‘The Matrix,’ 10 years later

Posted by · 11:40 am · April 8th, 2009

The MatrixLots of reminiscing going on this year.  After all, it was 10 years ago that Hollywood unleashed its most creatively exciting batch of domestic product in, some would say, 60 years.  A master filmmaker, some might call him the greatest to ever try his hand at the cinema, passed away just before leaving us his swan song.  Soon enough, those “best of the decade” lists will be unveiled.

And once upon a time, “The Matrix” was a brilliant accomplishment unphased by hackneyed revisitation and bloated sequelitis.  Things change, I guess.

Anyway, Shawn Levy, film critic for The Oregonian, has blogged the occassion of the film’s tenth anniversary (it first bowed on screens April 2, 1999).  Here’s what he has to say:

I remember the press screening of the film — or, rather, the screening that would’ve been the press screening had much of the Portland film press bothered to show up. It was held at the (then new) Eastport multiplex on a Monday or Tuesday night and it was nearly empty of both critics and the usual horrifying screening rats. It was, after all, a science-fiction film starring Keanu Reeves — his first since “Johnny Mnemonic”! — and written and directed by a pair of brothers whose debut, “Bound,” was a terrifically good noirish chamber drama that did little business. If ever a movie had a pedigree that said, ‘you can catch it in three weeks at a brewpub,’ this was it.

“But walking out of that theater after that screening in the thrall of the wire-fu, the stop-motion FX, the mind-blowing script, the wicked-cool look-and-feel and breakneck pace, well, I was abuzz. It was the edge of Y2K, remember, and even if you knew enough not to fear the computer changeover that was approaching, there was an electric sense of possibility — and not entirely positive — in the air. Somehow “The Matrix” crystallized that energy, packaged it in superb visuals and a crackerjack story, and turned angst and giddiness and trepidation and exultation into brilliantly entertaining popcorn art.”

I still remember the trailer hooking me immediately:

Warner Bros. recently released the film as a stand alone on Blu-ray (though it has that lame-ass book style packaging because Warner Home Video, as usual, has to be so different form the standard). And there’s always The Ultimate Matrix Collection for the die hards.

→ 14 Comments Tags: | Filed in: Daily

14 responses so far

  • 1 4-08-2009 at 11:53 am

    James D. said...

    Where did those directors go? I find it hard to believe they are the same brothers that made the awful sequels and the silly V for Vendetta.

  • 2 4-08-2009 at 11:55 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Tell me about it.

  • 3 4-08-2009 at 12:06 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I was lucky. I went into The Matrix without seeing any trailers or even an idea of the plot. All I knew is that it was a science fiction flick with Keanu Reeves and that my friends told me I HAD to see it. I also remember The Matrix being the first film that got me vested in the technical categories at the Oscars, specifically Visual Effects, which at the time were the best I had ever seen.

    By the way, looking at the “Best of 1999” list in your related posts, I noticed that you didn’t include Fight Club in your top ten, or even an honorable mention. Why is that? You explain why you ommitted American Beauty, but not Fincher’s magnum opus.

  • 4 4-08-2009 at 12:18 pm

    James D. said...

    I suggest you look at the list again, Robert.

  • 5 4-08-2009 at 12:20 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Yeah, haha! Scared the hell out of me, man!

  • 6 4-08-2009 at 12:45 pm

    chad said...

    They did not direct V for Vendetta. They did direct Speed Racer though.

  • 7 4-08-2009 at 1:20 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    When I first saw the Matrix I didn’t really like it because It had so many ideas I had already seen before in Star Trek and other sci-fi. Naive that I was back then I didn’t know that was exactly the point. I also wasn’t as struck by the visuals as others were only I never saw it on the big screen, that must explain that.
    Those sequels were the worst films ever back then, OMG did they really fuck up their own original film. People hate the first one because of the rest. The Wachowski’s are the most overrated hacks in the history of Hollywood.

  • 8 4-08-2009 at 1:22 pm

    Michael McKay said...

    I was indifferent to The Matrix upon it’s release, and I’m still indifferent to it now.

    It’s interesting how the Wachowski Brothers and M. Night Shyamalan both completely fizzled out after having such big hits in 1999. The work they have put out since then, for the most part, has just been atrocious.

  • 9 4-08-2009 at 2:38 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Wow, I feel embarrassed. I’m going into the corner with a dunce cap, now.

  • 10 4-08-2009 at 3:34 pm

    FloridaLottoResults said...

    Thanks for pointing me to the date.

  • 11 4-09-2009 at 7:10 am

    Mike_M said...

    The Wachowski have fizzled out for sure, but I actually enjoyed Speed Racer a lot when i finally got around to renting it on Blu-Ray, it was a fun movie and I thought he visuals were great.

  • 12 4-09-2009 at 8:35 am

    Zac said...

    IMDB and BoxOfficeMojo both say The Matrix came out on March 31, 1999, which was a Wednesday. I don’t have my ticket stub anymore, but I’m pretty sure a friend and I saw it at midnight that morning.

    I’m starting to think that I’m the only one who actually likes the sequels.

  • 13 4-09-2009 at 10:57 am

    the world said...

    Mike, if you seriously enjoyed speed racer, i think you should lose your right to comment on movies the rest of your life

  • 14 4-19-2009 at 3:11 pm

    Me2 said...

    I liked the sequels too – but am generally too afraid of being mobbed to say it out loud. Too much CGI, sure, but masterfully completing the story of the Matrix.