Matrix in 2013

matrixSkipping the tv channels late last night before going to bed, I came upon The Matrix playing on CH5 HD. Haven’t seen any of those films for quite awhile- in fact it was a little disconcerting to notice that the info text had the film dated 1999- you ever feel that you never seem to notice the years going by quite like seeing the dates for movies like that and having a WTF moment? In hindsight, yep, the Matrix films really were awhile ago now (Revolutions, the last of the films,  dates back to 2003) but still, it feels like all that red pill/blue pill hoopla was only yesterday, not between nine and thirteen years ago.

It had me wondering how the films have aged since, and I made a mental note to get out my Blu-ray boxset and give the films a spin sometime soon, see how the films shape up in 2013.  The films have plenty of detractors, its often somehow cool to knock films perceived as ‘cool’ (and certainly the sequels come under fire), but I really quite like all three of them- my favourite one is actually the second film, Reloaded. It always had a Empire Strikes Back feel to it (difficult follow-up to a huge ‘classic’ film, while having to have a ‘cliffhanger/unsatisfying ending’ in order to lead to a third film… yeah, its like Episode 4 all over again).  But say what you like about them, the films had plenty of ideas, plenty of twists and plenty bang for your buck- you paid to see a big movie and you got your money’s worth, and a blockbuster with ideas too.  Those ideas may have been aimed at teenagers (to quote a newspaper review I love, its got “action, fighting, cutting-edge special effects, murderous robots, evil authority figures, an overriding pseudo-conspiracy theory and, most wonderful of all, an ineloquent social outcast who eventually becomes a flying kung fu Jesus“). Its all far superior to the Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean franchises or those Star Wars prequels. I’m somewhat surprised the Wachowski’s haven’t returned to the Matrix since- in some ways its quite impressive we haven’t had a fourth or fifth film thrown at us.

So yeah, really should get around to watching them. It’ll be useful to re-evaluate my belief that Neo is a cyborg (human/machine hybrid)  all along. No, seriously,  think about it- he dies in the first film but is somehow brought back to life (rebooted?), he is uniquely powerful inside the Matrix (which he would be if he was part machine) whilst in  Reloaded he has a power to knock out Sentinels in the ‘Realworld’, something never explained (but would make sense if he was part machine), and in Revolutions he is taken/absorbed by the machines with, yes, almost religious reverence. Watch the films again under the hypothesis that Neo is never just human but was created by the machines as a hybrid and a lot of the odder things in the films make more sense.  Or maybe I sound like I take the films too seriously…

Now that I’ve stopped my Lovefilm rentals, I’m not swamped with so many new films to watch, which should give me a welcome opportunity to watch my pile of older films that I want to  watch again. That’s been scuppered of late due to catching up with Christmas present Blu-rays  and  so many good tv shows being on-  (anyone else finding Ripper Street, American Horror Story:Asylum and Fringe taking up so much of their time? Really, those shows are better than most movies). I always find it interesting to see a film for the third or fourth time after the passage of time. Some films wind up seeming poorer than you remember, while some actually seem to improve with age. Wonder how the Matrix films will shape up. Wonder if I’ll ever really get time to watch them.

2 thoughts on “Matrix in 2013

  1. I’ve been meaning to re-watch the Matrixes for yonks (I can’t remember the last time I watched them, but we’re certainly talking over five years ago), but keep getting caught up with watching new stuff (unsurprisingly), and other re-watches higher up the queue (the Bourne trilogy for one, especially as I’ve only seen the third once and now there’s the fourth to get to).

    I always felt Revolutions received the harshest treatment of the three — it seems to get picked on the most, but I liked it more than the second (at the time, anyway). One of my overriding feelings about Reloaded was that it was structurally ill-balanced, with a lack of clarity about where the climax and ending were (interestingly, the second Pirates suffers a similar fate). Perhaps hindsight would make that less jarring.

  2. Its an interesting problem that these movie trilogies have on theatrical release- by their very nature the middle chapters are incomplete. Not so bad when watching on consecutive nights by way of DVD boxset but frustrating at the cinema, particularly when you’ve paid for an expensive ticket and have to wait twelve months for the next instalment (remember well the horror of waiting 3 years for Return Of The Jedi!). I’m sure Reloaded isn’t half as irritating when Revolutions can follow a day or two later.

    Must say I was particularly vexed by The Hobbit the other week. I was expecting it, remembering how watching the LOTR films was like, but being The Hobbit, and so much of that film being so, well, superfluous and unnecessary… well, irritating doesn’t cover it. Still eighteen months and two films to go!

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