Dark fantasy shines
Audiences around the world are stampeding to see new blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded
Here Showbiz Editor Michael Bodey gives the low-down on the year's most anticipated sequel
The Matrix's prophecy is coming true. Not the one about Keanu Reeves saving humanity from rapacious machines - the one about 2003 being the Year of the Matrix.
As stars raved over sequel The Matrix Reloaded at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, Australian fans were packing screenings after its Thursday night national release.
The movie - filmed, like the original Matrix and final instalment The Matrix Revolutions in Sydney - sees a return to the complex, dark and terrifying world of its predecessor.
The action, stunts and special effects are even more vivid.
To aid readers planning to re-enter the realms of the Matrix this weekend, here is an update:
The story so far: Machines have taken over the planet (it's a long story) and now use humans for their energy source. Humans are bred and kept in a vegetated state in womb-like chambers in vast factories. The machines feed off natural electricity produced by their slaves.
The Matrix is a computer environment that the machines have created to keep humans diverted. Inside the virtual reality of the Matrix, people believe they are experiencing daffy life in a 20th-century city.
Some humans, including Keanu Reeves' character Neo - who emerged in the original as a saviour of humankind - and Carrie-Anne Moss's Trinity, fight back.
They can plug into the Matrix and fight with the machines' own killer computer programs - which take a human form.
What to look for: When characters are in the Matrix there is a green tinge (and humans wear the cool glasses and slinky black). In the real world, the screen has a blue tinge. Humans get in and out of the Matrix by phone lines.
Key plot moments: Neo meets The Oracle (Gloria Foster), a rogue computer program, on a park bench in the Matrix to be told how to bring down the machines.
Machine program Agent Smith (Australian star Hugo Weaving), who apparently died in the original film, then tells Neo he's not dead, merely without purpose.
Neo meets The Architect (NIDA teacher, Helmut Bakaitis) and is told he has no choice but to play out his role in the fate of the human race.
Key Sydney moments: Early on, Morpheus drives up Elizabeth St towards Liverpool St.
Towards the end Neo and Trinity make a quick swoop Superman-style over George St and the Sydney Town Hall.
In the trailer for The Matrix Revolutions, after the end credits, there's a brief glimpse of a climactic fight in the rain between Neo and Smith, apparently set in Martin Place.