In 1999, I went to go see a movie not so much for the movie itself, but because a particular trailer was going to be showing before that movie. Still, it would be stupid to leave a movie after a preview and I am always up for a sci-fi film so why wouldn’t I stick around. That is pretty much what happened when I first saw today’s movie. I will be honest in that I didn’t have much interest in seeing it because it seemed like just another big-budget sci-fi movie and they had been getting a little stale for my tastes. Good thing I had low expectations for it because I will admit to being blown away when I did watch The Matrix.
The plot: A hacker named Trinity is making a phone call but it winds up being traced and the police show up to arrest her. Trinity kills the police officers and calls a man named Morpheus to find another escape route. As she goes to leave the building, she sees more cops, as well as an Agent, approaching so she heads up to the roof and begins running across the rooftops, making some impossible jumps as she does. Trinity makes it to a ringing phone booth but as she answers the phone, an Agent driving a dump truck crashes into the phone booth. When the truck backs up, there is no sign of Trinity but the Agents say they know who she was looking for and start looking for a man named Neo. Elsewhere in the city, Neo wakes up to a strange message on his computer and after chatting with the unknown person, he is told to follow the white rabbit. When some people buying illegal software from Neo show up and invite him to go out with them, Neo starts to refuse until he notices the white rabbit tattoo on one of the girls and decides to go. At the club, Neo meets Trinity, who tells him that Morpheus can answer his questions when he is ready. The next day at work, Neo receives a phone through FedEx, which starts ringing as soon as he opens the package. Answering the phone, Neo is shocked to hear Morpheus on the other end, warning him about the Agents coming to arrest him. Morpheus tries to direct him out of the building but when Neo tries to get to a scaffolding outside a window, he panics and ends up getting caught. Neo is interrogated by Agent Smith, who wants to know about Morpheus but Neo refuses and demands his phone call. Agent Smith asks what good the phone call will be if Neo can’t speak and suddenly, Neo’s mouth disappears. Freaked out, Neo is held in place on the table while Agent Smith places a robotic insect onto Neo’s stomach, which begins to burrow inside him. Neo wakes up in his room, thinking that it was a dream, until Morpheus calls him and arranges a meeting with Neo. Neo is picked up by Trinity and two other people and during the car ride, Trinity uses a device to remove the bug from Neo’s stomach and after she tosses it out the window, they continue to meet with Morpheus. Neo speaks with Morpheus and asks what the Matrix is but Morpheus says that he can’t tell Neo what it is, but he can show him. Morpheus offers Neo two pills, saying the blue pill will let him to continue living his life as he is now, but with no knowledge of the Matrix, or he can take the red pill and learn the truth. Neo takes the red pill and Morpheus and the others hook him up to the machine when Neo starts hallucinating, with Morpheus asking if he ever had a dream so real he wasn’t sure what was the dream and what was reality. As he starts to go into cardiac arrest, Neo suddenly wakes up inside a pod, with wires attached all over his body. Neo notices he is surrounded by more pods full of people when a robot suddenly appears, choking Neo as it unscrews a cable from his neck. With the cable removed, all of the other wires and cables attached to Neo fall from his body and he is flushed out of the pod and dropped into a pool, where Morpheus’ ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, picks him up. Inside the ship, Morpheus and his crew work on rebuilding Neo’s muscles, which have atrophied due to lack of use, and when he is able to move, Morpheus has Neo placed into a chair and plugs a wire into the port in Neo’s neck. Neo finds himself inside a blank white room, where Morpheus explains that it is the late 21st century and that a war had broken out between humans and AI controlled machines and when the humans scorched the skies in order to prevent the machines from harnessing solar energy, the machines begin using humans as batteries, plugging them into a computerized matrix to keep them alive for as long as possible while the humans would have no idea what was really happening to them. Neo freaks out and demands to be let out, and later Morpheus apologizes and tells him about the man that had freed the first humans and how he was able to rebuild the Matrix as he saw fit. Later, Neo starts going through training programs, where he learns how to fight as well as what the Agents are but Morpheus believes that Neo is the one person that can fight the Agents. Cypher goes into the Matrix and meets with Agent Smith and offers to hand over Morpheus in exchange for being plugged back into the Matrix. After hiding from some sentinels, Morpheus has the ship brought up to broadcast depth so that they can go into the Matrix and take Neo to see the Oracle. Inside the Matrix, Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, and Cypher head out to see the Matrix while Apoc, Switch, and Mouse stand guard at their escape route, but Cypher pulls out his cell phone and turns it on before throwing it in a garbage can. At the Oracle’s place, Neo meets with the Oracle but she tells him that he is not the One and that he will have to make a choice between Morpheus’ life or his own. Returning to the exit point, Neo experiences deja vu, which Morpheus and Trinity realize means something has changed in the Matrix, just as the hard line is cut, preventing their escape. Mouse is killed and Agents and police officers search the building for the others, who are trying to escape behind the walls. When they are discovered, Agent Smith grabs Neo through the walls but Morpheus attacks Agent Smith, allowing the others to escape while he is captured. Cypher gets separated from the group but makes contact with Tank back on the ship and is told where the nearest exit is and he is pulled from the Matrix. When Trinity calls, Tank directs her to the same exit but before he can pull her out, Cypher shoots Tank and Dozer. When Trinity calls Tank, she is shocked to hear Cypher answer and she realizes that he set Morpheus up. Cypher tells her that he was tired of the real world and wanted to go back to being ignorant of the Matrix. Cypher pulls the plug on Apoc and Switch, killing them, then goes to pull the plug on Neo, mocking Trinity by saying if Neo was the One, a miracle would occur to save him but before he pulls the plug, Tank is shown to have survived and kills Cypher, then brings Neo and Trinity back. Inside the Matrix, Morpheus is taken to a military controlled high-rise and Agent Smith and the other Agents begin to interrogate Morpheus so they can learn the codes to Zion, the last human city. Inside the Nebuchadnezzar., Tank is about to pull the plug on Morpheus in order to keep the secrets safe but Neo stops him and says he wants to go in and save Morpheus, and Trinity decides to go with him. After grabbing as many guns they can carry, Neo and Trinity break into the building, fighting their way through the security and heading to the roof. When an Agent shows up on the roof, Neo tries shooting him but the Agent easily dodges the bullets Then returns fire. Neo manages to dodge most of the bullets but two of them graze him and he falls, and the Agent stands over him preparing to shoot him. Trinity manages to shoot the Agent point blank and kills the host body, then asks Neo how he was able to move as fast as an Agent. After uploading how to fly a helicopter, Trinity pilots the helicopter on the roof and Neo uses the minigun on it’s side to kill the Agents holding Morpheus. Morpheus breaks free from his bonds and prepares to jump to the helicopter but when he is shot in the leg, Neo jumps out and catches Morpheus. As they are flying away, Agent Smith shoots the helicopter, causing it to lose fuel. Morpheus and Neo drop to a nearby rooftop and Neo is able to pull Trinity to safety when the helicopter crashes. The Agents say they have the location of the ship and send out some sentinels to kill them but Agent Smith wants to kill them himself. When Neo and the others start to leave the Matrix, Agent Smith appears and shoots the phone just as Trinity leaves, leaving Neo stranded in the Matrix. Neo begins fighting with Agent Smith and manages to hold his own but is soon overpowered. Neo manages to defeat Agent Smith when he is hit by a subway car but as Neo starts to leave, the subway car stops and Agent Smith emerges from it. Neo grabs a phone from a passerby and calls Tank to find another exit and starts heading there, with the Agents in pursuit. Neo makes it to the phone, but is shot and killed by Agent Smith. On the Nebuchadnezzar., the sentinels have found the ship and begun breaking into it so Morpheus readies the EMP. Meanwhile, Trinity tells Neo that the Oracle told her that she would fall in love with the One, and she loves Neo so he can’t die. Neo wakes up and is able to stop the bullets that the Agents fire at him. Then destroys Agent Smith by leaping inside him and killing him from the inside. Neo makes it out of the Matrix and Morpheus uses the EMP to kill the sentinels. Some time later, Neo is back in the Matrix and speaks into a phone, telling the program that he will start showing the humans the truth, then he hangs up the phone and flies off.
The Matrix met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Thanks to the Wachowski’s imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.” The movie won all four Academy Awards it was nominated for and set a standard for action films for years to come. The movie was deemed culturally significant and added to the National Film Registry in 2012. The movie was a box office success, earning over $463 million off a $63 million budget, and the success continued when it was released on DVD as it would be the first movie to sell over 1 million copies on DVD.
This was an absolutely fantastic movie to watch. I have to say that Keanu Reeves did a really good job in this movie, as did Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Hugo Weaving. I thought the plot was really good and definitely a little different take on the whole war between man and machine. The action and special effects were definitely top notch and easy to see why people wanted to copy the style in their movies. My favorite tribute to The Matrix is actually in the video game Conker’s Bad Fur Day, where they basically mimic the scene where Neo and Trinity break into the ground floor of the building to rescue Morpheus. Definitely one of those must see movies that you really must see.
Rating: 5 out of 5