The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 film, the second installment in The Matrix trilogy, written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers. It premiered on May 7, 2003, in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and went on general release by Columbia Pictures in North American theatres on May 15, 2003, and around the world during the latter half of that month. The video game Enter the Matrix, which was released May 15, and a collection of nine animated shorts, the Animatrix, which was released on June 3, supported and expanded the storyline of the movie. The Matrix Revolutions, which completes the story, was released six months after Reloaded in November 2003.

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Plot Edit

Six months after the events of the first movie, Neo wakes from a nightmare where Trinity had been shot by an Agent of the Matrix while falling from a building. Morpheus receives a message from captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) of the Logos calling an emergency meeting of all Zion's hovercraft fleet. She has successfully recovered the information left by Captain Thaddeus (in the Animatrix short film Final Flight of the Osiris, depicted in the video game Enter the Matrix): 250,000 Sentinels are tunneling towards the underground city of Zion and will reach it in 72 hours. Commander Locke, the ranking military officer of Zion, orders all ships and their crews, including Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and their new operator Link, to return to Zion to prepare for the onslaught of the machines. Morpheus asks a ship to remain behind to contact the Oracle, in defiance of Commander Locke's orders. The Caduceus receives a message from the Oracle, and the Nebuchadnezzar, also in defiance of Locke's order, ventures out to allow Neo to contact her. Meanwhile, one of the Caduceus crew members, Bane, encounters Agent Smith, who takes over Bane's avatar in the world of the Matrix. Smith then leaves the Matrix via the nearby hard line and into Bane's body in physical reality.

After returning to Zion, the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar attend a meeting in Zion's temple, where Morpheus announces the news of the advancing machines to the people; but his positive attitude and stirring speech gives them courage as a dance breaks out. While having sex with Trinity, Neo has the nightmare again. Neo receives a message from the Oracle and the next morning returns to the Matrix, where he meets her and her bodyguard Seraph. Realizing that the Oracle is a part of the Matrix, Neo asks how he can trust her, but is answered that the decision to treat her as ally or enemy is his alone. The Oracle then explains that she is an exiled computer program and instructs Neo to reach the Source of the Matrix by finding the Keymaker, a prisoner in the home of the Frenchman-like program called the Merovingian. The Keymaker, as his name implies, can make keys that can open a series of portals hidden within the Matrix. As the Oracle departs, Agent Smith appears despite his apparent destruction in the first film. Missing his earpiece (which he sent to Neo in a package as a sign of his survival), Smith tells Neo that after being defeated by him he knew that he was supposed to return to the Matrix's Source to be deleted, but refused and now is no longer bound by rules or a duty to remove threats from the Matrix. Following that line of reasoning, he states that he is "apparently free", but then subsequently asserts that because he no longer has a purpose, he is in fact not free. He demonstrates his ability to clone himself using the people of the Matrix as hosts (even assimilating the body of another Agent), prompting a fight between Neo and Smith's clones, who number in the hundreds. Neo flees when he realizes he is hopelessly outnumbered.

Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity visit the Merovingian and ask for the Keymaker; but the Frenchman refuses. His wife, Persephone, tired of her husband's attitude and infidelity, turns against him and leads the trio to the Keymaker, at the cost of a passionate kiss from Neo. Her desire to have her husband know of her treachery becomes apparent when she shoots one of his assistants, and then forces the other to tell the Merovingian what happened. While Neo battles the Merovingian's guards, Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaker escape onto a nearby freeway with the ghostly Twins, Agents, and the police in pursuit. Morpheus defeats the Twins and tells Trinity to escape with the Keymaker. Pursued by Agents in a dangerous highway chase, Trinity gives the Keymaker back to Morpheus, who then saves the Keymaker from an Agent with help from Niobe. Both Morpheus and the Keymaker are then retrieved by a flying Neo.

In the story's real world, the remaining ships at Zion prepare for a battle with the machines. At a building, the crews of the Nebuchadnezzar, Vigilant, and Logos help the Keymaker and Neo reach the Source's door. The crew of the Logos must destroy a nearby power plant in order to prevent a destructive security system from being triggered by the Keymaker's keys, and the crew of the Vigilant must destroy the backup power station. The Vigilant's mission goes wrong when a Sentinel throws a bomb at their ship and all their members, including the ones plugged into the Matrix, instantly die. Trinity (who had remained in the Nebuchadnezzar because of Neo's wishes to prevent his vision of her death from coming true), upon seeing this turn of events, decides to destroy the back-up station herself. Although this is a success, her escape is inhibited by an Agent and a duel occurs. Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker attempt to reach the source through a hallway of shortcuts to other doors in the Matrix. The 'Smiths' invade and try to kill Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker. The Keymaker manages to unlock the door to the source but is shot by the 'Smiths' and dies.

Neo confronts "The Architect", surrounded by expressions of Neo's every thought.Neo enters the source and meets an anthropomorphic program called the Architect, who is revealed as the creator of the Matrix. The Architect informs Neo that there have been multiple versions of the Matrix, and with it, multiple versions of the One, which is itself a computer anomaly chosen by the Matrix to be used as a means of control. Because humanity rejected the "perfect" Matrix, the world that has come to be accepted is flawed and remains an unbalanced equation. The One is therefore the sum of the remainder of that flaw. The prophecy is that the One must reach the source in order to destroy the Matrix and free humanity: however, the One's actual purpose is to return to the Source, which will reset the Matrix to its prime program. Afterwards, he will be asked to choose 16 females and 7 males to rebuild Zion after the inevitable final battle, which in turn repopulates the city to provide the next round of humans for the "rebellion" and the next iteration of the "Prophecy", a confirmation of Morpheus's statement of the last film in reference to the One who previously freed himself and others. Failure to do so will cause the unresolved Matrix error to spiral out of control, and result in the death of every human attached to the Matrix. Along with the final battle at Zion, this would mean the extinction of the human race. Neo retorts that because the machines need humans in order to survive, they will not allow this; but the Architect replies that without humans, "there are levels of survival we are prepared to accept."

After conversing, the Architect gives Neo a choice of two exits from the room: one door will lead to the rebuilding of Zion, the other door to Trinity's rescue, causing the downfall of humanity. Neo hastens from the building in an attempt to save Trinity, who is shot by an Agent as they fall from a building and is caught by Neo before she hits the ground. Refusing to accept her impending death, Neo removes the bullet lodged in Trinity's chest and manages to revive her by stimulating her heart. In the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo explains his findings to the crew, revealing that the prophecy of the One is false and that Zion will be destroyed in twenty-four hours. Sentinels approach and destroy the ship, whereupon Neo "saves" his friends, seemingly, by using an "unexpected ability" to overload and disable the Sentinels' program with an EMP-like shockwave. The exertion inherent in this effort causes Neo to fall suddenly unconscious. The crew is picked up by the hovercraft Mjolnir , whose crew explains that they were under orders from Locke to lead a pre-emptive attack on the army of Sentinels advancing on Zion. The strategy was to use the ships' EMPs and stay out of each other's range; but an EMP was detonated by the Caduceus before the ships could get into position. Therefore multiple ships were left without power, with only a handful of survivors escaping, the Sentinels having destroyed any ship that could not get away. Once the machines had completed the massacre and returned to digging for Zion, the Mjolnir made a quick pass to look for survivors, and found only one: Bane.

Production Edit

The Matrix Reloaded was largely filmed at Fox Studios Australia in Australia, concurrently with filming of the sequel Revolutions. The freeway chase scene was filmed at the decommissioned Naval Air Station Alameda in Alameda, California. Producers constructed a 1.5-mile freeway on the old runways just for the movie. Portions of the chase were also filmed in Oakland, California, and the tunnel shown briefly is the Webster Tube connecting Oakland and Alameda. Some post-production editing was done in old aircraft hangars on the base as well.

The city of Akron was willing to give full access to Route 59, the stretch of freeway known as the "Innerbelt", for filming of the freeway chase when it was under consideration. However, producers decided against this as "the time to reset all the cars in their start position would take too long". MythBusters would later reuse the Alameda location in order to explore the effects of a head-on collision between two semi trucks, and to perform various other experiments.

97% of the materials from the sets of the movie were recycled. For example, tons of wood were sent to Mexico to build low-income housing.

Scenes from the movie Baraka by Ron Fricke were selected to represent the real world shown by the wallmonitors in the Architect's room.

Sound design Edit

Sound editing on the Matrix Trilogy was completed by Danetracks in West Hollywood, CA.

Soundtrack Edit

Don Davis, composer on The Matrix, returned to score Reloaded. For many of the pivotal action sequences, such as the "Burly Brawl", he collaborated with Juno Reactor. Some of the collaborative cues by Davis and Juno Reactor are extensions of material by Juno Reactor; for example, a version of "Komit" featuring Davis' strings is used during a flying sequence, and "Burly Brawl" is essentially a combination of Davis' unused "Multiple Replication" and Juno Reactor's "Masters of the Universe". One of the collaborations, "Mona Lisa Overdrive", is titled in reference to the cyberpunk novel of the same name by William Gibson, a major influence on the directors. Leitmotifs established in The Matrix return (such as the Matrix main theme, Neo and Trinity's love theme, the Sentinel's theme and Neo's flying theme, and a more frequent use of the four-note Agent Smith theme), and some used in Revolutions are established.

As with its predecessor, many tracks by external musicians are featured in the movie, its closing credits, and the soundtrack album, some of which were written for the movie. Many of the musicians featured (for example Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine and Marilyn Manson) had also appeared on the soundtrack for The Matrix. Rob Dougan contributed again, licensing the instrumental version of his eponymous "Furious Angels", as well as being commissioned to provide an original track, ultimately scoring the battle in the Merovingian's chateau. A remixed version of "Another Kind of Blues" by electronic artist Fluke (listed on the soundtrack as "Zion") was used during the rave scene.

Linkin Park contributed their instrumental song "Session" to the film as well, though it did not appear during the actual runtime. P.O.D. composed a song called "Sleeping Awake", with a music video that focused heavily on Neo and many images that were part of the movie.

Cast Edit

  • Keanu Reeves as Neo
  • Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity
  • Hugo Weaving as Smith
  • Gloria Foster as The Oracle
  • Helmut Bakaitis as The Architect
  • Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian
  • Monica Bellucci as Persephone
  • Adrian Rayment as Twin #2
  • Niel Rayment as Twin #1
  • Daniel Bernhardt as Agent Johnson
  • Collin Chou as Seraph
  • Nona Gaye as Zee (Aaliyah was originally cast.)
  • Gina Torres as Cas
  • Anthony Zerbe as Councillor Hamann
  • Roy Jones, Jr. as Captain Ballard
  • David A. Kilde as Agent Jackson
  • Randall Duk Kim as The Keymaker
  • Harry J. Lennix as Commander Lock
  • Matt McColm as Agent Thompson
  • Harold Perrineau Jr. as Link
  • Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe
  • Cornel West as Councillor West
  • Bernard White as Rama-Kandra
  • Anthony Wong as Ghost
  • Zee was originally to be played by Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in August 25, 2001, before filming was complete.

Reception Edit

Reloaded earned an estimated $42.5 million on its Thursday opening day in North America, a new record surpassing the one set in May 2002 by Spider-Man, which took in $39.4 million on its first day. The movie earned $91.8 million over its first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, establishing it as the second-best opening weekend ever after Spider-Man's 2002 (inflation unadjusted) record of $114.8 million in ticket sales during its three-day opening weekend. Reloaded garnered the biggest (inflation unadjusted) debut ever for an R-rated film (The Passion of the Christ is a close second at $83.8 million, and 300 came in third with $70.9 million). Although the film exceeded box office records during its first week, it fell to the number two spot on the box-office totals the following week when it was beaten by the Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. The film earned $281.5 million in the US and $742.1 million worldwide. It is currently the 30th highest grossing film, and is one of the highest grossing R-rated features of all time.

The Matrix Reloaded had positive critical reception in most of the media, with a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 73%. However, it was rated by Entertainment Weekly as one of "The 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made".

Positive comments included commendation for the quality and intensity of its action sequences and intelligence. Tony Toscano of Talking Pictures had exceptional praise for it, saying that "its character development and so crisp it crackles on the screen" and that "Matrix Reloaded re-establishes the genre and even raises the bar a notch or two" above the first movie, The Matrix.

Negative comments included the sentiment that the plot was alienating, with some critics taking the view that the focus on the action came at the cost of the movie's human element. Some also said that the dialogue focus on exposition scenes worked against the film. Although it was well-known that the plot of Reloaded would be resolved in Revolutions, the many unresolved subplots and the cliffhanger ending were criticised by some.

The film was banned in Egypt because of the violent content and because it put into question issues about human creation "linked to the three monotheistic religions that we respect and which we believe in".[15] Egyptian media claimed it promoted Zionism since it talks about Zion and the dark forces that wish to destroy it. However, it was later allowed to be shown in theatres and was later released on DVD and VHS.

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