeat”. yay. i don’t know why i’m still babbling about this.

too personal!

i just finished watching TheMatrixReloaded, while chowing some Wendy’s. This is the first time i’ve watched the flic with the “critics who hate it” commentary track. it was kind of fascinating. to see how they were oh-so-wrong, but also sometimes very right. and that’s what i wanted to rant about, before it slipped my sickened mind.

basically, i can feel a nap coming on, so i’ll cut to it and screw the pacing of this post.
– the first half hour sucks by setting up an epic war movie. we loved the cloak and dagger of the first movie, and these war-is-coming scenes fail to be innovative. they’re just the same cliches we’ve hated in other war movies. fail. (however, i do think this succeeds in moving the overall story forward considerably, instead of playing it safe). I think the first half hour would have been saved by focusing on a small person in Zion. I’d wager the oh-so-hateable “Kid”. He just got there, so we could confuse the audience by dropping our main 3 heroes (trinity, neo, morph) and learning about Zion through the Kid. Set up his friends (other’s who escaped the matrix in a “normal” way), and follow him as he tries to get word on what’s going on outside. His POV as he asks Neo to let him on the ship, and wonderes what will be announced at tonight’s meeting. blah blah.

i think having the first half hour from a Zion kid’s perspective would have served the purpose of “setting up the shire, so we know what is at stake”. It would have fucked with the way the second movie is “all about trinity” (arguably). but tying the kid into some girl he desires, could have mirror neo+trinity, Merovingian+Persephone;, oracle+architect(or… is cypher more appropo?). And could have given a more specific face to the masses we’re supposed to care about.

(aside:… It’s too bad morpheus&Niobe didn’t seem more tied in to the “girl is everything” angle. Maybe it is implied that this is part of why Morpheus is a failure?)

Alternatealy, i agree with the DVD critics that the Wachowski’s had a lot of leeway due to the first movie, and could have gone much crazier. (so it’s a shame they chose to ground the movie in so many cliche crap scenes straight from a bored tv show). I think a more interesting way to explain zion would have been : one big fucking orgy. Instead of sweaty dancers (with nips here and there, and lots of pelvis grinding), they could have just gone for : everyone in Zion is trying to repopulate the human race. While it would have sickened some, it would have shown some balls. so to speak. and it seems like something more worth fighting for. to me. and it would have made zion more like a sodom and gomorrah that needed to be destroyed (in the eyes of more evolved machines). plus it would have effectively gotten sex outta-the-way for the rest of the series. and made the big war/violence of the third film more disturbing, in contrast to all these places fill with wanton lust (and drawn a tigher to connection to the sperm-like squiddies infiltrating the large round egg-room?)

hmm.
anywho.

Criticisms that confuse me:
– Why don’t people get that neo is an exile, just like these other programs? “they can remain here in exile, or rejoin the source – where you must go”. hellloooo. Why don’t people recognize the merovingian and persephone as aged versions of neo and trinity? isn’t it clear that this is why persephone just wants to be kissed like she once was? Aren’t they the ultimate example of what will happen if you deny your purpose and refuse to rejoin the source? (refuse to take part in the cycle).
– why do people think neo should have flown away from smith(s)? Neo can beat Agents now. multiple agents. so why would he fear smith? to me that whole scene is clearly Neo thinking “well, i am the one, so why should i run?” and smith clearly thinking “quantity will beat quality”. and in the end, it seems it would be very disturbing to a christ like figure if he had to turn tail and run from a threat he doesn’t seem able to beat. this is core to the whole ending of the series.
– why don’t people see it as important that Morpheus stands his ground and fights, and BEATS, an agent during the freeway chase? Sure the movie doesn’t have Link telling you what to think (as he usually does spell everything out). but the notion that the entire sequence is worthless seems unfair.

Random suggestions (for my own edification):
– people think the Cypher fight scene is a joke. It just comes across as “we need some fighting” justified only by the line “you can’t really know someone until you fight them”. which seems more pompous than true at that point in the movie. Cypher is never confronted with someone he fights and then discovers is not who they say. he never fights neo again. Arguably he is establishing that Neo is the one, and thus he should be taken to the oracle. Arguably the scene is going back and further explaining why Morpheus fought Neo in the first movie (before taking him to the oracle…). but the fact this isn’t needed again seems weird. And the fact that smith just strolls up on them in the playground makes it seem unnecessary (like cypher is a crappy bodyguard). blah blah. I would have had the fight scene more focused on the idea of feeling neo out. repeated moves. maybe some crazy silly moves, like throwing chopsticks and tea. maybe crazy drunken fighting. All in all i would have made cypher more of smirking demon guardian figure and less of a cool robot dude (because the movie is already full of good looking stylish robot dudes). It’s too bad Cypher could have attacked neo outside in the rainy chinatown (like an annoying bum) instead of the boring safety of the empty tea house interior. But maybe it comes across as more civilized and polite in the boring empty interior. and more evocative of the first movie’s dojo fight. hmm. Maybe just having a gimmick like fighting neo next to a wall covered in a strange ornate symbol, then reviewing all the holes and damage done to parts of the symbol after the fight was over (like judging tea leaves) would have made the fight feel more important. and less like some time was wasted. hmm.
– i would have had children playing in the playground, obvious friends of the Oracle- perhaps with Cypher escoting them away while Neo and Oracle talked. Perhaps it was meant to be melancholy that the Oracle was alone in an empty playground, but it didn’t come across very well. better yet, the kids/potentials could have been disappearing during the chat about choice and reason, being turned into Smith’s gang for the fight, culminating in cypher dragging the oracle off, which would have made it seem more like things were getting out of control, even from the Oracle’s POV.
– They should have cross cut Neo’s weapon/museum fight with the trinity/morpheus escape. the way the ghosts bubble up out of the ground kind of implies to me that it was shot with that in mind (they they would emerge seconds after going into the ground, not ten minutes later). It also would cut down the amount of time neo spent flying. the point (from an action perspective) is that they NEED neo, and he’s busy. But as it’s cut now, it’s like the movie wants us to forget that he’s on his way (but we can’t, so we know he’ll show up to save the day, so there’s a small lack of danger to everything). weird.
-they didn’t play up the sexiness of new plunging a hand into his girlfriend and massaging her heart. enough. the scene works i think. but it seems weirdly brief, and then we’re back on the ship with everyone sitting around being bored until an attack forces them to run off. would have been better to have the ship scene be about how no one can believe he just brought another person back to life, plus the tension that squiddies are attacking and there’s no time to explain. This dead scene breaks the movies “build up to climax” so badly that everyone checks their watch. (maybe i’m wrong. Empire certainly slowed the pace before ending. hmm.)

-I used to think they should have let the second movie run longer, and ended it just when cypher calls. it seemed clear that this was shot to mimic the end of the first movie. but now i think they should have ended it minutes earlier, when neo blasts the squiddies. it could have maintained a great pace after Trinity’s resurrection if they had to run, there was no time to explain, morpheus couldn’t believe he was wrong about everything, Neo blasts the squids with his mind somehow, collapses, and everyone yells “what?” “what”? “WHAT?” and then that text “To be concluded” popped up, with the bombastic rage song (Which starts “Whatcha say, whatcha say, whatcha say, wha?”
this would have the same you-gotta-see-the-next-one-to-put-it-all-together, with much more energy. Currently they get rescued by some ship we’ve never heard of (the hammer), they sit and talk AGAIN – about shit we’ve never heard of (a suprise offensive attack that failed), and then we end with a pan from Neo to Bane – WHOM NOBODY RECOGNIZES UPSIDE DOWN ON FIRST VIEWING. or so i think. thought. think. plus, bane is just a weird mystery at this point. It’s not clear if he is smith, or is just fucked in the head. sooo. sure he screwed up some military op that we didn’t see. but him comatose near Neo has no definitive weight. bleh.

– if the “Kid” was used as the entry to the movie and Zion, he could have been a much more interesting replacement for Bane. Maybe he got out on some other ship, and ended up taken over by Smith. You could have ended with him in a coma next to Neo, and felt much more weight.

anywho. had to babble for my own notes. guess that is out of my system. time for some coffee.

… part of me wants to do a phantom edit, just to see if the movie works better. part of me wants to do a comic version of how i think the first thirty minutes should have been handled. I wish the Wachowski’s would do a Lucas Revisionism cut, but change the film to be more-slick/less-cliche-hand-holding. but i guess instead I’ll just go be sick some more. bleh.

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