The REAL “Matrix” Review

This is what our review of The Matrix looks like when it’s not April 1. Time to fess up: who’d we get?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Keanu Reeves as 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 Smith in the subway.

Low Point

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

The Scores

This felt remarkably original. Fans of Asian cinema have seen this type of thing before, but simply getting it made in Hollywood is an incredible achievement. (Too bad they couldn’t do it again.) Yes, much of this has been done for other audiences, but given the context of the production world this movie lived in, I give it a 6 out of 6.

The effects are remarkable, holding up to closer viewing. There was some very convincing CGI, as well as wire work that looks far more realistic than the CGI stunt doubles that are usually used on this side of the pond. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s considerably above average for the action genre. There are many literary eferences to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and the Bible mixed in with the action, and enough plot to make a movie had the action taken place off screen. Well above par for films with this special effects budget and explosion count. I give it 5 out of 6.

Keanu Reeves is not known for remarkable acting talent. He tends to come across as an airhead, with no ambition or direction in life. That attitude suits this role very well. The supporting cast, however, was made up of people who are known for their acting abilities, and with good reason. The casting choices included many less known individuals who fit these roles well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is great on the first unspoiled viewing, as the ad campaign left the viewers wondering what the Matrix is. There is enough genuine drama and fun action involved for the film to hold up under subsequent viewings quite well. (It’s also fun to watch heroes win out over incredible odds.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is what really set this film apart from other Hollywood movies, including its own sequels. This feels like a meticulously crafted labour of love that respects and rewards the audience, trusting that they can handle things outside of U.S. studio norms. Unusual camera angles, technical work, and careful attention to viewpoints pay off very nicely. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a very good movie. In fact, it’s one of the few “action” films I own. It’s good enough to be viewed from outside a particular genre constraint. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Matrix receives 38 out of 42.

20 replies on “The REAL “Matrix” Review”

  1. Timeshredder says:

    Another thought.
    Although I would never have given this the low score of the April 1 review, I think that review made several valid points. Originality? Apart from Asian cinema influence, the basic premise– "Brain in a jar"– has been a standard first-year philosophy exercise for decades, and has certainly been used by writers before. And yeah, the reason for the Matrix– regardless if it was originally supposed to be a Beowulf Cluster; it wasn’t in the movie we saw– is like an infant bawling at a banquet. The meal may be great, the setting may be attractive, and the conversation may be great, but your response to the evening can’t help but factor in this one annoying element.

    It was a fun movie with great effects, a few clever ideas, and a cool look, but my review would’ve fallen between the extremes of both reviews.

    (And yeah, I would’ve had to fight being influenced by (a)the excessive hype and (b)the fact that the sequels should never have been made. Fiz is wise to address The Matrix in his review, not the trilogy or the fanboy phenomenon).

    • PuppetSocko says:

      Re: Another thought.
      Verily, methinks the good ‘Shredder hath made several excellent points. I am always persuaded by his fine arguments.

      Okay, okay. I’ll stop using this April 1 account.

      • Cerberus7 says:

        Re: Another thought.
        And you got me, too. Dammit! This has been the best April 1st evar!

    • y42 says:

      Re: Another thought.

      the reason for the Matrix– regardless if it was originally supposed to be a Beowulf Cluster; it wasn’t in the movie we saw–

      I keep reminding people: Morpheus clearly states "we don’t really know, but we THINK it’s the battery thing".

      At the end of the credits was a password and a web adress, the password let you in to go find the Neil Gaiman short story where an agent explains the beowulf cluster of brains reason for the Matrix. Not only does THAT one make sense, but it’s from a source in the know, not some bald guy’s best guess.

      Unfortunatly, the awefull sequels went with the stupid reason and ignored the superior writer’s explanations. Ah, well. Canon… it’s a shame.

  2. Cerberus7 says:

    OK, I’ll fess up…
    You had me with the April 1 review. I was torn between seeing it as a joke, or if it was serious. I landed myself thinking it was a serious review because it was a well thought-out and poignant write-up that made sense. I didn’t agree with everything in it, but I did think it was a valid review. So, you got me. :)

    • y42 says:

      Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

      you got me. :)

      lol! Hehe, got me too :D

      • fiziko says:

        Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

        you got me. :)

        lol! Hehe, got me too :D

        Glad to know we got a few people, given the amount of work involved. The goal was to make it seem as plausible as possible, so I decided to write the review from the point of putting a ridiculously large amount of emphasis on some valid negative points. Of course, had we just posted this out of nowhere, with no reason for the review to come so late, more people would have caught on. I looked over my collection, and realized that if I reviewed everything I hadn’t yet reviewed once per week, it would seem plausible. Thus were born the Saturday Movie Reviews that began last December. (The Matrix reviews were written in November, and I started working ahead on other reviews to make sure the Saturday reviews could keep up.)

        The Saturday Movie Reviews will continue, though they may not be as rigidly held to the alphabetical sequence as they have been. I’ve had the schedule done for months, and I’ll post it as soon as my home Internet connection is fixed (scheduled for April 14), so you’ll all see what’s coming. I’ve announced specific dates for the Planet of the Apes and Primer reviews, so those won’t be going anywhere.

        • y42 says:

          Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

          I looked over my collection, and realized that if I reviewed everything I hadn’t yet reviewed once per week, it would seem plausible. Thus were born the Saturday Movie Reviews that began last December.

          lol! Oh man, I feel less like a fool now that I see how much planning went into it! Kudos!

        • Alexius says:

          Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

          Thus were born the Saturday Movie Reviews that began last December. (The Matrix reviews were written in November, and I started working ahead on other reviews to make sure the Saturday reviews could keep up.)

          So, You Mean You’ve Reviewed A Movie Every Weekend Just So You Could Pull Of This Joke?

          Well Played!
          (And I Like The Saturday Reviews, So There’s A Bonus Outcome!)

        • quantaman says:

          Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

          you got me. :)

          lol! Hehe, got me too :D

          Glad to know we got a few people, given the amount of work involved. The goal was to make it seem as plausible as possible, so I decided to write the review from the point of putting a ridiculously large amount of emphasis on some valid negative points. Of course, had we just posted this out of nowhere, with no reason for the review to come so late, more people would have caught on. I looked over my collection, and realized that if I reviewed everything I hadn’t yet reviewed once per week, it would seem plausible. Thus were born the Saturday Movie Reviews that began last December. (The Matrix reviews were written in November, and I started working ahead on other reviews to make sure the Saturday reviews could keep up.)

          The Saturday Movie Reviews will continue, though they may not be as rigidly held to the alphabetical sequence as they have been. I’ve had the schedule done for months, and I’ll post it as soon as my home Internet connection is fixed (scheduled for April 14), so you’ll all see what’s coming. I’ve announced specific dates for the Planet of the Apes and Primer reviews, so those won’t be going anywhere.

          Damn! You got me and you certainly earned it!

          The thing that actually really sold me was the fact that some time back (several months I believe) you mentioned that you hadn’t reviewed the Matrix for reasons that would be obvious when you did review it (ie the low score). Even when I remembered it was April 1st and it could be a joke review this comment made me think otherwise.

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

          you got me. :)

          lol! Hehe, got me too :D

          Glad to know we got a few people, given the amount of work involved. The goal was to make it seem as plausible as possible, so I decided to write the review from the point of putting a ridiculously large amount of emphasis on some valid negative points. Of course, had we just posted this out of nowhere, with no reason for the review to come so late, more people would have caught on. I looked over my collection, and realized that if I reviewed everything I hadn’t yet reviewed once per week, it would seem plausible. Thus were born the Saturday Movie Reviews that began last December. (The Matrix reviews were written in November, and I started working ahead on other reviews to make sure the Saturday reviews could keep up.)

          The Saturday Movie Reviews will continue, though they may not be as rigidly held to the alphabetical sequence as they have been. I’ve had the schedule done for months, and I’ll post it as soon as my home Internet connection is fixed (scheduled for April 14), so you’ll all see what’s coming. I’ve announced specific dates for the Planet of the Apes and Primer reviews, so those won’t be going anywhere.

          You sir are a master. Kudos. By using the tie in to the Saturday reviews you totally sucked me into it being valid. In fact, I just posted there, hit refresh, and saw this…. Ouch.

          To think the planning of the whole Saturday review thing with this in mind, plus the hint you put in about people not being happy with the Matrix review before you posted it. Excellent!! Well done!

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: OK, I’ll fess up…

      You had me with the April 1 review. I was torn between seeing it as a joke, or if it was serious. I landed myself thinking it was a serious review because it was a well thought-out and poignant write-up that made sense. I didn’t agree with everything in it, but I did think it was a valid review. So, you got me. :)

      Well I knew about it, and I still felt it was pretty genuine – although as I mentioned in my comment on the other version of the review, I have been scarred by watching the sequels.

  3. frunk says:

    Two great reviews make one better review
    I’d actually take the effects and production of this review, the originality and overall from the April Fool’s review, and split the difference on story, acting and emotional response.

    That puts me at about 25, which is what I’d expect.

  4. octa says:

    .
    Alright you definitely got me :) I held off from commenting in the other one because I wanted to cool down for 24 hours and not say anything impulsive – hah!

    One thing you brought up in this one, that’s very poignant in regards to my utter love of this movie, is the way it was marketed before release. The teasers were so well done, and left you guessing so much, that going into the theatre was an exciting experience. I remember catching the first showing in the morning of release day, being utterly dumbfounded and giddy that I went back later that night to watch it again. I dare say it was a highlight of my childhood. How many movies can say that?

    • dkichline says:

      Re: .

      I dare say it was a highlight of my childhood. How many movies can say that?

      Okay that one very statement is so utterly depressing…. Sigh, he saw it when he was a child. I think I was 26 working down in DC. I saw the midnight showing of the movie. For me it was a little different. I was so caught up in work for so long, that I actually missed all of the trailers with regards to the matrix. I had absolutely no idea what the movie was even about when I saw it. I went on a recomendation of a friend.

      Sigh, childhood, as if…

      • octa says:

        Re: .
        Well I was 18, legally an adult I suppose… I just kind of connect it to my senior year of highschool. Hope that makes you feel better :P

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: .
        Same for me, I’d seen nothing on The Matrix and my best friend (who passed away in January at the ripe age of 34) called me to go see it.

        Not knowing anything other than ‘action flick’ as an expectation going in I was blown away by it. Which made the 2nd and 3rd one that much more of a disappointment. They were good movies, it’s just the first one I had such low/no expectations that the overall effect and story was such a huge kick in the face compared to the next two that there was no way they could live up to my expectations.

  5. Trekkie says:

    Didn’t Get Me!
    I ignore the web on April 1st, I hate it because some sites are so good that they announcing things you would love to see and no one does or they go insane like Slashdot did with the pink.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: Didn’t Get Me!
      OMG Ponies!!!

      That will go down in history as the best Slashdot April 1st ever!

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: Didn’t Get Me!

        OMG Ponies!!!

        That will go down in history as the best Slashdot April 1st ever!

        my intarweb browser crashed and didn’t recover for few days after the first attempt at rendering pink CSS

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