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The groundbreaking 1999 science fiction film directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski.

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Simulation and Simulacrum

  • Dec 23, 2008
Rating:
+5
WARNING: This review contains spoilers! DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN THE FILM!

Every once in a great while a film comes along that changes everything and revolutionizes the way films are made. It happened with Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and George Lucas' Star Wars... now we are given Andy and Larry Wachowski's The Matrix. The Matrix not only has a cool, cyberpunk, hyper stylized look and jaw-dropping special effects, it also features an intelligent story that is often overlooked by the mindless action junkies. The story unfolds at a feverish pace while we, the viewers, are given the thrill ride of a lifetime.
The Matrix



Thomas Anderson worked a menial desk job at a major software company. In his spare time he leads a double life as Neo, a computer hacker, and it is as Neo that he gained the attention of some very strange people. One night, after falling asleep in front of his computer, Neo wakes up to find a message flashing on the monitor. "Wake up, Neo... The Matrix has you... Follow the white rabbit. Knock, knock." Not two seconds after reading this message, the door knocks. It's only one of Neo's friends stopping by to pick up a disc, or is it? Neo notices that his friend's girlfriend has a tattoo of a white rabbit on her shoulder, so naturally when he's invited to go to a rave he agrees out of curiosity. Once there, Neo is overwhelmed by the blaring rock music, the flashing strobe lights, and he's just considering leaving when a beautiful woman dressed in a slinky black outfit approaches him. She introduces herself as Trinity, a name that Neo is already familiar with. She's an expert hacker and an ally to Morpheus, a mysterious man that the authorities are after. Trinity tells Neo that he's in danger, that she understands him and his growing feeling of disenchantment, that she can help him, and that Morpheus can answer the question that's been eating away at his subconscious: What is the matrix?

The next morning Neo wakes up and realizes that he's late for work. When he arrives there his boss lectures him saying, "You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously, you are mistaken." After his reprimand his day only gets worse. He receives a FedEx package containing a cellular phone, which immediately begins to ring. When he answers it he hears, for the first time, the voice of Morpheus. "I don't know if you're ready to see what I want to show you, but unfortunately you and I have run out of time. They're coming for you and I don't know what they're going to do." Over the phone Morpheus gives Neo instructions to on how to escape the building without being seen, but Neo fails to follow these instructions. He's taken into the custody of several strange agents, who interrogate him and plant him with a "bug".

Neo wakes up the next day believing that all the events of the previous day had been a dream, until he gets a phone call from Morpheus who cryptically tells Neo that he is "The One". They agree to meet at a safe location. When Trinity picks up Neo, she asks him to lift his shirt because she thinks he may be "bugged". Trinity reveals a large, awkward, high tech contraption that she uses to locate and remove the "bug". She then takes Neo to an old deserted building where he finally meets Morpheus face to face. Morpheus asks Neo if he wants to know the truth about the Matrix. He explains that no one can be told what the Matrix is, that they have to see it for themselves. Morpheus produces two pills and then offers Neo a choice: Take the blue pill and his life will return to normal, but if he takes the red pill Morpheus will reveal to him the mystery of the Matrix. Neo, with a little hesitation, takes the red pill and his world begins to dissolve, literally. The next thing he knows is that he's naked, covered with cords and wires that are plugged into his body, and that the vat of amniotic fluid he's been sleeping in is suddenly drained away, pulling him down through a series of tunnels and depositing him in a lake of waste. A large airship comes to his rescue and removes him from the grimy water. When Neo reawakens, Morpheus tells him that his entire world, his entire existence was fabricated, that he had been subjugated by an illusory reality designed to keep him compliant. The real world turns out to be a nightmare and the nightmare a reality. In the real world, the machines have long ago developed artificial intelligence, and taken over the surface of the planet as they use human beings as their energy source. The Matrix, as it turns out, is nothing more than an elaborate set of programs meant to deceive human beings so that the machines may parasitically feed off their semi-conscious bodies. Neo's life has been an empty dream world... but there is hope.

Morpheus has been leading a band of freedom fighters who live in the real world and hack into the Matrix through a pirate signal, to free humanity from the clutches of the machines. Morpheus tells Neo of a techno-mystical prophecy that one day a man will be born who will liberate humankind and end the war between the living and the mechanical. Morpheus trains Neo to become their champion in a virtual reality simulator, where Neo learns martial arts. He is also taught how to adapt his mind so that when he next enters the Matrix, he will be able to fortify himself for protection as well as bypass the laws of physics (mainly gravity). But they also face great obstacles, both in and out of the Matrix. In the real world they must deal with Sentinels, robots that are squid like in appearance and armed with a deadly arsenal. Within the Matrix, there's the threat of the Agents who eliminate any dissenters. Of these Agents, Agent Smith is the most dangerous for his programming was flawed. He is capable of experiencing human emotions such as ambition, pride, and a general contempt for all organic living things.

Soon Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity have begun a revolution from which there can be no turning back. They will either end the tyranny of the machines or be crushed in the attempt.



Thomas Anderson awakens...
The concept that our perceived reality is a mere illusion is by no means revolutionary. Since ancient times, philosophers and scientists have suggested the possibility of alternate realities which are only accessible through the mind. What makes The Matrix so fascinating is that it combined this metaphysical idea with modern technology, contemporary politics, social counterculture, and martial arts action. The film also has an underlying spirituality and frequently makes references to world religions and mythologies.
Neo under fire...
The iconic characters are played to perfection by a talented cast including Keanu Reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, Joe Pantoliano as Cypher, and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. Though it was released in 1999, The Matrix has often been cited as the film that ushered in the new millennium. It is a high energy, thought provoking modern masterpiece.
All is revealed...
Neo

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July 10, 2010
First off, excellent review, but I must admit that I never really got into the Matrix films. I have been taking heat for that from every one I know but I never got into them.
July 10, 2010
You're not the first person I've heard say that. Funny thing is, most of the people I know who either disliked the film or were indifferent to it couldn't say why they were... they just didn't connect to it for some reason.
 
May 08, 2010
I didn't realize that I've only read this review in ammie--nice one and good work with the pics. Featured it in the community...
May 08, 2010
Aw, thanks. I've been going through some of my older reviews and spicing them up with photos...
 
June 02, 2009
This fantastic film is simply one of the Greatest movie ever made. I mean to be able to combine in the same movie a very exiting Action Thriller and also Deep Philosophy about the nature of the world and our place in it is simply Genius. Pity that they could not keep it up, the next two were a huge disapointment.
December 01, 2009
Hi, Ornleifs. Sorry, I missed this comment when you first posted it. Truly, this was one of the greatest sci-fi/action films ever made. Personally, I didn't think the sequels were bad, but they had none of the elements that made this film a modern classic. Sometimes, a story should just be left without an end. Considering how thought provoking this film was, we didn't need the rest of it spoon fed to us. The directors should have left it open for the viewers to decide what they thought happened next.
 
June 02, 2009
Am I the only living person who has not seen this film? It's possible I suppose. Who can forgive these guys for what they did to the latest remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS though? You'd think it was pretty much fool proof but they proved otherwise.
December 01, 2009
They only wrote the original draft of "The Invasion" and actually asked to have their names removed when they saw the new script by Dave Kajganich. That film's faults fall into the lap of producer Joel Silver and the director and cast. However, if you want to fling mud at the Wachowski Brothers all you have to do is say "Speed Racer"! ; )
December 01, 2009
They were the primary names mentioned in most of the reviews by pros that I read or heard. But I did have to see SPEED RACER with the boys so I'm more than glad to hold that against them.
December 01, 2009
Painful, wasn't it? Never have I seen or heard such abysmally colorful and violently loud film. By the time it was over I had a severe migraine! And I won't even go into the acting or the script, since someone would have had to forcibly convince me that there was either.
December 04, 2009
The boys liked it, but then kids are horribly over-stimulated.
 
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More The Matrix reviews
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    What would you do if you were in the place of hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) - popularly known by his in-movie online alias of "Neo" - in that you woke up one morning to cryptic messages on your computer monitor referencing this thing that you are indifferent to known only as the matrix? If you were Anderson, you would keep following the white rabbit, and you would then meet a fellow female hacker named Trinity (Carry Anne-Moss) who tells you of an …
review by . May 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
You may be wondering what exactly I mean by that title. What I mean is that it's widely-believed that the Matrix is one of the best sci-fi action films ever made. Oh what a grand lie that is. By the time you're done reading this review, you'll know that the Matrix is NOT original, intelligent, thought-provoking, or even that entertaining.      PLOT      The plot is that in a not-too-distant future, a software technician by day and computer hacker …
Quick Tip by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
Love this one for its complexity, action & the realm of possibility. An amazing thriller and sci! Enjoyed it tremendously! One of my all time favorite sci-fi!
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
Fascinating, thought-provoking movie with great special effects and a story that works on lots of levels. I really enjoyed this.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If only for the innovative filming techniques, this movie is a must see. It is unfortunate that the story could not carry the momentum through parts II and III. The philosophy in the movie is interesting and its treatment of the future we may make for ourselves is worth a pause.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I think this movie paved the way for all the others. the actions were new and the story was very different which played to its advantage.
review by . March 13, 2010
Exploring The Matrix Rabbithole with a Psychedelic Flashlight
(I suppose this belongs here too.)      There are two concepts mentioned in The Matrix which are important to its analysis.  But curiously the specific names for those concepts are never actually used in the movies.      The missing words are:      Reincarnation & Avatar      To comprehend The Matrix you must pay close attention to certain dialogs.  There are numerous such dialogs throughout the movies.  …
Quick Tip by . June 07, 2010
I normally do not like movies of this nature, but The Matrix (and its sequels) are addicting!
review by . December 01, 2009
When Thomas A Anderson, aka Neo (Keanue Reeves), ends up on the run from the police, and in the same room as legendary fugitive Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), he must choose if he wants to discover the truth of the Matrix. He is given two options: 1) take the blue pill and "believe whatever you want to believe," or 2) take the red pill where "you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hold goes."      The Matrix is a futuristic action movie …
review by . July 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Splinter in his mind  Kung fu, big guns, and leather  Can he be the one?
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Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss
Directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Writer:  Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
1999

Product Description
Set in the 22nd century, The Matrix tells of a computer hacker (Reeves) who joins a group of underground insurgents fighting the vast and powerful computers who now rule the earth. The computers are powered by human beings...

By following up their debut thrillerBoundwith the 1999 box-office smashThe Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers--Andy and Larry--annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus...
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Details

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: March 31, 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
DVD Release Date: November 14, 2000
Runtime: 2hrs 16min
Studio: Silver Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures
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