“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Apart from this scene being a gift to pop culture and the foundation for a popular meme, the choice given by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) to the protagonist Neo (Keanu Reeves) – who up until this point has been a hacker – changes the course of his life, as he wakes up to the realisation that the world he has been living in is a computer simulation controlled by robot AI overlords. Neo learns that he has been sought out as ‘the one’ who will mount the resistance against the AI and save humanity from the peril and illusion of the Matrix.
Although The Matrix was released in 1999, it is still regarded as one of the best films to this day, which has inspired many homages throughout the years. Impressively choreographed martial arts sequences throughout the film display kung fu skills that the actors spent four months learning, expertly displayed by focusing on the actors during the fight sequences, making the audience believe that such fights could take place in the real world. In the age of CGI body doubles, the pioneering ‘bullet-time’ used revolutionary camerawork by the Wachowskis. Not only does the film offer a feast for the eyes, but it also gives the audience some food for thought as The Wachowskis allow the viewer to interpret the film as an allegory for the Christian faith, painting Neo as a modern-day saviour, sent to bring people salvation. They also pay homage to well-known philosophers such as Jean Baudrillard, Plato, Descartes, and Socrates by exploring the question of whether or not we can be certain that the world we live in is truly real, or rather an illusion.
With the fourth installment of The Matrix franchise, Matrix: Resurrections set to release in the UK on 22 December, it is fair to say that the film has a lot not only to live up to but to correct after two sub-par sequels. As the third film, Matrix: Revolutions, ended the story of the main characters in a satisfying way, it will be interesting to see where the new film will take these characters next. What made The Matrix unique was its revolutionary ideas and action sequences that had not been seen before in 1999. However, in the age of CGI and its unlimited capabilities, we will have to wait and see how this film will give us the surprises and quality action set-pieces of the original film. If you have not watched The Matrix, which has now become a cult classic, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The trilogy can now be found on Netflix and there is plenty of time before 22 December to give it a whirl!
Image: geralt via Pixabay