In 1999, the world of cinema was forever changed with the introduction to The Matrix, one of the most original and groundbreaking sci-fi epics since Star Wars. This film was not only an inspiration for future action movies, but it gave the audience an alternative vision of the future that wasn’t considered. A world where machines and humans were at war with each other wasn’t new per se, but the very idea of hacking into a world of make-believe even if you feel it was truly real was a revolutionary feat. The Wachowskis’ clever and unique vision brought about some truly memorable characters, iconic moments, and a sense of style that has yet to be copied or duplicated in such a way that would make audiences say “Woah”. With the release of The Matrix Resurrections this past December, fans of the original trilogy would anxious to witness what new ideas could be brought to the table. Whether you enjoyed that film or not, we all love The Matrix and everything in it. With that being said, let’s go back down the rabbit hole and revisit some of the best moments that the original trilogy had to offer.
The Opening of The Matrix
Most action movies start with a big moment to capture the audience’s attention fairly quickly. In the first film, we see Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) receive a phone call and cops have surrounded the building that she’s currently in. We don’t know what to expect but as soon as the cops attempt to place her under arrest, she fights them off. Instead of the typical hand-to-hand combat or riddling the cops with bullets, Trinity displays some moves that surely made us tilt our heads in confusion. After going on the run, we see some agents that may be F.B.I. or something similar and they give chase. The cops are in hot pursuit which leads everyone to the roof where Trinity and the agent jump across a building! Sure, we may have seen this in superhero movies like Blade but without any establishment of these characters, we were in for a shock. After everything unfolds, we are left stunned and have many questions. For audiences who saw this movie in 1999, many of them described it as seeing Star Wars for the very first time. It was truly a sight to see.
Morpheus tells Neo the Truth
When Mr. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) meets the legendary Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) for the first time, we know that Mr. Anderson has a lot of questions as do we. Morpheus explains to Mr. Anderson the truth of what is happening. The world isn’t real and everything you’ve experienced in your life is a lie. Mr. Anderson (or Neo) is given a choice. Take the blue or the red pill. Two choices but only one will reveal the truth that has so eluded Neo and the rest of humanity. Once Neo “wakes up” we are treated to many scenes that explain what the matrix is. I can’t imagine what the audience was thinking when they first saw this, but I can guess their jaws hit the floor. Even after all these years, we ask ourselves “which pill would I take in that situation?”
Battle for Zion
The Matrix Revolutions is often not well thought of by fans. Personally, it isn’t a bad film but it could’ve been much better. Despite the negativity and disappointment from fans, one of the most memorable sequences of the third film is the Battle of Zion. The sentinels are making their way to Zion, the last human civilization, which threatens the lives of everyone and a final stand is being prepared. It will be a fight to the death. Once the machines drill through, the battle begins! While some of the special effects may look dated by today’s standards, back then, it was a jaw-dropping moment. There had been plenty of buildup for the upcoming battle between the humans and machines, and it didn’t disappoint. Men are killed quickly by the sentinels while the soldiers are prepping the Armoured Personnel Units (APUs) to hold out as long as they can. Much like the Battle of Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, this battle was epic despite the heavy causalities of human life.
When Morpheus is captured by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) he is being held in a military compound. Neo makes a choice to save Morpheus which appears to be suicidal but Neo believes that he can save him. Trinity aids Neo in this rescue attempt and upon entering the building, a massive gunfight ensues. Trinity and Neo have to make do with what they can to prevail and the action sequence here is one of the best in the entire franchise, even over the freeway chase in The Matrix Reloaded. What’s astounding here is that this entire sequence was done practically except for the obvious wirework. This is a thrilling moment and seeing the slow-motion action offers a perfect blend of chaos and beautiful choreography. Even when the concrete slab falls at the end of the scene, we may think it’s funny, but that slab fell and was left in the final cut. Gosh, this scene is fantastic which leads to the one moment in the movie that changed action cinema forever.
After the lobby shootout, Trinity and Neo make their way to the roof and take out the remaining military personnel. An agent appears during this fight. Agents are nearly impossible to defeat and the best defense is to flee as fast as you can. Neo decides to fight back and unloads his gun in the direction of the agent. Agents can dodge bullets with ease and when the agent pulls out his weapon, Neo tries to dodge the bullets himself. He mostly succeeds but ends up getting hit twice. Even though it appears he’s moving slowly, in reality, he’s moving extremely fast which stuns Trinity. To achieve this visual effect, the Wachowskis hired visual effects supervisor John Gaeta who was eager to attempt this feat. The actor would move at normal speed surrounded by numerous cameras that would record a second of footage each. These cameras were positioned in a way to capture the object of focus in a super slow-motion way. Think of the old photography trick known as “time-slice” but more complicated. It’s more complicated than the way I’m explaining it here. Still, this single moment was a revolutionary tool in filmmaking and as a visual feast for the eyes, it’s a moment we surely never forget.
What are your favorite moments from The Matrix? Did you enjoy The Matrix Resurrections? Let us know which moments made you say “Woah” on Facebook.