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

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Action movie disguised as science-fiction delivers the goods

  • Nov 5, 2008
Rating:
+5
Beginning this review I was writing the film's title and ended up with "The Mainstream" (100% accident) which pretty much sums up the premise of The Matrix franchise. The Matrix is good in the fact that it takes complex science-fiction from previous 1990s films that didn't quite meet mainstream audiences (Dark City, 12 Monkeys) and merges it with the spectacular CGI effects of an action film. As an action film The Matrix is incredibly successful and deserves great recognition as one of the best films of the 1990s, or the past two decades for that matter. However I do feel let down by the fact that I felt cheated by the story when they didn't try to further flesh out the world it took place in.

My main problem with the film falls on the fact that, as an avid sci-fi fan, I had already seen most of the concepts The Matrix presented in previous films (go back to the two I listed above). The religious spin on things however does really make it interesting, kind of like a science-fiction version of some religious document, but a human being having special abilities and saving a captive human population from a controlling force which had everyone living in a false reality had already been used in Dark City back in 1996. This, among other things, is one of the reasons I don't give The Matrix a perfect score of 10/10.

As a sci-fi film it was very good, regardless of how many of the elements that it was reusing from other films, but I often felt like the production team couldn't decide on whether or not they wanted an action picture, or a thought stimulating sci-fi epic. By the end however The Matrix does succeed in balancing these two things very nicely. The CGI deserved its Academy Award, because it really is amazing some of the things they were able to pull off.

The acting in this film was grade-A, and one of the strongest aspects of the film's production, and there was only ONE performance that failed to catch my attention...sadly this performance (my opinion) came from the star of the film: Keanu Reeves. Reeves has had his moments throughout his career, don't get me wrong, back in the late 1980s (most will remember the Bill & Ted films) he was a rather likable young actor, even in his lesser known performances; he seemed very honest and sincere in his performances. A change came about when he announced he was going to "take acting more seriously". The result, in my mind, was horrific! He comes across now as someone with very little emotion, and just doesn't seem really human.

I had the same problem with Keanu in the action movie, Speed, which followed the Die Hard franchise, but unlike Bruce Willis, I couldn't connect, or really care about Reeves in this film (similar feeling in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but he wasn't TOO bad in that film), which was certainly on par with the Die Hard films in production and story. Same problem is present in The Matrix. Reeves is trying way too hard to seem serious, and dramatic, and in the end comes across as being artificial, and dull. If that was the director's intention, I don't really care, because I felt this was a character the audience should have been able to relate to and care about, but that's just my opinion and you don't have to agree with me (just giving an honest view from my perspective).

Okay, I've given my criticisms, but now I have to say what was really good about The Matrix, and there are a lot of good aspects of this film which is why it deserves my high rating (and a spot in my DVD collection). The action is well-done, and truly is an eye opener, and as I previously stated the performances are mostly strong. Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) are very good in their respective roles, and both (as most people will say) are embraced as engaging characters in the mind of the audience, while Reeves was more of a vehicle to channel elaborate action sequences (the highlight, in most people's opinion, of the film). Also the Wachowski Brother's film is simply beautiful to look at, from the all CGI sequences to the live sets. The sequels, which go purely into action, prove that this film could have been a much worse (I don't hate the sequels, they just are not really sci-fi; just action films).

This film really does have all it needs to work as a successful film, especially in the mainstream Hollywood of this day and age. It would have been braver for the filmmakers to try and expand, and concentrate on the complex science-fiction aspects, instead of the action, but then it wouldn't have been the box-office success it was. I would defend them no matter what, but when you go against the powers if mainstream and the production companies and end up with a good film you'll always have me backing up your film...of course I will be critical if the plot and direction is bad, but at least I'll give you a positive word for daring to be different.

I can only hope that The Matrix can help get moviegoers into the lesser known art-house science-fiction stories that inspired it, because it's a shame that our modern audiences can't seem to appreciate things that don't fuse with action or comedy, because I don't feel science-fiction was ever really intended to be a genre simply designed to create exciting action sequences.

The Matrix was a great film, deserving its mainstream applause: Solid 9/10 stars

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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
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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 …
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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!
review by . December 23, 2008
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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 …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
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Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
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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
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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
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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 …
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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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