One thing the final installment of The Matrix trilogy DOES do is plop itself down squarely on the humanist side of the artificial intelligence debate. Writer-directors the Wachowski brothers seem sure that A.I. will never be able to supplant humanity, because, as Keanu's Neo says to the multitudinous and increasingly powerful Smith's (Hugo Weaving) question about why he - Neo - continuous to persist despite no hope of winning, 'Because I choose too.' Cue Smith's hard-wired brain to blow a gasket. And that - an introductory philosophy-class seminar about the concept of choice - is about all that's at least somewhat interesting about this wretched climax to the series.
It's no wonder that, at the Hollywood premiere, producer Joel Silver answered a reporter's question about the possibility of the series continuing with a firm, 'No.' If you thought The Matrix Reloaded had holes in it, this one is muddled beyond belief, accidentally humorous - one main character's deadly serious, overly protracted and completely over-the-top death scene elicited giggles at the press screening - and, believe it or not, boring.
Given that even my 93-year-old grandfather probably knows the plot, let's be quick about a summary. There are three stands: the Machines are burrowing down to Zion and Zion has just a few hours to prepare to fight; Morpheus' (Laurence Fishburne) ship must get back to Zion to help; and Neo, with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in tow, must find a way to save humanity by going to the 'city of the Machines' and confronting them.
Strand one, the Zion preparations, plays like a second-rate rehashing of Aliens - all macho posturing and gear-head guns 'n' ammo fetishization, as the humans prepare to battle to the death. Strand two, Morpheus descending, is an extended chase sequence in which those squid-like attack machines never quite catch up with Morpheus and lead pilot Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith). Strand three, Neo's quest, is the only one people will care about - and feel short-changed by given that it takes up the least amount of screen time. It is also the most illustrative of how bad this movie really is.
Remember the French couple of n'er-do-wells, Merovingian and Persephone, so deliciously played by Lambert Wilson and Monica Bellucci as to be one of the highlights of episode two? They are back - with barely any lines and nary a laugh. A total waste. I don't want to spoil the whole movie for the legions that will no doubt go out to see it, (despite the legions of bad reviews the film will doubtless receive), but I have to say that a certain deal Neo makes with the Machines MAKES NO SENSE logically from the Machines perspective. And to top it all off, the special effects - Neo and Smith's big battle especially - are becoming tired exercises in computer wanking. I wouldn't be surprised if The Matrix Revolutions leaves real fans not just unhappy, but furious.