Is it police state pageantry or dopey dystopia? Either way a well spring of modern alternative political speak and text book conspiracy theory lore. Perhaps the Metropolis of it's era, in pellets of prophecy if not scale, it has a relatively thoughtful core beneath the surface acrobatics which is usually missing in most of it's genre relatives.
Every so often a film comes along that redefines the sci-fi genre for another generation. 'The Matrix' was one of those films marrying the worlds of cypher punk, science fiction and Hong Kong style martial arts aided by excellent storytelling and ground breaking visual effects. The Wachowski siblings delivered a film of its times that stands up well near two decades later.
After a recent theatrical screening, "The Matrix" still proves lightyears ahead of the modern Hollywood blockbuster with thoughtful writing, superb performances, stellar production design, and a driving score from Don Davis. Ironically, it's the action sequences that feel the most dated, while the storytelling remains surprisingly intelligent and even moving in its exploration of faith, love, and sacrifice.
The Matrix provides plenty of fodder for conversation when viewed as a "film about film." The visual effects and cinematographic stunts are very much "of the time" but the style is slick and unforgettable.
For me Matrix is the trilogy. No, not even the trilogy, Animatrix is part of it. It only made sense, the story only made sense, after I watched all three movies. And the animations did help me immerse in the universe. A critic might say that the story could be told in a single movie. And that the animations are more interesting than the movies. And there might be a point there. But what fun wtaching all that.
Sci-fi may not be my favourite genre, but when it's done right I really appreciate it. I remember seeing "The Matrix" as a kid, and at the time I was so crazy about everything there. Now, more than 10 years later, I look at it with different eyes... but despite all the kung fu and Neo-turned-Superman in the end, this is still brutally creative, visually stunning, intellectually stimulating. A classic for the ages!