Skipping 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.