The Five Burning Questions
by Heather Won Tesoriero
1. What are werewolves and ghosts doing in a futuristic sci-fi movie?
In the weird world of the Wachowskis, werewolves and ghosts are badly behaved old programs. Or as the Oracle puts it, "Every story you've heard about vampires, werewolves or aliens is the system assimilating some program that's doing something [it's] not supposed to be doing." But the monsters don't look like the ones in horror movies. The ghosts are albino twins with dreadlocks and British accents. The werewolves are just regular guys in sharp suits.
2. In the six months that elapsed between the plots of the first and second movies, what happened to Tank, the driver who saved them all in the first movie?
Marcus Chong, the adopted son of Tommy Chong (one half of Cheech and Chong), is gone. Neither the studio nor Chong would comment on why, but Warner Bros. replaced him with Harold Perrineau, the guy in the wheelchair from HBO's Oz. Chong told Entertainment Weekly that after he was replaced he tried to crash a Matrix press junket and he took food from the Matrix lot.
3. Is that Cornel West on the Zion council?
Yes, the brothers are huge fans of West, the Princeton academic. And after three weeks on the set, West is a huge fan of the brothers. And of Keanu Reeves (they talked Derrida). And of Laurence Fishburne (they talked Shakespeare). There are also appearances by Nona Gaye, the boxer Roy Jones Jr. and the then future Mrs. Laurence Fishburne, Gina Torres.
4. The movie is rated R. Should I prevent my 16-year-old from seeing it?
Depends. The rating is mostly for the violence. "If you have kung-fu fights with kicks to the head," explains Joel Silver, the trilogy's producer, "it automatically makes it R." The Zionists engage in a muddy but sedate orgy, intercut with a love scene between Trinity and Neo, the redeemer. Christian subtext, anyone?
5. If Mr. Smith can replicate himself endlessly and Neo can fly away, what's the point of their fighting?
Good question. For a workout?