THE MATRIX (1999) 

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Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss
Hugo Weaving
Joe Pantoliano
Marcus Chong
Gloria Foster
Julian Arahanga
Matt Doran
Belinda McClory

Andy & Larry Wachowski



Time: 144 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Science Fiction/Drama

Won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects.

By the time I paid my $7.00 to see THE MATRIX it had already grossed over a hundred million dollars. Everyone I knew was telling me I had to see it. Even though it was extremely popular that doesn't necessarily denote quality to me. DUMB AND DUMBER was a huge hit and that was one of the most painful movie-going experiences of my life. Plus, the potential for a lame plot – or none at all – and bad acting from Mr. Reeves kept we away for some time. However, I found myself with nothing to do one night so I decided to take the chance. I'm glad I did. THE MATRIX is definitely one of the best sci-fi movies to come out in a long time and is certainly the best movie of 1999 so far. What took my breath away, more than the fantastic special effects, was the fact that it had a fleshed-out, compelling story. A derivative story in many ways, but an original one none-the-less. I actually had to pay attention and think a little while watching. How refreshing.

The story is basically a conglomeration of various myths and themes as old as time. Yet the film draws new life out of them and gives them a whole new twist. Keanu plays Thomas Anderson, a game programmer by day, hacker by night, who gets drawn into the most powerful secret of all – the Matrix. Morpheus (Fishburne) has been looking for him a long time. He is convinced that Thomas or Neo, as he calls him, is the one. Neo doesn't understand why he's being contacted, but he's definitely intrigued. He knows there's something very wrong with the world and he's desperate to find out what it is. After a terribly frightening meeting with the police, that he's unsure really took place at all, he's taken by Trinity (Moss) to meet Morpheus, the man he's hoping will explain everything. And boy does he ever. The "reality" Neo wakes up into is one of unspeakable horror. He cannot, will not accept the fact that everything he knew before, his entire life was a dream.

The Matrix turns out to be a computer simulation, a world where the minds of all humans exist while the machines use their bodies for energy. In the early 21st century, computers began to think on their own and decided to rid the planet of the virus known as the human race. The humans didn't give up easily, unfortunately their plan to block out the sun and cut-off the machines main source of power backfired horribly. The machines just found a better more available and controllable source – themselves. Neo refuses to believe Morpheus. This just can't be true. But it is and Morpheus believes that Neo is the one who will finally free humanity from the machines. Neo may not be able to deny his new life outside the Matrix, but he and others on the ship think that Morpheus is wrong about his role in their future. Once he regains his strength – humans are bred by the machines and never use their bodies – Neo begins his training with Morpheus. They plug into a computer system which allows their minds to learn unburdened by their physical form. Neo is trained in every type of combat fighting and the use of all weapons. The whole team watches on as Neo battles Morpheus. He moves with a speed and agility they have never seen before. Though it's their minds and not their bodies in the simulation, any injury incurred while attached to the machine will physically manifest itself. The mind and body are one.

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

The main danger of tapping into the system comes from the computers themselves. Agent Smith (Hugo Wearing) has been looking for Morpheus for a long time. He knows that Morpheus is trying to destroy the Matrix and he's not about to let some human wipe out his existence. In fact, he's desperately trying to wipe out theirs. Smith and his agents are part of the program, so they can be anyone, go anywhere. They are fast and nearly indestructable. The final third of the film is an amazing extraveganza of special effects you have to see to believe. The weight of the human race is on Neo's shoulders and he pulls out all the stops to make sure humanity survives.

The special effects in this film are amazing and worth the price of admission. What's great about the film is it has the performances and story to back it up. Reeves is as good as he can be, Fishburne is wonderful as always, Wearing is the perfect unrelenting bad guy and Moss is strong, smart and sexy. The fighting sequences are also pretty incredible. The martial arts instructors created a fantastic show. This is an intense film that really brings the "computers taking over the world story" to a different level. What if our reality was just a computer simulation? Would you want to know or not? All interesting concepts. If you're a sci-fi fan and you still haven't seen this film, this is one you do not want to miss on the big screen.

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