Movie Reviews 26

The Matrix (1999)
While this movie was sensational because of the cutting edge computer effects when it was first released, they are now common and have even been surpassed. But the other reason that this movie was so successful was the the concept of living in a matrix computer generated reality. That aspect of the movie is still wonderful to watch as well as the relationships of the characters. Keanu Reeves may not be the most enigmatic of actors out there, but he fits in perfectly as the unsure anointed proclaimed savior of mankind, Neo, living in a world where human minds have been assimilated by computers that have taken over. The one believer in a group of rebel humans is Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburn, who really carries the film. Morpheus leads the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar ship who first pluck Neo from the Matrix and bring him into the real world. Morpheus, along with super hacker Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, and the rest of the crew, they must evade ‘Agents’ tracking them down before they can deliver Neo to the rebel forces and eventual battle with the computers running the Matrix. The big unresolved question at the end is, is Neo really the savior Morpheus and others believe him to be? The movie is well worth your watch without the final answer.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The highly anticipated sequel to The Matrix falls disappointingly into the sequel dumpster. Visually, it notches up the special effects a bit, but as far as providing an interesting story… well at least the visuals are good. Morpheus finds that there are a significant number of humans who openly question whether Neo is the long awaited savior. The crew on the Nebuchadnezzar has an traitor. While Trinity and Neo try to get their groove going. Its all glitz and battle scenes, but in the end falls short of inspiration or even an inkling of an interesting story. This sequel is really the beginning half of duo of sequels, with Matrix Revolutions really ending the story. I believe that the two were even filmed simultaneously. Unfortunately, I currently don’t own a copy of Revolutions and having been reminded how bad this installment was, I know that Revolutions was no better if not worse, so I’m really not inclined to go out and find a copy. If you feel that I am doing a disservice by reviewing only the first 2 movies and not the third, then you’re feeling pretty much like I did when I saw that third movie at the theaters, dissatisfied. So you’ve got all the information you really need anyhow.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Johnny Depp is as versatile an actor as you can get. But looking back on his career he really began stretching his acting chops in the titular role as the metal infused cyberman in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. This is one of those movies beyond classification, truly a world on it’s own. Edward is the incomplete creation of a mad scientist (a few scant minutes in the film with the great Vincent Price in one of his last roles) who died just as he was about to give Edward his hands. Thus, stuck with scissor as appendages, he lives as a recluse in a mansion atop a small suburban city until the day a desperate door-to-door makeup saleswoman discovers him and brings him home. As awkward a character Edward may sound, we soon find that ‘civilization’ below is even quirkier with housewives living in a sort of surreal world as their husbands go to their 9-to-5 jobs. Edward is both a pariah and marvel to the suburbanites. The surreal aspect of the film is promulgated as Edward displays his mastery of hedge sculpting which then transitions to hair stylist supreme. But Edward Scissorhands is also a love story as Edward longs for the teenage girl of his adopted household, Kim, played by Winona Ryder. Watching this movie is like stepping out of reality for a brief moment.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
I used to think that the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was as good an adaptation of the Roald Dahl story (never having read the story myself mind you). In that one, Gene Wilder was as wonky as I thought was possible. But in this new version, Johnny Depp really manages to creep the character beyond what I thought was possible. Most of the movie is remarkably similar to the original (with all the added flash that modern special effects bring), but their are quite a few differences in movie as well. I really enjoyed the addition of the added background story to Willy’s upbringing especially since the seemingly immortal Christopher Lee plays his father. Another major difference is the ending in which Charlie does not take ownership of Willy’s factory outright. I thought that I would hate this movie as a simple rethread of a classic, I ‘ve come to like it as much as the original. This is one movie falls in Tim Burton’ ‘got it right’ column. I wish I could forgive him for messing up my beloved Planet of the Apes. But that’s a simmering fire that will not be put out.

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