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The Matrix – Review August 3, 2009

Posted by Cello in Domestic Film Reviews.
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The Matrix is another great movie that is heavily influenced by asian culture. Japanese director Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell was a strong influence. Producer Joel Silver has stated that the Wachowski brothers first described their intentions for The Matrix by showing him that anime and saying, “We wanna do that for real”. He stated that since Ghost in the Shell had gained recognition in America, the Wachowski brothers used it as a promotional tool. Another Japanese anime which influenced The Matrix was the 1985 film Megazone 23, directed by Noboru Ishiguro and Shinji Aramaki. An American adaptation of Megazone 23 was released in 1986 as Robotech: The Movie. There are also several more Japanese anime and manga that can be found as sources of influence.

That knowledge aside, the story follows Neo’s pursuit of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a purported leader of a group of hackers known for bringing down major institutions. But the real surprise comes when Neo meets Morpheus, who informs him that everything he knows about the real world is wrong, and that existence bends to the whims of the Matrix. The Matrix is a simulation of the real world achieved by plugging a jack directly into people’s brains. The bulk of the film revolves around Morpheus’ belief that Neo is the one who will bring an end to the war between humans and the machines. Within this, the action is terrific: the principal cast training for four months pre-shoot to sell breakneck martial arts sequences using Hong Kong wire techniques, and a barrage of weaponry that would make John Woo blush.

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This movie could have been trimmed a spot during its over-elaborate second act, but comes through on all cylinders in respect to style, vision, mood, and premise. The Matrix is a curiosity, and it’s definitely a good ride. It’s a handsome picture with extremely slick photography, computer-enhanced stunts and neo-goth atmosphere. The more you get into the movie and the more of the story unfolds, the more impressive and science-fictionesque the entire scenario becomes.

The video above depcits the entire trilogy as a whole, although I was a fan of the second one, I felt the first movie was the best in the trilogy and was influenced the most by asian culture. Visually and artistically The Matrix owes a lot – and I mean A LOT – to Hong Kong Wire-Fu and fantasy films. While stunt coordinator Woo Ping Yuen, one of Hong Kong’s best stunt choreographers and directors, does a great job choreographing the extraordinarily elaborate fight sequences in “The Matrix” the performances seem stiff and wooden at times. All in all, this movie is a modern day classic. It’s hard to believe it’s been already 10 years since its release. The thing is, another 10 years from now, people will still be talking about this film.
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Comments»

1. ironanno - August 3, 2009

I thought the action sequences were extremely cool when I first saw the movie but hadn’t seen any Asian martial arts films at the time(that’s still true). As you seem to think I find that a good thing. I’ll have to check out Ghost in the Shell. Could you name some Hong Kong Wire-Fu and Fantasy films to check out, because I absolutely loved the Matrix.

As a side note I don’t think its entirely justified to blame a movie for spawning lackluster sequels. Movies that have sequels are usually good enough to sell a lot and of course in order to make more money sequels follow. Perhaps better would be to say that this movie was so good even the terrible sequels sold well:P

ironanno - August 3, 2009

I left out a line from the middle there. I should’ve written that the fact that the Matrix was influenced by Asian films is a good thing in my opinion and bringing those influences into a movie with more mainstream audiences.

2. Cello - August 3, 2009

indeed! Those are very good points. I guess I’m just bitter about the sequels. I kinda dug the 2nd one, I won’t lie 😛

Theres a whole slew of wire-fu movies. Try:

http://japancinema.net/2009/03/09/house-of-flying-daggers-review/
http://japancinema.net/2009/05/06/crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon-review/
http://japancinema.net/2009/04/16/iron-monkey-review/

The guy who choreographed the Matrix had a hand in these films as well. I’m glad I’ve gotten you somewhat interested. Let me know how you end up liking them!

ironanno - August 4, 2009

I quess I have seen a wire-fu movie then. I loved Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. If the two others are half as good I can’t wait to see them.

I did like the fighting in the Matrix a lot, but perhaps more impressive to me was how that was blended with the sci-fi and the thriller-like beginning, I mean the scene with the mobile phone where Neo escapes tries to escape from his office. Even if short it is rather different from the rest of the movie now I come to think of it. I quess I mean the movie as a whole. Think I’ll check out Ghost in the Shell as well. Three new movies to see already…

3. hagiblog - August 3, 2009

Another series that gets painfully worse as it goes along. This one is one of my favorites though and I love it every time I manage to catch it somewhere. Great action, amazing story, amazing effects. Spectacular all around if you ask me.

4. Anh Khoi Do - August 3, 2009

I’m not going to lie; I liked the second instalment back in High school because of the action sequences (although I knew that the script wasn’t that good).

As for the first film in the trilogy, it’s only the best one in that it has a simple (and decent) story, in my opinion. Moreover, in the years to come, I’m sure that people will talk about this film because of its action sequences over anything else.

5. Heather - August 6, 2009

I freaking love this film. This is one of those “have to see” movies for any movie fan. Sure there have been movies made since that are mock ups of it, but even though there was outside influence to it, there is no question it influences American film today in an incredibly prevalent way. It entertains, it’s intelligent, it’s original, and even Keanu Reeves fits. I agree with you Cello. A plus.

6. glothelegend - August 13, 2009

A+……I LIKE.

I once had the lines from this movie memorized.


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