February 26, 2006
Directed by: Andy & Larry Wachowski
Written by: Andy & Larry Wachowski
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High
Key Cast Members:
Overview: The Matrix is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I’m just not going to attempt to come off as unbiased about it. Additionally, I’m guessing that pretty much everyone who’s coming to this site has seen it – probably numerous times, so I’m guessing a plot description isn’t of much value here. In short, my conundrum with the review is this – what should I say about this movie that will in any way add value to the reader? Answer: Not much. Instead I have decided to keep the bulk of my comments for various essays on the Matrix Trilogy.
Matrix Influences: The Matrix influenced movies in general and society as a whole. With respect to movies, we see numerous influences, including:
- Special Effects: Bullet time and a myriad of other FX are now standard practice in movies and commercials
- Synonymous with “Cool”: Movies that have a “matrix-like” feel are advertised all the time. We know what this means – it means they aspire to be ultra-sleek, ultra-cool and the “in” thing.
- Fight Sequences: By hiring Hong Kong Martial Arts master Yuen Wo-Ping to coordinate the fights, the Matrix raised the bar on mainstream American movie fight sequences
- Matrix Source Code: The Matrix source code, taken in part from Ghost in the Shell, is everywhere now, and is instantly recognized, as is its meaning
- Hot Chicks in Black Shiny Stuff Kicking Butt: Trinity’s influence has massively upped the anty on action chicks in movies. While Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns re-initiated this trend, Carrie Anne Moss’ Trinity has made this outfit almost mandatory for female action heroines.
- The use of philosophy in movies: The Matrix seems to have broken the barrier to discussing philosphy in movies. Lets hope this idea lives on.
- Fashion: From Sunglasses, to overcoats to cyberpunkwear, the Matrix has changed the way people dress.
- The Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective: This essay explores the Matrix Trilogy specifically from a scifi perspective – the purpose of which is to show how Neo’s journey is really a sequel to Motoko’s transformation at the end of Ghost in the Shell. Developed throughout the trilogy, Neo becomes a fully merged entity comprised of a sentient program with a human.
The Bottom Line: The Matrix is already one of the most influential in science fiction, and is truly one of the cornerstone cyberpunk movies in existence. We get it all here: terrific action, awesome cyberpunk concepts, incredible cyberpunk visuals, cool philosophical discussions, an absolutely awesome soundtrack (although DoomAng3l disagrees with this – see his comment below) and innovative FX. On top of this, all the leads were terrific. Reeves makes a perfect Neo, and Moss, Fishburne and Weaving give career-defining performances. Look below for move screencaps on page 2, and additional essays on the Matrix.