The Matrix (1999)

The_Matrix_Poster

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne

Synopsis: A hacker escapes from a simulated reality called “the matrix” and must now fight in a war against the evil machines that enslaved humanity and trapped them in the matrix.

I remember the first time I watched this movie. I could not have been any older than twelve. At the time, I would say about 80 per cent of this film went over my head. As a result, I had always seen this movie as very complex but I remember enjoying it immensely. In the years since I first saw The Matrix, I have re-watched it several times as well as seen its sequels (both of which were rather appalling). My understanding of the film grew and I finally decided to do a review of it for the blog because I think it’s exactly the sort of film that stoners can enjoy.

One of the things that stands out in The Matrix is its high-octane action scenes. The fight-choreography in this movie is not only impeccable but also innovative. The film successfully marries hand-to-hand combat with wire-work and special effects. The fight scene between Neo and Morpheus still impresses me. I know it has been parodied so many times over the years, but think back to when the movie first came out and when you saw the bullet dodge scene. I bet your mouth dropped and that you said some nice things.

Doge MatrixMuch like this

While the action scenes certainly impress, I also enjoy the film because it is a live-action tribute to Japanese animation, notably Ghost in the Shell. The Wachowskis readily recognise the way Ghost in the Shell influenced the style and themes of The Matrix and I appreciate any director who is willing to give a nod to his or her sources. Give credit where it’s due! Not only that, the Wachowskis took a lot of the themes in Ghost in the Shell and adapted them seamlessly into a film that would appeal to a Western market. It’s one thing to simply copy a film, but to take a film’s core and build an entirely new film around it (a film which is very good in its own way) is admirable. If anything, The Matrix displays the Wachowskis’ passion for great cinema and their talent for translating great premises into films that will make a lot of money.

If I were to level some criticism at The Matrix it would only be two points. Firstly, the characters can be pretty hollow at times. Half of the Nebuchadnezzar’s are not developed and when they are killed off you don’t find yourself caring that much. Plus, why is that woman wearing white!!?? Did she miss the group meeting where they all decided to wear black?

Matrix fashionSeriously, sort it out. You look like a twat.

The second point is all the unnecessary violence. I understand that this film requires a lot of violence because of the sort of film it is but why do Neo and Trinity have to kill so many innocent people? Take the scene where they infiltrate the building to rescue Morpheus and they have to get through security. Basically, they shoot the place up and kill maybe 20 security guards in the process. Those guards probably have families. They probably woke up and were like: “oh shit, another work day but I’m sure it’ll be ok.” Then, all of a sudden, two freaks show up with automatic weapons. It’s funny that Neo is the “the chosen one” but displays a total disregard for human life. It’s films like this that show America’s fascination with weaponry and just who scary and distasteful it is….but then again, it was an epic action scene so I guess I can get over it.

High-lights:

  • Mind-bending, jaw-dropping, face-slappingly awesome action scenes.
  • Complex plot and great story-line. I never get bored watching this film.
  • Great tribute to Japanese animation.
  • Some really memorable performances from Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving.

Downers:

  • Just keep repeating to yourself: “the sequels never happened…the sequels never happened…”
  • Flat supporting characters.
  • Maybe too violent in places.

Summary:

It’s easy to see why this film is a defining moment in the sci-fi genre. Up until its release, audiences had seen nothing like it and, 15-years on, there are few sci-fi films that can hold a candle to it. Jesus Christ! 15 years!? This is making me feel old!

9/10

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5 Comments

Filed under Action/Adventure, Great, Sci-Fi

5 responses to “The Matrix (1999)

  1. This movie was an absolute classic. Personally, I felt The Matrix Reloaded, while nowhere near as good as the original, still had its moments, but I agree The Matrix Revolutions was absolutely appalling. The first Matrix managed to strike the right balance between the existential questions it asked and its lighthearted moments. I think the main reason I didn’t like the sequels was due to the utter lack of humor they had.

    • I was still quite young when the sequels came out and part of me wanted to like them because of the awesome graphics (not the Neo/Mr Smith brawl) but I think I left the cinema with a level of confusion I had never felt before. They should have stuck to the original formula.

      • I remember going through basically the entire latter half of The Matrix Reloaded simply not knowing what was going on or exactly what the humans were trying to accomplish.

  2. Very stylish and just cool. Has aged quite well, too. Good review.

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