Runtime: 2 Hours
and 16 Minutes
What is the Matrix?
Quite simply: one of the best science fiction films I have ever seen.
There are two kinds of science fiction movies, when you get right
down to it. There are the ones that entertain, that have all sorts
of laser-shootouts and rocket battles. Then there are the ones that
aim to enlighten, the ones who use the template of science fiction
as a way of examining more universal themes of human existence. Movies
like "Star Wars" represent
the former. Movies like "2001: A Space Odyssey" represent
The great thing about "The Matrix" is that you are actually
getting both kinds of science fiction films in one audacious, exciting
and brilliant package. Now that is something truly great.
"The Matrix" is the story of a man named Thomas Anderson.
He has the feeling that there is something not quite right with his
life. That things are not what they seem. He feels that something
is...off about the world around him. During the course of the movie,
he will be proven right. There are nasty underpinnings and horrible
secrets to the world that Thomas inhabits. The nature of the world
around us will be explored. Questions will be raised, both practical
Unlike most action films, you may actually find yourself talking about
the themes and plot of this movie afterward. I will not get any further
into the plot, mostly because most of you already know what this movie
is about but also because I do not want to give it away to those out
there that don't know the inner workings of the storyline. I did not
know what the hell to expect going into "The Matrix" and
I was floored by it. I hope that everyone else has the same awesome
If the movie only provided some thrills and some neat ideas to talk
about, I would probably award it with an "A", but "The
Matrix" not only gets you talking, it provides some of the most
amazing visual spectacles that I have ever seen. There are moments
in this film that might haunt you for the rest of your life. There
are action sequences contained in this film that are truly innovative.
The special effects in this film push the envelope in a way that "Star
Wars: The Phantom Menace" could only dream of doing. This
movie gets you on the edge of your seat, then blows you through the
back wall of the theater. Very cool stuff.
The plot is extremely compelling. The effects are spectacular and
stunning. But there is even MORE to recommend this film. The performances
are not the best on earth, but they are noteworthy. Laurence Fishburne
takes a role that might have been little more than that of a flamboyant
cult leader or an impassioned revolutionary and gives it shades of
both and more. This is not a homily-spouting, Confucious meets Obi
Wan Kenobi type of leader. He is a real guy. He screws up. He makes
mistakes. He is not perfect. He is maybe a little too passionate about
what he believes in. He is refreshingly interesting. Hugo Weaving
takes the role of Agent Smith and makes him one of the best villains
any science fiction film has ever had. He is a non-human who despises
everything human, yet starts finding little layers of humanity rubbing
off on him. His very dedication to his cause is an ironically human
characteristic, as is his sudden hatrid. It is a nuanced, layered
and delicate performance. This guy is a man to keep one's eye on.
And as for Keanu Reeves? Well, Keanu is always at his best playing
guys who are not the sharpest of men. In "Speed", I always
believed that the reason his character took so many outrageous risks
was because he was too stupid to realize the danger of what he was
doing. I can't think of any other actor who could have conveyed the
proper sense of confusion, bewilderment and awe that Keanu does here.
He hits the notes of this performance remarkably.
In short, this is the best action film and the best science fiction
film of the decade. It covers some of the same ground as movies like
"Total Recall" or "Dark City", not to mention
anime and Hong Kong action movies, but it makes it all fresh and thrilling.
Every frame of this film is put to good use, the best possible use
really. It is like an intelligent comic book come to life. In an era
of tired, wheezy action movies that are all the same, "The Matrix"
dares to be different. It is polished, delirious eye candy with a
brain. A rare movie that wants to excite AND stimulate the brain.
Between "The Matrix" and most other action films, I choose
"The Matrix" is an inventive sci-fi movie that takes a good
idea and never really follows through in the way I expected. It's a
creative story with some good special effects, yet I couldn't help but
think they could have done more.
Keanu Reeves is Neo, a software programmer by day, computer hacker by
night. He spends his nights logged on, hoping to hear from the infamous
hacker Morpheus, who has become a celebrity in techie circles. One night,
Neo gets a message and ends up in a club where he meets a girl who tells
him he's in danger. Sure enough he is. A band of "agents"
track him down at work, find him and take him into custody. Once out,
Neo meets Morpheus, who tells him about the Matrix, a computer program
that is what we perceive as real life. Turns out our reality is NOT
Neo follows Morpheus and his crew into our true reality, which is a
gloomy world run by robots. Humans are being bred by the robots to serve
as an energy source for the 'bots, and the Matrix is what makes us think
we're really living day-to-day when we're not.
Phew. It took a lot for me to make it even this far. The storyline overwhelms
the viewer. If my description of the plot has you shaking your head,
don't rent this because there's a lot I'm leaving out. Eventually, after
being trained to fight and use weapons, Neo follows Morpheus and his
crew into the Matrix, where something goes terribly wrong.
Admittedly, hype probably killed this movie for me. I kept hearing the
special effects would knock your socks off, but I kept waiting for something
spectacular which never happened. People who enter the Matrix with the
right kind of training can break the laws of physics and gravity, and
they do, but only at the very end does anything really start to get
Also, the explanation behind the agents just never sat well with me.
They seemed too human to me.
Overall, I'd give this movie a marginal recommendation because it's
smart and it's complex. Just don't expect anything to knock your socks