The year is 1999. I was eleven or twelve years old and my family and I were at my uncle’s apartment to celebrate a birthday or something like that. I cannot really remember the occasion. However, later that evening I sat down with my cousins, it was Alexander’s room, and he showed us a new VHS tape he bought. The title of the box just read The Matrix and I didn’t know what to make of it, but I was intrigued and movie night is always fun.
To be honest, what expectations do you have of a movie when you are this young anyways? Still, what we saw in the next two hours changed everything. I was blown away by this movie. I had never seen anything like it EVER before. In the days, weeks, and months (maybe years) to come, this movie shaped me. Down to present day I consider The Matrix the best movie I have ever seen. Maybe it is because I saw it at a young age and didn’t have as much experience with movies as I have now, but the way I felt during the first time I watched this movie – no other film could hope to come close to that. In addition to that, it is definitely the movie I watched the most. In my memory, I could be wrong, but I think I watched this movie every single time we visited my aunt. She and my mum met every other week for breakfast and if there was no school or something like that, I accompanied her and after we ate, I watched the movie. It was amazing. Every single time.
But I have to admit that there is one scene I just could not watch until a few weeks or even months later: the interrogation scene, where Agent Smith puts a tracker into Mr. Andersons belly button. This was such a horrific thing, I could not watch it. I was grossed out. Maybe this was another reason why I liked to watch it again and again. Maybe I asked myself if I would be able to watch the scene this time? No? Maybe next time…
I talked to everybody about The Matrix. How I thought it was the best movie that could ever be made. How impressive it was and so on and so forth. But I think I couldn’t quite sell it to people that didn’t see it. I just could not make a good case for it and build an argument around the philosophies and deep thoughts that were built into its DNA – maybe because I didn’t get those things. To my defence, I was just eleven or twelve years old, as I said before. But nevertheless I was impressed by the action scenes, the fight choreography, the stunts, the slow motion, and more. I knew it was something special.
I have to say that to this day I can still learn something new about The Matrix. Each time I watch an analysis on YouTube, read facts about it, or just re-watch it. There is just so much there to talk about. One video that covers a lot of the basic ideas I’ve added at the end of this article; maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. I think this video can be used as a starting point for further research and such.
I’ve always wanted to read the book Simulation & Simulacra by Jean Baudrillard (maybe I will try and read it over the Christmas break because I have enough books for this summer to read already). And I wanted to write a in depth-article as well, where I cover most of the philosophical questions and theories. Not really discussing them, but summarizing what they are about and where to read more about them. But for the time being, I can recommend this website, which looks right out from the 90s: http://www.matrixresolutions.com
Now, let’s talk briefly about a very controversial issue: the sequels. To be honest, I haven’t watched those films in a very long time, and I don’t intend to do it any time soon (maybe I should give them another chance at some point but not today). Nevertheless, I love the car chase scene from the second one and think that it is one of the best chase-scenes in movie history. From the way it’s shot, to the stunts, the effort they took to make it happen and everything in between. Every time I watch The Matrix, I at least watch this 10-15 minute scene: just because it’s so beautiful and impressive (they really had a stunt driver do it).
What really concerns me are the rumours of a reboot. And no, I am not one of those people who argue if they do that it will destroy my childhood and everything I believe in; how can they do this? Aaaaah! No, I am more reasonable than that, but I think there are some movies out there that you just cannot remake or redo. A continuation? Why not, but please don’t make a reboot. To do The Matrix again is like re-shooting The Empire Strikes Back or Back to the Future or Citizen Kane – you just don’t do it. Why you ask? Because of their impact to our society, to film making, and the fan culture that arose from them. How could you believe to reach those unrealistically high expectations? You cannot. So, if you want to do a Matrix movie again, do it with a continuation, not with a repetition.
I love The Matrix. Be it the story, the actors, the color grading, the subtext, the use of CGI and practical effects, or just a simple interrogation scene – everything adds up to a wonderful experience and I envy everyone that had the honour to, not just experience the marketing campaign, but also got to watch it in a cinema while not knowing what was coming.
The Wachowskis made a masterpiece and I will forever be grateful for that. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
PS: This the video I was talking about earlier: