The Matrix Reloaded
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers
Written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski
Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tom Shadyac
Screenplay by Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe
The Matrix Reloaded, the second film of a projected trilogy, could hardly be more disappointing. Four years ago, The Matrix reinvented the science-fiction movie with an unparalleled blend of messianic allegory, visual artistry, and acrobatic stunts. The film’s narrative told us nothing new, but—like art in general—it made us see the familiar as if for the first time.
Sibling directors Andy and Larry Wachowski had drawn from many sources to remind us that we all need to be saved from the quotidian haze that blinds us to what is central to our lives: the destiny of our freely choosing souls. The conceit the Wachowskis used to raise this issue has its provenance in Plato’s myth of the cave and the disturbing news of the Gospels and, jarringly, a smattering of gnostic mumbo-jumbo.
To make this theme popularly accessible, The Matrix deployed a typical science-fiction convention. Machines have taken over human life and plugged everyone into an elaborate software program that simulates a reassuring, pacifying...