We watched “The Forever Purge” a few days ago and I felt like it was the weakest in the series so far. The acting was good. The sets and costumes were amazing, though there were quite a few instances where scenes and shots were lined up and slowed down as if in anticipation of screenshots, Wonder Woman style, which is a trend that is starting to get tiresome.
The main problem I had with the film is that social commentary was just too heavy-handed and clumsy. At some points, I expected all of the action to stop, the character to turn and look full into the camera, and for a “So kids…” monologue to ensue. It was too preachy.
This movie was a deviation from the rest of the series, which focused on human nature and what people would do in severe circumstances. It was obvious that this movie was about Trump and Trump’s perceived cultural legacy, and it’s a shame to see how much Trump affected the minds of so many people.
I enjoy social commentary in movies, but make it a part of the movie itself instead of being explicitly stated. Make it complex and provoking, but let us figure it out as we digest the story and relate it to our own lives.
I’m tired of this idea that specific narratives and ideologies need to be shoved in people’s faces all of the time, baldly and without nuance. I’m reminded of the actions of certain groups who migrated from Twitter to Mastodon (Fediverse) after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. They had an explicitly stated desire to politicize everything on Mastodon as much as possible with current and former US political issues. One user commented that Mastodon users wanted to have a quiet space to discuss hobbies and interests and they had to specifically disrupt that to amplify their message. How vulgar. How perverse. How ironic!
Matrix Resurrections was ok. It was quite a bit better than I expected and I appreciated the self-deprecating humor in the scenes discussing a possible fourth Matrix video game and the direction it should take. I kind of wonder if the dialogue about it moving forward with or without Keanu’s approval was something that actually happened. It was kind of high brow, but in the right way.
The movie really fleshes out the relationship between Neo and Trinity in a complicated, thought-provoking way that fits into the world of the Matrix and makes me hungry for more of the story. I’m definitely going to be re-watching the original series again. The fight scenes were well choreographed, though it felt like they were relying very heavily on ‘look this is just like how it happened in the first movie’ for quite a few things, like the first “bullet time” scene. Speaking of bullet time, it was interesting to see that certain programs in the Matrix were able to utilize that in new and interesting ways.
Where the script falls off the rails is when, instead of just showing women doing things and being things because that’s how it is, an explicit call to Liberal Social Justice is made by adding the buzzword “agency” in the scene where Naiobi tells Neo to not take “her captain’s agency away from her”.
Why not just say, “Don’t apologize for her Neo. She can speak for herself!”?
It would have been more powerful and more real. Have you ever heard people in the street yelling at each other about taking each other’s agency away from them? Who talks like that? No one except Far Left activists and people caught up in the Academia mindset.
Presenting women in positions of authority should be done without apology or comment, as the way it just is, that women doing those things is ordinary, normal, common, etc, exactly the same way that men doing things is presented. The moment you add a political qualifier to the dialogue, you pull viewers out of the fantasy of the movie and detract from the possible impact of the scene. For me, it left me critical of the scene and then I started being critical of everything else in the rest of the movie, which left me enjoying it quite a bit less than I could have. Movies are ultimately entertainment, not soap boxes for political agendas. When you blur the line, you risk losing your audience.
I was also a little disappointed in the replacement actor for Agent Smith. He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t live up to Hugo Weaving’s portrayal. I also could have done without the bootleg Morpheus. That character being called Morpheus didn’t add anything to the story other than a call to nostalgia, though there were quite a few calls to nostalgia in the movie, both verbally and with cut scenes of footage from the earlier films. It felt like the directors weren’t sure the film could survive on its own without being propped up by the first 3 movies, which is a little weird, considering it’s a sequel and the viewers would, presumably, already be familiar with the first three movies. It was like watching one of those previous episode recaps but mixed into the movie itself instead of at the beginning.
Finishing the movie out by placing Trinity on a level with Neo makes sense for the plot of this particular movie, but I’m not sure it makes sense when placed alongside the original story line. I’d have to re-watch the original movies to be sure, but I was under the impression that Neo was “The One” because there could only be one “The One”. Maybe he was just The One that would have enough ability to manipulate the Matrix to balance the scales of power between humans and the machines. That wouldn’t necessarily preclude other people from achieving that level of ability, and varying levels of ability were hinted at by the people at the Oracle’s apartment in the original trilogy, but why would Neo and Trinity together create overwhelming power or trigger Trinity’s ability to act on par with Neo? Are they really implying that love is the magic ingredient? I mean, it’s a beautiful idea, but it doesn’t seem to fit the themes of the original trilogy.
Finally, the story felt a little loose to me in terms of restrictions on the movements of average freed people in the Matrix. Obviously, they had to take into account modern wireless technology and mobile phones, but if a land line wasn’t required to get in or out of the Matrix, what was the point of the hacked doors and mirrors? Couldn’t they just use WiFi to appear in the Matrix anywhere they wanted?
Another movie is implied by Smith’s getaway at the end and, hopefully, if more movies are made, the above questions will be addressed in a way that doesn’t turn the logic if the story into soup. There are a lot of criticisms here, but it was still fun and I’d watch it again after re-watching the original 3.
Also, and this is on a tangent, maybe, but watching this movie really makes me want to play Grand Theft Auto V again.
Today, I learned that the original 1954 #Godzilla film and the concept of Godzilla were inspired by the #atomic bombings of #Hiroshima and #Nagasaki by the US during World War II. I never really thought about it, but it makes sense.
I’m looking forward to the new movie version. I read the book when I was a teenager and again this year. It was and still is excellent, even knowing the real world cultural inspiration and background for the idea of the Fremen.
I was a little conflicted when I heard that they were going to remove the term “jihad” from the movie, but after reading the book again and thinking about it, I think it was the right move. The word has too many connotations and baggage now that didn’t exist when the story was written. Using it would give the movie meaning that wasn’t intended in the original story.