Monday, November 17, 2008

The Matrix (Movie Review)

We’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of this movie, so I thought I’d give it another watch to see how it holds up. I’ve seen it a handful of times, so I know what’s going to happen. I can’t watch it with that objective eye that one needs to accurately review something. But maybe that’s a good thing. I remember being blown away by this and expecting great things right from the get-go. The small fight and chase scene with Trinity, the cops and the agent let you know that cool things will follow.

First off, the acting. Does anybody REALLY like Keanu Reeves? I guess he was okay in Constantine, and his mannerisms were perfect for the Bill and Ted movies, but otherwise I just can’t take him seriously. I could in college. I could forgive a lot of faults in college. But I guess I’ve just got more discerning tastes now, even after his great performance in Street Kings. And it seems like, at least in the beginning of the movie, everybody is overacting. Lawrence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Reeves...even the minor background characters. Maybe it’s just a side-effect of being in the Matrix. The best actors, though, end up being the Oracle and Joe Pantaglione (Joey Pants to his friends).

The graphics are still excellent, even by today’s standards. The sparring between Morpheus and Neo was so damn cool. And the scene where Neo and Trinity infiltrate the building where the Agents are holding Morpheus? When the security guard runs the wand up and down Neo, who opens his trenchcoat and reveals all of his weapons? Priceless. And the ensuing gun battle is just spectacular. It’s still being imitated in current films.

I’m surprised that, with all the violence in the movie, there wasn’t as much blood. It was rated R, so I can’t imagine what the reason might have been. With an $80 million budget, you’d think they could have afforded more corn syrup and red dye.

I thought that exiting with Rage Against the Machine’s "Wake Up" was excellent. I thought the phone message was corny, but Neo flying off and Zack, Tom and the gang playing him out, it was just perfect.

Overall, I still think it’s a good movie, but it’s lost a lot of the luster it once had. I don’t get that with Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark or Alien. I think ultimately The Matrix will end up being a classic for its time, not a classic for all time.

Listening to: Lit - My Own Worst Enemy
via FoxyTunes


Thea said...

Has it really been 10 years? Damn.

First off, the acting. Does anybody REALLY like Keanu Reeves?

Hah! I have to admit that despite his slightly robotic, surfer boy delivery, I'm a fan. Yeah, he's not a great actor by any stretch of the imagination...but there you have it. (Plus...I have to admit, I'm a total girl about Keanu and he's not hard on the eyes...shameless, I know!)

I think I saw The Matrix no less than five times in the theater, and countless times after that on vhs/dvd (I was like a freshman in high school and it was the coolest thing i had ever seen). Recently I rewatched it (I think it was on TNT or something), and I do agree with you that some of the sparkle is gone. BUT, I think a lot of that has to do with how crappy the sequels were, which kind of taint my enjoyment of the first film. Just my opinion of course ;)

Oh and randomly, I totally cracked up at that part near the end, after Neo stops the agents' bullets, then does a side kick to Smith's torso, and dramatically swings his extended leg around. I remember finding that part all kinds of awesome when I watched it in my high school days, and now it's just silly.

Trinity still kicks ass though.

Oh and on the soundtrack--yep, owned it and loved it. I don't even like techno but was enamored with "Clubbed to Death".

Rob Rosenblatt said...

If you're a Keanu fan and haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching Street Kings. He was spectacular in it. It's the only movie that I thought he acted well in.

I'm extremely taking the first movie on its own merits. I've only seen each of the sequels once, and that's enough for me. I agree that they're probably to blame for a bit of the luster being rubbed off of the first one. I'd be okay with the story if the damned FX didn't look like video game animation.

Thea said...

I'll definitely give Street Kings a try, I've heard good things about it.

I'm curious, how do you feel about The Day The Earth Stood Still? The previews look ok, it could go either way. I'm excited nonetheless.

Speaking of Keanu films (and Kenneth Branagh), have you ever seen his performance in Much Ado About Nothing? Yep. It's every bit as terrible as you can imagine Keanu + Shakespeare would be. (Even if the movie adaptation is actually quite wonderful besides Keanu--Denzel Washington, Kenneth, Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, the dude from House and Dead Poet's Society whose name I can never remember, and Michael Keaton).

Oh also randomly, have you ever seen The Animatrix? While the Matrix sequels sucked big donkey balls (really, from the CGI to the cheese-laden dialogue,, The Animatrix is a wonderful film.

Rob Rosenblatt said...

Right now I have no opinion on TDTESS. I haven't been paying attention to any previews, but I think I may look some up online, see what's going on.

I have seen Much Ado, but it had to have been years and years ago, probably shortly after it came out on video. And I watched it with my mom. I do remember thoroughly enjoying Michael Keaton. I didn't realized Kate Beckinsale was in it. I think I may have to rewatch it.

Never saw Animatrix. If you say it's wonderful, then I'll give it a try. But I'm putting all the blame on you if I don't enjoy it. :)

Thea said...

Never saw Animatrix. If you say it's wonderful, then I'll give it a try. But I'm putting all the blame on you if I don't enjoy it. :)

Oh noes :p If nothing else, it's stylistically beautiful. There's the inherent hokey-ness in trying to explain the matrix and how the machines took over (my least favorite shorts were the two segments written by the Wachowski brothers)--but there are some gems in there that make it worth at least renting (the Haunted House segment, the very Dark City-like detective story). Hopefully you like it, although feel free to put me on blast if you don't :)

Kate said...

Oh my gosh, I have no great love for the Matrix but saw that there was a lot of comments and thought I'd pop in AND YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MUCH ADO?!?!? Criminy, one of the best adaptations, period, regardless of Keanu Reeves. Man, Don John was supposed to be so evil and instead we good wooden? Oh, so disappointing, especially with all the other great performances in that. (Sean Robert Leonard, I think, is who you're looking for, Thea. Maybe?)

Another one Keanu was ok in? Coppola's Dracula. He played Jonathan Harker, and even though he didn't play it well, the inherent repression of the Victorian Era really saved him on that one. But I never much look past (young) Gary Oldman in that one. That movie is the reason I have a tiny crush on him. But I think you both know how much I love Coppola's Dracula :)