I found a YouTube account CinemaSins, which produces a series of videos with titles that start, “Everything Wrong With…” It sounded like fun, so I watched Everything Wrong With Jurassic Park In 3 Minutes Or Less. Some of it is remarkably observant and often funny. But it is wrong at times. For example, it notes a page from a tabloid taped on the lab refrigerator that proclaims, “Space Aliens Stole My Face!” The video notes sarcastically, “Exactly the kind of article I would expect archaeologists and paleobotanists to hang on their fridge.” This is not an error. This is the video maker assuming that scientists are stodgy and humorless. When I was in graduate school, I had numerous covers from the Weekly World News covering my lab walls, including the classic “Bat Child Found in Cave.” It was observant of the video maker to see the story, but clueless not to realize it was put up as a kind of joke.
It also makes other errors by simply assuming the worse. For example, it misunderstands what is happening when Hammond gets out of the helicopter. But overall, it isn’t bad. It seems that CinemaSins is mostly interested in humor. Things are far, far worse for MovieBlunders. This isn’t to say that it is bad. As a matter of fact, the level of detail is truly amazing. The problem is that the blunders are sometimes their own, and since they take it more seriously, it is worse when they are wrong. I watched their video Everything Wrong With The Matrix, but it is actually about the whole series:
Before getting to that, the first thing they bring up is something that has always bothered me (although they don’t make it clear). Neo and Trinity cut the elevator cord, sending the bomb down and them up. But how do they get out of the elevator shaft? Wouldn’t the elevator falling cause them to be crushed at the top of the elevator? Of course, this is not actually an error. This is what we call “off screen action.” I’m sure our daring duo jump from the cord out of the shaft in the nick of time. Just because the film didn’t show it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
They ask how Mouse didn’t manage to hit anything as he was firing while being blown away. I don’t want to play apologist here (which I could do for most of the things they mention), but the movie doesn’t indicate that Mouse hit no one. He clearly didn’t hit everyone and so was shot and died. A similar situation goes on when Trinity shoots Agent Jones. We see her when she shoots so we don’t know where he was shot, only where the gun was pointed when the shot cut.
Most of the things they note are amazingly trivial. For example, they note that bullets don’t make cars explode. That’s true. But it wouldn’t be a movie if bullets didn’t make cars explode. What’s more, they didn’t have any problem when later a sword made a car flip over and explode. They also have an odd fascination with guns. Two separate blunders were the lack of rifling marks on the bullets. And two other times they mention the fact that when someone was shot, the bullets did not land in the rear wall. And at least three times they complain about bullet casings.
But there were a couple of things that really annoyed me. One was at the beginning of the film when the phone trace is started on Trinity. The time stamp was 13:24. They note that it was the middle of the night and this would indicate the time was midday. Have these people never heard of local time? This kind of thing is anti-apologetics. It is taking something in a movie and not making a reasonable assumption about it. Instead, they make whatever assumption is worst. That’s not reasonable.
Finally, we get to the real reason I wrote this: painful misunderstand of movie making! When Neo and Morpheus are plopped down on a rooftop in the training simulator, they are far away from the stairway entrance. But after the cut, the stairway entrance appears to be close behind them. This does not mean what these guys think it means. The filmmakers are doubtless using a telephoto lens, which causes all of the scene to be crammed together. This is why I’m not fond of them, even though some of my favorite directors have used (overused) them.
I don’t mean to be down on the people who make these videos. And in fact, I think they are great. What’s more, I’m a same way: I love to over-analyze films! But you have to expect some push back, especially when you overstate your case.
No one ever mentions what I think of as the two biggest problems in The Matrix. The first one is really basic: why didn’t the machines power the matrix off squirrels or some other animal that wasn’t constantly trying to reject the matrix programming? After all, they are just using the humans as batteries (Also a ridiculous idea!) so any warm blooded creature would work. But I can get past that. It’s a movie. The second problem is the worst.
Why do the agents “bug” Neo? Couldn’t they just monitor him, wait until he meets Morpheus, and take over his body? Morpheus even tells Neo that the agents can take over anyone still connected to the matrix. It isn’t “any weak minded person.” So why didn’t they just do that? In fact, it is pathetic. Switch holds a gun on Neo until the bug is removed. Some good that bug did! Too bad the agents are too stupid to think of changing into him right before he got into the car! It seems that The Wachowskis were just being lazy, because I can think of loads of ways to avoid the problem.