Matrix Trilogy: The Matrix (1999)

Directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

Produced by Joel Silver

Written by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

Music by Don Davis

“Follow the white rabbit.”

I was amazed at how many things I have discovered and rediscovered when I watched this movie again last night. Back in 1999 when it first came out, I was merely a little kid and remembered bits and pieces of it when I watched it with the adults, not knowing exactly what was going on in that film. I remember Neo and his romance with Trinity, and I remember Morpheus. I remember the jellyfish-like machines and the computer-dominated world, and the plugs. Everything just seemed so new and familiar at the same time…and I couldn’t help but become completely absorbed by the story and the characters.

Let me just do this because I can’t contain myself any longer:

OMG IT’S SO AWESOME IT’S LIKE THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN AND OMG AND STORY AND THE CHARACTERS THEY’RE PERFECT OMG LIKE WHO CAN HONESTLY WRITE THIS SCREENPLAY? GENIUS. SIMPLY GENIUS.

Okay, anyway. Back to my review. First of all, let me just say, the screenplay is phenomenal. The dialogues are so intricately designed–the little “hooks” in the beginning blew my mind. I LOVED the references to Alice in Wonderland, such as the tiles that resembled a chess board, and lines such as “follow the white rabbit” or “down the rabbit hole” or when Neo is about to “wake up”, the mirror next to him–“through the looking glass”. In that room where Morpheus handed Neo the two pills, its regality is so tinged with the feel of the Victorian era. Very Alice and Wonderland-ish setting, haha.

Speaking of the little hooks–this is something I’ve learned from my creative writing class at UBC. I remembr my TA using Matrix as an example for screenplay writing. She explained that lines such as:

“You’re my savior. My own personal Jesus Christ.”

This was said to Neo in the beginning of the movie when he was doing this business transaction via his hacking career.

Or something like, “You need to unplug, man.”

Or, “Wake up, Neo.”

I was like, OMG, like literally. I was really expecting those. I was so excited when those came up. Considering that Neo is “The One”, and he is going to end up saving Zion, I’d say that line about Neo being the savior and “Jesus Christ” is CLEVER AS HELL.

Anyway. I want to talk a little bit about characters—damn, everyone is SO KEWL. I don’t need to say that Keanu Reeve is incredibly handsome–I can’t stress this enough! But that’s not the point (it is?). The point is, the world of Matrix and just the idea of it gives birth to a set of characters that are unique to their background, utterly unconventional and original. The concept of Matrix is so unbelievably “far-fetched” that it takes a mind of a genius to create–I mean, just to think of something like this–and I heard this idea surfaced back in the seventies or eighties? That early! It was before computers became a trend! This story is god-sent. Period.

“Morpheus is cool.”

Says my brother. And I totally agree! I think (despite that Keanu Reeve is incredible hot) I like him more than I like Neo. Sure, Neo is the protagonist and all, but honestly–Morpheus is bad-ass. His loyalty to Zion and his people as well as his iron-will are so irresistibly attractive. He was “the one” who led out “The One”, if you know what I mean. Without him, Neo would never become who he needs to become.

(Just a side note–I really like that fact that Neo at first denies his destiny but still walks his destiny–it’s different from most conventional films in which heroes just gradually, or shall I say rather quickly, accept their fates as the heroes of the story. God! The word “conventional”! Do I dare to use it in a post about Matrix!?)

Oh, and I loooove the martial arts choreo. “I know kung fu.” Neo says after his mind is completely loaded with numerous styles of kung fu, and begins shortly to fight Morpheus. For some reason it was a little bit weird when I see non-Asian people doing kung-fu choreos–not to be racist or anything, because normally you wouldn’t see these Chinese martial arts poses on Hollywood films. And uh…since I’ve learned a little bit of tae kwon do myself–I can say that Keanu Reeve’s poses are a little bit “undefined”…gosh I’m so mean. I heard he went through half a year of martial arts training just for this film. It’s still very good lah! I don’t think I can do better because I suck. But yeah. It was only one of the poses, though. Otherwise, he’s still amazing. :D

I can’t wait to watch the Matrix: Revolution today. I have vague memories of it. But now, I understand the story so much better. There are just so many good movies out there to rediscover! It’s funny when you revisit something that you’ve watched as a child…that feeling of knowing something yet not knowing something…

Kind of like when I went back to Taiwan after spending eight years in Canada. Everything was so familiar…yet so strange. Even the relatives I meet.

Anyway! That’s totally off topic.

Oh and the scene when Neo wakes up in that human capsule with all the liquids and tubes–I shivered from unease. It was so disturbing to see that humans are “grown” and just “kept alive” to be used to energy sources for the machines. D: But according to Animatrix…this is also the fault of the humans because…during that war between the machines and the humans, humans destroyed the sky to block out sunlight in order to sever the machine’s energy source. So the alternative? Bio power. Yep.

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