"The Matrix" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
When Lana and Lily Wachowski released "The Matrix" back in 1999, I don't think anyone thought that this movie would change the sci-fi genre forever. The film, which follows Keanu Reeve's character Neo, take us on a journey, showing us how our world is just a fictionalized reality called the Matrix. Not only did it change the sci-fi genre as whole, but it also flipped the world of cinema on its head, demonstrating new cinematic shots and CGI that could have only been thought of at the time.
When Neo (Reeves) is brought out of the Matrix by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), he is told that he is the chosen one; the one that will lead the human race to victory in the battle against the machines. Not only are they trying to figure out how to beat the machines and save everyone enslaved in the future, but they are also trying to fight off the evil secret agents (Hugo Weaving) who are trying to keep order in the Matrix.
No one had seen a movie like this when it came out in the late '90s. Filmmakers could only dream about making a movie as advanced as this, which shows the harsh reality of the future that we are heading towards if we are not careful as a society. It completely changed the way that sci-fi was perceived as a film genre. Sure, "Star Wars" and other science fiction films have changed how these movies are made and perceived by audiences, but this film added a certain element that was different than anything before it.
We also receive various new shots and CGI effects that redefined this genre as well. One of the most famous scenes in this film, and perhaps one of the most famous shots of all time, is "bullet time", which is the scene where Neo avoids bullets that are being shot at him in slow-motion. It is absolutely incredible to watch and you marvel at how the filmmakers were able to achieve this effect back when special effects and CGI was just becoming a major thing for almost every film.
The cinematography is also just amazing to watch. Each shot is planned out so perfectly that almost every shot could be a beautiful photograph by itself. My favorite shot is when Neo meets Morpheus for the first time, and he offers him the famous red and blue pill. We get an extreme close-up shot of Morpheus' face, and we see Neo in the reflection in his glasses. We also see both the pills in the different lenses. I think it is a fascinating shot, but I also appreciate how it represents the separation between the two pills, which is the separation of how Neo will live his life. If he takes the blue pill, he will go back and live his life as he had normally before. But, if he takes the red one, he will learn the truth about the world as it is now. These are two vastly different choices he can have, and I think it was a perfect representation in the shot by showing how separate his two options are.
The acting in this film is campy in a way, but it can also be very serious and lead the plot along very well. In today's culture, there are numerous memes and jokes revolving around Reeve's performance in this film, but I would say this is a great way that the role stays relevant throughout all these years. His performance as Neo is great though, as well as Fishburne's performance as Morpheus. The scenes they are in together are a lot of fun to watch. Consider the scene where they fight for the first time in a karate dojo. Not only is the fighting superb, but their personalities come more into play, which affects each of their fighting styles. The roles that these two fantastic actors play will remain one of their most famous characters of all time.
This film is a very important entry in cinematic history. It combines all of these different factors into one film, which changes the way that science fiction films can be shot and interpreted. I think it is perhaps one of the most important science fiction films of all time, and many modern films in this genre take a lot of inspiration from this groundbreaking film.