It’s hard to believe that it has been a full decade (plus two weeks) since The Matrix debuted. Although I admittedly did not see it until a year later when it premiered on TV, I will act like this is not the case. This morning, I had one of the strongest urges I’ve ever had to watch a movie, and it came just after I cracked my eyes open at 8:45am, to the sound of rain falling atop my roof. That urge was to watch The Matrix. After rooting around and discovering the DVD case, I got curious and glanced at the back of it, and saw “Copyright Warner Bros. 1999.”
I grinned and was immediately overcome with the urge to write a blog about it. 14 hours later, I have reached that point.
I was 13 years old when I first saw The Matrix. It was a 10pm time slot on the TNT network. I remember it clearly. I tried to convince my father to watch it with me, redribbonlive but he was busy doing other things in the office. I watched the movie on my lonesome, and it finished around 12:30am. The first words out of my mouth at the end of the movie, and quite possibly the only words I uttered during it, were “HELL YES.”
I said this to myself repeatedly, growing more and more excited each time I recalled the closing minutes. From Neo taking a full clip of .45 caliber bullets to the chest, to standing up and laying waste to Agent Smith, and then making his final phone call to The Matrix itself, before shooting off into the sky to the adrenaline infused music of Rage Against The Machine.
It was all heart pumping to the extreme, and from that point forward set the benchmark for the way I think of action movies.
Now, a mild argument can be made that the Wachowski brothers ristomanager ripped off Equilibrium for some of the ideas of brain-washing and totalitarian control, and nobody over here noticed because Equilibrium was not released in American theaters. However, that’s not the point of this. I don’t really care one way or the other, because I haven’t seen blatant proof it was a rip off. Perhaps they were just inspired, in which case… who cares? Most all of my favorite artistic creations were inspired by something else. But all of this has no real point, so let’s move onto something else.
As I previously said, The Matrix changed the way I look at action movies. The concept of the story, the cinematography, the special effects, MATRIX CRACK the soundtrack and the acting. They all set the collective bar, and I would be hard pressed to say that I can think of an action movie that beats it in every category. Terminator 2 is my favorite action movie, and second favorite movie overall, but is it a better film than The Matrix? I’m not sure I can provide a satisfactory argument either way, as I love them both immensely.
To my favorite parts of the movie:
1. Introducing me to Hugo Weaving, who has since been my favorite actor.
2. The plot: Such a great ‘what if?’ scenario that has many times made me and untold thousands of others randomly stop during the day, and wonder if we are actually stuck in a real world Matrix.
3. Special effects: I’m not sure if this was the first film to introduce bullet dodging or jumping across great chasms between buildings, but it surely is the best.
4. Characters: Morpheus takes the cake in the first half of the movie, with Laurence Fishburne’s demeanor being legendary in my mind. His voice, his presence, and… he can break those handcuffs with the best of them. Neo, the prodigal son. When he returns to life and climbs back to his feet after taking 8 .45 cal bullets to the chest… my blood was pumping with excitement. It was, at my young age, the ultimate scene of a hero rising from disaster. Agent Smith, such a creepy, polite man with a great voice.
5. One of the best movie endings ever, to build up anticipation for a sequel. And while The Matrix: Reloaded, did not entirely live up to the expectations, and Revolutions borderline sucked, I do think that they had a near impossible task, to fill the shoes of the first movie.