The Matrix (1999)

matrix poster 1999 movie keanu reeves
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Slick movie, smart story

Stole a lot of its good points from other materials

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Matrix

Studio: Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): March 31, 1999

MPAA Rating: R

matrix trinity jump kick carrie anne moss

The jump kick that started it all…

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) lives a normal life as a programmer by day but works as a hacker named Neo by night.  When Anderson uncovers word of something called “the Matrix”, he is contacted by a woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and a man named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne).  Pursued by a determined agent named Smith (Hugo Weaving), Neo is about to discover that the world around him is all an illusion and the Matrix is not reality…but Neo might be the key to saving all of humanity!

Written and directed by the Wachowskis (then credited as the Wachowski Brothers), The Matrix is a science-fiction action film.  The movie was a massive box office success and received critical praise.  The movie won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

matrix red pill blue pill choice

I kind of wish he picked the blue pill…and the rest of trilogy would have just been him working in an office.

I actually missed the whole Matrix boat.  It was near the end of college and the town didn’t have the best theater (I don’t even know if it got it).  I didn’t see The Matrix in the theater and when I finally saw it on video (yep, video), I wasn’t as wowed as I was expected to be.  Despite being hailed for the story and effects, I was kind of indifferent to The Matrix in general.

The problem I personally had with The Matrix was that it was pretty derivative of much of science-fiction works at the time.  The idea of parallel realities and worlds where machines feast off of the living like vampires wasn’t that new of a concept.  In fact, there were many claims against the Wachowskis that they “stole” the Matrix from other riders (even Warren Ellis said that the movie stole large parts of his series The Invisibles which had similar themes).  In their defense, the Wachowskis used ideas of philosophies and science fiction to craft their story (which isn’t really stealing) and it is a fair new interpretation of the concepts…it just isn’t revolutionary.

The cast for the film is actually really strong.  Keanu Reeves works really well in this position with a little bit of his “whoa dude” type acting style.  Carrie-Anne Moss is also solid with Laurence Fishburne as the trio of “too cool” type characters.  Hugo Weaving efficiently plays the creepy Agent Smith and the film has a nice solid core cast to build on.

matrix stopping bullets neo keanu reeves

Dodge those bullets, Neo

What skyrocketed The Matrix to the popular culture were the special effects.  Once again, I had seem much of the movie’s effects in other places like Dark City (which had another similar plot) and even Blade had some aspects of bullet time.  The Wachowskis managed to comb action movies for the trends (including some great wirework) and put them into one package that did fit with the story.  Once again, it wasn’t really the originality of the effects but how they were utilized.

The Matrix grew on me a bit in that I feel that I did judge it a bit harsh when I first saw it.  What also could have helped the Matrix is that it looks like genius compared to the two sequels which took the fun of the first movie and crushed it by adding story, characters, and replacing some of the smarter sci-fi with science-fiction that thinks it is really smart.  The Matrix was followed by The Matrix Reloaded in 2003 with the animated film The Animatrix and a video game Enter the Matrix serving as tie-ins.

Related Links:

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

The Animatrix (2003)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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