The Matrix

Happy new year to you all. I realise that I’ve been slacking off lately, what with no updates in over a week. This is disgraceful and I shall correct this by reviewing “The Matrix” trilogy. Let’s start with the first film in the series, shall we?

The Matrix (1999)

1999 was an odd year. It was a year where fear of “The Millennium Bug” was a genuine concern and not just a laughable notion. It was also the year that Benjamin Jack Browne III Esq. turned 13 and his outlook and life and films was starting to change. I was bought “The Matrix” on video for my birthday and it blew my mind. As soon as I finished watching it, my friend and I rewound it and watched it again. It is hard to describe how taken with this film I was, but let’s just say I was trying to bend spoons for the next few months.

“What is the Matrix?”

The story follows Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) aka the computer hacker “Neo”- a man obsessed with finding the mysterious individual known as Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). Also Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) are in it. To be honest, I think nearly everyone has seen this film, so I won’t bother with a redundant plot summary. I’m tempted to use the phrase “modern classic”, but since this film is almost 10 (!) years old now, maybe it has moved in purely “classic” status. The concept is amazing. I mean, we’ve all questioned the nature of our reality- it’s a human trait. Films have explored this idea too, but I think that “The Matrix” is one of the only ones to have done it successfully (the only other one that comes to mind is “The Truman Show”). In terms of acting, Keanu Reeves can’t. We know this to be true and yet his lack of skill in the field of thespianism doesn’t annoy me in this film. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s not given much to do or what, but I can completely look past all his flaws and just watch the story unfold. You just know a film is good when it’s possible to overlook a bad actor, let alone a bad lead actor. Everyone else is great, but the stand out performance by far is Weaving’s Agent Smith. He’s got an amazing drawl – “Mr. Aaaaanderson…” and he’s a bastard to boot. Brilliant stuff.

I have a vivid memory of the beginning of “The Matrix”. When Trinity jumped, hung in mid-air for a second as the camera panned round and then delivered a massive kick to two policemen, my jaw hit the floor and I uttered a very soft but assured “Holy fuck!” Evidently, many filmmakers felt the same as ,arguably, a new way of big-budget filmmaking had just been born. As I was watching through the film recently, I kept forgetting how many good bits there were, be it a line of dialogue or a frackin’ awesome fight scene. The one thing that bugged me about it wasn’t really the film’s fault. Unfortunately, the film seems like a parody of itself at times- what with “Bullet Time” and Matrix parodies cropping up in everything in the early Noughties. It hasn’t stopped either- what with shitty daytime T.V. ads even going as far as to rip off the “Guns…lots of guns” scene- proof here. Yes, thank you so much you advert bastards, when I’m watching a film I clearly want to be reminded of your shitty comparison rip-off crap halfway through (!) Wankers.

Favourite scenes of mine include the famous lobby sequence in which Neo and Trinity turn a shiny marble Government lobby into dust and debris with the aid of several thousand bullets and some flashy wire-fu moves. I love the subway showdown between Neo and Smith too. The brutality and “down and dirty” nature of it really appeals to me. You feel every punch and kick- it’s great.

“I know kung fu”

I’m running out of things to say. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), you’ve probably seen “The Matrix” and probably know every line and occurance like I do. I’m so glad that almost ten years on, I still think it’s a fantastic film. Let’s hope it still holds up in another ten.

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