Watch This: Joe Pantoliano on Why the Matrix Sequels Failed
"Ignorance is bliss," isn't it? Before we begin, let me be clear - I personally loved Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. Of course, by mentioning this, both fans and haters are going to come out of the woodwork to argue. However, what I can't argue is that Revolutions only made $139M at the box office, which was $142M less than Reloaded and $32M less than the first Matrix. It should've been a much bigger success, but it wasn't. Why? That's another question that doesn't really have an answer, however, I'll let Joe Pantoliano stoke that fire again. This interview comes from FORA.tv and is a fascinating watch for Matrix fans.
Before reading on, I suggest you check out this video, which is only just a few minutes long. The interviewer asks Joe Pantoliano why Matrix became such a huge hit, and he goes into a discussion about the sequels.
Its been some six years since Reloaded and Revolutions hit theaters, and we've had a long time to discuss what went wrong (well, at least those who didn't enjoy them had discussions), but I'm still fascinated by Pantoliano's answer. It's a fairly simple response at first, but what he gets into near the end is very interesting. If you think about how Hollywood works, although there are plenty of movies that are copies that become more successful than the original, it's that first mind blowing experience that true cinephiles hold in high regard and never forget. I think that's the best point that Pantoliano makes.
Of course, haters of the sequels will argue that the Wachowskis screwed up anyway, and even though they had a chance to blow us away again, they didn't. However, I'll argue that they did blow me away with Speed Racer (at least visually), and that may be because it was something new, and it wasn't a sequel or a copy of their own movie(s). So, extending Pantoliano's discussion, maybe the Wachowskis aren't gooda t sequels, because at that point they start to just copy themselves? I hate to say something like that, since I think they're visionaries, but maybe they tried too hard (or not hard enough) on Reloaded and Revolutions?