The Matrix (1999) Directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski
Yes, we've been a bit slack here recently. The Euro Championships 2012 have been dominating my viewing, and as it's been incessant for most of June, it's also meat we have not really been watching any movies. Having a small child eats up the rest of the available time anyway. I think we both felt The Matrix would be light and entertaining. That's how I've always remembered the movie. But coming back to the film over 10 years later, it's impossible to get the feeling that not only is The Matrix incredibly cliched, dated and for the most part boring, but that the film really marks a low point in cultural acceptance and influence in our society. Let me explain. It's the Neo (the character played by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix) look. I have some vague memories of being in Northern Finland some years ago. I was going to a festival and once I arrived at my destination, 'The Neo Look' was everywhere. It's close to a heavy metal gothic priest. A long coat (black), black trousers, black shades and heavy duty boots (black) with silver buckles on. This is normally accompanied by a soundtrack of Tool, System Of A Down or some other dark and dangerous (snigger) music. I still see the look. It's for doomed and disaffected youth. And this is the appeal of The Matrix.
Of course, anyone remotely familiar with Grant Morrison's The Invisibles will know what The Matrix is about, even though the Wachowski's deny Morrison's claims of plagiarism. One could only wish that The Matrix was at the level of The Invisibles. Throw in heavy nods to William Gibson, Philip K. Dick other movies like Strange Days, The Crow and Dark City and you realize we've been here before. But the stuff that really catches the imagination (and at least tweaks my interest if nothing more) are the references to all kinds of philosophies and conspiracies, from Buddhism to Messianism and existentialism to nihilism. That's a lot of isms for you and I'm really giving The Matrix way too much credit and intelligence. It's sci-fi and a basic shoot-em-up with some now seriously dated special effects and cod philosophy.
I'll spare you the plot (as I'm sure you've seen it) but at the center of the film is Keanu Reeves as our hero, the aforemetioned Neo. Neo is 'The One' and he will save the human race and the planet earth and reveal to us what The Matrix really is. Of course what the Wachowskis fail to realize is that as a plot device or incentive for the audience, asking any reasonable person to take Reeves seriously in any acting role is obviously quite ludicrous (unless it's a comedy with a lot of the use of the word 'Dude'). Yes, Reeves really does blend in with the furniture here and it's amazing to think the prop department didn't mistake him for ply wood and use him for set scenery. Despite all this (and the really no-one was interested sequels) for the last half an hour, despite itself, The Matrix is quite fun in a kick- arse way.
Check this out! It's The One riding a subway in the matrix of New York just like everybody else...
I can't believe the picture and the heart-felt story has surfaced just as I've been stalling with my review of The Matrix for some days (must be a message from the other reality...). Our philosophy teacher made us watch Matrix in high school because of the whole parallel realities idea present in the film and the question it poses: what is existence? I thought I could score some points from my boyfriend for being interested in the blokey film, but I guess I didn't really – I just ended up enjoying the film myself.
For a second time in my life, I believed I would score some new points by wanting to watch Matrix again in 2012. This time unfortunately, I hated the film (and again the bloke points went unscored). Yes, I am fascinated endlessly by the thought that we may exist in a universe that is parallel to other levels of consciousness. It would be great if at some point in the future we might realize that this reality is somewhat unreal in comparison to some other (better and more hopeful) reality. I guess this is ultimately exciting, because it could mean that dying really is moving along to some other existence...rather than just disappearing and becoming waste.
The real yucky factor in the Matrix is the idea of THE ONE, the saviour on whose intelligence and bodily existence the human faith hangs. This is clearly a very Christian idea and a lazy one from humanity in general. What is this obsession with a one special person responsible for all of us – someone to save our lazy asses from the destruction we sow? Shouldn't we all contribute if we expect to continue as the dominating species?
Still, I have found myself secretly wondering if my son might have superhuman powers...you know that crazy stuff new parents feel about their babies... All in all that's a ridiculous chain of thought revealing just how much I am part of the matrix of ideas conjured up and revitalized continually in the last few thousand years.