Top 365 Films – #022 – The Matrix (1999)


Top 365 Films - The Matrix (1999) - Neo vs Agent Smith in Bullet TimeDIRECTED BY: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski

STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chong, Paul Goddard, Robert Taylor, Julian Arahanga, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker, Matt Doran and Ada Nicodemou

BUDGET: $63m

EARNED (Worldwide): $463.5m

AWARDS: 4 Oscars (Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Special Effects) and 2 BAFTAs (Best Sound and Best Visual Effects)

 

SYNOPSIS

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

 

Thomas A. Anderson is a man leading a double life. By day he appears to be your average computer programmer and by night he is a computer hacker known by the name of Neo. When he’s contacted by the legendary hacker named Morpheus, he finds himself targeted by police. As Neo finally comes face to face with Morpheus, he wakes up in the real world….a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity has been captured by a race of machines that live off humans and who imprison their minds in an artificial reality known as the Matrix.

 

Remember where you were when this film came out original? How amazing it was seeing the bullet time moment for the first time to how very, very quickly that freeze-frame spin and kick that Trinity does in the opening became mimicked on the big screen for the next eighteen months after? Sequels be damned, the original is still a thoroughly entertaining film with great action set pieces (from the lobby scene to the bullet time/helicopter crash scene) to the fight choreography involved (Neo and Morpheus in the training module to Neo taking on Agent Smith in the final act) as we’re driven into a world that the Wachowski’s creating this surreal world that appears heavily inspired by anime and has some truly stunning special effects involved (and cinematography I might add) that hold up considerably well to this day. With a rather intriguing vision and screenplay you’d hope that the performances will add depth to proceedings. Well it helps that they do, with Laurence Fishburne giving us the exposition without coming off as a chore and more of an experience into the world of The Matrix and carries an aurora with him playing the role of Morpheus while Carrie-Anne Moss is tremendous as the hard as nails Trinity, a strong individual with a dose of vulnerability, Keanu Reeves does great as the average Joe Anderson turned ‘The One’ Neo journey to the point that despite the talented names that were once considered for the role of Neo, I can’t imagine anyone else fill the role and fit it perfectly like Reeves does here (and Fishburne as Morpheus for that matter too). Speaking of filling a rather iconic role, Hugo Weaving just chews the scenery up when he appears as Agent Smith, an AI program created to keep order within the Matrix that compares humanity to that of a ‘virus’.

 

 

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Lobby scene. Neo and Trinity taking on guards and solider with guns…lots of guns.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.’ – Agent Smith

DID YOU KNOW?: The Wachowskis approached Warner with the idea of the Matrix and Warner balked at the budget they had submitted, which was over $80 million. Warner instead agreed to give them $10 million. The Wachowskis took the money and filmed the first ten minutes of the movie (the opening scene with Carrie-Anne Moss) using the entire $10 million. They then showed the executives at Warner the opening scene. They were impressed, and green-lit the original asking budget. Woo-Ping Yuen initially refused to work on The Matrix and hoped that by asking for an exorbitant fee, it would turn off the Wachowskis. It didn’t. He next formulated what he considered an impossible request. He said that he’d agree only if he had complete control of the fights and that he trained the actors for four months before they shoot. The Wachowskis complied with his request.

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