Remember that weird kid that was wearing the leather and trench coats, oh that was you. Well, if it wasn’t then you saw the matrix and said “Ohhh that’s a thing”. Let’s call up the Wyld Stallyns borrow the phone booth and remember the awesome that was 1999…
On March 29th amidst of the Y2K paranoia, at the beginnings of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Rise to
WWF WWE Superstardom, and with the controversy that was splitting a nation:
The world was collectively mind blown with the simple question: What is the Matrix? Imagine a world where you get to do badass physics defying kung fu, one where the idea of reality is threatened and one where Hugo Weaving is a BOSS (oh wait that last one is already true lol). Well that is what was introduced to the world on that fateful day.
This movie was more than a cult classic it was more than a classic it was one of those rare movies that revitalized a genre. With the decline of the old school kung fu movies and the repetitive formula of the
Last Big action hero flicks we got The Matrix, AkA an acid trip for the Action movie junkies. The franchise as a whole had all the elements of a classic action title, but the uniqueness of the first movie set itself apart from the others and from the genre itself. It was one of those stories that had a bit of everything for everyone, the action did not wash out the suspense, which was not overshadowed by the romance (or Morpheus + Neo bromance),the balance was very good and the tech selling point, that panoramic camera and bullet time usage, smacks you with awesome throughout the entire film.
I am going to be honest, neither Bill and Ted nor Speed made me think Keanu was the best choice to be the One, and if you have been on the googles at all, you know he was not the first pick for the studio either. If I did have some kind of telephone booth time machine, I would go back and tell everyone to shut up because he is going to nail this. It was a stellar performance from Keanu and he played to his strengths so well that you forget the air guitar and get lost in another world.
I remember my friend calling me on the house phone after he saw it. I dragged that extra long phone cord into the living room as he tried to describe the movie to me. I listened trying to make sense of what he was saying. I did not get it. I had to see it for myself and oh man when I did…
I know Kung Fu.
Oh, mah Gawd. I still get chills when I hear that. I cannot tell you how many times me and my best friend watched the first and second movies over and over for the fight scenes alone and somehow always ended up watching the whole movie. When Morpheus takes on Neo there was just nothing like it. As a kid who was into martial arts, when you see such beautiful fight choreography it just amps you up even more. I felt the adrenaline that you got before tournaments or sparring matches.
Oh, the fight choreography. It was so visually stunning, so fast, and set a new standard for combat in cinema. I remember watching HBO behind-the-scenes where they talked about the 3 months of rigorous training that our leads endured to give us some of the most fluid and believable fights in movie history. Can you imagine how Kill Bill, The Bourne Identity, or Wanted would have looked without the new level of fight choreography that the Matrix initiated because I don’t want to. Anything less visceral or slower paced is was just underwhelming from that point on, which is another sign of an iconic film.
It also started to bring much of what was”geek culture”, out to the world. And to clarify, I do not mean the positive connotation it has today. I mean that socially awkward “you’re weird and a nerd and we will make fun of you for liking these things “geek culture”. Computers, hacking, goth, raves, tech, and even instant messaging, have all become more mainstream thanks, in part, to The Matrix. But, not only did it bring those interests to the forefront it also showed some of the recluse character, the social awkwardness, and “searching for more from life” internal struggle that a lot of us geeks have. Thank You. We wanted to be enthusiastic and share our nerdy passions and when things like these become vastly popular it generates a platform for conversation where people can understand us better and see that we are not so different.
So what was your favorite memory from the Matrix? What about 1999?
Let us know. In the comments below.