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Sci-Fi Nerd: Commentary, reflection, and accolades from a fan’s point of view on all things sci-fi and fantasy.

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The Matrix’s premiere in 1999 marks the early arrival of the 21st-century science fiction movie, the brilliant opening salvo of a franchise that unfortunately went sideways as it continued.

There is so much to like about this film, and all the remarkable and memorable scenes and iconic moments it contains, it would require a much broader context to adequately do it justice, and give it the detailed appreciation it is due. It marks a shift in genre films, not only for the excellence of the smart concepts portrayed in its narrative and themes, and how they’re told, but also the groundbreaking technical advances it represented at the time. Part of what makes The Matrix so great is that it showed us things we had never seen before

As cyberpunk as they come, The Matrix brilliantly integrates concepts as far-flung as  Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” This film also incorporates ideas from mythology, religion, and philosophy including the esoteric and occult concepts of the spiritual teachings of Buddhism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Hinduism, and Judaism, into the core ideas of the movie.

The narrative takes on a more profound nature as an allegory relating to life in general and how people are sometimes prone to sleepwalk through it, accepting the status quo without ever questioning what is going on beyond their momentary gratification and what makes it possible.

Written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers (more recently brother and sister), The Matrix stars a great ensemble cast featuring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, and others. It’s a story that depicts a dystopian future in which the world, as perceived by most humans, is, in reality, a simulation called “the Matrix.” Reeves’ character Neo is awakened into this existence by Fishburn’s Morpheus because he may be the “the one” a human that prophecy says will arrive to free humanity from its technologically imposed slavery and the artificial reality it perceives as real.

The cast is excellent in this, without any noticeable weak links in its execution of the characters they portray. It remains one of the best roles ever done by the sometimes wooden Reeves as Neo whose evolution the film depicts. Fishburn is also excellent as the gatekeeper Morpheus, and Carrie-Anne Moss is marvelous and memorable as Trinity. Hugo Weaving almost manages to steal the show as the very unpleasant and rage-filled Agent Smith, the film’s iconic main antagonist.

This movie is a visual treat with the look and feels of classic noir and all the elements that go with it. Packed with still unequaled brilliant action scenes from beginning to end, which depicts an orgy of gunplay and violence. The conflict plays out against a backdrop of both in the high-tech, grim reality of the future the movie portrays, and in the illusion-fueled scenarios, the characters visit in their battle against the machines that control their world.

The machines fabricate “agents” to carry out their will in these confrontations. These agents, because they are fabrications, have special abilities that on the surface defy the laws of physics and allow them to travel almost instantly in between locations and occupy bodies already present in any desired place. These are abilities most actual people in the film only have limited access to, depending on how liberated they are from their sense of what they perceive is real. Separating what’s real from what isn’t is the goal of Neo’s training so he can become someone who can transcend the illusion of what his mind tells him is real.

Still widely regarded as one of the best modern classics out there, The Matrix is legendary in its status as an iconic and excellent example of contemporary science fiction films. The story and stylish imagery still hold up today with very little in the way of competition since its creation to topple it from the throne as one of the best in genre movie productions. It has often been imitated but never equaled in its ability to entertain and tell its excellent story.

The  Matrix was followed by two sequels both written and directed by the Wachowskis, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003),  also featuring members of the original cast, that unfortunately did not live up to the legacy of the original. It was well-received by critics and won four Academy Awards as well as other accolades including BAFTA Awards and Saturn Awards. Reviewers praised The Matrix for its innovative visual effects, cinematography and its entertainment value.

***UPDATE 8/21/2019*** There are reports that Lana Wachowski is set to write and direct a fourth film set in the world of “The Matrix,” with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively. Production on the film is expected to beging early next year, 2020.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E3JDtqHaVM

 

Our Score
C

By Craig Suide

A genuine (OCD) enthusiast of Sci-FI and fantasy. Addicted to stories. a life-long fan of movies, TV, and pop culture in general. Purchased first comic book at age five, and never stopped. Began reading a lot early on, and discovered ancient mythology, and began reading science fiction around the same time. Made first attempts at writing genre fiction around age 12 Freelance writer for Sci-Fi Nerd (Facebook), retired professional gourmet chef. ex-musician, and illustrator

One thought on “Modern Classics: The Matrix – 21st Century Cyberpunk Excellence”
  1. Well, a recurring complaint about the underlying storyline of ‘The Matrix’, is that if the artificial intelligence robots, were keeping all of mankind in virtual reality pods, to steal the electrical power of their brains to feed or empower themselves, it would take a HELL OF LOT more electrical power than that, to maintain these pods, and somehow create enough food nutrition to keep them all alive in the first place. The explanation given in the films was that after a doomsday war with the highly evolved AI robots, they made the entire Earth’s atmosphere so smoky, that it blocked all sunlight, so that these robots, supposedly solar powered, would perish, and the robots set up this ‘Matrix’ to make the captive human beings supply them with the electrical juice to stay alive. But, what if that was NOT the true situation, and the robots somehow informed these rebels a cruel lie, about the Matrix’s true purpose, a misleading misinformation tactic, that would keep them from ever finding the REAL source of their various powers, which was the untapped potential of the human brain, which they tapped into, to greatly expand their artificial intelligence, through their cybernetic linkage to the vast networking of human minds within the Matrix. This networking might also give them some kind of connection to the underlying quantum dimension of the universe, to in turn enable them to somehow tap into unknown energy sources, to empower the maintaining of both the ‘Matrix’ and themselves, even without the sunlight blocked by the clouded up atmosphere. That’s why they could not simply say, write a computer program to block the rebels actions or directly kill them outright, because that would disrupt or destroy this delicate cyber-symbiosis or vampirism of this ‘Matrix’, end themselves in that process. Further, by this ‘Matrix’ networking with countless human minds or human souls, many of the human individuals within it might manifest Psi or supernatural powers, which the AI robots could likewise tap into, to somehow make them fully alive, have souls??

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