The Matrix

1999 ∙ Sci-Fi ∙ 2h 16min

Rating: [star rating=”3.5″]

This movie earns its stars on special effects alone. Don’t go into this movie expecting to hear Shakespeare (it is a Keanu Reeves movie, after all) and you won’t leave disappointed. As is the problem with most very high-concept movies, there are incredible holes in the plot. The difference with this one, however, is that some of the problems could have been explained away with a couple sentences. It just seemed as though the filmmakers were too busy trying to think up a cool new way for Keanu to dodge bullets to worry about filling in those plot holes with explanation (which I normally don’t like, but was kind of necessary in this film.) Instead, the writers (The Wachowski Brothers, again) filled the script with cliches galore and had Laurence Fishburn (Morpheus) make very X-Files-like speeches that went in circles and told us nothing. Then the special effects kicked in! It was as though the directors were led on a tour of a hall filled with all the latest in movie making gadgets and got to choose which ones they wanted to employ in the making of the film. Luckily for the audience, they chose some cool shit. There are some amazing shots of people running up walls, 360 degree freeze shots of Keanu splitting in three to dodge bullets and fight scenes that madeThunderdome look like those eight millimeter movies of you hitting your brother in the back yard with a plastic rake. I’m a sucker for slow motion and this movie had it in spades. It’s as though the directors knew that they shouldn’t try and overdo the script and fill it with one-liners (a la Commando) so as to not take away from the visual. They succeeded in making a somewhat subdued script that didn’t try to be more than it is, and a movie that keeps you dreaming about Carrie-Anne Moss in her skin-tight plastic suit running in slow motion up the wall and shooting her machine gun for weeks afterward.