First Time Watching: The Matrix

Oh look, another movie from the science fiction genre that I’m watching for the first time. It’s almost as if I’ve been intentionally avoiding them, my whole life.

Key word: “intentionally”.

The Matrix came out in 1999 and for the last 21 years, I’ve only known one thing about the movie. Sorta.

When I was about 10, or 11-years-old – this would’ve been the summer of 2002 or 2003 – I was regularly called upon to pitch a few innings, for my softball team.

In one game, there was a line drive right back at me. I leaned back a little and caught the ball right before it took off my head. My teammates came over and were like, “Woah! You did The Matrix!”

And I was like, “Haha yeah, The Matrix.”

“Haha yeah, (repeat what the other person said)” is a reply format that will get you through most situations in life.

The same play happened to me during an intramural game in university. A line drive right back to the pitcher, except I don’t think I “did The Matrix“. I caught the ball in front of my face and quickly turned to pick off the runner at first base.

I overheard the players on the other team say, “How’d he do that?”

And I thought, “Matrix“.

That was the extent of my knowledge of the movie. I didn’t even know what it meant. I just thought that leaning back and doing something cool(?) was called, “Matrix”.

NOPE!

Bless my innocence.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I know it comes from the scene where the main character, Neo, is leaning backwards to avoid the slow-motion bullets coming at him.

Ohhh, so my teammates took a 12-second scene in the movie, The Matrix, and said I basically did the same thing on a baseball field, and called it, “The Matrix.”

It took me almost 20 years to figure this out. This is what happens when you assume everyone has seen the same movies as you.

Anyway, on to the rest of the movie.

Most of the time I was watching, I felt like an idiot. What is this movie about? Is it actually simple? Why are there no normal scenes?

I’ll be honest, I had to open up its Wikipedia page for some guidance.

The description was: “It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside the Matrix, a simulated reality created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.”

I read that about four times before I gave up.

So, basically, humans and robots got into a war and the robots won, but there’s this rebellious group living in a place called Zion (not Williamson; this is a basketball joke), lead by someone named, Morpheus, trying to get the planet back to normal.

Morpheus really likes wearing sunglasses, everywhere he goes. Someone should’ve told him that “Less is More-pheus” but they didn’t have the guts, I assume.

Morpheus and his group track down this hacker who goes by the name, Neo, because Morpheus believes he is “The One” who can defeat the evil machines.

It took me half the movie to figure that out. At many points, I found myself wondering how anyone came up with the premise for this movie.

Was there a memo sent out to every Hollywood writer in 1997 and 1998, telling them to start putting together unrealistic scripts that play into Y2K paranoia, and the idea that computers will one day be our leaders?

Personally, I don’t know why people are so concerned about robots taking over and controlling us. I mean, WE COULD STOP MAKING THEM AT ANY POINT.

Also, people already don’t listen to people. We’re not going to listen to robots. Pour some water on them and watch Netflix.

Back to Neo, for a second. Every time they said his name, I thought of the singer, Ne-Yo. I was annoyed at myself.

The movie didn’t captivate me until about 80 minutes in, when one of Morpheus’ people – Cypher – turned on him and the crew, by shooting Tank, but failing to make sure he was dead, which ultimately meant he came back and killed Cypher.

Is this what names are going to be like in the future? Is this why celebrities can’t name their children anything normal? What do they know that we don’t?

“Hi, I’d like you to meet my son, Compass, and my daughter, Vinyl. This is our dog, Drops of Jupiter.” 

That is when everything started to click for me and I became invested in the plot.

When Neo and Trinity went back into the Matrix to save Morpheus from the machines aka evil white men, who kidnapped him, they entered their headquarters(?) wearing black trench coats, while heavily armed.

I’ll be honest, that scene made me uncomfortable. It was too similar to Columbine for me. I looked it up to see if anyone felt the same way, and apparently, a lot of people did.

In fact, The Matrix came out three weeks before the Columbine shooting, and people were blaming this movie – among other things – as possible inspirations.

I am not here to guess what made those two individuals do what they did. However, I can see why people immediately pointed to this movie and tried to make the connection.

I made the link in two seconds, 21 years after the fact. Whether the link actually exists, that’s not up to me to decide.

There were a lot – A LOT – of bullets fired in this movie. It was amazing how many of them missed the intended target. And by “amazing” I mean it was borderline unbelievable.

Anyway, the Agents/Machine/Evil White Men with Superiority Complexes kill Neo, but because love conquers all and Trinity kissed Neo’s corpse on the lips, he came back to life with more powers than ever before, and defeats Agent Smith, before exiting the matrix.

Got all that?

We have a Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, Tank, Cypher…and an Agent Smith. Did they just give up on coming up with abnormal names? Or are robots just really simple?

The movie ended and I’m not sure what happened, even after reading Wikipedia.

So, yeah, I am not smarter than a 5th Grader, or at least not as smart as I thought I was, after watching this movie.

The Matrix is rated 8.7/10 on IMDB. I would probably give it half of that, just because I didn’t know what was going on, or care, until the last 40 minutes. The movie was 2 hours and 16 minutes long.

The things I do for a blog post…

I forgot to mention that some scenes randomly ended by the screen fading to black, and I half-expected to see commercials, or a video game cutscene.

Very 1999, if you ask me.

I think I need a break from the science fiction genre for a bit. Too much thinking involved.

Stay tuned to see which genre I land in next week.

If you’ve seen The Matrix, what did you think of it?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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22 Responses to First Time Watching: The Matrix

  1. rebbit7 says:

    “Yeah, haha…” Couldn’t have put it better; that line really gets you through life! And I had the same experience doing “The Matrix” when I played dodge ball as a kid; I hadn’t watched the movie then, but I had an idea of what they meant. When I did watch the film, I was as confused with the storyline as I had with Inception, but I’ll admit there were a few good action scenes in it.

    By the way, I could definitely get used to you starting a movie review series on your blog. They’re really entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Well done pulling off the Matrix move during dodge ball! Glad I’m not the only one who found the story hard to follow. The action scenes were good, I just wish I knew what was going on sooner than I did.

      Thanks! I’ll keep this series up as long as I can access movies I haven’t seen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your take on this movie! Funny to see through eyes decades after the fact.

    My story is that I somehow missed seeing this blockbuster in the theater (remember those? Big groups of people, complete strangers, would cozy up next to each other in the dark and spill slimy popcorn butter on the floor – the good ol’ days).

    A co-worker who saw it had just bought the DVD (not VHS!) and was shocked when I was clueless about the movie. So he invited me to his house to have the pleasure of seeing my mind blown on my first viewing, “Whoa!”

    I loved it! I was also happier with the whole trilogy than most people, so…

    I still love The Matrix and watch it on occasion. In college, it really affected the culture around me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      After watching three older movies for this series, I’m realizing that part of their allure had to do with the time they were released. I have no doubt this moving probably hit a different nerve in 1999 than it does today.

      Oh man, movie theatres sound like the worst place on earth right now don’t they? A DVD! Glad you got to watch The Matrix in style!

      Happy you liked it, I wish I could say the same lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So I have never seen this movie and honestly this hasn’t made me want to change that lol but thats ok because I’m still working on the tv show list you gave me 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. aqilaqamar says:

    It was 1999 so the premise was popular then. There were more stuff related. It was detailed in the animated Animatrix. I do think certain elements of the Matrix could have been better. It is a science fiction film and has Buddhist, Christian and certain elements of Hindiusm in the movie thus Neo being the one is akin to Dalai Lama and resurrection of Christ and Buddha avatars. Now, I think it is a cult classic for a reason. Morpheus is just one revolutionary agent and he does not rule Zion. Zion is the last human city and it is underground. You need to see the trilogy. But I can see this movie is not your cup of tea xD

    It has elements of Alice in Wonderland as well. The Red Pill and the Blue Pill. It is supposed to be a treatise of reality and certain stuff like that. Though it had its weak points. Obviously, this movie was made before VR and Youtube and you can see it does not include that technological advancements. The simulated world of the Matrix is also stuck in the 90s. Even with the 90s the only aspect of net culture it did investigate was hackers and Neo was a hacker. The reason they have names like that is that they took their hacker names or net names as opposed to the ‘slave’ names the machines gave them. That is why Smith always calls him Mr Anderson and you have that scene where Neo says he is Neo and not Mr Anderson. Smith also calls Cipher by his machine given name too. There was some fan theories about Morpheus as he is the only one Smith calls by his chosen name. There was a theory that he was born human in the Matrix or something or the other as opposed to being born in the real world as Tank. I think because when they came out in the real world they did not wish to have the same sorts of names given to them by the machines even if the machines were replicating human costumes. Kind of like how humanity adapts into new civilisations and customs. The machines began to make themselves so they became sentient enough to do that. In Seocd Renaissance, survivors of the purge went on to create the firsy AI cuty called 01. Litearlly “One” in the binary code, which is ironic isn’t it as Neo is also “The One.” (Just realised that).

    There is also how machines don’t really adapt in the movie. Machines or the AI don’t have a culture. The humans lost the world and they had to give themselves up as they blocked the sun so AI started using humans as their energy source. You will notice they look like insects and parasites. This design was intentional. It was spoken of in the Animatrix where Japanese producers of the Animatrix stated they wanted to make the machines grotesque, their word, and so they chose this. And, also because the machines have become from civilised beings to just beings who survive like parasites. They haven’t adapted. That is why Smith is so unique in the movie. When he says he hates the smell that is not a machine thing to say and so he was adapting and this adaptation was like I guess a treatise on bodies and AI and realities experienced by other sentient beings.

    The Matrix entertained important questions during the early 00s. But yes. They are sadly a bit outs-dated. However, due to some of its existential and philosophical questions, like Blade Runner and the original book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, it has become a cult classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Woah, did we even watch the same movie? This comment was fantastic and very educational/enlightening, thank you!! The movie now makes more sense because of the things you said.

      Like

  5. darthtimon says:

    I really enjoyed The Matrix. At the time, it was quite unique in terms of how it was shot, and it was more compelling than 1999’s other big summer release, The Phantom Menace. It’s a shame the long-awaited sequels went down the rabbit hole (do you see what I did there?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard of The Phantom Menace. I think one of the problems with me watching these movies decades after they came out is I’m not surprised by the things that were supposed to be unique or new at the time.

      I saw what you did there! Bravo.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. peckapalooza says:

    I will actually be writing about this movie soon enough, as it lands on my Top 100 at number 5. That means I like it a lot.

    But… I will say, I didn’t feel that way about it the first time I watched it. I didn’t see it in the theater. I rented when it hit the local Hollywood Video store. And I’m glad I did that instead of seeing it when it was on the big screen. Because I had to rewind the movie to watch the first 20 minutes three times. I was so lost. And we didn’t Wikipedia at that point.

    I almost said, “back in my day…”

    But once I understood what was happening, I grew to love it. I even wrote a term paper for my philosophy class, exploring all of the gospel and Jesus symbolism found throughout the movie, which went over huge with my philosophy professor who was also a Baptist preacher.

    I’d encourage you to eventually give this a shot again, once you’ve put enough distance between yourself and your first viewing. But I’d also tell you to avoid the sequels. They do add to the overall story and try to clear some things up, but they’re mostly just confusing and disappointing. Though I sure will be in line to see The Matrix 4 that they were planning to make before the pandemic… assuming that still happens.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      The beginning was rough. I forgot to mention that I had to re-watch the first 5-6 minutes because I didn’t understand why Neo saw that girl’s rabbit tattoo and immediately decided he should go with her.

      You’re the second person who has told me they wrote somethhing for their philosophy class based on this movie. Kudos to you for doing it without Wikipedia!

      I should watch this movie again eventually, if only the first half of it, so I can see all the little things that lead to the second half, which I found to be a lot better. I appreciate you telling me not to watch the sequels haha. They’re making a Matrix 4???? Ugh of course they are.

      I appreciate your comments on my movie posts and I’m sorry if I let you down when I don’t like some of your favourite movies.

      Liked by 2 people

      • peckapalooza says:

        Hey, no worries! Like ’em, don’t like ’em… It’s just fun experiencing someone’s first reactions to movies I’ve seen a dozen times. I’m sure you’ve got a list a mile long by now, but I’ve still got suggestions if you want more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Yes please send more! I have a bunch on my list that I don’t have immediate access (Netflix) to, so I’ll need replacements.

        Liked by 1 person

      • peckapalooza says:

        Okay, but I’ll limit myself to five that should currently be available on the Netflix: The Karate Kid, Groundhog Day, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silence of the Lambs, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. These definitely vary in genre and I’m sorry if any of them are movies you’ve already seen. Oh, and if you watch Silence of the Lambs, be aware that it gets pretty disturbing with the subject matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Great, thank you! I saw Silence of the Lambs in high school for my horror class but I don’t really remember it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rebbit7 says:

        I think the rabbit tattoo is an allusion to Alice in Wonderland, where the titular character followed the rabbit down to the alternate universe. Gets deep (literally and figuratively)!

        Like

  7. Ashley says:

    I saw it for the first time last year…I didn’t get it. Haha. So confusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: My Favorite Movies #6 – Star Wars | The Confusing Middle

  9. Pingback: My Favorite Movies #5 – The Matrix | The Confusing Middle

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