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The story of a reluctant Christ-like protagonist set against a baroque,
backdrop, The Matrix is the definitive hybrid of technical wizardry and
contextual excellence that should be the benchmark for all sci-fi films to
Hollywood has had some problems combining form and matter in the sci-fi genre. There have been a lot of visually stunning works but nobody cared about the hero. (Or nobody simply cared about anything.) There a few, though, which aroused interest and intellect but nobody 'ooh'-ed or 'aah'-ed at the special effects. With The Matrix, both elements are perfectly en sync. Not only did we want to cheer on the heroes to victory, we wanted them to bludgeon the opposition. Not only did we sit in awe as Neo evaded those bullets in limbo-rock fashion, we salivated.
But what makes The Matrix several cuts above the rest of the films in its genre is that there are simply no loopholes. The script, written by the Wachowski brothers is intelligent but carefully not geeky. The kung-fu sequences were deftly shot -- something even Bruce Lee would've been proud of. The photography was breathtaking. (I bet if you had to cut every frame on the reel and had it developed and printed, every single frame would stand on its own.) And the acting? Maybe not the best Keanu Reeves but name me an actor who has box-office appeal but could portray the uneasy and vulnerable protagonist, Neo, to a T the way Reeves did. But, come to think of it, if you pit any actor beside Laurence Fishburne, you're bound to confuse that actor for bad acting. As Morpheus, Mr. Fishburne is simply wicked! Shades of his mentor-role in Higher Learning, nobody exudes that aura of quiet intensity than Mr. Fishburne. His character, battle-scarred but always composed Morpheus, is given an extra dose of mortality (He loves Neo to a fault.) only Mr. Fishburne can flesh out.
People will say what they want to say about how good The Matrix is but the bottomline is this: finally there's a philosophical film that has cut through this generation. My generation. The Wachowski brothers probably scribbled a little P.S. note when they finished the script saying: THINK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT YOUR EXISTENCE. What is the Matrix, you ask? Something that's closer to reality than you think.
Either that or it's my personal choice for best film of all-time.
Writing a review of The Matrix is a very hard thing for me to do
because this film means a lot to me and therefore I want to do the film
justice by writing a good review. To tell the truth the first time I
saw the film I was enamored by the effects. I remember thinking to
myself that this was one of the most visually stunning films I had ever
seen in my life. Also having always been a comic book fan and a fan of
films that were larger than life, the transitional element of the story
was very appealing to me and this probably heightened my enjoyment of
the film very much. It wasn't until some time later (and after having
seen the film a few times more) that I started to think about the film.
I recognized the Christian elements quite quickly but it wasn't until I
wrote an actual 15-page essay on the film that I tapped into some of
the philosophical and religious elements and that made me appreciate
the film even more. I won't say that I have recognized all elements
because the film is quite literally packed with them.
Acting wise the film works excellently. I won't say that there aren't any issues because there are but overall the acting is pretty flawless. Keanu Reeves plays the main character, Neo, or Thomas A. Anderson and while he is not the perfect actor I think he does a pretty good job in The Matrix (and the sequels). He doesn't have the longest of lines which was probably a deliberate choice from the directors and it works because this gives him a better opportunity to work on posture and facial expressions and I must say that overall his body language is very good. Very clear and well defined. Laurence Fishbourne plays Neo's mentor Morpheus and he does an excellent job of it. His lines flow with a certain confidence and style that makes his character somewhat unique and interesting. Carrie-Anne Moss does a good job as well and succeeds in looking both cool and sexy in her leather outfit. Joe Pantoliano, a critically underrated actor does a brilliant job of bringing his character, Cypher, to life. I can't say much about him because his character is pretty essential to the plot and I certainly don't wan't to spoil it for anyone. Gloria Foster appears in a relatively small role that will have greater significance in the following films and she does a very good job. The best acting is provided by Hugo Weaving, however, in his portrayal of Agent Smith. It is really something to watch him act out the changes in his character. Agent Smith gains some human traits like anger, sense of dread, hate and eventually even a sly sense of humor (mostly in the sequels). Two thumbs way up to Weaving who has created one of the finest screen villains of all time.
Effects wise the film is simply stunning and it deservedly was awarded the Oscar for best effects (and was regrettably cheated out of a nomination in the Best Film category) ahead of even Star Wars. The reason that I think The Matrix deserves the Oscar for best effects is simply that the effects in The Matrix are more innovative than the ones in Star Wars. Just take a look at how many times the effects have been spoofed and you'll probably agree. The effects also help in the symbolism of the film and in creating a very dystopian atmosphere not unlike the one seen in Blade Runner and this works brilliantly. The film looks beautiful at all times and today 6 years later (my God has it already been 6 years?) the effects still hold their ground against new science fiction films. Add the effects to the brilliant editing and you have a visual masterpiece on your hands. Very well done.
The reason that I think The Matrix is more reviewable than pretty much any other film is the story and the philosophical and religious elements of the story because with every viewing I catch something I didn't see the previous time I watched it. Without spoiling the film I think I can mention a few of the more obvious elements. Obviously the film draws on the Messiah myth as Neo is a clear reference to Jesus with the analogy of his name (Neo = one, as in The One) but also hidden in his other name, Thomas A. Anderson. The first part of his last name, Anderson comes from the Greek Andros meaning "man" and combine this with the second part of his last name "son" and add a little creativity you will come up with the combination "son of man" which was a title Jesus came up with about himself. Also the first time we meet Neo a man calls him (and I quote): "You're my Saviour man. My own personal Jesus Christ." It doesn't get any more obvious than that. Aside from the Christianic elements the film also gets its inspiration from Budhism, Gnosticism (Gnosis = knowledge) but is also inspired by Plato and his analogy of the Cave and Jean Baudrillard's essay, Simulacra and Simulations. Explaining these elements would make this review go on forever so aside from mentioning them I will not comment on them further.
To all the people who doubt the profound nature of The Matrix I can only give one advice: Free your mind and watch the film again. You won't regret it. If I had to choose a favorite all time film my choice would probably fall on either The Matrix (obviously I don't expect people to agree but if they do thats great) or The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and I recommend it to all fans of sci-fi and people who like philosophy.
10/10 - on my top 3 of best films.
The Matrix...when I first heard about it, I expected just another sci-fi
action thriller. Good and filled with insane stunts, but not terribly
Boy, was I wrong. Oh, the stunts are there in spades, all right, and yes, they are awesome. And the special effects are absolutely amazing (even if similar ones have been used in other movies as a result- and not explained as well).
But the movie has plot as well. It has characters that I cared about. From Keanu Reeves' excellent portrayal of Neo, the man trying to come to grips with his own identity, to Lawrence Fishburne's mysterious Morpheus, and even the creepy Agents, everyone does a stellar job of making their characters more than just the usual action "hero that kicks butt" and "cannon fodder" roles. I cared about each and every one of the heroes, and hated the villains with a passion. It has a plot, and it has a meaning...and lo and behold, a plot does help the fight scenes! Just try it, if you haven't seen the movie before. Watch one of the fight scenes. Then watch the whole movie. There's a big difference in the feeling and excitement of the scenes- sure, they're great as standalones, but the whole thing put together is an experience unlike just about everything else that's come to the theaters. Think about it next time you're watching one of the more brainless action flicks...think how much better it COULD be.
All I can say is WATCH THIS MOVIE. If you haven't, you're missing out on one of the best films of all time. It isn't just special effects, folks.
It's been a while since a movie has generated enough interest in me for me to watch it. "The Matrix" looked exciting enough in the trailers, so I decided to give it a look. What I found was an amazing movie, with some of the greatest special effects I've ever seen. The camera angles really work for the action sequences and the choreographed fight scenes made me yearn for more. Say what you want about Keanu Reeves' acting. He may not deliver the best dialogue, but his look can carry a film. He was a great choice for the role of Neo. Carrie Anne Moss was great as was the underrated Laurence Fishburne. I highly recommend this film for those who are a fan of visually stunning movies. It will blow away your senses...
The Wachowski Brothers vision of a possible future takes the visual and sound aspects of filmmaking to a new high. Incorporating older still photography with computer enhancement to the degree that appears on the screen has raised the genre to a level that will be very hard-pressed by filmmakers for a number of years. Acting was wonderful, script, visual, sound, everything about this film is a tribute to a usually overlooked genre.
The Wachowski brothers really did excel themselves with this movie. It's a
brilliant movie on a number of different levels - the directing is
excellent, the camera work is great, the visuals are stunning, the kung-fu
is A+, acting is executed with style and conviction, and the plot is truly
inspired. It's really hard to use enough superlatives on this
It'd be a 10/10, except for the ending. Having Neo do what he does at the end really lets it down, in my opinion. However, there's a couple of sequels on the way, so let's see what the Wachowskis can do to make up for it.
Other than that, (and like I said above) the movie is operating on so many different levels that each time you watch it, you pick up something new... this isn't by accident, either. The Wachowski brothers had the actors read a number of definitive works (Simulation & Simulcra was one I believe) in modern literature and psychology, and applied liberal dashings of aspects of the major religions to provide the best sci-fi movie of the decade, if not ever.
I'm yet to meet somebody who hasn't enjoyed it. It's my favourite movie to watch on a good cinema system, too.
** May contain spoilers **
There aren't many movies I watched in the theatre twice let alone on the same day - but immediately after the credits had rolled (and still pumped up by 'Rage against the Machine'), I queued up for the next screening of 'The Matrix'. I was so blown away by that film, I feared - and probably rightly so - that I hadn't caught every detail of what I'd just seen. I later found out that many of my friends had had a similar reaction to the film, and I know virtually no one who liked the film and didn't watch it at least twice. It's simply one of those rare films that are so rich you just have to watch them several times.
In structure, style and concept, 'The Matrix' was ground-breaking; it marked the first time the visual style of Manga comic books and Anime such as 'Akira' or 'Ghost in the Shell' had been successfully translated to a live-action film. Apart from 'Blade Runner', which has a totally different mood and pace (but is also a masterpiece and visionary film-making), there simply hadn't been anything even remotely like it. The jaw-dropping action sequences have such a raw, gripping energy they feel like an adrenalin overdose, but unlike most action films, they never overshadow the story; on the contrary - they enhance it and make complete sense within that universe.
As for the story itself, I think this is one of the most original, fascinating Sci-Fi tales you'll likely ever see on screen. Clearly inspired by Japanese Anime and Manga yet also by authors like Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick, the story about humanity's war against its own creation, machines of an artificial intelligence that have evolved to the point where they have become the dominant 'species' and vastly superior to their creators, could take place in the same world as 'Blade Runner' or 'The Terminator' - albeit several hundred years later. But there is also a mythical, even religious undercurrent to the story; the themes of a prophecy, a "liberator" or even a "messiah" make 'The Matrix' transcend the Science-Fiction genre and become even more unique.
'The Matrix' was a watershed moment in filmmaking in every respect and even though two inferior sequels have left a bit of a stain on the film, they can't distract from what an uncompromising and hugely influential masterpiece this is. Sci-Fi movies that were released after 'The Matrix' have tried very hard to achieve a similar look and tone, but the original still owns them all. 10 stars out of 10.
Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
In an ideal world, movies would be made without the aim for a certain rating. This article sums up why this is so important:
Who is to say what is real or not? We are defined by our view of reality, no matter how twisted or demented it is in comparison to 'normal' people. *evil eye* Yes, I see you all, looking in the mirror, trying to decipher whether or not your view is the reality we all share.
The Matrix not only supplies the world with a whole new level of special effects mixed with style and substance, it also brings a whole new meaning to the word 'paranoria'. This is one of those great epics that becomes a milestone in our present day world, a mark for which just about everybody can appreciate. Not since the original Starwars trilogy has a science fiction film reached across almost the entire population and gripped it with awesome special effects, great sound, and a overall feel of ground breaking movie making magic. It also serves up a good dose of paranoid delusions we all need in our lives every now and then.
With that, I leave you with the fact that I've seen more different types of people liking this one film than most other films to date. Move over George Lucas, you may have just met your match... :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the year 1999, "The Matrix" and "Fight Club" were undoubtedly the
best films of the year. The Matrix was truly revolutionary in special
effects, specifically in CGI (Computer-Generated-Imaging) technology.
The still cameras that were used to capture multiple angles of a single
shot, in bullet-time technology, was a creative new approach. The film
is initially suspenseful with people not knowing quite what was
happening until Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) reveals that Neo's (Keanu
Reeves) reality was actually a fabricated world that is an elaborate
simulation created by machines. Neo and the majority of the world's
inhabitants have been stuck in simply a mental simulation prison.
The magnitude of philosophy in sync with special effects make "The Matrix" a one-of-a-kind movie masterpiece. College classes show this movie in their philosophy class, and at the same time can prove to be one of the best special effects movies ever. Supplementally, "The Matrix" also provides endless action and a pretty solid storyline that influences the philosophical ideas in the movie.
There are so many great things in this movie, it is just crazy.
The color palette along with the time and effort put into stunts also accelerates this movie on all filming levels. "The Matrix" leaves the viewer a sense of pride in the world he/she can live in to just know that people are capable of creating at this level. Unfortunately, monetary and timing motives offset the potential quality of the sequels. "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" were just a waste of time and weren't carefully thought out, as was the first Matrix.
You walk into this film not knowing what the Matrix is. You take your seat
and watch the trailers. The green Warner Brothers (green? you ask) trademark
comes up, and without warning you are thrust into the Wachowski brothers
grand vision. 2 hours of excitement later, you stumble out of the cinema,
knowing what the Matrix is.
This is one great movie. Keanu Reeves is cooler than cool as Neo. The Wachowski brothers skilful direction is brilliant. The special effects sequences will blow you away, did I mention the government lobby scene?
The film starts off with a 'what is real?' first half, and then the first kung-fu sequence makes way for an action- packed, John Woo-esque second half with slomo and style cranked up all the way to the top. Did I mention the government lobby scene?
Keanu becomes Cool Keanu, Carrie-Anne Moss is a real find and Hugo Weaving is perfect in his against typecasting role as the evil Agent Smith.
You may notice in this review that I have not revealed what the Matrix is. Like the trailer says, 'You have to see it for yourself.'
Excellent. Best film of '99. 9/10.
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