The Matrix (5/30/12)

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A man who moonlights as a hacker finds out that “reality” is not always as it seems in The Matrix.

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is an IT guy by day and a hacker by night under the name “Neo”. One day he finds strange references to “the matrix” on his computer and soon meets Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) who tells Neo that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) wants to meet him to help him understand. After being pursued by agents of some sort (Agent Smith is played by Hugo Weaving), Neo and Morpheus meet where Neo is brought to the actual reality outside the Matrix. As we learn the secrets of the Matrix, we also learn Neo’s true role.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I fully grasp everything that happens in The Matrix. I have a broad idea of what is going on but there are certain sections of dialogue that, try as I might, simply can’t focus enough brain energy to really let it sink in. I could give a synopsis of what happens in the film, but anything beyond that would be a bit of a stretch. Luckily, The Matrix has enough eye candy to keep my brain from exploding.

When The Matrix came out in 1999, it was a special effects monster of a film, utilizing techniques never attempted before. I had been skeptical that, thirteen years later, The Matrix would hold up as well as I remembered and it has. The Blu-Ray shines on all fronts, sound more than anything else (I’m pretty sure my subwoofer was shaking our whole house for most of the second half of the film). If this was only a “special effects movie” it would not have stood the test of time as well as it has, thankfully.

The acting, on Reeves’ part especially, is wooden. Reeves spends most of the film looking absolutely stunned at everything around him and his surfer/stoner tone comes through more than a few times. With everything happening on screen at any moment, it’s easy to overlook the small things that tend to detract from pictures like this, namely plot holes. While the plot in The Matrix is good (if not confusing), it’s not perfect. Check out the goofs from IMDB. Still, The Matrix is a very good film. When the DVD came out, it was the most compelling reason to make the switch from VHS. Now the Blu-Ray is spectacular, but the film is not the stand-out it was over a decade ago. The Matrix will stand as one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made and that is debatable, but it is certainly has a place for important films.

I give it 4 decoded matrices out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


30 responses to “The Matrix (5/30/12)

  1. It’s a good film. I agree with your statement about Keanu Reeves, though he’s bad in pretty much every movie he stars in (at least from the ones I’ve seen). Good review.

  2. another popular film i have not seen and probably won’t see. as for reeves and his usual cardboard delivery, maybe this time it works because he would really be dumbfounded instead of just – dumb.

  3. There’s a really good book out there that explains all the symbolism in “The Matrix.” It’s enough to make your head spin, but it will give you greater appreciation for that film. There’s no explanation for the sequels, however.

  4. Every time “The Matrix” is on TV, my feet take root on the floor. My arms are in paralysis. Can’t. Change. Channels.

    I love the movie. And I did really like the first sequel. The second sequel… Uhh…

    Hey now, Keanu was pretty good in “Speed,” “A Scanner Darkly” and, from what I remember, in “My Own Private Idaho” (although I need to revisit to refresh my memory).

  5. It’s easy to forget just how good The Matrix is – over a decade of spoofs and ripoffs has diluted its impact, but it was groundbreaking. The “Bullet Time” effects are still amazing, though everywhere these days.

  6. Pingback: May Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  7. I know I am in the minority but I liked Number 2 best of the three. I thought it took the F/X innovations from the first one and expanded on their greatness which made for great eye candy. The third one was a bore.

  8. Great review, Andy – it’s fascinating to see this film now that it has become almost a timepiece and part of the cinematic establishment (when, on release, it was a decidedly unheralded gem of a film and all the better for it).

    I still have a fondness in my heart for the sequels – even part 2’s much-decried ‘Burly Brawl’ doesn’t annoy me – and wait to see what Andy and Lana Wachowski’s “Cloud Atlas” brings us later this Autumn.

  9. Good points all around. You’re definitely now alone in your “I’m not sure I got all of it” but I don’t think this fact hurts the film and actually it’s a selling point that remains one of the essential elements of Christopher Nolan’s body of work. For Nolan and others (see my reviews of Source Code for example) filmmakers are trying and very often failing at complex issues that do not translate to the big screen. Nolan’s own Inception (sorry for the seemingly gratuitous self promotion, but my review of Inception illustrates this point) reveals many layers of nonsense that don’t go anywhere, much less say anything. I disagree with you about Keanu, I think the Matrix films were perfect for him insofar as his often singular expressions. I think he was exceptional in Point Blank for the same reason. Nice to read your stuff – looking forward to more. Glad to cross paths over at Warner Bros. Best

    • Thanks for reading/commenting!
      I totally agree about Inception. I was sure that I would have an exact understanding of what happened after a few more viewings but I just don’t get all of it. Still like it, though.
      I just think Reeves is unintentionally funny, but I can’t imagine anyone else as Neo either.

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