The Matrix review by Matt Fuerst


Story Summary - I have intentionally left the Summary pretty vague in case you haven't seen The Matrix yet.

Thomas A. Anderson is a programmer by day and hacker by night. He goes to work every day, pays his taxes and lives alone. By night, Mr. Anderson becomes a different person, he becomes Neo. Neo spends his night searching for Morpheus, a fellow hacker of legendary proportions, since Neo has a sneaking suspicion that Morpheus can help him. You see, Neo knows that something is not right. He can't put his finger on it, but the world just seems askiew to him. Like an itch that is just out of your reach, The Matrix is there, but what exactly is The Matrix?

Eventually Neo manages to meet Morpheus, all the while trying to avoid the mysterious Agents that seem to be following him. Morpheus seems to have all the right answers and seems to be omnipresent. The Agents, onto the fact that Morpheus has contacted Neo, come to take Neo away from his desk job, but mere moments before the capture Neo, a cell phone is delivered to Neo (by FedEx, who else?), and Neo is guided with laser precision to escape the grasp of the Agents. How is it possible for Morpheus to know all these things? During their meeting, Morpheus unlocks Neo's mind and shows him the true nature of The Matrix. Morpheus has spent all of this time and effort in freeing Neo's mind since he believes that Neo is The One. The One was prophesized by the Oracle to arrive and free everyone from The Matrix. Morpheus was told by the Oracle that his destiny was to find The One, and Morpheus believes with every fiber in his being that Neo is The One, to the point of sacrificing himself for Neo.

After being freed from The Matrix, Neo prepares to find out if he is truly The One. Morpheus and his crew spent time training Neo and preparing him. The climax of the movie moves away from the mythology of the story and gravitates more towards Neo as a character. At this point the focus of the movie is really in a Man vs. Self mode, as Neo tries to find himself, and see if he truly is The One.

DVD features

The Matrix is known as THE DVD that new DVD Owners must have, and for good reason. Despite being an older release, The Matrix has some neat features a lot of newer discs lack. There are two commentary tracks, one being with actress Carrie-Anne Moss, Editor Zach Staenberg and Effects Guy John Gaete; and the other an isolated musical score with commentary by the composer, Don Davis. The Documentary, Making the Matrix, is quite lengthy and filled with great behind the scenes footage and interviews. You follow the actors through their months of training before filming even began, which really pays off. There is a Follow the White Rabbit feature where a white rabbit appears on screen during the actual film if there is behind the scenes information pertaining to the scene you are at, and you can click on the rabbit to see the additional information. It's a neat idea, but in actuality it's more of a bother than it's worth. Kudos to them for trying something new. There are additionally some neat DVD-ROM extras to go over the top.

Analysis - I give away some more juicy details in here, just a warning!

The Matrix really is a gift to people like me. Some geeky fellas, those wacky Wachowski Brothers, took all of their influcenes like Japanese Animation (AKA Anime, Japanimation), Comic Books, Kung Fu and Technology, and boiled down the best of all of them and made a film that is truly marvelous. In case you have been living in a cage for the past few years, you are at least aware of some of the action in The Matrix, since it has made it's way into our daily media intakes. Who can forget the notorious, way overused "Swivel-Cam" of Superbowl 2001, numerous videos, and skads of commercials. I am not even sure you can make a movie trailer today unless you do some 360 degree camera swivel around someone. I think it may be the movie trailers bylaws. How nauesating, but don't shoot the messenger, just because everyone else misuses/overuses it. No, in The Matrix, the cinematography is done right, and the special effects are some of the best you can see today.

The setup of the story is great, and most importantly, it has actual depth. There is an actual story in here, and there is actual backstory too. What a concept. The Brothers Wachowski really created themselves a whole new world, taking pages from the likes of The Bible and to a lessor extent the Lord of the Rings in terms of a story of epic proportions. We learn that at some point in the past, the computers took control of the earth and a battle ensued, Man v. Man's Creation. Now we have a band of outcasts fighting against the system, which is a fiction thematic structure that has been succesful time and time again, from the pages of the Bible up to Star Wars. In this band of outlaws, we have all of our bases covered, the all knowing, all seeing yet reserved and in the background player (The Oracle), the out front and fighting the war leader (Morpheus), the savior of all (Neo), and the hot babe (Trinity).

Everyone plays their roles as you would expect. The best favor you can for yourself is to never see a movie that Keanu Reeves did before The Matrix, since you just can't look at him the same way (notable must misses include: Point Break and anything with the words Bill and Ted invovled). Some of Neo's actions and mannerisms are even parody-like in quality to Keanu's previous outings. All the merry band of outlaws do their parts and do them well, and all the cannon fodder they roll over catch bullets well. Despite all the outstanding efforts of the actors the real show-stoppers are from the the stunt coordinators, special effects guys, and editors. Three cheers for the good guys.

The DVD gives the movie some serious justice, which is a great thing. The picture is just spectacular and I've yet to hear anyone complain about it, which is saying something considering the merry band of bitchers that I hang around with. Additionally, the sound is above and beyond most other DVD's. While it doesn't have a DTS Track, the Dolby 5.1 thumps in all the right places. Surround is used extensively and is a great test of your system. Take this baddie home and turn it up. Don't blame me when the Po Po come knocking at your door.

Final Thoughts

Are you a geek? If so, do your duty. Go buy this movie. Not a geek, don't worry. There is still plenty here for you. Be all the jackass you can be, and at least give The Matrix a rent and see what you think. You won't be disappointed.

9 out of 10 Jackasses
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