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The Matrix
by yo go re

Think back to the first time you saw The Matrix; the film opened with a voiced-over dialogue and we saw a woman sitting in a hotel room. She then proceeds to assault police officers and flee the scene of a crime with government agents in pursuit. After a protracted chase scene, she disappears.

Until Trinity shows up at the nightclub and de-bugs Neo, we have no indication that she's anything but the villain of the piece, and that's part of the beauty of the original Matrix: audiences were surprised. That sort of astonishment is hard to recapture, but you can't blame the Wachowskis for trying.

We first got Matrix figures in 1999 from N2 Toys; though the sculpts were nothing spectacular, they were recognizable as the characters. The toys were well stocked with both weaponry and articulation, and fun to play with. Some fans dreamed about how they would have liked McToys to make the figures but, as was pointed out, these characters were all kung-fu action heroes, not exactly given to the static poses that McFarlane had given us in several Movie Maniacs lines already. To be worthy of the film, the toys would need to be more dynamic than Todd had shown himself capable of making.

Then came Samurai Wars and the Viking Age - normal Spawn series that had the super-articulation McToys had so long ignored. They were both well-received and had great articulation, demonstrating that Todd could make more than low-rent statues when he put his mind to it. So when it was announced that Toddy Mac had landed the license for The Matrix: Reloaded - and that said license gave him rights to the first movie as well - there was great hope for the line. Then came Toyfest.

The Matrix toys were revealed to be a return to glorified statues. The sculpts were better than N2's (in the way that a jet is better than a paper airplane), but that was all; what does it matter if you know kung-fu, little buddha, if you can't move to use it?

I knew I'd be getting Neo and Trinity, no matter how immobile they were - those poses were just too cool. Taken from the lobby assault scene in the first film, Trin is running up the wall, ready to flip out of harm's way. The figure's sculpt is beyond reproach (at least until you get above the neck), with every wrinkle of her black vinyl catsuit captured perfectly.

Trinity's sculpted coat is a separate piece, and you can see her bare shoulders behind the lapels. One fan has suggested swapping her arms for Sarah Connor's, and truthfully, that wouldn't look too bad with a little paint to match fleshtones. There are two removable handguns holstered under her coat, but we recommend leaving them in place: the holsters don't seem to be the sturdiest things ever created by McToys, and you don't want them ripping off the figure.

Trinity also comes with an automatic pistol (a Yugoslav Model 61 Skorpion with a muzzle shroud and a 30-round magazine), and her right hand is molded to wield it. Though not very well. Her trigger finger is extended, but all her fingers are open too wide for a good grip. Possibly because while her hand did get into this pose as she flipped, she wasn't actually holding a gun at the time.

One of the things that always bugged me about The Matrix was the relationship between Neo and Trinity. No pretext was given for their romance, they didn't seem to like one another any more than they did Mouse or Morpheus, and - above all - Trinity is an ugly, ugly woman.

Carrie-Anne Moss, in the Matrix films, is not attractive in the least. As one reader put it, "she's a horse-faced man with breasts." I call her ugly, pug-ugly, fugly, pug-fugly, and even "ugly" ugly. When Neo bumps uglies with her, he really bumps uglies. But as repulsive as this future freedom fighter is, McFarlane Toys managed to make her even more so.

In profile, Trinity looks pretty good. Looking at her head-on, though, you'll see that somehow her face has become too small for her head, floating pixie-like on that huge melon between the jug handles that supposedly represent her ears. It's like the sculptors forgot to look at her face from the normal angle while they were working.

To recreate that wall-running scene, Trinity comes with a large detailed base re-creating the lobby floor, wall, and one shattered column. 4⅝" deep, 5¼" wide and 5¼" tall, the base is a fine approximation of its inspiration. Rubble and shellcasings are scattered about the ground, the wall is pockmarked with bullet holes, and there are even five bursts of cement dust where bullets have just struck.

Those miniature dust clouds are molded from a semi-translucent gray rubber that is plugged into the bullet holes in the wall. The puffs are incredibly soft, and prone to bending in the package. If you don't like them, however, you can pull them out.

The column is a separate piece, over 6¼" tall. Two of its four faces are relatively unscathed, while the other two are shot all to hell. The smooth half looks almost like polished marble, while the "battle scarred" side has its steel reinforcements exposed (a mix of soft plastic and real metal) and more of those bullet impact spurts.

At first glance, it seems like the rubble at the base of the column was assembled on the wrong side, but a few seconds' examination reveals that this isn't so: the rubble on Trinity's base obviously lines up with the smooth stone above it. I don't know why McToys chose to design their columns without any rubble below the stone hamburger, but they did, and that's the way the toys came to us.

Trinity's base is shaped to fit together with Neo's, though her back wall is about ¼" too short to line up properly. To get all the curves and lines to meet as they should, you have to carefully rest the back of Trinity's base barely on the pegs that connect it to the ground, so displaying the two together isn't really an option. Of course, since they were on opposite sides of the lobby at the time of this scene, that's no great loss.

Trinity moves at the neck, shoulders, right bicep, wrists and thighs, though none of them really allow for much variety of posing - they exist only to make it easier to get the figure out of the mold. Still, for a static figure with an ugly face, Trinity's pretty cool. Let's just hope we get a superposeable version sometime soon.

-- 06/14/03

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