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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 07:41 GMT
Matrix reveals trilogy obsession
by Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

The final Matrix film in the trilogy is released this week but are fans tired of blockbusters being released in two or three parts, with endless hype and frequent disappointment?

At last the wait is over. Or is it: at last, no more Matrix films?

Depending on your point of view, the release of The Matrix Revolutions is either the conclusion of a nail-biting, frantic wait or a release from interminable hype.

What? More fighting in the Matrix?
Mere months after the second movie was released, the Wachowski's brothers final vision of the Matrix is released on an expectant world.

Many feel that the original film was never intended to have a sequel but its success made a follow-up all but inevitable.

But like many directors before them, success brought a rush of blood to the head.

The Wachowskis felt they could not contain their vision in just one new film but needed a second also.

"The Wachowski Brothers really had one film in mind," said Dan Fellman from Warner Bros. "Only we're going to distribute it in two parts."

Bigger and better

It's pretty clear then that if you enjoyed the first two Matrix films, then the third should not disappoint.

"I think we won't even have to advertise the third film, we'll just tell people the date, and they'll come," producer Joel Silver has boasted.

The Phantom Menace
Was the Phantom a film menace?
Despite the continuity of filming back to back, audiences are promised an even bigger and better film.

Perhaps that is something to do with the slightly muted response given to the second film.

At least the Wachowskis only had to try and trump the first Matrix film.

They are not the first directors unable to rein in their enthusiasm: George Lucas was so excited by the success of Star Wars in 1977, he wrote and produced two more films.


And then, after a wait of almost 20 more years, he decided the world needed a second trilogy.

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George Lucas, in returning to his Star Wars universe, was faced with improving upon a trilogy now considered a classic.

And after the critical mauling given to The Phantom Menace, we were told: "Just wait until film two."

So now we wait for film six, hoping that Lucas can somehow pull a triumphant resolution out of the bag and give audiences a movie which match the splendour of the first trilogy.

Another director faced with bringing an epic saga to conclusion is Lord of the Rings' film-maker Peter Jackson.

At least the Kiwi director had a legitimate reason for directing a trilogy - the original books are three volumes, after all.

He too shot his films back to back and has the comfort of knowing that the wildly positive praise lavished on his first two movies is unlikely to fade at the final hurdle.

But the trick is knowing when to stop.

If your stories are so epic that they require a trilogy, fine. But make sure you stop after number three.

The history of cinema is littered with examples of those who failed to put the brakes on in time.

Does anyone remember Death Wish IV, Alien Resurrection and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace?

The Matrix Revolutions is released on 5 November.

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