Film Review: The Matrix

Once again my local Sainsbury’s has come up trumps and delivered The Matrix Trilogy on Blu-ray for the rather impressive price of £8 – that’s £2.67 a film or less than 2p a minute if you want to get really silly about this!

However, price aside it does mean that I get to once again acquaint myself with Neo, Zion and the ever repetitive Agent Smith. Now it seems a bit pointless to really “review” The Matrix as a film, or even as part of the trilogy so-to-speak; it’s a game changing film that’s scarily now 15 years old and as a result, has been seen by the majority of people and reviewed countless times by better writers than me.

So, instead I’m going to give you my thoughts and takes on it from the point of view of watching it in 2014. The first thing that hit me about it was that it has dated badly. It’s a film driven by technology, and sadly, we’ve moved on so far since it came out that the key objects it used, the Nokia 8110 “Banana” phone for instance, now look like a museum relics rather than cutting edge design. Part of the success of the film was that it was released just as the technology boom was starting to emerge. It came as society moved from the simplistic, analogue physical world of the 1990s where life was basic and tactile into the dot com era and the beginning of the raw, digital world we now inhabit. Life was irreversibly changing with the turn of the millennium and The Matrix defined this shift. The clothes, the music, the colours – The Matrix represented the perfect split between the old and new worlds brilliantly for the moment it was released, but we’ve gone through another shift since then, we’ve disconnected from the world it helped us into and as a result, no longer feels relevant.

This disconnection can be felt as well in the cinematography. The film’s creation of “bullet time” the special effects essentially redefined the whole of cinema let alone simply just the sci-fi genre. Suddenly it wasn’t enough to just show the audience the world they were watching, you had to immerse them into it and engulf them with their surroundings. In one respect, The Matrix was the kick starter that’s ultimately finished with the rebirth of 3D and stereoscopic film making we see so much today. In fact, I was watching The Matrix thinking that if there was ever a film that was crying out for a 3D makeover, a film which would arguably be enhanced by 3D this would be it. Bullet time panning shots with bullet coming out the screen might just convince even the most hardened critic that from time to time it has a role.

I just hope, that while I can see how The Matrix could make use of 3D in a positive way, it’s done through “The Matrix 4” if there ever is one and not “The Matrix 3D”.

Now, I firmly believe that when it comes to reviewing anything: a film, a book, the temperature of the coffee and the sogginess of the sandwiches on the 17.59 Paddington to Reading train, that you really must be careful of “spoilers”, yes a review is about what you thought, but you shouldn’t ruin anything for anyone else. And I was going to moan that while I really enjoy The Matrix I have always had a problem with its “Bobby In Dallas” final moments (I’m not counting it as a spoiler anymore as this is about part 1 of “Neo’s trilogy”!) and then it hit me, how I’ve missed it the entire time I do not know, I cannot honestly say how many times I’ve seen the film over the last few years and every time it’s passed me by, until right now…

The most important dialogue in the entire film is not some heroic speech by Morpheus, or even Trinity declaring her love for “The One”; but rather, what appears to be a throwaway conversation, spoken softly and philosophically by a 7 year old boy and Neo about Uri Gellar style spoon bending.

Tonight sees me continue the fight between man and the machine with The Matrix: Reloaded. I’ll post my thoughts about how the trilogy continues tomorrow…

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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