These are the pop-culture touchstones that are turning the big 2-0 in 2019. Buzz60’s Mercer Morrison has the story.
If there were a pill that would wipe the portion of my mind that holds “The Matrix” memories, I’d take it. Wipe it clean. Just so that I could step into the 1999 sci-fi action universe as if it were all jaw-droppingly new again.
Since that technology has not revealed itself, I have to live with simply rewatching Neo (Keanu Reeves) rise up with Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in the Wachowski brothers classic, which turns 20 on Sunday.
“The Matrix” still will rock your reality to the core, even if the omnipresent Nokia 8110 slide-out phone is noticeably far from cutting-edge. It’s little wonder that Warner Bros. is eyeing a reboot of the franchise, which stumbled with disappointing 2003 follow-ups “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.”
At its intoxicating best, “The Matrix” is a perfect, artificially created world. Here are five reasons why.
Keanu Reeves was born to be ‘The One’
Reeves is more than the perfect-looking human savior (known as “The One”) with the lethal cheekbones, sunglasses and black duster. He nails the journey of a Chicago cubicle dweller who discovers his entire world is a complex simulation known as The Matrix, run by machines who are harvesting the feeble human’s biometric power.
Then he kicks much butt.
Reeves displays the physicality to pull off the elaborate Yuen Woo-ping-choreographed martial arts scenes, including the now-iconic bullet dodge bend move. More important, he covers up any thespian shortcomings with the less-is-more credo of just not talking too much. He lets the flying fists do most of the conversing.
Agent Smith is a villain for the ages
Great heroes need great villains. There is none better that Hugo Weaving’s superhuman enforcer Agent Smith, who has kept brutal order in The Matrix without messing up his exquisitely tailored suit, designer sunglasses and perfectly combed hair.
Talk about complexity. It’s only when you get to know Agent Smith that you discover his petty disputes with his fellow agents and his simmering rage over being stuck with filthy humans.
Smith brings solid justification for his actions. His thoughts on overriding human’s wanton self-destructive habits are even harder to argue with 20 years later. “Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet,” he sneers.
The love story amid the flying bullets is poetry
Romance can be deadly in an action film. But “The Matrix” astutely walks the line, mostly because Moss’ Trinity looks even more intimidating than Neo and can dispatch foes with the best of them. There’s no room for the two to act on their burgeoning love. Just precious stolen moments and one final, pivotal kiss.
The ‘Matrix’ universe is complex and complete
From moment one, the Wachowski brothers (now Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski) drop the viewers in the middle of a confusing world which slowly, horrifyingly reveals itself. We’re like Neo, desperately trying to understand an upended reality entirely on the fly. There is no handy narrative explanation of what’s taking place amid the battles and complex dialogue. You keep up or die.
Are there deeper concepts and philosophies I’m still not getting 20 years later? No doubt. But this mind-blowing universe is fully realized and thrilling right through Neo’s final pay-phone call directly to The Matrix.
Why the ‘Forrest Gump’ sequel was halted: The film ‘felt meaningless’ following 9/11 attacks
Morpheus’ simple hand wave is perfection
“The Matrix” puts standard training montages scenes to shame, given the ability to implant skills directly into Neo’s brain. It makes the instant progression believable and enthralling, with Neo’s classic line delivered with wide eyes: “I know kung fu.”
But this is trumped by the pivotal training moment when Morpheus spars with Neo. Undaunted by his student’s increasingly lethal skills, Morpheus extends the simplest “bring it” wave with the fingers of his outstretched hand. Divine.
’10 Things I Hate About You’ turns 20: Where are the stars now?
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2019/03/28/matrix-20th-anniversary-why-keanu-reeves-still-blows-your-mind/3294401002/