In the final part of “Matrix Revolutions”, Neo and Agent Smith engage in a titanic clash. A duel in which the hero makes his enemy’s face tremble with a powerful punch. We take a look back at the creation of this emblematic plan.
Matrix Revolutions : everything that has a beginning has an end
Freed from the Mobil Avenue station by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Neo (Keanu Reeves) makes a final visit to the Oracle (Mary Alice) in the first part of Matrix Revolutions. She explains to him that to end the war that threatens to annihilate Zion, the confrontation with Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) is inevitable.
To hope to win its negative double, Neo must go to the city of machines, to which Trinity accompanies him. At the same time, the clash between the men and the sentries rages at the gates of Zion.
The hero of the trilogy Matrix thus arrives at the end of its course in this third part. A journey to which Lana Wachowski decides to return with Matrix Resurrections, without his sister Lilly, paving a new way for Neo and Trinity without violating the consistency and relevance of the initial conclusion released in 2003.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Harold Perrineau, Monica Bellucci, Lambert Wilson and Nona Gaye complete the cast of Matrix Revolutions. An opus that ends on one last inevitable fight, for which Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving shoot under torrents of artificial rain and mud.
The Super Burly Brawl: The Final Showdown
Called the Super Burly Brawl, the impressive final duel combines live shots, motion capture, digital effects but also the prowess of makeup artists and prosthetists since some of the countless Smith agents are extras having donned a mask created from a cast. of Hugo Weaving’s face.
A sequence that the actor describes as the most difficult to shoot in the trilogy Matrix, especially the moment when Neo and Smith find themselves in the crater. In a series of reports devoted to the Super Burly Brawl for the DVD edition of this third opus, the actor declares:
We were fighting in the mud on top of that. We had mud and rain. But at this point, we were struggling more than anything else. And the rain was so heavy that it was difficult to speak without bubbles and water coming out of our mouths. (…) We couldn’t hear each other speak. It was difficult to find the right tone because I had no idea what it was like. It was weird.
The origin of Neo’s overpowered punch
During the confrontation appears one of the most memorable shots of Matrix Revolutions. That of Neo’s fist rotating in slow motion, cutting the raindrops to end up falling on Smith’s face. According to special effects supervisor John Gaeta, the origin of this shot is to be found in the first storyboards that Geof Darrow draws for the Wachowski sisters.
Afterwards, illustrator Steve Skroce made other drawings of the scene, which allowed John Gaeta’s team to understand the graphic nature of rain and the way it wasuse water as an explosive element.
The final of Fight Club for inspiration
In order to virtually transcribe the movements of the face and body virtually, motion capture shots reproducing the famous punch are made. For Hugo Weaving’s violently hit cheek, John Gaeta is also inspired by the design of the final sequence of Fight Club, in which Edward Norton shoots himself in the head. A plan developed by the company BUF, who had used super powerful air jets aimed at the actor’s mouth. The supervisor specifies:
We tested that and it worked well as a benchmark on the flexibility of Hugo’s face.
A sculpture of the impacted face is also created to illustrate it in three dimensions. An artist distorts it to achieve the cartoonish nature of the designs, in which Neo’s fingerprints are visible. John Gaeta’s team then integrates it into the motion capture system, which helps virtual reproduction. Proud of their work, the supervisor concludes about the result discovered by the spectators:
The characters are virtual. The background is virtual. Rain is digital. Hugo and Keanu’s heads are based on motion capture, but Hugo’s has been magnified and altered for impact. I have to say, we were really happy with it. We prefer the end to the beginning, but the …