Five Reasons Why You Should (Re)Watch ‘The Matrix’ Tonight
Wake up Neo.
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December can’t come quick enough…

Well, we all know why we’re here. The teaser for Matrix Resurrections just dropped, and you’re feeling a bit nostalgic as to the movie that started it all. Luckily for you, we are too, and have decided to revisit the very first Matrix ahead of the full Resurrections trailer tomorrow; and see the bloody huge bar it set for the following instalments and sci-fi in general.

But who knows, Resurrections could easily be a let-down; the odds are literally stacked against it when you think of recent reboots over the last couple of years. Will we connect with these characters the same way? Will it advance the legacy of the iconic films, or will it desecrate all they stood for? We can’t know for sure, but what we do know is that the original Matrix in 1999 was fucking badass, and is as close as you can get to a perfect science-fiction film.

And so, we’ve made an executive decision. You’re clearing out a couple of hours out of your day, and throwing on the Matrix. We say a couple hours because we expect you to be engaged in some real deep thought following a rewatch of the 1999 classic, especially with its relevance now more than ever. Check it below.

Hugo Weaving

I know, when thinking of standout performances in The Matrix, Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are always the first to come to mind. But despite a couple of years living in the UK, old mate Hugo is true blue through and through, and his performance as bad guy Agent Smith remains criminally underrated to this day.

Imagine the brief this guy would’ve gotten when he first auditioned for the part: sentient computer program that always wears the same suit, ridiculously uptight and has an inability to say anyone’s first name. But despite it all, he gives one of the most human performances in the whole film, and works as the perfect bad guy.

It’s all embodied in this interrogation scene (which was filmed in Martin Place of all locations, but more on that shortly) in which he outlines the overall shittiness of humanity and his unrelenting distaste for us. But you actually manage to feel for the poor bugger, Weaving firing on all cylinders in the emotions department. Old mate killed it, and it helped idolise his performance for decades to come.

Fights. Lots of fights.

It’s rare to see fight scenes from back in the day that are just as believable as the ones today. Obviously, they were great for the time, but it’s hard to sit through a Rocky fight scene and so on without noticing the obvious limitations of practical & special effects from back then. But The Matrix is an exception to that in every sense of the word, crafting fight scenes that have stood the time with total ease.

They’re brutal, stylised and beautifully fluid, and you’re totally kidding yourself if you think you weren’t tempted to sign up for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Tae Kwon Do class after watching it for the first time.

It’s all beautifully evidenced in this fight between Neo and Morpheus, both of whom almost dancing around each other with superhuman abilities as we get our first proper look of ‘The One’ in action (the soundtrack here is absolutely sick as well)

THAT scene

Look, I’m gonna be real with you. I was barely out of diapers when this badboy hit cinemas in 1999, but just going off the the endless of YouTube comments and podcasts I’ve sifted through, this scene of Neo waking up was mind-blowing for viewers the first time they saw it.

Sure, the world had had moments like Star Wars‘ “Luke, I am your father,’ the chest burster scene in Alien and so on, but Neo being unplugged and waking up in the real world was injected with this existential horror that was so specifically unique to the Matrix. It was a cinematic moment, one that you could argue hasn’t been repeated since (No, Iron Man’s death in Endgame doesn’t come anywhere close).

I mean, imagine waking up in some godforsaken-field filled with machines and human batteries while having an endless amount of cables attached to you. ‘Utterly traumatising’ doesn’t begin to describe it, and you can bet it was a huge wake-up call (pun intended) for the world as a whole, especially with the fear of Y2K looming over in 1999.

See Sydney in action

You might not know this, but this badboy was completely filmed in our very own Sydney! Seriously, aside from the American cast, directors etc, this is an Aussie production through and through. There are plenty of sights on display too; Martin Place, Pit Street, Broadway, the whole Sydney central district is essentially a character in this film.

Aside from the low costs of shooting in Australia, it’s said that the Sydney metropolis was chosen because the skyscrapers in Sydney are so anonymous that no would would recognise them, further adding to the overall immersion of the Matrix simulation. We could take this as a slight insult to our beloved skyline, but we’re optimists here in the LWA offices; we’re guessing they just meant it’s beyond unparalleled.

Mindfucks upon mindfucks

The amount of cookery the last two years have brought has prompted us all to ask ourselves whether we’re living in a simulation at one time or another, but Jesus, Morpheus outlining the fall of the human race and our journey to being slaves of the machines never fails to give me goosebumps.It’s one of several mindfucks throughout the film, with others including deep monologues as to the meaning of life, free will, and how even the mere taste of food can be completely manufactured by an artificial intelligence.

Bottom line, the Wachowskis slam you with so many existential questions and predictions that by the end you’re totally lost in a pool of dread. If only they could’ve maintain the level of symbolism and complexity they had in the first film in sequels Reloaded and Revolutions, both of which being so overtly obvious and convoluted that it was kind’ve hilarious.

Anyway, here’s hoping Resurrections is a return to 1999 form; God knows that the current world is cooked enough for it to be the wakeup call we need all these years later.

Words by Amar Gera September 8, 2021
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