Jul 5, 2006

Overrated films part 16.

The Matrix has universal appeal and for obvious reasons. The special effects, action, dime store philosophy, and mild S&M costumes makes it a favorite amongst gamers, sci-fi geeks, action movie fans, and suedo-intellectuals. Oh and don't forget anyone who's dabbled in hallucinogens at least once. Of course I would never do something like that.

The film's huge success sparked a new interest in sci-fi. Ironically it starred Keanu Reeves who's previous sci-fi flick, the horrendous Johnny Mnemonic, almost killed any fanfare associated with the genre.

The main problem I have with this film, which claims to have numerous philosophical and religious analogies, is that the violence in it was a little too much even for my tastes. In one of it's most famous scenes Neo and Trinity decide to storm a building and kill a bunch of security guards. What the security guards did to them or anyone I don't know, but they needed to die and the audience was supposed to revel in it. Granted the scene looks really good and most people didn't even give a second thought as to why the duo with all their powers could have whisked their way into the building to the place they needed to go without leaving behind a senseless death toll.

That's the power of The Matrix. Visually it's so impressive that everyone ignores it's numerous flaws and enjoys the mindless action piece that it is. The cult of Neo was born and everyone discussed the deeper meanings they attribute to the taking of the red pill. It's truly an example of powerful cinema. The visuals in the film, as well as the cool concept, are stunning enough to make you look past the atrocious acting and banal dialogue. It looks so good guys kept trying to convince me that Trinity is hot. That's something I still don't get.

You're probably thinking I'm an idiot for missing some hokey dialogue sequence that explains the importance of killing innocent civilians for the purpose of Neo's mission, but please spare me that bullshit.

I've never considered the film to be all that bad, but after viewing it's two terrible sequels one would easily consider The Matrix to be a cinematic masterpiece.

The Matrix scene I was referring to:

"It's astonishing that so much money, talent, technical expertise and visual imagination can be put in the service of something so stupid." - Bob Graham


Scott said...

Well the thing is that all the people that they killed were not real people, they were computer generated in "the matrix" so it was more like a really good virtual reality game.

The violence was however pretty instense.


Mattbear said...

When I saw the initial trailer for The Matrix, during the SuperBowl, I said, "Damn, that looks like it'll be a good mindless special effects movie." I was right.

The special effects and action were great, unparalelled and unmatched at that time. That's just about all I took away from it - it had great effects and action, and a few good lines when you take them out of context (the red pill/blue pill speech and the Oracle in particular). Sometimes, a movie deserves respect because it breaks new ground in effects or action. I can think of one effects-laden movie that is a favorite despite having one of the most wooden stars ever, some very cheesy dialog, and a number of weak deus ex machina plot points. It was called Star Wars.

There are some movies where I can turn off my brain and look past the fact that they just shot the crap out of some innocent guards, or the fact that the machines could have just as easily powered themselves off of, say, cows. But it definitely didn't have the major philosophy element some attribute to it.

And Trinity was hot, damn it. In the first one. After that...not so much.