The Matrix (1999) – The Wachowski Brothers


The 101 Sci-Fi Movies brings me a chance to rewatch a film that perfectly combined science fiction and kung-fu action in one big mind-blowing blockbuster.

Sure Keanu Reeves still isn’t my favorite actor, and his delivery is as monotone as ever, but he and the entire cast worked their ass off to make this film the best it could be, and it’s still a stunning cinematic achievement that still dazzles the eye.

Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, also known by his hacker name, Neo. He’s been trying to track down an elusive hacker named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), when he is approached by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) who brings the two together, and reveals the truth of his and everyone else’s existence – humanity is living in a computer generated reality, the machines one the war, and they are using us as power sources.

Morpheus believes that Neo is the One, and as they are anagrams of one another, he’s probably right.


Once Neo is awakened into the real world, Morpheus educates him about the war, the creation of the Matrix, the last human stronghold in Zion, and their continuing war against the machines.

They take their fight to the Agents (sentient programs that monitor the Matrix) including Agent Smith (a menacing Hugo Weaving), to help in the battle though, Neo gets weapons training and Kung-Fu uploaded into his brain (sigh, if only it was that easy…).

However, when a traitor in their midst causes Morpheus to be taken prisoner by the Agents, Neo and Trinity must do something no one has been able to accomplish, take on, and beat an Agent.

The film is still amazing to look at, and I love all the stuff inside the Matrix, because it has a touch of a green hue, like you would get from a computer screen while also looking a little techno-noir. That tends to be my favorite stuff in the film, as cool as Morpheus’ ship is, it just doesn’t seem to have the reality of the world of the Matrix. Weird.


And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fight sequences, which shows how hard all of the actors trained, to be the best that they could be for the film, and it pays off, because those sequences are brilliant. Whether Morpheus is fighting Neo in the training dojo, or Neo is squaring off against Smith in the subway… just wow.

Then of course there was the creation of, and the subsequent supersaturation of Bullet-time. It was an amazing achievement, and still looks insanely impressive on the screen, though less so because it seems so common place now. Still the first time I saw it, the effect was literally jaw-dropping.

While the sequels may have stumbled a bit (though they did have Monica Bellucci, and that alone is worth the price of entry for me), don’t let them overshadow the fantastic film that the original was.

It’s smart, action-filled, entertaining film, that makes you wonder about the what-ifs…

What did you think of the original film? The trilogy?


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