Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The Matrix (1999)

Directed by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving


I don’t know if revolutionary is too strong a word or not. Can it really be the best sci-fi movie since Terminator 2? A real thinker which makes you reconsider the whole notion of reality and perception. You feel a little different stepping out of the theater and into the real world.

Really well-directed by the Wachowskis, as was their earlier film Bound. Very intelligently made. Amazing versatility, I wonder what will come next from them. Some of the shots are incredible, as if shot by a floating, weightless, completely maneuverable camera.

The effects are in a class of their own. The slo-mo and bassy sound effects worked great together, and the attention to detail (the shock waves from the bullets and on the side of the glass building) is fantastic. The action scenes, particularly the one with the helicopter (maybe borrowed from True Lies), are great. The stunts and kung fu are pretty good but not perfect. It was nice seeing them all genuinely performed by the actors, but at times they looked a bit goofy when a professional might have made them look cooler. I got the multiple Bruce Lee references.

The story was pretty good, perhaps a tad slow. A bit convoluted at times, and Morpheus’ enigmatic dialogue doesn’t help. The whole notion of Zion was glazed over a bit, so the end didn’t have as much punch as it could have had. Some nit-picking: wouldn’t elephants generate more heat than humans and thus be a better source of energy for the machines? And why don’t the good guys prevent agents from taking them by surprise by killing any people around them when they go into the matrix (like the homeless guy in the subway station)? Neo, our moral hero, shows surprisingly little remorse when returning to the matrix and blowing away seemingly innocent people.

Definitely some Terminator 2 themes in there, a similar notion of the future, similar characters, a similar storyline (unsuspecting human thrust into the role of hero in the battle against the machines of the future), FX (morphing villains), weapons (Gatlin gun), lighting (Matrix uses greens just like Cameron uses his blues), music (part of the action score sounds like Fiedel), and costuming (black leather). Interesting that the best (and most convincing) sci-fi movies all have the same themes and predictions of the future. Maybe that means something. Is it possible that there is really only one science fiction plot left that is so believable and scary and real? All others just seem silly.

The cast is good. Keanu was OK, much more tolerable than he usually is. He’s so much better playing the victim than the hero. A very cool role for an actor. Fishburne wasn’t bad, but all his riddles got a bit annoying. Moss was terriffic. I love athletic chicks. I love seeing chicks who really know how to move. Reminded me of the spunky chick in Mr. Nice Guy. Looks like Pantoliano has found a career with the Wachowski brothers. The Agents were pretty cool.

Maybe the red pill was just a tab of acid.

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