With THE MATRIX, the Wachowskis have established themselves as innovative filmmakers that push the boundaries of live action films. Like the groundbreaking STAR WARS, THE MATRIX (also the first film of a trilogy) showcases a unique visual style, one the Wachowskis achieved through an array of techniques and digital effects, some never before seen in mainstream Hollywood films. Although computer morphing technology had been used before in films such as THE ABYSS and TERMINATOR 2, the Wachowskis were the first to use "bullet time," a time-bending digital effect that utilizes both computer-generated imagery and still photography. The film itself is a complex story that aspires to mythology, focusing on a computer hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) who searches for the truth behind the mysterious force known as "the Matrix." He finds his answer with a group of strangers lead by the charismatic Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). What they encounter in confronting that truth makes for a lightning paced, eye-popping thrill-ride of a movie. Packed with stunning fight scenes (choreographed by accomplished Hong Kong director Yuen Wo-Ping), astonishing visual effects, quotable lines, and a terrific supporting cast (lead by Carrie-Anne Moss, in her first major Hollywood film), THE MATRIX is a bold triumph that raises the bar for all science fiction films.
Reeves is "Neo," a computer hacker who wastes his days at a soul-sucking corporate job so that he may spend nights in his dingy apartment hacking into all sorts of information he shouldn't be privy to. Without warning, he is drawn into a complex plot by a band of futuristic freedom fighters, led by the philosophical Morpheus (Fishburne), who informs Neo that he may be "The One" who can put an end to the Matrix- a scheme which has pulled the wool over the eyes of the human race. You see, life in 1999 is actually a false front put up by higher, octopus-like beings to cover up the fact that it's actually hundreds of years in the future and humankind has been enslaved for their evil purposes. But that's just a surface explanation for this mind-bending, complex yarn from the Wachowski Brothers (BOUND), which combines STAR WARS-like mythmaking, Hong Kong style kick-n-shoot action, and the latest digital effects to create the left-field hit of 1999.
Theatrical release date: April 2, 1999. THE MATRIX won three Academy Awards: Achievement in Film Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects (beating out STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE). In each category, the winners quoted a line from the film. The Wachowski brothers got their start at Marvel Comics, where they wrote dialogue for Clive Barker's HELLRAISER. The official website, www.whatisthematrix.com, features a revolving showcase of comic book writers. The actors initially thought combat training would take a few weeks. They eventually trained for five months (October 1997-March 1998). Each actor had their own kung fu master on the set. Neo is an anagram for "One." The Wachowskis named Neo’s alter ego Thomas, for the biblical Doubting Thomas. SIMULACRA AND SIMULATION, Jean Baudrillard’s theoretical text concerning culture, reality, and simulation, is the title of the book Neo uses to keep his contraband. Carrie-Anne Moss sprained her ankle during the filming of the federal lobby scene, but told no one at the time, even though she was unable to walk the next day. Carrie-Anne Moss appeared in the 1993 television show MATRIX, about a hitman working for the Underworld. A musical theater piece by the Live Bait Theater group in Chicago (the Wachowski brothers’ home town) called NEO: A MATRIX MUSICAL ran in May 2000. "What is the Matrix?"--Neo (Keanu Reeves) to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."--Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) to Neo "I know kung fu."--Neo to Morpheus and Tank (Marcus Chong) "Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"--Morpheus to Neo "Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure."--Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) to Morpheus "The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."--Morpheus to Neo "The answer is out there Neo, it’s looking for you. And it will find you, if you want it to."--Trinity to Neo "Welcome to the real world."--Morpheus to Neo "Whoa."--Neo, upon seeing Morpheus make a gravity-defying leap