With all the alternate worlds and variations of the characters, it is no wonder most people struggle to understand The Matrix. So before we delve into the making of The Matrix, I am going to outline the storyline in simple terms.
The Matrix is a computer programme that was built by machines. It’s primary purpose is to create an alternate reality for humans while the machines are harvesting their energy in order to stay operational. Morpheus is the leader of a resistance group who have escaped these human farms and now exist in reality, their primary purpose is to help as many people as escape these farms as possible and to build an army that will defeat these life sucking machines. The team has a computer engineer who can alter the code of the Matrix and create new computer programmes with their own realities according to the groups needs (i.e. training facilities, weaponry etc.). Thomas Anderson is a renowned computer hacker, code named Neo, who gets recruited into Morpheus’ team because they believe that he is the one who will defeat the machines.
Now that the concept of The Matrix has been covered, we can look at how the Wachowski Brothers (in both writing and directing) made an outrageous concept a reality;
Morpheus, the name of leader of the resistance group, came from Greek mythology. Although according to the Greeks, Morpheus is the god of dreams, and in The Matrix Morpheus wakes people up from the alternate programme.
In the first 45 minutes of the film Neo has 88 lines, 44 of them were questions. Half of his dialogue, while being introduced to The Matrix, is made up of questions. This is a clever insight into human nature.
Neo’s speech at the end of the film, consisting of 5 lines, is his longest continuous dialogue in the movie. Neo has no more than 4 lines of dialogue at a time.
There are countless references to Alice in Wonderland throughout the movie. For example when Morpheus offers Neo the choice of the red or blue pill, he says “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes”
Note: In interviews the Wachowski Brothers said that they would both take the blue pill. . .
The date stamp on the phone trace program in the opening sequence reads “2/18/98”. The date stamp in the closing sequence reads “9/18/99”. This means that the movie’s timeline runs over exactly 19 months in the Matrix.
The flying bullets scene was voted as the third most recognisable movie scene in history. This scene revolutionised film direction and its techniques are now used in many modern films (e.g. The Other Guys, 300 and Inception).
Cast members were put through 6 months of gruelling training so that they could learn a variety of fighting styles in preparation for the movie.
The imagery and action packed storyline ensure that there is never a dull moment. Scientists have developed a computer that can watch movies to determine where movie’s focal points are. It is programmed to ‘look’ at predominant images on screen (a stop sign on an empty road, a face, a rose in a vase etc.), they can then recall the data to determine where the movie’s focal points are (click the images to read the article).
This is the trace from watching 2001: A Space Odyssey
This is the trace from watching The Matrix
The Matrix inspired the revolution of science fiction movies. Before 1999 (when The Matrix was released) science fiction movies were primarily based on time travel and alien invasions. Not only was The Matrix’s concept and script way ahead of its time; the direction, special effects and vision pioneered a whole new style of film making and script writing.