Matrix 2.0, The: Battle for Zion

 
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9.0
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9.0

Took the liberty of watching this last night. Glad I did!

I’ve seen Reloaded a couple times, Revolutions about 4 times. Reloaded came over as a sort of quasi-philosophical ride, that had potential, but got bogged down in subplots and redundancy. Revolutions just went all out Sci-Fi. Whilst they’re nice to watch, they never even got close to the original with it’s dark, thrillerish intrigue.

I’ve watched Spence’s take on it. I’ve also watched JasonN’s Evolutions. Neither are fully satisfying, but are good attempts.

With this in mind, yours appeared to be the most radical take on it, but I will admit to going into this a little half-hearted, but at 90 minutes to cover both films – it wasn’t going to kill me……and boy it didn’t!!!!

This is a really fun ride DanGarrett. At only 20 minutes in, I realised this was going to be a fast actioned take on things. You’ve seriously slimmed down two fats dudes into a trim athlete here, who is not some dumb action hero either. There’s still intelligence in this film, you’ve managed to keep the theme of fate running right through. You’ve trimmed it right back to a single plot and this is a good thing. It’s easy to follow and keeps your interest all the way through. There’s no dropoff in pace, in fact we have many high impact scenes that seem appropriate. At 58 minutes in, I was thinking, ‘yea, this is really working.’

- I like how you replaced Neo’s visions of Trinity’s death with visions of his own death, which we never saw in the original film.

- I liked how the mainframe was essentially – The Source.

- I’m sure you’ve split up the scene of Smith taking over The Oracle and placed it further back in the film. This works wonderfully.

I’ll give this a 9/10 overall I think.

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Overall rating 
 
9.0
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9.0

Just finished watching it. First let me say ‘you did it’. You made a Matrix sequels fan edit the way I had always wanted to see it. A while back, after having watched all of the other Matrix sequels fan edits, I had planned on making one that combines both into one film, and most importantly moves the fight against the machines in the real world to the same time in the story as the end of Reloaded. So for doing that, I say ‘thank you’.

My first impression when I started watching this was “Wow, BOTH films condensed into only an hour and 47 minutes? Impossible!!” But, you proved me wrong, for the most part. If anything, my only suggestion to improve this fan edit is that I feel the narrative should be fleshed out a little more. I like how everything you did changes the plot, but I feel like I’m watching an edited for tv version that condenses it down for time. What I mean is, it feels rushed and over-edited. To me this edit would be perfect if you added back in roughly 30 minutes of footage, making the run-time 2 hours 15 minutes. Granted, I’m NOT saying I want you to add back in characterization for characters that don’t need it (like Link, his wife, the kid, the general, or the little girl and her family), but I feel that we should’ve had a little more just to give us a better idea of who some of these characters are (like Lock and Niobe). A little bit more of Smith never hurts either, but I do like how the first time we see him use his “duplicating powers” is on the agent, and DEFINITELY prefer seeing him do that to Neo only once at the end. Adding back in a little bit would also help with the ending, which is very feel good and uplifting. I would’ve used the dance party scene as a way to show Zion celebrating their victory, but I wonder if you cut that out because you didn’t care for the scene.

Also, I would’ve liked to see more of the fight/battle scenes (though you edited them better than all the other Reloaded/Revolutions edits. Remember, I’ve seen them all. None of them ever edited the fight scenes right, mostly due to the music). However, I understand that since we’re seeing this all in one movie, pacing is important and too much of the fighting scenes can be overkill. Though one scene in particular that I wish you hadn’t edited so much was the chase scene in Revolutions when Niobe is outrunning the sentinels, as I felt it was the funnest scene in the theatrical version. The other captain’s line of “I had no idea this ship could do that” makes me laugh every time. I can tell you don’t care for CGI Neo and Smith during the first Burly Brawl. That’s why we only see a little bit of them in CGI at the end of the scene, correct?

No reason for me to go into detail about these points, but I’m glad your edit doesn’t have any sub-plots of Neo having power outside of the Matrix, no sub plot of there being other “ones”, no sub plot of system shut down and resetting the Matrix, no Neo premonitions of the future, no dude who is Smith in the real world, no train station guy, no Trinity deaths, no council elder talking to Neo with his pseudo-psychology 101 rhetoric, no time wasted on characters that appear out of nowhere (and/or add nothing to the plot), and not much of the little girl and none of her family. In fact to me, in your edit it seems more like she will be the next Oracle, and not the next “one”. Which works better IMO.

Ok, onto my nitpicks. I didn’t like the Oracle’s sudden change in appearance or Neo’s outfit, but that can’t be helped. The edit of Sariph and Neo switching places in the small house (since they don’t fight) kinda threw me off. Lastly, I personally didn’t care for the opening 5 minute flashback. Everyone has seen the first film, so we all know what’s going on. It was edited perfectly though.

Anyway, for now the “Hacked” edits are my “go to” edits when I’m in the mood for some Matrix, but you’ve laid the groundwork for that changing. Consider some of my ideas and your edit will de-throne them from my collection. However, do not let this deter you, as after the “Hacked” edits, yours is WITHOUT A DOUBT the next best edit (and very close to being better than them). Remember, I’ve seen all the edits so I know which ones are good. When I planned on making my own edit of these films I re-watched ALL the fan edits of the Matrix sequels and took notes of each of what I liked and disliked about each one so that my edit would be perfect. You’ve basically done it for me. And that really, really means a lot.

As for a rating: 9 out of 10.

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Overall rating 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
9.0

*This rating was given before reviews were required*

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Overall rating 
 
8.3
Audio/Video Quality 
 
10.0
Visual Editing 
 
8.0
Audio Editing 
 
7.0
Narrative 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
8.0

I don't hate the Matrix sequels, but I've always found them terribly disappointing as a follow-up to the brilliance that was the original film. They are full of great ideas that get in the way of one another, weak philosophical rambling, and action scenes that occur too often and go on for two long. Ultimately, they lack focus. What Dangermouse has done here is return that much-needed focus to the two films by hacking them to pieces, picking out the most essential chunks, and suturing these back together in a new way. What we get as a result is so much more satisfying, so much closer to what we expected from a sequel to The Matrix, that I don't even mind losing the long stretches of the original two films that disappointed me in the first place. For the first time ever watching any version of these movies, I didn't get bored once. Make no mistake, it all plays out very differently than it did in theaters, but I, for one, had zero problems with that. Even though I was a little annoyed by the frequency of the location markers at first (It's often clear by the skillful cutting where the next scene takes place), as the narrative became more confusing toward the end, when everyone has their own separate mission, I was thankful that they were there. I still think a few of them are unnecessary, but maybe that's just me. Also worth noting, this may be a ruthlessly shortened cut of the Matrix sequels, but Dangermouse has taken great care to preserve little character beats and jokes that, while not necessarily essential to the plot, ARE essential for making our heroes relatable. At the same time, he did cut out these same beats that do not feel genuine ("I had a dream, but now that dream is gone from me"). If you're not sure what I'm getting at, think about the way the characters were written in the two Star Wars trilogies. Which ones did you care about more?

And now for the constructive criticism...
While the first half of the film is edited wonderfully (the burly brawl especially was perfect), with the cuts feeling logical and everything flowing naturally from one scene to the next, the second half is a little too frenetic. Some of these scenes need time to breathe, or they ought to have been excised completely. I understand that many of these sequences are happening at the same time, and since it's the climax of the film the rhythm of the cutting should be fast, but if we are given a new location marker, we need to spend more than a few seconds there to digest what's happening before moving on to the next one. Even a couple of inessential lines of dialogue would be enough sometimes to ease the whiplash. As a rule, I think the sound edits could be hidden better; there aren't many horrible cuts, but they are frequently noticeable, even outside of the obvious music changes. Overlapping a bit of sound between scenes with drastically different aural compositions would help immensely. Also, even though I like what you did with the overlay of Neo's voice when he tells the architect about Smith quite a bit, his voice is so much louder than the rest of the dialogue in the movie that it's rather distracting when it happens. And lastly, the ending is very abrupt. I'm completely okay with the change, but I think it could have played out better. We need a little more catharsis for Zion, and the rhythm of the last shots of Trinity and Neo are pretty awkward. Everything else I can forgive as a result of drastic cutting.

There were a lot of other specific things about this edit that I love and a couple of niggles that I didn't mention because other reviewers here have covered them already. So if you're still on the fence about watching this, read those too. As for me, I heartily recommend Matrix 2.0.

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Yes
Format Watched?
DVD
Owner's reply

Thank you plurmonger.
Oh, if I could have gone and filmed some pick-up shots....! The second half IS a bit too choppy, but there's just no footage to work from. :-(
I think one day I might revisit this in HD, and I'll definitely consider if any scenes can be excised or perhaps strung together to make them longer and easier to follow.
And yes I did struggle with the audio - it was a bastard to get ok, never mind good. And, yes, I think I overdid it with Neo's voice - although on some systems it sounds perfect, others way too loud.
Thanks for the constructive criticism. Appreciate it.

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(Updated: October 01, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
8.3
Audio/Video Quality 
 
9.0
Visual Editing 
 
8.0
Audio Editing 
 
8.0
Narrative 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
8.0

I really enjoyed the narrative choices that were made in this fanedit. Several of little things that bothered me in the original films were cut like the Kid and Link's wife. Like others have stated, the location markers are a little distracting but I can understand why they were used especially during the second act climax as Neo enters the source and the Hammer is preparing to return to Zion.

There were a few audio jumps that I noticed while wearing headphone and the visual editing is slightly 'choppy' in spots, as another reviewer mentioned. However, the run-time for this fanedit is in what I like to call the sweet spot, between 90-120 minutes, and like I stated earlier the narrative is unique and refreshing. I particularity like the new ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed this take on the Matrix sequels and think that the editor did a fantastic job.

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Yes
Format Watched?
AVCHD
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