Directed by Andy
Wachowski, Larry Wachowski (1999, Warner Bros.)
Starring Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishbourne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and
In a computer-controlled reality, the one man who could free all
humans is awakened, and begins to challenge the system.
September 28th, 2012
on DVD, for the 6th time
I can't believe it's been so many
years since I last watched this movie!
Below, I mentioned the way the Oracle was elaborated on as a
character in the sequels, but this time, watching Agent Smith, I was
intrigued by the way they developed him in the sequels, too. I
didn't really like what they did, but here he expresses his desire to
get away from the Matrix, perhaps retire outside of it. Which is what
they did with him in the sequels, though differently than what I would
have expected. Anyway, this is very much a pleasurable viewing, as it
has so much going for it, whether it's action, love, or philosophy.
Pretty cool, even after all this time.
March 1st, 2005 on DVD,
for the 5th time
After having seen both sequels to
this movie (I never reviewed The Matrix Revolutions, because I was bored
throughout most of it and didn't like it), I can honestly say that this
is the best of them -by far. The only thing that the sequels add to the movie
is depth to the character of the Oracle. If she is a rogue computer
program, then she can do what she wants, without any problems except
staying out of the way of the agents. There is still no real basis for
her knowing the future, even if you account for the link that the
outside world has with the Matrix, which Neo taps into.
My largest complaint below is that Neo should have stayed dead after
he was killed in the Matrix. However, as stated in the movie, the body
dies because it thinks its soul is dead. The actual link wasn't severed
between him and the ship. Trinity just had to make sure that his body
knew that it was still among the living, and what better way to do it
than with a kiss?
Among all of the novel things that this movie gives us, it's very
easy to forget the opening scenes, which take almost a quarter of the
movie. It was funny to watch Neo getting scolded at work, especially the
way he watches the window cleaners at work. Funnier is Agent Smith's
face as he says that Neo helps his "landlady take out her garbage"! Ha!
There are a couple more strange things in this movie, that don't
quite seem to fit. If they never free anybody from the Matrix after a
certain age, then the traitor was another exception to the rule (as was
Neo, of course). If they are so young when freed, how do they make the
real choice between the red and blue pills? Who gives them this choice?
Those questions are minor, however, as the movie does a great job of
giving us a solid story, with well-developed characters. The ending was
suitable enough that it didn't require a follow-up, especially sequels
that don't really follow it up, anyway.
June 13th, 2003 on TV,
for the 4th time
I still haven't seen the sequel to
this movie, but since the original came on TV not too long ago, I
decided to take a refresher!
I think what appeals most about this movie is the ability to change
your surroundings, to be in complete control. The people who live
outside the Matrix can do amazing things when they move their
consciousness within. The prime example is a tiny little effect at the
very end, when Neo flexes his muscles after defeating Agent Smith,
causing the walls of the corridor to bulge outward to accommodate him!
Think of the possibilities for showing off!
The most impressive thing about the movie, however, are the special
effects. There is very little in the way of blowing things up. The best
ones are those that have been copied by movies ever since, the wakes
of the bullets in the air in slow motion (see
Charlie's Angels), and
especially the gravity-defying moves of our heroes (most notably, see
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The slow-motion is appropriately-used,
whenever the director wants to show off some of the stunts!
I have a couple of concerns, which may be explained in various
reference materials, of which I have read nothing. First, how do so many
people know the future? People still have free will of a sort, otherwise
Neo would not have been able to run from the Agents in his cubicle at
the beginning. Therefore, even if they could see the computer code, they
should not be able to predict what will happen next. The obvious
exception is when things are about to happen, like when Trinity types
"knock, knock" on Neo's screen just before somebody calls at his door.
Watching from the outside, it would be easy to see.
However, there is no basis for the Oracle, and no reason for her
except as somebody high up in the hierarchy of Zion, who is desperately
leading the Resistance, trying her best to inspire people to find
somebody who can defeat the Matrix. Since neither she, nor Neo, nor
Morpheus are part of the Matrix anymore, how can she tell the future? I
like the vase bit, but how can she possibly know that Morpheus will be
captured, and that Neo can save his mentor? Maybe she sees it as
inevitable. These scenes make the movie
more mysterious, which is a good thing, but I can't help but wonder..
I also wonder how the "mole" met up with the Agent, or was even
contacted by them. Did he approach them, wanting to end this life? I
can't see the Agents breaking their agreement; there would be nothing to
gain, unless he was too difficult to reintegrate into the system -or too
much effort. So I don't think he had much to worry about, except keeping
his part of the agreement.
The movie was great to revisit, however, as it is still fairly rare
to see such an original concept in a big movie like this. I look forward
to the sequels, whenever I can get to see them. I wonder how they will
incorporate wireless networking into the movies, since they wouldn't
need a hard line anymore!
July 8th, 2000 on Video,
for the 3rd time
And the third time
around, this movie gets even better! What I noticed about it this
time was the sound. The Matrix took an Academy Award for sound,
beating out The
Phantom Menace. At the time, I didn't think it should have.
Now, I'm not so sure. Whenever danger approached, it was as if we
were inside Neo's brain, and could feel the tingle. That was what
the sound was for. And the music was good, too, especially in the
What I didn't like this time around? Neo's resurrection
at Trinity's kiss. He was dead, the link was severed. That
part screams out miracle, which is not part of the theme of the movie.
It could have been done much simpler.
I also never enjoyed the trip to the Oracle. It felt too
slow for me, and sort of out of place. But I loved it when she made
him knock over the vase, and then made him wonder if he would have done
it had she said nothing.
But most of the rest I loved. It was a completely new type
of science fiction film. I wonder if it was originally planned as
a trilogy. Regardless, if they can keep this pace up in the next
two films, I will be very happy.
October 1st, 1999 in the Theatre,
for the 2nd time
This was even better
the second time around. I had actually forgotten who the struggle
was against (aliens I thought, but not machines). There was a
really pumped crowd at the theatre this time. People cheered at
the beginning when Trinity killed the two cops. They moaned when
any of the good guys were beaten, and cheered again when Trinity learned
how to fly a helicopter in a few seconds by download. There were
loud cheers whenever any of the graphical fight scenes took place.
They were stylized as ever, but really neat to look at.
I found myself trapped, enthralled. I kept anticipating
the next moment, but was overwhelmed by it every time. The best part,
of course, was the fight scene at the climax of the movie, between the
subway station and the abandoned building. As the bad guy gets hit
by the subway car, then suddenly steps out of that same car unharmed, a
murmur went through the crowd. That was something unexpected.
One thing I didn't think was necessary was the danger moment
in the ship as Neo was fighting. The sentinels peeling through the
hull was neat, but it sort of detracted from the fight scenes. I
think the situation would have been just as suspenseful without it.
All in all, it's neat to see a real SF movie with the grit of
real life, and none of the squeaky clean that we get in most movies.
I loved it.
April 17th, 1999 in the Theatre
This movie had a gritty
reality feel to it. It really felt real, and plausible. The
action was cartoonish, but resembled
computer-game fighting. The idea was really cool, that humanity had
lost its battle with machines, which were currently using "us" as power
sources, forcing us to live in our minds in a world they constructed.
But the fight for freedom against machines has always been a good seller
for stories. And this one does it well, in spite of Reeves' acting