Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Directors: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
When it comes to Sci-Fi block busters, they don’t come much bigger than “The Matrix”. A budget of 63m dollars, a cast of familiar names and a storyline as ambitious as any that have gone before.
Keanu Reeves is office employee Thomas Anderson by day and computer hacker ‘Neo’ at night. He always suspected that something was not quite right about the world around him but he never knew what it was until he comes in contact with fellow hacker, Trinity. She subsequently introduces him to Morpheus (Fishburne) whom Neo has always wanted to meet.
Morpheus explains to Neo that the world he knows, in the year 1999, does not exist. It is actually a computer generated program called ‘The Matrix’ which is controlled by machines from the future – the year is actually closer to 2199. Morpheus tells Neo that he believes Neo is actually ‘The One’, the only person who can help defeat the machines and reclaim the Earth from the Matrix.
That’s a simplified version of what is a fairly intricate storyline. Unfortunately a good intricate storyline does not always provide the basis for a strong, in-depth plot. Okay, so we get all the science fiction jiggery-pokery that is hard to question but the ludicrousness of it begins to just get a bit too much. I would love to know where the Matrix originated, what it actually is. Who are the machines? How does the matrix really work? The directors decide to concentrate on the aftermath of the ‘event’, the horrific repercussion of what has gone before. Bad mistake, in my opinion. We do get a look at ‘agents’, machines that enter the matrix in human form in order to ensure that the resistance are kept under wraps, but it is not enough.
So where is the plot then? It’s nowhere and that’s the problem. Basically we get Neo and the other members of the resistance battling to bring down the matrix in a series of stunning special-effect laden scenes. There was a lot of potential to address the issues I’ve mentioned above but this has been sacrificed for the more straight-forward slap-bang-wallop effect. There are moments of startling philosophy – why are we all here, do we control our own fate, are humans like a virus – but all this is lost in an orgy of violence, special effects and general science fiction nonsense.
The performances are as decent as they can be. Reeves is bearable, (which makes this his best performance ever I guess), Fishburne and Moss are alright, Moss looking great in her cat-suit … meow! Sorry, that was sexist, but it really was the best thing I can say about the movie.
It’s not a dead loss, but it is a huge disappointment. Parts 2 and 3 are already slated and perhaps we will see a bit more plot development in them. It’s be nice to have a more charasmatic lead man than Reeves and I’m sure our sci-fi friendly writers/directors, Andy and Larry Wachowski, can dream something up. Please…