Matrix: A Hollywood movie smashes box office

Original Title: Matrix

Year: 1999

Running Time: 136 minutes

Country: United States, Australia

Director: The Wachowskis

Music: Don Davis

Cinematography: Bill Pope

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne

Carrie: Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster, Marcus Chang, Paul Goddard, Robert taylor, Tulian Arahanga, Belinda MC Clory, Anthony Ray Parker, Matt Doran, Ada Nicodemou




Plot:

Neo a hacker believes something is wrong with the world and is bewildered by online encounters with the enigmatic word ‘The Matrix’. Tirinity an infamous hacker contacted him saying that a man whose name is Morpheus can explain it. Neo then meets Morpheus who explains the phrase ‘Matrix’ by offering him a red pill and blue pill and ask him to choose between these pills, red pill which will allow him to learn the truth about matrix and a blue pill which will return him to his former life. He chooses red pill after swallowing it, Neo disintegrates from the reality and he awakens in a liquid filled pod naked and weak. Morpheus explains that in the early 21st century intelligent machines created by them waged a war against them. When humans block the machines they attack a human by harvesting the human’s bioelectricity for power. Morpheus had a crew who belongs to a group of rebels who removed enslaved humans. Tank proposes to kill Morpheus, Morpheus surrenders in a situation to save Neo and his crew somehow Neo rescues Morpheus, while escaping Smith shoots Neo but while escaping Smith shoots Neo but he revives with the power to perceive and control the matrix. He defeats Smith and leaves the Matrix in time to disable the attacking.

 

Reviews:

 

Review 1

http://www.rogerebert.com March 31, 1999


"The Matrix" is a visually dazzling cyber adventure, full of kinetic excitement, but it retreats to formula just when it's getting interesting. It's kind of a letdown when a movie begins by redefining the nature of reality, and ends with a shoot-out. We want a leap of the imagination, not one of those obligatory climaxes with automatic weapons fire.

I've seen dozens if not hundreds of these exercises in violence, which recycle the same tired ideas: Bad guys fire thousands of rounds, but are unable to hit the good guy. Then it's down to the final showdown between good and evil--a martial arts battle in which the good guy gets pounded until he's almost dead, before he finds the inner will to fight back. Been there, seen that (although rarely done this well).

 

Too bad, because the set-up is intriguing. "The Matrix" recycles the premises of "Dark City" and "Strange Days," turns up the heat and the volume, and borrows the gravity-defying choreography of Hong Kong action movies. It's fun, but it could have been more. The directors are Larry and Andy Wachowski, who know how to make movies (their first film, "Bound," made my 10 best lists in 1996). Here, with a big budget and veteran action producer Joel Silver, they've played it safer; there's nothing wrong with going for the Friday night action market, but you can aim higher and still do business.

Warning; spoilers ahead. The plot involves Neo (Keanu Reeves), a mild-mannered software author by day, a feared hacker by night. He's recruited by a cell of cyber-rebels, led by the profound Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the leather-clad warrior Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). They've made a fundamental discovery about the world: It doesn't exist. It's actually a form of Virtual Reality, designed to lull us into lives of blind obedience to the "system." We obediently go to our crummy jobs every day, little realizing, as Morpheus tells Neo, that "Matrix is the wool that has been pulled over your eyes--that you are a slave." The rebels want to crack the framework that holds the Matrix in place, and free mankind. Morpheus believes Neo is the Messianic "One" who can lead this rebellion, which requires mind power as much as physical strength. Arrayed against them are the Agents, who look like Blues Brothers. The movie's battles take place in Virtual Reality; the heroes' minds are plugged into the combat. (You can still get killed, though: "The body cannot live without the mind"). "Jacking in" like this was a concept in "Strange Days" and has also been suggested in novels by William Gibson ("Idoru") and others. The notion that the world is an artificial construction, designed by outsiders to deceive and use humans, is straight out of "Dark City." Both of those movies, however, explored their implications as the best science fiction often does. "Dark City" was fascinated by the Strangers who had a poignant dilemma: They were dying aliens who hoped to learn from human methods of adaptation and survival.

In "Matrix," on the other hand, there aren't flesh-and-blood creatures behind the illusion--only a computer program that can think, and learn. The Agents function primarily as opponents in a high-stakes computer game. The movie offers no clear explanation of why the Matrix-making program went to all that trouble. Of course, for a program, running is its own reward--but an intelligent program might bring terrifying logic to its decisions.

Both "Dark City" and "Strange Days" offered intriguing motivations for villainy. "Matrix" is more like a superhero comic book in which the fate of the world comes down to a titanic fist-fight between the designated representatives of good and evil. It's cruel, really, to put tantalizing ideas on the table and then ask the audience to be satisfied with a shoot-out and a martial arts duel. Let's assume Neo wins. What happens then to the billions who have just been "unplugged" from the Matrix? Do they still have jobs? Homes? Identities? All we get is an enigmatic voice-over exhortation at the movie's end. The paradox is that the Matrix world apparently resembles in every respect the pre-Matrix world. (I am reminded of the animated kid's film "Doug's 1st Movie," which has a VR experience in which everything is exactly like in real life, except more expensive.) Still, I must not ignore the movie's virtues, the promotion done by freelancers in many sites isn’t all just stuffed with words that end with lauded. The Oscar-winning movie for Best Effects, Sound Effect, Visual effects is marvelously given special effects. It uses flawlessly integrated special effects and animation to visualize regions of cyberspace. It creates fearsome creatures, including mechanical octopi. It morphs bodies with the abandon of "Terminator II." It uses f/x to allow Neo and Trinity to run horizontally on walls, and hang in the air long enough to deliver karate kicks. It has leaps through space, thrilling sequences involving fights on rooftops, helicopter rescues and battles over mind control.

And it has performances that find the right notes. Keanu Reeves goes for the impassive Harrison Ford approach, "acting" as little as possible. I suppose that's the right idea. Laurence Fishburne finds a balance between action hero and Zen master. Carrie-Anne Moss, as Trinity, has a sensational title sequence, before the movie recalls that she's a woman and shuttles her into support mode. Hugo Weaving, as the Chief Agent, uses a flat, menacing tone that reminded me of Tommy Lee Jones in passive-aggressive overdrive. There's a well-acted scene involving Gloria Foster as the Oracle, who like all Oracles is maddeningly enigmatic.

 

Review 2


http://www.nytimes.com/

FILM REVIEW; The Reality Is All Virtual, And Densely Complicated

JANET MASLIN

Published: March 31, 1999

Action heroes speak volumes about the couch-potato audiences that they thrill. So it's understandable that ''The Matrix,'' a furious special-effects tornado directed by the imaginative brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski (''Bound''), couldn't care less about the spies, cowboys and Rambos of times gone by. Aiming their film squarely at a generation bred on comics and computers, the Wachowskis stylishly envision the ultimate in cyberescapism, creating a movie that captures the duality of life a la laptop. Though the wildest exploits befall this film's sleek hero, most of its reality is so virtual that characters spend long spells of time lying stock still with their eyes closed.

In a film that's as likely to transfix fans of computer gamesmanship as to baffle anyone with quaintly humanistic notions of life on earth, the Wachowskis have synthesized a savvy visual vocabulary (thanks especially to Bill Pope's inspired techno-cinematography), a wild hodgepodge of classical references (from the biblical to Lewis Carroll) and a situation that calls for a lot of explaining.

The most salient things any prospective viewer need know is that Keanu Reeves makes a strikingly chic Prada model of an action hero, that the martial arts dynamics are phenomenal (thanks to Peter Pan-type wires for flying and inventive slow-motion tricks), and that anyone bored with the notably pretentious plotting can keep busy toting up this film's debts to other futuristic science fiction. Neat tricks here echo ''Terminator'' and ''Alien'' films, ''The X-Files,'' ''Men in Black'' and ''Strange Days,'' with a strong whiff of ''2001: A Space Odyssey'' in the battle royale being waged between man and computer. Nonetheless whatever recycling the brothers do here is canny enough to give ''The Matrix'' a strong identity of its own.

Mr. Reeves plays a late-20th-century computer hacker whose terminal begins telling him one fateful day that he may have some sort of messianic function in deciding the fate of the world. And what that function may be is so complicated that it takes the film the better part of an hour to explain. Dubbed Neo (in a film whose similarly portentous character names include Morpheus and Trinity, with a time-traveling vehicle called Nebuchadnezzar), the hacker is gradually made to understand that everything he imagines to be real is actually the handiwork of 21st-century computers. These computers have subverted human beings into batterylike energy sources confined to pods, and they can be stopped only by a savior modestly known as the One.

We know even before Neo does that his role in saving the human race will be a biggie. (But on the evidence of Mr. Reeves's beautiful, equally androgynous co-star, Carrie-Anne Moss in Helmut Newton cat-woman mode, propagating in the future looks to be all business.) The film happily leads him through varying states of awareness, much of it explained by Laurence Fishburne in the film's philosophical-mentor role. Mr. Fishburne's Morpheus does what he can to explain how the villain of a film can be ''a neural interactive simulation'' and that the Matrix is everywhere, enforced by sinister morphing figures in suits and sunglasses. ''The Matrix'' is the kind of film in which sunglasses are an integral part of sleekly staged fight scenes.

With enough visual bravado to sustain a steady element of surprise (even when the film's most important Oracle turns out to be a grandmotherly type who bakes cookies and has magnets on her refrigerator), ''The Matrix'' makes particular virtues out of eerily inhuman lighting effects, lightning-fast virtual scene changes (as when Neo wishes for guns and thousands of them suddenly appear) and the martial arts stunts that are its single strongest selling point. As supervised by Yuen Wo Ping, these airborne sequences bring Hong Kong action style home to audiences in a mainstream American adventure with big prospects as a cult classic and with the future very much in mind.

''The Matrix'' is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying a parent or adult guardian). It includes strange, unreal forms of violence and occasional gore.

Review 3


Adarsh, Sept 12, 1999


The story of a reluctant Christ-like protagonist set against a baroque, MTV backdrop, The Matrix is the definitive hybrid of technical wizardry and contextual excellence that should be the benchmark for all sci-fi films to come. Content promotion blogs for this movie may have tactically proved this movie extraordinary, I am an ordinary movie freak, and this movie is my favorite.


Hollywood has had some problems combining form and matter in the sci-fi genre. There have been a lot of visually stunning works but nobody cared about the hero. (Or nobody simply cared about anything.) There a few, though, which aroused interest and intellect but nobody 'ooh'-ed or 'aah'-ed at the special effects. With The Matrix, both elements are perfect en sync. Not only did we want to cheer on the heroes to victory, we wanted them to bludgeon the opposition. Not only did we sit in awe as Neo evaded those bullets in limbo-rock fashion, we salivated.


But what makes The Matrix several cuts above the rest of the films in its genre is that there are simply no loopholes. The script, written by the Wachowski brothers is intelligent but carefully not geeky. The kung-fu sequences were deftly shot -- something even Bruce Lee would've been proud of. The photography was breathtaking. (I bet if you had to cut every frame on the reel and had it developed and printed, every single frame would stand on its own.) And the acting? Maybe not the best Keanu Reeves but name me an actor who has box-office appeal but could portray the uneasy and vulnerable protagonist, Neo, to a T the way Reeves did. But, come to think of it, if you pit any actor beside Laurence Fishburne, you're bound to confuse that actor for bad acting. As Morpheus, Mr. Fishburne is simply wicked! Shades of his mentor role in Higher Learning, nobody exudes that aura of quiet intensity than Mr. Fishburne. His character, battle-scarred but always composed Morpheus, is given an extra dose of mortality (He loves Neo to a fault.) only Mr. Fishburne can flesh out.


People will say what they want to say about how good The Matrix is but the bottom line is this: finally there's a philosophical film that has cut through this generation. My generation. The Wachowski brothers probably scribbled a little P.S. note when they finished the script saying: THINK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT YOUR EXISTENCE. What is the Matrix, you ask? Something that's closer to reality than you think.


Either that or it's my personal choice for best film of all-time.

 

Anuj


Get this: What if all we know as reality was, in fact, virtual reality? What we all real life is lights, parties, DIY Pizza Oven, drinks, emotions etc. Imagination itself is a ravaged dystopia run by technocrat Artificial intelligence where humankind vegetates in billions of gloop-filled tanks.