Filmmaking siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski are currently out doing press (along with Tom Tykwer) for their upcoming adaptation of Cloud Atlas. However, conversation seems to get around to the Matrix trilogy sooner or later – and that’s the case in this new interview clip posted over at Movie City News (via Blastr).
At around the 17-minute mark, Lana Wachowski breaks down why she thinks most people didn’t like the second and third film in that series.
“This is what we wanted to do with the trilogy; it was an experiment from the very beginning. Could you change the way audiences participate in an action movie? ... What we were trying to achieve with the story overall was a shift, the same kind of shift that happens for Neo, that Neo goes from being in this sort of cocooned and programmed world, to having to participate in the construction of meaning to his life. And we were like, 'Well, can the audience go through the three movies and experience something similar to what the main character experiences?'
So the first movie is sort of classical in its approach, the second movie is deconstructionist and an assault on all the things you thought to be true in the first movie... and the third movie is the most ambiguous, because it asks you to actually participate in the construction of meaning.”
In retrospect, that approach was a pretty big mistake – as the second and third films are regarded as lesser than the first in most circles. It’s interesting to note that the Wachowskis never assign blame for why these films didn’t work as intended, but it seems obvious that they didn’t really understand what fans of the original Matrix were looking for when it came to the sequels.
The interesting question here then becomes: Did the Wachowskis always plan to take The Matrix sequels in this direction from the start, or was this something they decided to do in the wake of the first film’s success? If it’s the former, it’s a little easier to accept the sequels’ shortcomings as they’re testament to a vision (however commercially misguided) that the filmmakers had from the very beginning. If it’s the latter, then it seems like the Wachowskis bought into their own hype in the wake of the first film’s success. We’d love to see an interviewer ask that question – and maybe someone will eventually.
Have a gander at the extended interview segment below. Does this explanation of the driving vision behind The Matrix sequels change your opinion at all? We’ll be honest – we thought those final two films were pretentious before reading these comments. Now we’re sure of it. What do you think?