The Matrix

By Sékou

Credits: Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. Written by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. Produced by Andy and Larry Wachowski, Bruce Berman, Andrew Mason II, Barrie M. Osborne, and Erwin Stoff.

Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reaves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Paul Goodard I, Robert Taylor II, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran and others

First, The Matrix had the biggest box office opening of the year. Then, it smashed another record by becoming the largest April film opening–ever. Then, it grossed a mind-boggling $72 million dollars in two weeks. Since most movies are considered a phenomenal success if they manage to break the $100 million mark during their entire release, it’s easy to see why The Matrix has everybody buzzing.





Incredible as it may seem, it took The Matrix five long years to reach the silver screen. The vast majority of that time was spent creating the astounding special effects that are leaving movie-goers everywhere breathless as they stretch the envelope of visual probability. A mixture of top-of-the-line computer graphics and Hong Kong style action sequences have been combined to make The Matrix completely redefine the parameters of special effects.


Then, there was the small matter of finding just the right star to carry the role of Neo, the role that was ultimately given to Keanu Reeves. The men behind the matrix, the Wachowski brothers, had a devilishly simple requirement for choosing their star, be able to explain what The Matrix is. Sound simple? You must not have seen the movie yet. Brad Pitt, Will Smith and Leonardo Dicaprio were all considered, but it was Keanu who most easily grasped the concept of the film-to-be. Oh, and, ah, there was that one other teensy-weensy little thing the Wachowski brothers wanted him to do–go to boot camp. Well, okay, not boot camp per se, but they signed Keanu (and the other primary stars) up for six months of hard-core, full contact, martial arts training with some (yes, more than one) of Asia’s baddest martial artists. In an age where most stars learn a few kicks the morning of the shoot, six months of training is a serious matter. And Keanu’s willingness to do so waylaid any reservations the brothers might have had about casting someone who, at the time, was widely considered a has-been. That risk that has paid off ten-fold.



So what is the matrix anyway? Telling would give away the best part of the movie. I can tell you that the matrix is definitely a bad thing, and it’s up to the stars of this movie to do battle with the pervasive evil behind it. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s up to them to save the world.




Although Keanu Reeves is touted as the film’s star, it is Laurence Fishburne’s commanding presence as Morpheus that truly rules the movie. Fishburnes’s Morpehus is Obi-Wan Kenobi to Neo’s Luke Skywalker; he is the ever-present, seemingly omnipotent force that shapes the course of Neo’s development into the one warrior strong enough to fight the creators of the matrix on their own terms. Marcus Chong, last seen as Huey Newton in Panther, turns in a great performance as the tech wizard Tank. And filling the role of a wise and humorous psychic advisor to Morpheus and his band of rebels is Gloria Foster.

The Critique:

The true stars of this film are the special effects, which transcend anything that’s ever hit the screen before, in addition, the plot is well conceived and the talented cast effortlessly convinces us to believe the unbelievable. Thus far, The Matrix is easily the best movie of the year, and the fact that it was the first of a trilogy bodes well for the movie-going public who will surely want more.




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