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on June 4, 2004
Though it came out a year short, I consider The Matrix to be the 1st movie of the 21st century. This film successfully combines all of the best elements of past action movies and propels the genre forward into the digital age. By the mid to late 80's action movies had evolved enough where the hero could be an ordinary guy. Strongmen like Anuld & Sly, hard boiled private eyes, lone wolf cops and deadly assassins still had & have their places but there was the growing acceptance of portraying the hero as a family man with real concerns, a tormented soul living in troubled times or just a guy caught up in events beyond his control. The Matrix takes this further by, finally, proving both computers and virtual reality are usable elements for action movies. Previous attempts to integrate computers and virtual reality into mainstream action & Sci-Fi have met with mixed results at best. The Terminator movies, especially T2, were probably the best of the lot at combining an alternate reality with present day action. Certainly, virtual reality and alternate reality are different but they belong in the same family. The Matrix turns this upside down and inside out. The real world is presented as fake and an alternate reality; a post apocalypse machine ruled world, is posited as the real world. In this movie, the characters themseves get to choose their characters as they leave the real world and enter the Matrix. They wear leather and sunglasses. The know martial arts and how to handle guns and pilot attack helicopters. In real life, they are hunted & largely helpless. In the Matrix, they are studs. Most of the 1st half is philosophy 101 as Neo (our hero) must decide between a lonely and unsatisfying false reality and an exciting but dangerous post-apocalypse where machines feed off humans and supply them w/ a world to keep them alive. Predestination vs. free will, of course. Man vs. machine. Immediate gratification vs. long term viability. And so on. Most of the second half is fantastic action (often in slo-mo) to rock music and a budding love affair. Smart, cool, modern & pace setting.
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on April 15, 2004
Now that all 3 movies in the Trilogy are out. I will review each one.
This Matrix is the first installment in the Matrix trilogy. It focuses on Thomas Anderson aka NEO. Neo is a software developer by day, computer hacker by night. He knows that there is something wrong with the world but can't quite figure out what it is. When he meets Morpheus he decides he wants to know what the Matrix really is. After Neo finds out he does not believe his eyes. Towards the middle of the movie, NEO finally comes to grips that the Matrix is just a computer program that humans are plugged into while the machines live off of them. After knowing this NEO slowly discovers that he can do superhuman things while in the Matrix because the Matrix world is not "real".
Many of you already seen the movie so there is no need for me to go into much more detail about the plot. But I will say that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long long time. After figuring out what the Matrix really was, I was blown away by the original storyline, and I began to think to myself "what if the world I'm living in is like the Matrix?" I have seen this movie at least 20 times, and I never get tired of it. The speical effects and fighting scenes are nothing short of spectatcular. This is a must have title for your collection. I can't believe anyone would give this movie anything less than 4 stars. Its not your average movie and it does require some thinking to see what is actually going on. If one does not really understand the storyline, then they will write this movie off as another action flick when in reality this movie goes so much deeper. 5 stars in my book!
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on April 15, 2004
In the Matrix world, people live lives of virtual reality of materialism. In �greal�h reality, you are one of the generator�fs cell dreaming everything but having nothing material.
People are grown and when their bodies come to generate nothing e.g. die, are simply disposed of. It can be said that the management is perfectly rational and, may be some people would say; �gWhy not?�h, like Cypher did. After all, many people do not even know they live and die in the matrix world as something (not a human being) that the Matrix can use at its disposal. So, why should they not keep dozing in the virtual-material world?
Now, what I believe is that we are born to this irrational, unequal and can-be-very-violent world in order to make our souls better, lighter and shinier ones.
So, one question here is: can you discipline your soul in the Matrix�fs virtual reality?
I believe the answer is �gNo�h.
That is why the �gawakened�h should help people get themselves out of the Matrix and fight back against its invincible power, even though �gawakening�h from the dream world of the Matrix means to re-born into the shabby and hopeless, thus, can-be-so-depressing real world.
The good news is that: if you realize that there is actually no material world around you, you can release yourself from the physical rules of the Matrix world and can change �gvirtually�h everything with your free-will and, therefore, can live in freedom in spiritual sense. In the film �gthe Matrix�h it is only �gthe One�h who can do that, but, I think, everyone may have the potential to be Neo.
Release yourself from the Matrix of your bodily limitations. Be Neo. Be free. Then all sufferings and agony will be gone ferever.
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on April 3, 2004
This movie is five years old now. It has spawned two sequels, and the Animatrix, and by the middle of 2002, the famous "Bullet Time" sequence had been spoofed in over 20 different movies. So to say the whole design of the movie is getting a little tedious now is an understatement now. The movie was revolutionary when it first started out, but now so many people have 'copied' the Wachowski brothers ideas, it's just not so great a film anymore. Well, the film is great, if very much about the talk rather than the action.
Matrix Revolutions has just come out on DVD. After the Matrix, Reloaded and Revolutions had a lot to live up to, and got absolutely slated in the press. I've been reading reviews for the DVD of Revolutions, and some of them have been very misleading - particularly one, which said it had no DVD extras. A sure sign of a reviewer not being able to be bothered to check out their facts first, when in fact, it's a 2-disc set, with a lot of extras.
Anyway, I just wanted to have a small rant about that :) before continuing. I have to rant to someone.
There's a lot of hard work put into the filming of the Matrix, as you can see just by watching it. Before filming, the main actors spent time with martial arts experts learning the fight movies, from October 1997-March 1998. Funnily enough, the actors thought originally this would only take a few weeks! Carrie Anne Moss was so afraid that she would get recast when she twisted her ankle, that she kept it quiet, which must have been extemely difficult!
There are many references that the Wachowski brothers have included in this, from comic books, to movies, to people! There are quite a few references to Alice In Wonderland; the traitor is called Reagan, and wants to become someone important and remember nothing when he leaves the Matrix, which could refer to former US President Ronald Reagan; when Neo is in the elevator to go and see the Oracle, he can see KYM carved into the wall, which refers to Kym Barrett, a costumer designer; and Neo's room number is 101 and Room 101 was the place in George Orwell's book "1984" where people were sent to be tortured and would end up believing something that wasn't true. (!)
Apparently, principal photography wrapped at 1:01am with the scene where the characters are inside the wall, climbing down. Principal photography took 25 weeks/118 days.
Before the Matrix, Keanu Reeves hadn't really had a major box office hit since maybe Speed in 1994. And there were a couple of good films inbetween that didn't get the recognition they deserved! :) But the Matrix trilogy has really propelled him to stardom, but no doubt, he'll leave it all behind now, and do some more 'bad' films.
I suppose everyone will always say this is the best of the trilogy. But once you have the first, you have to get the rest just to complete the trilogy. It's ridiculous to have 2 out of 3, or 1 of 3. The bit I hate about the whole movie, is the use of guns. They're overly used, and overall, guns are way overused in movies these days. But that's just my opinion.
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on March 14, 2004
This is a great film, but whta I don't understand is why it got an R rating. It should be PG-13 because there's no swears are nudity. Just action. I don't get it. Anyway, this is a great film and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's exiting as it get's. This movie will remain a gem in your collection. Good disk all in all. The commentary is my opinian wasn't that good. It would have been better if Keanu Reeves was in the commentary. And don't worry if your going to let your kids watch it, cause it isn't bad what so ever. So grab your kids even if they're 5 years old and watch it with them. They'll love it like my 5 year old, 8 year old and 11 year old did. It is a very confusing movie thou. The other ones in the series aren't as confusing because you learn everything from this one. This one is my second favorite in the series. Here's the order I like the Matrix movies 3,1 and then 2. Yes, you may think I'm weird for liking the third one the best it's just that the first didn't have enough action, the second was a bit too phoney, but third was just action to the max. I can't wait untill they realese a Matrix Trilogy box set. I'll be one of the first to buy that.
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on March 11, 2004
The first and the best of the trio of the Matrix movies. The Wachowski brothers spin a tale of a man, Neo, played Keanu Reeves, who is awakened from the dream that he has been living his entire life. He learns that his life has merely been part of a computer-generated matrix, a 'reality' created by machines for all of humanity in their version of a final solution. The humans dream their lives away while the machines siphon off their biological energy to power their world.
As the "Chosen One," Reeves is trained for the purpose of defeating the machines by destroying their matrix--the computer programs that keep humanity enslaved.
The movie borrows elements from Tron and injects philosophical and martial arts aspects. Many of the special effects are outstanding, as are the physical combat scenes between the heroic humans and the sadistic agents (computer programs that serve as assassins). While some of story goes unexplained--such as how Morpheus knew Neo was the "Chosen One," and how they manage to continually tap into the matrix with no opposition--it is still wonderful storytelling. The end of the movie is, actually, only the beginning of the story.
Excellent sci-fi entertainment. It's a shame the sequels weren't as good.
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on February 29, 2004
In this movie, the Wachowskis obviously have a ball working out the technical details of the photography and the digital effects. There's a nice gloss and attention to detail that's lacking in many other films. The brothers have an eye for small details, such as reflections and color tints. What The Matrix lacks is any real intelligence. As an synthesis of comic books, sci-fi, and Hong Kong action movies, The Matrix is just fine. But it's nevertheless disappointing that it lacks an intellectual core--any originality of thought or explication. As other reviews point out, authors such as Philip K. Dick and William Gibson have already trekked down this path with much more thoughtfulness. The bottom line is that The Matrix is fun to watch, much like a Saturday morning cartoon, but does not merit the adoration it seems to engender. If you love The Matrix, I suggest that you head down to your local used bookstore and thumb through the sci-fi rack. There's alot more where The Matrix came from.
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on February 27, 2004
The movie that started it all. The Matrix came completely out of the blue. No one had ever heard of the directors, the Wachowski brothers. Their only other movie directorial effort was Bound, which no one ever saw. (Turns out, Bound was simply an audition to prove to the studios that they knew how to direct and could handle the project that was The Matrix). The actors were a mixed bag of good actors (Laurence Fishburne, Joe Pantoliano), bad actors (Keanu Reeves) and then unknown actors (Carrie-Ann Moss and Hugo Weaving). The previews gave nothing away. You were simply left with the question �What Is The Matrix?� and a few images of some very cool action. The only thing I knew at the time was that I HAD to go see the movie the night it was released.
Before I go any further, I need to make a confession. I am the target demographic for this movie. As such, my opinion of this movie is biased from the word go. I love video games, I like kung fu, I like science fiction, I like comic books, and I like technology. The one overwhelming mantra of The Matrix is that the Wachowski brothers use everything, pop culture, religion, video games, you name it and blend it all together to make something new. Since they used all the things that I like already, the movie was a wicked cocktail that hooked me from the instant I tasted it. I loved the story, the action, the cinematography, even the acting.
Fishburne and Joey Pants are great character actors and I tend to love their work regardless of the film their in. Keanu Reeves is a different story. Other than the Bill & Ted movies, Keanu�s acting hasn�t been all that good. Johnny Mnemonic was a bomb in no small part thanks to Keanu�s lack of skill as an actor. He�s stiff, doesn�t convey a lot of emotion and his delivery is stilted. His main redeeming quality is that he looks good. All his negatives became positives in the Wachowski�s hands. The character of Neo is one where you need someone stiff and emotionless, but looks good as he�s kicking ....... Keanu more than fits the bill. This was the role he was meant to play.
The story was good, but the storytelling was the hallmark for me. For many people the cinematography was all new to them. Some people had never seen camera angles like they found in the Matrix, but I had in comic books and in Japanese Animation aka anime. In comic books, the method of storytelling is done through still images. Although that may sound somewhat stilted, it can actually give some freedom because each frame and show you more detail, slow things down, or speed things up. If anything it gives you a wide latitude with perspective. Anime takes a similar approach because much of anime is done on such a small budget. For example, one trick that anime uses is to take a still image and have the �camera� move from left to right. This gives the impression of movement, but it�s really just a single still image. These tricks created an entire style that anime still uses today even though the budget may be bigger.
The Wachowski�s came from a comic book background, and one of the things that they were trying to do was bring some of the storytelling style from comic books and anime to the silver screen. Trinity�s jump, bullet time, and the fight between Neo and Agent Smith in the subway are all examples of 2d comic book and Japanese anime style that was realized in film. Motion pictures, comic books and animation are all simply mediums to tell a story. The Wachowski brothers blended the styles and blurred the lines between the mediums.
The techniques that the director�s used in the Matrix changed film as we know it. Hardly any action movie today doesn�t use kung fu wire work. Charlie�s Angels, The Rundown, and even Le Pacte des Loups all used the fighting style made popular in The Matrix. Star Wars may have been a landmark movie because it changed how science fiction was done, but The Matrix did that and more. The ripple effect of this movie has left it�s mark on so many filmakers that it�s hard to watch any action or science fiction film and not see touches of The Matrix in them.
In 1999 the Wachowski brothers released a landmark film that changed film, and to some extent our culture, forever. It came out of the blue and blew us all away. It would be four years before their story could continue, but it was all worth the wait.
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on February 14, 2004
The Matrix is probably one of the most overrated movies in film history. But then, I also thought Mad Max was a waste of celluloid. The resemblance being: the meaningless of life, a ridiculous storyline only an adolescent could believe and an ending that leaves you depressed.
The acting was far too serious, rather "over the top" as drama goes. I sensed that the actors were trying there best to believe the lines given them throughout this unbelievable premise of a story thus their intense consentration is mistaken for acting. The storyline is: nothing is real except what is really real and no one knows what's real except for the real people. In other words we are not really here, we are somewhere else, we just think we're here, consequently not knowing where "here" is, we need someone to tell us where we are. If that sounds familiar to you you're right. Charlie Manson brainwashed his tribe into believing that same philosophy! Between these struggles of belief and disbelief are characters that can survive all manner of certain death and then wind up in another scene trapped, helpless and whimpering. Maybe I missed something looking at my watch.
Matrix is the zenith of a heterosexual teen-age boys fantasy-adventure if they find distinguishing right from wrong in their lives bothersome. No wonder it was the favorite movie of the two Columbine students who slaughtered their classmates. But hey, it's just a movie, right?
If you love both visual and audial effects then this could be a movie worth seeing as a novelty, because the characters take second billing in this multi-million dollar epic devoted to state of the art movie magic, just don't get sucked into the underlying shell game philosophy that the film espouses
I must say again the sound effects are astonishing, be sure to play the DVD through your surround system, for that alone I stayed around for the finish, otherwise I would have had to ask somebody how it ended.
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on February 14, 2004
The Matrix, an amazing and unique sci-fi thriller from the Wachowski brothers stunned the world. It had a unique concept, in addition to remarkable and fresh visual and special efffects.
Now the premise of this film is probably the hardest to explain,
for it surely is intricate and complicated. The film takes place sometime in the distant future, Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, a man who is searching for an answer to a certain question: What is the matrix? Laurence Fishburne who is perfectly cast, plays Morpheus, a leader of a bunch of rebels searching for "the one." Carrie-Anne Moss plays Trinity, a part of Morpheus's group and cause. In this film there are many references to the bible, which you can easily figure from the names of characters. All in all, confusing as you can tell.
The Matrix was a sleeper hit of 1999, and soon became a box-office smash and global phenomenan. The film intruced a fascination effect called Bullet-time, which was later copied in numerous movies, for example Charlie's Angels. The action in this movie was innovative and inventive, and certainly appealing, from amazing kung-fu fights to intense shootouts.
Though in comparison to the sequels, the origianly remains the best. Of course in terms of action, the sequels definetly win especially Reloaded which featured the amazing "burly brawl" and "freeway chase sequence." Revolutions also featured the amazing battle in Zion, which was groundbreaking in digital animation. The sequels are a worth addition to the trilogy though and are definetly worth owning too, by the way Revolutions comes out on April 6, 2004.
The Matrix is rated R for Sci-fi Violence and Brief Language. The violence includes a lot of gunplay, including the amazing Lobby shootout sequence. Some of which is bloody. The Matrix is suitable for kids 14 and up probably, for the violence isn't over the top. cheoreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, who later did work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The language is mild and not particularly strong. There is also mild sexual innuendo. The Matrix, infact as I stated earlier the entire trilogy is worth owning espeically on DVD, if you haven't seen any see one of them today, and obviously start with The Matrix, the one which started it all. Now available on Video and DVD.
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