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‘The Matrix’ 20 Years Later: Did Hollywood Learn the Wrong Lessons? | Heat Vision


– Hello friends. The Matrix is turning 20, yet Keanu Reeves somehow still
looks younger than all of us. Pretty sure he’s a warlock. The Wachowski’s film broke new ground with its innovative action sequences and taught a new generation of
teenagers the word nihilism. Seriously this movie’s
tagline could’ve been, you don’t get it, dad. Yes, The Matrix started a revolution, but did Hollywood take away the
wrong lessons from the film? This week on Heat Vision Breakdown, we look at the complicated legacy of the lauded sci-fi action classic. And no, before you say
it, I’m not going to say, whoa or I know kung fu
or anything like that. (record scratches) – What about, there is no spoon? – You know what, David
Castaneda from Umbrella Academy, if that’s the way you want to do it, then you can do it yourself. – There is no spoon. (lively electronic music) – Back in the early ’90s, the Wachowskis were
just aspiring filmmakers who no one knew would change
the cinematic landscape. They sold the script for
1995’s Assassins for $1 million and then watched in horror as the Antonio
Banderas-Sylvester Stallone movie was re-written into something
the siblings didn’t recognize. They then wrote and directed
the indie horror movie Bound, which became a modest success, but all along, they were
dreaming of The Matrix. The Matrix launched a cinematic
landscape without limits. Originally conceived as a comic, the plot drew inspiration
from Japanese anime, such as Ghost In the Shell, the works of sci-fi
maestro Philip K. Dick, and the undergrad philosophy course that made your brother
Steve so insufferable during Christmas break. We get it, you read Nietzsche. Stitching together their influences, the Wachowskis created an
original world of their own that felt unlike anything we’d seen in American blockbusters. In doing so, they invited other filmmakers to break the mold, push boundaries, and to ask their audiences to think about narratively-simplistic action
films on a deeper level. Yet, when we look at what
came after The Matrix, that doesn’t seem the lesson
that many took away from it. Doesn’t even seem to be the lesson that the Wachowskis took away from it, given the direction the
trilogy took after 1999. Rather than deep questions
about the nature of reality, the most persistent vestiges
of The Matrix’s influence are black leather costumes,
gun fights, and bullet time. Movie’s like Christian Bale’s Equilibrium, about a society where emotions
have been made illegal, guess they don’t have Twitter, tried to have a message,
but didn’t totally nail it. While other movies didn’t even bother with a pseudo-deep message, but did ape The Matrix’s style with slow-mo gun fights, rotating cameras, and heroes who wear trench
coats and sunglasses indoors. Even video games such as Max Payne, Fear, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, oh yeah, ripped-off bullet time. But if you think that
Tiger jacking The Matrix was the weirdest thing that happened, then clearly you’re forgetting that The Gap used the combined powers of swing music and bullet time to hock their khaki in the late ’90s. (“Jump Jive An’ Wail” ) To be fair, it’s hard to blame imitators for trying to cash in
on The Matrix’s success. That’s a tongue twister. The film essentially encapsulated the time period it was released in. Y2K had given rise to renewed fears of a tech-powered apocalypse, late ’90s acts such as Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Rage
Against the Machine, all part of The Matrix’s soundtrack, were at the height of their popularity and the list of people who wore Oakleys wasn’t just made up of guys
selling Adderall at night clubs. To emphasize just how late
’90s The Matrix actually is, remember that dial-up internet
was a central plot point that the entirety of the
film’s action revolved around. (imitates dial-up) (screaming) I dunno if this is bad, per se. While some great genre films such as Alien and The Dark Knight feel timeless and as if they could be
made during any time period, others such as The Warriors, or The Terminator or even The Matrix, capture the feeling of
their current moment and reflect the society’s hopes
and fears on the big screen. The Matrix is a snapshot of the zeitgeist and
anxieties of the 1990s. We were all worried about new technology like the rise of the
internet and cloning sheep. But the Wachowskis
distilled those feelings on film through their own lens. Did we all think we’d be
responsible for the apocalypse and a near future that saw us
all harvested in baby farms for the sole purpose of becoming batteries to supply energy to the machines, who used all that said energy to endlessly grow more babies, which eventually became batteries
to fuel said harvesting? You know, sounds kind of silly
when you lay it out like that. Regardless of some of the
dated aspects of the script, try playing a drinking game every time someone says the one and you’ll end up like Leslie Mann in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. – What is this? – The judge recommended I get one. – The Wachowskis were incredibly ambitious in their filmmaking for The Matrix. Take bullet time, for example. It took two years and
$750,000 to complete. They believed they could
pull it off, however, despite this literally
being how they described it in the script. “His gun booms as we enter the
liquid space of bullet time.” Is that it, seriously? Okay, sure, it’s rough,
but the seeds were there and what the Wachowskis were
able to actually put on screen was mind-blowing for the time and staggeringly
influential for filmmaking for the next decade. The Matrix has had dark connotations. Politicians at the time blamed it in part for the mass shooting at
Columbine High School, which occurred weeks
after the film’s opening. And the term red pill has been
co-opted by so many groups pushing different agendas, that it hardly even registers as a film reference at this point. But The Matrix also opened people’s minds. And that’s a testament to the Wachowskis. It sounds like a joke, but some scientists
seriously have considered the possibility that we’re all living in a fabricated reality. Even Elon Musk has said there’s only a one-in-billion’s chance that we aren’t living in a simulation. And that guy invented PayPal, so he knows what he’s talking about. – I’ve had so many simulation
discussions, it’s crazy. – [Interviewer] Okay. – Big budget action films
can often feel derivative, both in the plotting and
actual action sequences, and stand-outs in the genre
are rarer than you might think. The Matrix’s bullet time, The Raid or John Wick’s choreography, The French Connection’s car chase, Fury Road’s insane practical
effects and stunts, all these moments and innovations
propel the genre forward, but it’s important to understand why. It is not simply the spectacle that was put on the
screen by the filmmaker, it was the innovation and creativity to create something new
and entirely unexpected that makes them classics. It also helps if you have
a literal immortal being like Keanu Reeves as your star. So what do you guys think? What’s the legacy of The Matrix? Let us know in the
comments right down there. Don’t forget to subscribe and join us here every Friday morning for new episodes of Heat Vision Breakdown. – Hey, David, we left
this ice cream for you. – Oh, that’s nice. There’s no spoon. – You said it. – Ugh, Castaneda! (upbeat music plays)

32 Comments

  1. jneotron Author

    I don't know why everybody hates the sequels… specially the ending, that its so uncommon (specially for a blockbuster). The main characters die, the villain has to win so the hero can succeed, and there is no "happy ending" (the machines don't disappear and the rest of the humanity is still inside The Matrix). I think it's great and deserves more recognition.

    Reply
  2. Robert Shaver Author

    What was the legacy of The Matrix? It was an interesting movie at the time. The "Bullet Time" camera effect was interesting tech but the movie would have been much the same without it. It is the story that counts the most to me. Speaking of stories that question the nature of our reality, have you seen the Netfix original The OV? Very evocative at least for me. Quite meta-physical. Not much in the way of mind-blowing VFX but the story … well, you'll have to decide for yourself.

    Reply
  3. R-Squared Games Author

    Reloaded (in my opinion) was the perfect follow up to The Matrix. The worst part about that film was that it was connected to Revolutions

    Reply
  4. Flutterby 84 Author

    Can’t believe it’s 20 years old!!! This film blew my mind. It was incredibly new and exciting. I was obsessed and I still love it to this day!!! Definitely one of my top 5 movies.

    Reply
  5. Zyra L. F. Author

    Nope, just don't add the unnecessary s to x and zed ending words and names. Did any one pay attention in English class in elementary school?

    Reply
  6. Zyra L. F. Author

    Loved the Architect's speech and how they weren't afraid of using "big" words that might alienate their audience. Sad yet not at all surprising that hottie Collin Chou wasn't cast more afterwards.

    Reply
  7. NoFate97 Author

    So called "red pillers" would really take the blue pill because they'd never believe a woman and a black man telling them their whole life is an illusion.

    Reply
  8. Clatyon Von Isaacs Author

    Actually they stole bullet time and a lot of other shots from Dragonball Z which originally aired aired in Japan from 89-96. I mean they stole a lot of stuff. But Bullet time is from one of the episodes that first aired in 92. The reloaded actually stole an entire scene (the freeway chase) from a Dragonball Z episode. It is almost shot for shot a remake of it. The brothers owned a comic book store and sold Dragonball Z videos from Japan before it started showing after the Matrix came out on Cartoon Network. They watched the series and didn't realize that it was going to stat showing in the US and thought they could get away with it. In fact they stole so much that they could never make a proper Dragonball Z movie as audiences would think they were stealing stuff from the Matrix series when it was the other way around. Here is just one scene they stole from Dragonball Z – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xnpeOYx048

    Reply
  9. TURST67 / Zäa Author

    It's weird that you spend that much time speaking about bullet time without mentioning that it has been done before The Matrix, for instance by Michel Gondry for a Smirnoff ad…

    Reply
  10. lucu01 Author

    archon reptilians that has hellywood (and other global influencing institutions) in it's grasp – the Sequels showed what happens after the blue pill was taken, they were great, but strangely they keep getting downplayed by 'reviewers' and 'critics'

    Reply
  11. Kamogelo Mokoena Author

    Yeah, Sophia Stewart, the African American author, was the true and rightful creator of ‘The Matrix’, NOT the Wachowski Brothers. Please correct this. Even if it’s just in the title. She deserves her credit.

    Reply
  12. MUT Author

    If you talk at the speed of an Uzi you can't expect people to remember the content of this video tomorrow. Definitely missing the mark here.

    Reply
  13. astraton2001 Author

    Well 'Bullettime' is surley not a legacy of the Matrix as it was already invented in the 'Lost in Space' Movie in 1998 by Stephen Hopkins.
    Actually Matrix has no legacy at all because it just combines a bunch of ideas, effects and stories which were already invented long time before.
    Well, still a great movie.

    Reply
  14. Rumpel Felt Author

    The people that hated the sequels are the same kind of lame-wads responsible for the mindless action movie-super hero movies we keep getting now. The sequels were exactly what they needed to be. They were epic because the first movie set the stage for it. They still blow away any action movie of today. And what are people expecting anyway with them? If they tried to make it a ground-breaking eye opener like the first one then they'd be accused of being unoriginal and milking it too much. As others have said the ending of the movie is unlike anything you get today where it's happily ever after or it's just left with the clear prospect of their being a sequel to come but it hasn't been made yet.

    With the ending of the Matrix trilogy you get a sense of finality. The trilogy stands on its own and you cannot even attempt to try a Matrix 4 or some bullshit. You're also left with a sense that this whole epic story you just say may have already happened the "6th" time according to the Architect. Then there's a million delicious questions to wonder like why does a machine have to keep a promise? Does seeing Neo again sometime vaguely in the future as said by the Oracle mean that the code for another One will happen and needs to happen thus making this all just a "Revolution"?

    Also the fact that The Matrix was written as all one story and they weren't just milking it and making shit up as they went speaks volumes to the enormity of the project already conceived. The sequels were supposed to be one movie also but they smartly decided to put it in two. Then releasing two massive movies in the same year is something else Hollywood would never do in today's milking era of movies.

    On a personal note I must admit it was a fantastic set up to have the Reloaded come out in spring and Revolutions come out in fall. For me that was my transition summer into highschool. Hell they even played one of the theme songs on the announcements the morning the third came out. But also through that summer movies like Terminator 3 (people hated that one at the time but look at what it spiraled into afterward) came out and we have the 2003 black-out which at that time gave off vibes of 'the machines taking over' and 'it's 9/11 again'. I've always kind of saw Terminators 1-3 as a possible prelude to the events documenting when and how the machines took over those 100 years prior to when The Matrix takes place.

    Reply

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