I loved the first Matrix and like most of society, have less than an appreciation for the disappointing sequels. This fanedit is good from a technical standpoint but the overall narrative hasn't changed that much from the original films as mentioned by previous reviewers.
There is a significant amount that has been cut in this fanedit but I can't help but feel that even more could have been cut. For example, I have never been fond of the Zion rave scene and was perplexed as to why the editor decided to keep it in.
On the other hand, there are many smart edits in this version. I found the battle of the Zion dock was perfectly edited and is perhaps my favorite part of the edit. I also really enjoyed how the movie opened with scenes from Enter the Matrix, which I also think were masterfully used.
This fanedit is leagues better than the original sequel movies and is worthy of a viewing.
The best tribute to the sequels in their original form you can imagine. Stupendously good audio quality, video quality and incredibly professional editing come together to turn the original sequels into a single, continuous story, and it simply works. Toning down Neo's superpowers so he can't affect Sentinals, doesn't see Trinity's death and doesn't have to remove the bullet from her (since she is never shot in this edit) has remarkably little impact on the overall proceedings in a good way. The re-edited lead up to Neo finding the door for the source works considerably better than it did in the theatrical cut and reinforces the fact three teams are working together much more. The annoying sub-plot of Neo stuck in Matrix limbo is cut entirely with no major plot holes. There's still plenty of great action sequences - the shortened highway chase has ingeniously chosen cuts but is still highly enjoyable, as is the trimmed battle for Zion, although I don't entirely see the point of removing Kid's involvement other than for the sake of shortening the entire battle - and drama with minorly improved stakes thanks to the seamlessly added scenes from 'Enter The Matrix' that give more depth to Locke and Niobe, and even sometimes improving the already brilliant pacing. Faultless work from Jerick in the execution department, so well done there!
However, the problem I have with this edit is hardly in the perfect execution of it's ideas, but rather the ideas themselves, it's purist nature. It strays very closely to the original narrative, and the problem with the original storyline IMO isn't it's focus on the fate of Zion so much as it's occasional ramblings into indulgent philosophy, and the fact that Zion's population mostly consists of secondary characters you never grow to truly care about. None of the new secondary characters ever develop beyond their initial traits (Niobe is always the strong-headed woman, Locke is always the stubborn commander, Link is always the likable family man etc), and any scenes that try to develop their personalities seem pointless because they only ever display their traits again rather than add real, unique development. The same can be said of the numerous moments of hollow-ringing philosophy since most of the time they involve secondary characters you don't care about, with limited direct impact on the story proceedings, and therefore they feel like unnecessary distractions from the action sequences, the core elements of the Matrix universe's mythology and the actual fate of Zion. It's simply boring storytelling. This edit includes *plenty* of these indulgent philosophy and redundant, repetitive secondary character development scenes, albeit brief ones, including the infamous Architect scene that is left mostly untouched and several scenes highlighting how the sequels love to constantly return to Morpheus' obsession with his mental book "THE PROPHECY: HOW NEO WILL SAVE US ALL". It's just paced extremely well with the worst fat from Revolutions trimmed. I also thought the change that tries to make it seem as if the Oracle's appearance remains the same was unnecessary, since it's already explained in the movie albeit poorly and would only add a few minutes to the running time if you left it as is. The issue is made even worse by your decision to leave the ending as is, making the change in The Oracle's appearance confusing as hell unless you're already familiar with the film, and IMO all fanedits should be created with the assumption that you are showing it to someone who has never seen the film before to avoid this. I understand there's a post-credits scene explaining the change, but that doesn't make it seem any less unnecessary or confusing since the story is technically over by that point anyway. Some poor acknowledgement within the film itself is much better than some good acknowledgement once the story is over.
So for those reasons, this edit isn't for me. Geminigod's Epic Edition remains my go-to version of the sequels for shifting the overall focus, toning down the philosophy and secondary character development to fairer levels, despite some rougher editing. But I applaud Jerick for doing such a quality job with Reprogrammed, even more so since it's his first release. Recommended for Matrix fans.
I liked it. You really tightened it up from what I remember of the theatrical versions. It actually made sense to me as well! I agree with most of the points of the other reviews, it's a step up.
You made me appreciate a few things I thought I never could:
Agent Bane - never clearly felt the connection of Neo knowing about Smith and what it would mean for the machine world (not just the human one)
Tied to that is Neo's real world power. You scaled it back to just sight, and it worked really well.
Now for the audio/video quality, it was great. I watched it on Vimeo, so loading hiccups aside, it looked great.
Visual editing was mostly great. A few scenes I remember noticing editing: When Neo saves Trinity as the building falls. This is not just because it was a memorable scene in theatres, but when they land on the roof, the cuts are really quick and hard. Tough to get around that I know, but it was noticeable.
Another spot was when Smith copies himself into the oracle. This scene is very clearly edited, with most of the oracle's lines omitted.
Another spot was when Mifune is opening the gate. It seemed like he didn't really have an intention to open it and it seemed like there was some editing there to make it fit, it just didn't work for me.
Finally, when Neo and Trinity are going to the machine city there is a shot with the explosives around them where you see Neo reaching out, fighting them (using his "force" powers) It's just a split second, but it took me out of the "no Neo-power" mood. Not that critical though.
Audio editing was also mostly great. The stand out scene that sounded all out of sorts was when Neo meets the oracle and seraph the first time. When they are about to leave the audio did some very weird things.
I gave the lowest score to narrative, but I would score the theatrical versions much much lower. I think it's still too long. The beginning 30 minutes are excessive. While an interesting intro, starting with the meeting would work too. There's just a bit much Niobe.
I like the exclusion of Neo fainting and having power, but he is conspicuously absent after the Nebuchadnezzar blows up. It was handled nicely "sorry for taking so long" so we just assume he's been alone thinking. Still awkward but alright.
I was also conflicted about something near the end. When Neo gets to the machines he knows that Smith is taking over the Matrix and offers his assistance. But he didn't know this prior to going. At first I thought that was a big problem, but it is actually a common theme in the movies. Like the Merovingian says, they simply follow orders. Again and again though it works out for them. In a weird way, Agent Bane worked out for Neo too, since he learns that Smith can get into the real world: if human then machine too. And that's his bargaining chip with the machines. So that's a success of the narrative I first thought was a flaw. Just wanted to add that.
Some action sequences are a bit long, but overall you trimmed stuff up really nicely. I would have taken even more from Zion sequences though.
I'm also not sure about the inclusion of some scenes. One is when Smith gets Seraph and the girl. I guess one needs to make sense of why Seraph isn't there when they reach the Oracle. But the presence of so many Smiths might be sufficient: we realize Seraph was copied. Besides, his end is pretty anticlimactic anyway.
I really enjoyed watching this and will recommend it to others. Thanks for making it!
Owner's replySeptember 30, 2013
Thanks for your lengthy and well thought out review. You definitely mentioned most if not all of the most difficult edits of this film. If you ever watch the movie again I would encourage you to try and forget your knowledge of the original film. Radical changes to scene structure and to narrative in fanedits are always more enjoyable if you can pretend that the sequences always happened that way.