We’re not sure how The Matrix holds up today, but the first time we saw it, in the cinema, we were absolutely blown away.
It was like nothing we’d ever seen before, so much so that we paid to watch it a further 3 times!
The 1999 science fiction action film was written and directed by The Wachowskis and starred Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving and Joe Pantoliano.
The film depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is a simulated reality called “The Matrix.”
“The Matrix” is created by sentient machines in order to subdue the human population whilst their body’s heat and electrical activity are harvested as an energy source.
Cybercriminal and programmar Neo learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines.
This involves other people who have been freed from the “dream world.”
The film is known for making popular a visual effect called “bullet time.”
This is where the heightened perception of certain characters is represented by allowing the action within a shot to progress in slow-motion whilst the camera’s viewpoint appears to move through the scene at normal speed.
The film is a good example of the cyberpunk sub-genre.
The film contains various references to philosophical and religious ideas, and prominently pays homage to works such as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The Wachowskis were inspired by their admiration for Japanese animation and martial arts films.
This informed their approach to action sequences, and the film’s use of fight choreographers and wire fu techniques from Hong Kong action cinema influenced subsequent Hollywood action film productions.
At it’s release on March 31, 1999, the film grossed over $460 million worldwide.
The film was well-received by critics and won four Academy Awards, as well as other accolades, including BAFTA Awards and Saturn Awards.
Reviewers praised The Matrix for its innovative visual effects, cinematography and entertainment value.
The film often appears on lists of the greatest ever science fiction films.
In 2012, it was added to the National Film Registry for preservation.
The success of the film led to the release of two feature film sequels, both written and directed by the Wachowskis: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
The franchise was further expanded through the production of comic books, video games and animated short films, in which the Wachowskis were heavily involved, and even inspired books and theories on ideas in religion and philosophy.
So how much do you know about this classic 90s film? You’re about to find out, with the following ‘14 Things You May Not Have Realised About The Matrix’…
And if you continue clicking to the end, you can see what the cast of The Matrix look like now compared to back in 1999. It’s surprising what some of them have gotten up to in the years since.
1. It Started Out As A Comic Book Idea
Filmmakers The Wachowski Brothers originally expected their story for the The Matrix to be a comic
The two had both previously written comic books for Marvel.
Comics were also released during the production of the first film.
During production of the first film, the Wachowskis and Spencer Lamm, who ran the film’s official website, developed comics based on the setting of the film.
They were published free of charge on the website.
These and a few short stories were released in three series from 1999 to 2003, with several of them (along with new material) collected in two print volumes in 2003 and 2004.
The Wachowskis themselves contributed “Bits and Pieces”, a prequel to the movie that explains the origins of the Matrix, featuring illustrations by Geof Darrow, the movie’s conceptual designer.
2. Four Big Name Actors Turned Down The Role Of Neo
Will Smith turned down the role of Neo to make Wild Wild West (oooops!)
Nicolas Cage turned down the part due to ‘family obligations’.
Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer were also reported to have said no.
Brad Pitt of course starred as Tyler Durden in Fight Club the same year as The Matrix.
Val Kimer starred in the less cool film, At First Sight.
In an interview with Wired, Smith said, “I would have absolutely messed up ‘The Matrix.’
“At that point I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be — whereas Keanu was.”
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