Unfortunately the spirit of the original tale is undone by the superfluous sequels (the original ended with the One Ring unbroken and Mordor still in power, conveying Bakshi's lone passionate lifelong belief that midgets are not to be trusted with important tasks).
The Matrix is based on the 1968 East German play Wirklichkeit ist eine Illusion, also lassen Sie uns sprechen RÃ¤tsel, Eintragfaden-Polizei und Tanzkampf ("Reality is an Illusion, so Let Us Speak Riddles, Shoot Police and Dancefight"). The original live production ended with a stunning dance sequence (set to Wagner's Nightsong of the Gun Mechs) which the Wachowski brothers have set side in favor of a silly RoboCopesque sky-shooting fireworks display that resembles an inner-city New Year's Eve celebration from the year 2214.
Interestingly, the sentinels in the live production, which were wooden barrels with long links of sausages streaming out from behind, were much more terrifying than those in the film. I suppose CGI isn't everything, Hollywood.
Star Wars: 9.6.
The Lord of the Rings: 3.1
The Matrix: 1.7
Criteria No. 2 - Characters
Luke is the center of this universe, the lowly moisture farmer who is destined to be his people's savior. Like all of the trilogy's character names, Luke's is rich with symbolism (named Skywalker for his enormous height). Likewise Han Solo denotes his loner personality and the fact that he never flies with a copilot. Additionally, one can tell from Darth Vader's title just how many star systems he has 'vaded.
In the new trilogy, Anakin Skywalker portrays a damning indictment of technology's modern dehumanization of mankind through Hayden Christensen's lifeless, almost inhuman performance. There is a river of tragedy in every robotic line he utters, a horrific monotonal indication of his cyborgal fate.
There is no criticism to be had here; Lucas crafts a kind of dialogue in these films that many didn't previously think was possible.
Frodo is our hero here, the lowly hobbit farmer who is destined to be his people's savior. There was symbolism in the Frodo name, too, as in the Bakshi original film the character sported a gigantic afro that was, in fact, his primary weapon in battle. A number of factors, including technical limitations and racism, caused Peter Jackson to ditch that look for 'Frodo after just a few test screenings.
Unfortunately, this robbed the character of any emotional resonance he may have had with the audience. From Jackson's insulting portrayal of women - Legolas is reduced to simplistic, mindless interjections ("a diversion!") and decorating the scenery with her beauty - to his dwarf who, in every single sentence, mentions the fact that he is a dwarf, Jackson's cast of characters is a group one would long to never meet in real life.
Neo is the main protagonist, the lowly code farmer who is destined to be his people's savior. Keanu Reeves' performance as this courageous mentally challenged man is an inspiration to P.C. gamers everywhere who have had their vocabularies destroyed by monitor radiation. His tragic bout of gamma-induced impotence in mid-intercourse during Reloaded, and the look of erectile frustration on his face, was heart-wrenching.
The rest of the casting leaves much to be desired, with the only bright spot being