Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Matrix: Redacted

Over a decade later, The Matrix continues to hold up as a sensational and remarkable quality film. But The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions are commonly known as the two widely derided sequels to that 1999 science fiction classic.
The Matrix was an immediate and immense pop-culture phenomenon for many reasons. To say that it had the potential to rival Star Trek and Star Wars and Batman as a narrative media platform AND a significant cultural artifact would not be exaggeration.
And then the sequels came.
Reloaded and Revolutions ruined everything, virtually undermining and tempting us to forget all the first movie accomplished-- and could have yet accomplished.
Not because they were bad movies. As movies, they are fantastic. But as sequels to The Matrix, they were lacking.
Revolutions only compounded and exacerbated the folly began in Reloaded. While The Matrix was instantly adored and celebrated, its siblings were instantly reviled and ridiculed.
The problem, essentially, is that Reloaded and Revolutions are a poor follow up or follow through of The Matrix— resulting in a convoluted and disjointed medley.
Whereas The Matrix was cinematically revolutionary and narratively innovative, the sequels descended into the mundane and muddled.
Reloaded and Revolutions amounted to feeble caricature and clichĂ© of its progenitor, a mere shadow of its predecessor. The Matrix ushered us out of Plato’s cave and into the sun; the sequels, sent us back into the Cave to grasp at shadows on the wall.
Part one boldly pushed the boundaries—sublimely and marvelously elevating the story. Parts two and three, however, meagerly danced and stumbled like a drunken monkey around those boundaries.
But more than that, even WORSE than that, Reloaded and Revolutions did not seem to function as logical extensions or continuations of the narrative established in The Matrix. The sequels defied (and defiled?) our expectations—and not in the good way.
Rather than augment and clarify the confabulation of ideas and elements presented in The Matrix, Reloaded and Revolutions instead distorted and bungled. The Original movie rewarded and acknowledged audience intelligence, but the two sequels seemed to insult and mock that intelligence. Diminishing, by association, the profundity and magnificence of the first film in the series.
Ultimately, in hind sight, given the cheesy & hokey disaster the sequels turned out to be, The Matrix would have been better off— and better served—without sequels.
Certainly, without the contrived and inconsistent sequels we were given.
Granted, Reloaded and Revolutions are not quite as bad as their reputation implies, but they are bad relative to The Matrix.
The authenticity permeating The Matrix is lost in the artificial razzle-dazzle of the sequels. The proliferation of special effects extravaganzas are meant to dazzle and disorient us to a point where we overlook the plot holes and superficiality.
In the attempt to top what they did in The Matrix, the Wachowskis went extremely way over the top-- whether it actually made sense or not.
Perhaps part of the problem, perversely, is that the producers tried to transform The Matrix from a sublime narrative into a multi-media marketing platform.
This world building exercise was not thought through well enough to sustain itself. Maybe the Wachowskis even suffered from George Lucas syndrome—they had gotten so big after the success of The Matrix that no one dared to tell them NO about anything, letting them do whatever they wanted regardless of if it was a good idea.
The producers were clearly more concerned about looking and sounding cool than with telling an interesting or credible story. Essentially, one gigantic missed opportunity as a socially relevant media and culture commentary.
A foundation that began strong and solid in The Matrix increasingly became flimsy and dysfunctional throughout the sequels.
But we should not let all that nonsense ruin our appreciation of the first film—which is still awesome independent of and despite the second and third films.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Of the things I've seen

Fantabulous and fascinating BATMAN fan film:

BATMAN DELIVRANCE from Atomic Production on Vimeo.

SYNDROMES – interesting sci-fi short film

SYNDROMES - a short film by Kristoffer Borgli & The Golden Filter from The Golden Filter on Vimeo.

NINJA= stop motion short film about an old fashioned ninja duel

Ninja from Olivier Trudeau on Vimeo.

PAGE 23= surreal sci-fi short film

Page 23 (English subtitles) from Jeroen Houben on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I saw what you did there!

Excellent Batman fan film: Seeds of Arkham... Sequel to City of Scars

SEEDS OF ARKHAM by Batinthesun
BATMAN The Last Laugh- suberbly crafted fan film

VOLTRON- Live action short fan film

Illustrator/ author Aaron Diaz epic wins at DC Comics new universe reboot (while actual DC Comics epic fails)--- visually and conceptually

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Did You See That?

Vertical; short film fake trailer by by Sebastian Lopez

vertical from sebastian lopez on Vimeo.

Makenzie Dustman is an astounding, dynamic dancer— a style full of vigor and vision.

Sample more here
Reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance are lame, inconsequential fluff; but occasionally, you get gems like Lauren Froderman, who I admit is also not without some skill-- innovatively combining dance with gymnastics.
Sample more here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wonderful things to see and do

Short film: Alien Repair Guy; written/ directed by HELMET=

Or go here:

Amazing photo shoots with Star Wars toys, by Vesa Lehtimäki=

Greg Dunn turns microscopic biology into art=

prequel to Dark Resurrection, a stunningly produced Italian Star Wars-based fan film=

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Open Letter To DC Comics:

How you made me stop reading (and buying) your titles after 20 years of fealty:
1. gross negligence and incompetence of Dan Diddio corrupting the quality and credibility of the DC legacy

2. disgusting misogyny and shamelessly shameful over-sexualized objectification of women… offensive to females AND good taste.

3. egregious age-ism: characters age 35 and older have been either regressed to 20 something or discarded in the reboot

4. oh, yeah— that ridiculous reboot—I mean relaunch … which was totally unnecessary for the sake of revitalizing the characters, since that could easily have been done without regression

5. squandered opportunity for innovation and revolutionizing their characters and the way superhero comics are done, as well as how the comics industry operates

6. failure to appeal (and make amends) to more female readers. You say the relaunch is intended to interest new readers, but you still cater the same 18-35 male demographic you already had. Your core titles should be accessible to ALL readers.

7. stale, formulaic and lamely constructed stories; mundane storytelling methods-- issue #1 of some titles were so dull and badly written that I actually threw them away

8. criminal disregard for character and story integrity-- with one issue, Justice League International goes from awesome to awful— like DC suddenly forgot how to write good stories

9. Flashpoint and Darkest Night and Alt-reality reimagining of Wonder Woman and War of the Supermen

10. Succeeding in making me not care about Batman— my favorite superhero. The bulk of my comic selection was Batman family titles.

11. Reboot has proven to be a cheap stunt-- a gimmick of no substance, relevance or merit

12. Letters pages have become nothing more than self promotion and congratulatory narcissism, whereas they used to facilitate discussion and exploration.

13. Quality of stories have not provided sufficient “return on investment”

and BONUS: as Jessica Stover reminded me: DC Comics is owned by Time Warner and AOL certainly has been a part of promoting for profit on a large scale what the writer detests.