The Matrix

It's time to go back, to the EXTREME PAST
"What is The Matrix?"

The answer to that question has proved somewhat different for me as years have gone by. Hi guys, welcome to Thursday's Tagline, where I will be taking us all on what has become a trip to the distant past. Imagine! The Matrix was released in March of 1999, what was nearly exactly 14 years ago, and... time has not been kind to it. I don't mean to say that the effects look super cheesy (okay, so some of them look kind of cheesy) but everything else about the movie feels... played out. First a quick refresher! The Matrix is a movie about Neo (Keanu Reeves, who I make fun of because it's really cool to do that) a guy who works for a computer company but is secretly a super mega-hacker guy. He is searching for the hacker legend Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) because he wants to know what the Matrix is. Once he is contacted by Morpheus, via pleather clad Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) Neo is shown what it is: a computer generated dream world designed to control humanity so they can be used as a power source for a race of machines that rules the future. I KNOW INTENSE RIGHT. Morpheus is looking for "the one" who is going to save the remains of mankind who are free, because within the matrix he can change whatever he wants. For some reason, Morpheus believes that Neo is the one. What follows is a bunch of edgy technorap-rock stuff that doesn't on later inspection make a ton of sense, and a lot of hand to hand combat, as Morpheus and his crew fight for the future of mankind.

Grow babbies, use them as batteries.
So for starters, The Matrix is a victim of its own success. Things that were innovative when they did them, or really in vogue (slow motion gunfights, bullet-time shots that pan around, moody techno future washed out camera filters) were done to death by imitators and spoofs alike, so that when you go back and watch the original movie, not even the originator of those things seems anything except campy. The sad fact is that in retrospect, those things aren't really that cool. I won't deny that probably a part of the allure for me was that I was about 13 at the time, but also the played out thing I swear! Take a look at the soundtrack and you can really feel the dated nature of the movie. We have Rage Against the Machine (a little bit more literal than intended perhaps) Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Deftones... you get the idea. Super cool and alternative in 1999 and now... just kind of sad.

Watch out for squid robot monsters man, they're everywhere.
The other thing I really noticed watching the movie through again after all these years is that... well it's just kind of stupid you know? I don't even mean the obvious science stuff (How do they use people for power? People require energy to be kept alive in the first place, and you can't spontaneously MAKE energy, so any energy generated would be at least equal to, and more likely LESS than the input energy /nerd) I more mean that just, the things people say and do in the movie, and the scenes that make it up, are stupid. The aforementioned bullet-time and slow motion spin around during action sequences is gratuitous and pointless, and most of the movie's run time is given over to what is the equivalent of gun porn. The crowning jewel of that is obviously the scene in the lobby when Neo and Trinity are trying to save Morpheus, and they shoot the entire place, and all its inhabitants to pieces, before blowing it up. Where are the agents in all these scenes? We have it established that those guys can jump around everywhere and are unstoppable, so what they were too busy standing around in a hallway or something? That's pretty weak man.

Oh god is that alligator skin? What the hell, I never noticed.
Basically, the movie is all surface, all flash and bang and when time and habit have worn those things away, all your left with is a garble of stupid nonsense that is not nearly as cool as I was convinced it was all the way through when The Matrix Reloaded was released. Now I know better though. We all can. If you don't believe me, seriously go back and watch it, and really think about it. Don't just let those pleasant waves of nostalgia and familiarity wash over you and gloss it over, really experience the movie again, and I think you too will experience this sobering truth.

That's it for today! I'll see y'all later, assuming you can forgive me for my trendy Keanu bashing.

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