The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

There is no spoon.

There may be a fork, a knife, a butter dish and a french green bean maker, but there is no spoon.

This is just one of the many pearls of wisdom gleamed from Keanu Reeves hip new effects reel, The Matrix.

Any review of a Keanu movie must start with Keanu himself. Basically, just how bad is he in this one?

Is he playing a role that adeptly hides how unbelievably horrible he is (Parenthood, the Bill and Ted movies)? Or is he playing a role that broadcasts his complete and utter lameness for all to see(everything else)?

Actually, there is a third class of Keanu films. These are films that are so packed with other distractions - explosions, car chases, semi-naked hotties - that Keanu is given little actual acting to do. These movies include Speed... and... and ... did I mention Speed?

Well you can slap The Matrix into that third category. Keanu is so buried in effects and gunfire that he has little to do other than pose. And he poses pretty well.

So let's talk about those effects.

These effects are like nothing you've ever seen before. Unless you've seen a Gap ad. But this time, they're not used to show a bunch of sickeningly cute people dancing. They're used to blow things up. Pretty cool.

Problem is, you know what the best fight sequence was? The one you saw in the preview. And the second best? The other one you saw in the preview. The third best? Yup. Preview. Are you picking up a pattern here?

There really aren't as many effects shots and action sequences as I'd thought there would be. I was expecting to be completely blown away, and instead, someone merely passed wind. Mind you, what I saw was pretty friggin' good, I just wanted more of it. I'm greedy like that.

Before people start sending off those emails berating me for not liking their newest favorite head-trip, I want to make sure you understand. I liked this movie. I thought it was a good film. Not a great film, but a good film. More than that, it was a well made sci-fi film, which as most of you know, is almost a paradox. Sci-Fi fans, rest assured that you will love this film. It's trippy. It asks some really cool questions. It looks very pretty.

OK. What is it about? What is The Matrix? Well, as Laurence Fishburne says, "No one can tell you what The Matix is, you simply have to experience it for yourself."

Actually no, that's bunk.

The Matrix is the story of a guy who finds out that reality, as you and I know it, is fake. That we're really all hooked up to one big machine - "The Matrix" - that is projecting a version of reality that we can all deal with and we're actually all prisoners in our own minds. So he sets out to free humanity, even though everyone who exists in the Matrix doesn't know that they're in it, so they're none the worse.

Now was that all that hard?

The story is actually the coolest thing about this movie. It really plays into the alternate reality thing well. You'll end up sitting in bed for hours asking yourself all kinds of questions regarding the main themes of the play. Well, maybe not, but you will definitely think it's cool.

In the end, this was a really cool 120 minute film. It would have been even cooler in 90 minutes. There are points where the darned thing actually drags. You get a tasty opening action sequence, then you sit on your hands for 30 minutes as every intricate detail of this very intricate plot is explained for you. Come on, people! Liven things up for Christ's sake! It's a Keanu Reeves movie, not Amadeus!

See, as cool as we think this movie is, the directors thought it was cooler. For example, there is a neat slow-motion action sequence in the film. When it starts, you're thinking "Wow. What a really cool slow-motion action sequence!" Five minutes later you're thinking "My God, will this slow-motion action sequence never end?"

So, keeping every thing I've said in mind, I'm going to give The Matrix a very calculated score of... 3 1/2 Babylons.

But I stress, there is no spoon.


...and as we come to the end of yet another literary masterpiece, I'll point out the neither The Matrix nor Speed had any "semi-naked hotties" anywhere. Hotties, yes, but they were clad.

The Matrix
Rated: R
Directed By: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving...but no spoon.

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