Comfortable and Furious

The Matrix

The Matrix is such a good movie for so many reasons. Special effects is a big one, but I am going to keep my comments on that to a minimum. If you are interested in more in-depth commentary on the special effects of The Matrix, you can watch the behind-the-scenes epic The Matrix: Revisited or just visit the Magic Club at your local middle school. I will say this. Whenever I watch the first Star Wars (Part IV, A New Hope for all you little fan boys who keep sending me Death Threats.) I always try and imagine myself sitting in a theater in 1977. The opening credits role and they look pretty good.

Suddenly, a little ship cuts across the screen desperately firing behind itself. Then we see it. One of those big ass, incredibly menacing Imperial ships and it is so big and so awe-ing that I just flip out. Remember, this is 1977 and nobody has ever seen anything like that. People were blown out of their seats. In fact, before Star Wars, movie theaters saw nothing wrong with people buying a ticket and then watching the same movie all day. Star Wars changed that. Lucas claimed that The Phantom Menace would do the same thing with its revolutionary use of digitized characters and computer graphics. Well, there was a sci-fi movie released in 1999 that transformed our expectations of what movies can do. That movie sure as hell wasn’t The Phantom Menace. That movie, was The Matrix.

But you knew all that. Here’s the shit you came to see.

First off, The Matrix proves that even with $90,000,000 worth of special effects, nothing looks better than a woman’s ass in tight vinyl. Star Wars was seriously lacking in this area. Old George Lucas even went so far as to tape Carrie Fisher’s breasts down. I’m not saying George is into boys, but somebody just made him tape her breasts down? This ass thing is a lesson that more comic book geeks turned director should be aware of. Carrie-Anne Moss, if you are reading this, I just want to let you know that I would totally let you have sex with me. And If I were ten years older, I might even consider dating you. Ms. Moss plays Trinity, and what is great about her character, ass notwithstanding, is that she is smart.

Maybe Carrie-Anne is just a smart person (I doubt it. Actors are the only people with across-the-board IQs lower than politicians.) or maybe the Wachowski Brothers who wrote and directed the Matrix are really smart. Either way, when I saw her levitate off the ground just before she kicks the shit out of everybody in the movie’s opening scene, my blood was pumping for all sorts of reasons. Since action movies are almost the exclusive realm of men, women are usually only tossed into the plot only as sex objects. To have a woman not only not be a helpless, whining bimbo, but also be hot as shit is a double victory for the Brothers W.

In home brewing we have a saying that the beer gets made despite the brewer. The same can be said for a certain Mr. Reeves and The Matrix. Keanu Reeves tries his best to wreck the film, but the script, direction and rest of the cast is so strong that he doesn’t matter. Exactly like in The Devil’s Advocate, Keanu’s dullness actually enhances the super natural goings on around him. I am no Keanu hater. He is just a typical actor with superstar good looks. Although I heard that he turned down Val Kilmer’s role in Heat to play Hamlet in a Canadian Shakespeare fest

Laurence Fishburne is really fucking awesome as Morpheus. He got the fifteen-year-old boy in me almost as wound up as Ms. Moss’s ass. There is that one scene where he smashes through the wet wall to save Reeve’s Neo character’s butt. Just before he does so, Fishburne lets out this beast-like roar that is just hauntingly powerful. Plus, Mr. Fishburne looks really, really cool. Think about the part where he is doing the Muhammad Ali thing with his feet just before he kicks the crap out of Neo in the training simulation. Wow. Also, no one has ever looked as tough in a leather trench coat. Not even Rommel. And again, he is smart in this movie. Not genius, ’cause they do make him utter crap like, “Welcome to the desert of the real.” But for an action movie, pretty fricking smart. Also, big fucking kudos to the Wachowski Brothers for never, ever, once mentioning the fact that Morpheus is black. This could be some sort of fucking record. A black actor in a principle role where the moviemakers didn’t go for the sucker punch ease of pointing out and making fun of that character’s ancestry. We should have given these guys a fucking Ruthie.

Also noteworthy is the performance of Aussie Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. He’s so good at being bad, that when I watched Lord of the Rings all I could imagine him saying to Frodo was, “Mr. Anderson.” Bad guys in action movies are usually really boring. Especially since you know they are going to get it in the end. Either they are completely over-rendered and over the top like Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege, or they are just laughable like Gary Busey in Under Siege. Once in awhile a bad guy comes along who is not only believable within the confines of the movie, but compelling to boot. Examples like Kurtwood Smith (As Clarence Boddicker) in Robocop or Schwartzeneggar as the Terminator come to mind.

These are bad guys that upset and maybe even frighten you. Agent Smith stands on his own two despicable feet in the lexicon of action movie bad guys. I’m not sure if it is the creepy fake accent or his stiff-necked movement, but I just wanted Agent Smith dead from forty seconds into The Matrix. And I am the kind of person that generally roots for the bad guys. Even Agent Smith’s long-winded speech to Morpheus about humans being a virus is OK because he is just so damn vile. I must point out however, that as cool as the penultimate and final fight scenes with Neo are, all that good work gets flushed away down the proverbial toilet of “enough already” when Reeves dives into Agent Smith’s body. I said that Weaving turned in a good performance, not a miraculous one.

The science of the Matrix is dumb. Anybody with a rudimentary grasp of physics understands that there is enough energy waiting to be released via fusion in the can of Coke you are drinking right now to power all of Los Angeles for a year. So the whole “humans being turned into batteries” premise is pretty thin and detracts from the movie. They could have just as easily asked me what I thought and I would have told them that a quick and easy way to get the same effect would be to harp on the myth that we only use 10% of our brain power and that the robots/machines realized it was cheaper just to connect all the humans together in a giant super computer and use the untapped brain power. I guess it looked cool. But in the end, who cares? Cause The Matrix rocked!!!

End Note: Keanu reeves flying off into orbit at the end of the movie is the dumbest shit I have ever seen. Why go to the trouble of making a very decent movie, only to sack it at the end? I mean, why not just have Neo wake up from a dream and go, “Whoa…”? Oh yeah, sequels. The oracle woman was pretty stupid, too.

DVD Extras

Amazingly, the whole movie was shot in the Wachowski’s mother’s basement. Most of what you see are tricks done with mirrors. I’m kidding. The Matrix revolutionized action pictures to the point where every single one released until 2011 is going to be a cheap rip-off. Go and rent The Matrix: Revisited for all the poop on how two ugly nerds did it.

Ruthless Ratings

  • Overall: 7
  • Story: 5
  • Acting: 8, even with Mr. Reeves
  • Direction: 7 compared to all movies. 10 compared to action movies.
  • Rewatchability: 9

Special Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times you realized how much fun this movie is: 17
  • Number of times you thought about how much fun Ms. Moss and a few bottles of Champagne would be: 24
  • Number of times you slapped yourself in the face for getting caught up in the emotional turmoil of it all: 4
  • Number of times you cringed at the screen because of a bad scene: 6 The characters Dozer and Mouse say some pretty stupid shit.
  • Number of times you cringed because of Ms. Moss’s ass: 34
  • Number of times you wanted to ram that spoon up the little British kid’s ass and yell, “You still think there’s no spoon?”: 1
  • Number of times you really liked the part where Keanu flexed and then the walls swelled: Everytime I see the movie
  • Number of times you have caught yourself flexing in hopes that that walls will swell: Shut up.