Revisiting The Matrix

I first saw The Matrix in my early teens. All my friends saw it and they said they couldn’t understand it and so they had to see it multiple times. When I saw it, I believed I got it immediately and felt really good about it. Since then I have seen The Matrix multiple times only to realize how little I understood about the film, the first time I saw it.

For those born in the 80s, the Matrix (and its sequels) is the best Science Fiction movie out there. I could have easily called it arguably the best sci-fi movie of all time but then I believe every generation has an acceptance threshold that stretches over time and hence something that blasts a generation’s mind in majority is specific to that generation. The reason why an ‘Inception’ could be digested (given its twisted nature) was because we already had a Matrix.

What works most about The Matrix is the philosophy of good vs. bad and more importantly truth vs. unreal. “Is that Air, you’re breathing?”says Morpheus while training Neo and all of a sudden it hits the audience- they are in the Matrix, it’s their mind at work.

One of the most noteworthy features of the Matrix trilogy is the attention to detail. Not only does the movie provide a lot many answers to common question about it but also raises a lot of question (only to answer them later) that the viewer may not have even thought of. Why the Déjà vu meant agent interference? Why does the Oracle say the things she says? Why is Neo the one but not the only one? Why are the things the way are and how long are they going to be that way? These are just some of the many questions characters in The Matrix ask and eventually get the answer to.

Being a sci-fi movie, one looks forward to concept and implementation. The best thing about Matrix is that, not only it has probably one of the most concrete and amazing sci-fi concept and its fantastic implementation but also stitched together with a rich philosophy and appropriate reasoning behind it. There is a dialog where Agent Smith compares Human species to a virus citing the reason that while rest of the mammals stay in harmony with their surroundings, Human beings tend to consume all the resources to a point of depleting them and just multiply all the time- the same phenomenon that happens with a Virus.
Coming to cinematography, the special effects and choreography of the action scenes, I personally haven’t seen anything like it ever since. The use of slow motion representing speed and reasoning it out to be the only way it could be shown was a master stroke. The action is all unbelievable and humanly impossible and that’s what makes it so special. Since, 1999 the technology has advanced by many folds yet it’s the vision and the choreography that makes the Matrix unique and a mile apart from the rest. Using a two dimensional screen the Wachowskis displayed what even the more advanced 3D films couldn’t. Neo’s fight with Smith in the first part and his battle against 100s of Smiths in Reloaded is brilliant at the least. The Bike chase scene in reloaded became a benchmark for all other action movies. In the first part, there is a scene where Neo takes his first jump as part of his training. That scene is much more impacting than the recent Burj Khalifa scene in MI:4 (which also was great) unless you’re watching the latter on an Imax and the former on your computer. The grey-green color as the theme of the whole movie was outstanding, reminding you every second, that it’s the matrix you’re in.

By its final part (Matrix: revolutions) Matrix turns philosophical and provides more reasoning than action. While it’s the least successful of the franchise, I quite like it. In fact, this is what separates The Matrix series out of the cliché of your everyday sci-fi movies. There has to be reasoning and arguments for whatever has been done. Matrix Revolutions borrows from Hinduism and Buddhism and talks about Karma and more importantly- cause and effect. While it may not be visually as exciting it certainly achieves what it set out to.

As a viewer who has seen this film over and over almost every year, it will be my most favorite science fiction motion picture of all times. I had wanted to write something on it since the time I saw it but never really could until now. It’s an amazing film not to be missed.

This scene from Matrix is fascinating. Sometimes I wonder if just this scene inspired Christopher Nolan to make Inception.

  1. sputnik 11 years ago

    I re watched The Matrix just last month. Had watched it initially when it released and liked it back then too. Brilliant movie and definitely one of the best scifi action movies. Was able to appreciate the philosophy part more this time.

    Inception had too much talk and too much explanation going on and it did bore me. I liked Matrix more than Inception. I did not like the sequel and did not even watch the 3rd part.

  2. Baba Ji 11 years ago

    great review. one of the better ones i read. you are right about that scene and the film. if there was no matrix, may be there would have been no inception.

  3. sputnik 11 years ago

    Watched the scene just now and I agree with you that the scene might be the inspiration for Inception.

  4. Author
    Suprabh 11 years ago

    Thanks Baba and Sputnik for commenting.

    Btw, an interesting co-incidence. In the year 1999, another movie came out called- “The thirteenth floor” . It was very similar to The Matrix in terms of plot and concept. Although where it failed was the execution and production values. Although people should check it out just for the concept and to discover the coincidence.

    Also, concept wise, The 13th floor may have been more of an inspiration for Inception. Watch it and let me know.

    • Baba Ji 11 years ago

      let sputnik watch it. his download speed is high. he will tell us how it is. i still trust “sputnik presents” even though dangerous laisons disappointed me 😀

    • sputnik 11 years ago

      Added it to my Netflix queue. Will comment after watching.

    • sputnik 11 years ago

      Watched The Thirteenth Floor Agree with you that it is very similar to The Matrix in terms of plot and concept. It also had the Deja Vu dialogue. They recreated the 1930s quite well but the production values did look bad in the present (the machine) and the 2024 (only one scene though). The end of the world scene reminded me of Truman Show.

      I did not feel that the movie was much of an inspiration for Inception. The movie is based on a 1964 novel Simulacron-3 so may be Matrix is inspired from that novel.

      The movie was not bad but I did get a feeling like it was a B movie may be because of the relatively unknown star cast (except for Gretchen Mol who looked pretty). Also don’t you think the part of guy getting jealous because she fell in love with a simulation was somewhat silly?

      Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl were all ok acting wise.

      • Author
        Suprabh 11 years ago

        Yes It was silly and the movie wasn’t that great to begin with. Thats why I only like it for the concept, not the execution. Your statement about it being a B movie is exactly what I meant by low production values. Not that the production was lame but a lot more could have been done at a Matrix level budget in other words, it could have been a visual treat.

        The acting was below par to bad.

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