33 Ways the "Matrix" Trilogy Could Have Been Saved

Posted 4/19/2010 by WHayes in Labels: , , , , ,
Yes, its true: in some way, we were all disappointed by the failings of the Matrix trilogy that sapped Reloaded of the excitement and potential we heaped on it, and left Revolutions feeling totally unnecessary at best, and offensive at worst. I was a new teen in Omaha when this first teaser came out, and just about peed myself.

And when my older, wizened self caught this next one at a theater in DC, I smiled with some bizarrely gained confidence when the whole audience started cheering.

So yes, they're only movies, but we can't help but get worked up about them: cinema is modern escapism's lifeblood, a little refuge from all the noise out there, and if we're gonna pay for our vice, we expect to get hard won-quality for our hard-earned money. This said, allow me to indulge in a fools errand: a fanboy's attempt to be a little goofy for the next few minutes of your time, as I present you with 33 ways the Matrix trilogy could have been saved from the abyss.

1) Give Neo a god-complex where he finds himself either utterly superior to, or increasingly detached from the Zionist struggles, a la Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore's

2) Reveal Morpheus to have been manipulating Zion and its elders to find Neo in an increasingly reckless and desperate search.

3) Reveal Morpheus had been using Neo to force a war that didn't need to happen. Magic Negro, my ass.

4) Never show what Zion actually looks like (we can avoid the cave rave that way).

5) Continue alluding to how only ship captains (and eventually Neo) ever go to Zion, or know any real details about it. You know, what the first film made sure to tell us.

6) Reveal that Zion isn't an actual city at all, but a lie to keep the expendables motivated. There was never a massive colony of escapees, just a small armada of decaying ships with refugee crews, desperate on the trickle of Redpills they can "wake up."

7) Keep the Twins, but lose the transparent part of their "ghost" ability.

8) Lose the Oz baby in Revolutions.

9) Rogue programs = good. Rogue programs traipsing around as vampires and werewolves = lame. Wouldn't they want to be as inconspicuous as possible? To that end, they'd probably even start hacking/stealing bluepill RSI's to confuse the system even more.

10) Turn Neo into the series' Big Bad by the 3rd film. Like that chick says in Legion, "I guess he got tired of all the bullshit."

11) Cypher had a point. Address the continuing moral quandary in waking people up: "Did I really give up my life for this shit?"

12) Blend the cyberpunk fantasy at the series' core with a potentially controversial view on the human side of fighting a guerilla insurgency. Battlestar Galactica did it, Faulkner did it, why not try it here?

13) Reveal -- in a shameless, but well-executed M. Night-style twist -- that there was never a war, but we put the Machines in charge after ruining the planet. They're merely caretakers in a giant nursery of our own design. Why the hell else would they keep us around?

14) It was all a dream. I used to read Word Up magazine.

15) Assassinate Neo halfway through the second movie like Marion Crane in Psycho, and watch how the movement changes once he's dead.

16) So...its just endless city in there? With some mountains? I'm not saying we need to see the fight taken to some farm town (unless they completely wreck a plantation-style mansion in a massive, Agent-on-Redpill fistfight), but at least give the setting a more real sense of scope.

17) Never depict anything outside the matrix itself, and call into question whether any of this is happening at all? Maybe Thomas Anderson was just crazy?

18) Make the fights look like they actually took effort. Granted, the incredible jumps and wall runs never really looked like they were anything but wire work, but by Reloaded, the movements actually feel choreographed, and if we can see the actors counting the steps as they move, you're doing it wrong.

19) What would happen if the Redpills discovered how to body-jump like Agents? Is it wrong if you give it back when you're done using the person? Not every dip into the Matrix ends with a gunfight, so there's no guarantee that wearing another's "skin" is a death sentence.

20) Actual spies in the machine ranks, not just bored informants under care of a Frenchman.

21) "So...you gonna talk to the rest of the crew or just sex up digital women?"

22) "So...we gonna do it in real life or only sex up in this training program?"

23) "So...you should stop asking me that; you know condoms don't exist out here."

24) You can turn a random passerby into an Agent, complete with fully loaded Desert Eagle, but can't turn some schmuck's grocery bag into a bomb as he's walking past the insurgent you're chasing around?

25) Introduce a new conflict in the machines enlisting "unlocked" Bluepills to replace the Agents. Is it still easy to kill someone working for the wrong side when you know its a real person? Even if the heavier implications get written off, it would still make for some fun fight scenes.

26) Ohmygodlosethetechnosoundtrack.

27) Since you turned the series into a video game by the 2nd installment anyway, why not toy with the established conventions of the videogame medium? Save points, respawns, health packs, everything. These people are hackers, after all, so let em hack, but show that there's grave consequences to every decision. Maybe in order to come back, you have to leave a piece of yourself behind in the machine. That can't weigh lightly on the soul after a certain point.

28) "Bots." Flash mobs, hundreds of bluepills strong, triggered to slow an Agent's progress, exact real world ddos attacks, (maybe controversially) provide a moving human shield to buy a valuable redpill/rebel/freedom fighter/insurgent needed time to make an exit, etc.

29) Get the redpills hands really dirty. Like "we have to assassinate this kid because he throws off the One equation" dirty.

30) Have more of a sense of humor. Nothing says "chillax, fanboy" like a little self-parody.

31) "We are all here to do what we are all here to do..." Yeah, tighten that shit up.

32) "You do not truly know someone until you fight them." See #31.

33) The strongest move Andy and Lana could have made, honestly, wouldn't be to completely abandon the 2nd and 3rd films in favor of "leaving well enough alone" as I've seen advocated before. If anything, seeing the Matrix realized in all the glory $150 million worth of effects could create was worth the price of admission. The only thing missing was the freshness that made the original -- portmanteau of influences that it was -- such a unique and mind bending experience. The Wachowski's faced and fell to the same issues George Lucas did in creating the Prequel trilogy: in an effort to recapture the energy of the early masterwork, they only gave audiences more of the same. There's the trite lesson we can all take home: if you're gonna create, keep pushing upward. As tempting as it may be to catch that same lightning in the bottle, give your audience more credit than that: you've proved yourself already, and those who really believe in you will follow in whatever new direction you'd like to lead. Just be sure to give them your best. *stands, salutes flag*

3 comment(s) to... “33 Ways the "Matrix" Trilogy Could Have Been Saved”


Anonymous said...

This said, allow me to indulge in a fools errand: a fanboy's attempt to be a little goofy for the next few minutes of your time, as I present you with [46 ways] the Matrix trilogy could have been saved from the abyss

PicMuse said...

Point taken and edited. Anonymous goblin, you are just and true.

WHayes said...

Agh, thanks, guys.

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