Saturday Movie Review – “The Matrix”

Sorry this review is late. My home Internet service is down, so I had to post this from work.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Keanu Reeves as Thomas Anderson / Neo
Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity
Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith
Gloria Foster as Oracle
Joe Pantoliano as Cypher

Written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski.

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

A hacker comes to learn that the reality he grew up in isn’t reality.

High Point

Beckoning Agent Smith in the subway.

Low Point

“He’s a machine.” This is a compliment in this world?

The Scores

I don’t understand why people say this movie is so original. Take any Hong Kong action film from the last few decades and mix it with Tron, and you get this. Heck, even The Lawnmower Man used the basic ideas for the world. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects felt like the entire point of the movie. Why, exactly, does the helicopter cause ripples in the building? Why did the mirror try to eat Neo? Because it looks so cool! Right. They had the technology, but they didn’t have the purpose. Effects should embellish the story, and not overrun it. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story gets off to a good start with the entire “what is the Matrix” mystery. Then, we get a lame story about human batteries being used in a non-renewable system (which means the machines will
eventually die off), and a whole bunch of fight scenes with no further development. I give it 3 out of 6.

The acting is led by Keanu “Ted Logan” Reeves. I used to have a Speak and Spell that was more expressive than this guy, and he’s the star! It doesn’t bode well for the cast as a whole. Some of the others did decent work, but they just couldn’t overcome the anchor running front and centre. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was dampened by the feeling that the writers were more concerned about what would be “cool” than what would be “good.” There’s lots of fighting, including the heroes slaughtering several innocent people. If they hadn’t established that death in the matrix meant death everywhere, it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, Cypher was convinced he could plug back in. Death could just mean a mindwipe and relocation to another role inside the Matrix. Throw in an automatic trace that happened when they hacked
into the system, and you get a very real threat. Any incursion would have a strict time limit, as the “real world” body would be hunted, while the heroes could fight their way through without actually killing anyone. Instead, they become wanton killers who would be regarded as the terrorists they were described as.
The Wachowskis were just too worked up in proving they’d read the Bible to really sit down and think about the mechanics of the world they created. I give it 2 out of 6.

The production had camera angles we don’t usually see, and with good reason. I do have to give the Wachowskis credit for recognizing that empty shells falling on the floor were more interesting than the scenes they’d written. They mimicked the Asian cinema styles and passed it off to an unsuspecting audience as something actually new. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s not a bad movie, but it’s dramatically overhyped. Watch it if you like special effects and don’t feel like thinking all that much. 3 out of 6.

In total, The Matrix receives 19 out of 42.

10 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “The Matrix””

  1. PuppetSocko says:

    The Matrix Rox
    How coud u only give "The Matrix" such a low score? It was teh most cool Sci-Fi film ever. You’re review sux. Also what’s a "non-renewable system"?

    • Abednigo says:

      Re: The Matrix Rox

      How coud u only give "The Matrix" such a low score? It was teh most cool Sci-Fi film ever. You’re review sux. Also what’s a "non-renewable system"?

      This coming from someone who responds in "leet" speak.

      1337 5p34k 1z ph0r 5155135

      ;)

  2. Blighter says:

    Whoah…
    You rated the Matrix on nearly the same level as Catwomen, Batman and Robin, and Hercules in New York. The Matrix? I think I’ll just sit here in stunned silence and then slowly walk away.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: Whoah…

      You rated the Matrix on nearly the same level as Catwomen, Batman and Robin, and Hercules in New York. The Matrix? I think I’ll just sit here in stunned silence and then slowly walk away.

      I agree with you. This review really seems like it had a major axe to grind. A two for originallity?? A three for effects?!!! For the movie that (for better or worse) created bullet-time?

      I know "life is but a dream" has been done before, but I have to say that the through the rabbit hole scene is one of the most memorable, shocking scenes ever in cinema. As a single scene, I would put it in my ten best movie scenes of all time.

      You absolutely punish this movie for every little flaw and the review comes off as having a grudge against it. Ask youself if you would give it the same score _before_ you had seen the sequels.

      To give this movie a number that ties Batman and Robin, is unbelievable. Bat man and Robin was jaw droppingly bad. The Matrix was waaaay better than Batman and Robin.

  3. Eldhrin says:

    Slightly extreme, but…
    I might not have scored it quite so low – this might be because I’m still haunted by the sequels though.

    The Matrix is definitely stylish, and it’s definitely had a huge impact on culture in the US and in Europe. Unoriginal though it may be, it’s not something most people here had seen before. But it doesn’t bear up to strong analysis, and it doesn’t live up to the potential of its beginning.

    Still I think I’d like it more if no sequels had ever been made. Some stories were never meant to be finished.

  4. quantaman says:

    A little harsh
    The movie is overhyped but I don’t think that justifies the low score you gave it.

    For the effects I felt they DID add to the story. Note that the "our" world wasn’t the real world for the main characters, to connect with the characters we needed to identify with theirs instead of ours. The special effects accomplished this by demonstrating the matrix didn’t strictly conform to physical laws thus allowing us to separate it from our reality. Without the special effects you need to start dealing with the all killing of normal people and the illusion vs reality theme is a much deeper way, this might of made a better movie but it would of been a different movie, therefor the effects were integral to the story.

    For the battery thing I always mentally sub in a Beowulf cluster, that’s what it was supposed to be anyway until the studios got involved.

    As for the production you attack it for being copied from Asian cinema, but since when is production marked on originality? Additionally I think there is a certain originality (and risk) in being the first one to bring a story or technique to a certain audience and afaik this is the first time that style (which has since been copied repeatedly) was brought to a mass north american audience.

    As for all the really interesting moral issues they missed that wasn’t the point of the movie, the point of the movie was to see some cool special effects, brush on some neat ideas, and see a lot of action, it wasn’t Science Fiction it was SciFi, and considering the popularity of the movie they succeeded. I think the overall score more than anything shows that either you weren’t really marking this movie objectively or you wanted/expected it to be a drastically different movie than it was and marked it on the failure to become this other movie.

  5. y42 says:

    Through the looking glass

    Why did the mirror try to eat Neo?

    Because it’s a reference to Alice in wonderland.
    And because Neo was gradually waking up from the matrix, and he was feeling the liquid in which his body is immersed, and that was incorporated into the waking dream of the Matrix.
    Too bad you missed the symbolism…

    It seems you’re just looking for reasons to bash this movie. You have a grudge against the mainstream or you’re punishing the first movie for the crap sequels?

  6. antihero says:

    hmm
    Was there something… special about today?

    • PuppetSocko says:

      RE: hmm

      Was there something… special about today?

      Were you perhaps making reference to the date?

    • quantaman says:

      Re: hmm

      Was there something… special about today?

      Good point, giving the Matrix 19/42 could certainly qualify as an April Fools joke :)

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