It’s been 10 years since the release of the original Matrix film. Happy Anniversary. While watching the Matrix trilogy with some friends this past week I realized a few things:
- They’re still my favorite movies (yes, all three of them).
- I’ve never met anyone who fully understands all three movies and doesn’t like them, though I’m sure they’re out there.
- No one that’s watched all three movies with me has ever walked away not having enjoyed them (yes, all three of them).
There’s no shortage of people who intensely despise the Matrix sequels.
I’m sure they have their reasons. My theory is that they watched the original Matrix, were confused to hell, blown away, confused some more, but then eventually understood what was going on. Walking into the sequels, hard core fans expect that they’ll immediately “get” them. But, for a lot of fans, myself included, that didn’t happen the first time around.
The Matrix is a movie for people that like to think. And talk. A lot.
I didn’t really appreciate the films until I understood who Sati was, what the Architect was saying, why there’s an underground cave-rave dance scene, and how Neo was able to stop sentinels in the real world, among other miscellaneous things.
My friend Michelle was one of the friends who watched the trilogy with me and enjoyed it. How much? Well, you’d have to ask her. Admittedly, I go to great lengths to ensure that people enjoy The Matrix trilogy. I think there’s a science to watching movies in general—a science that’s largely ignored. That’s the film major talking, though, and that’s probably best suited for another post.
There are a few things I recommend when watching The Matrix trilogy.
Specifically, in regards to first-time viewers of the Matrix trilogy, there are a few things I’d suggest in order to maximize the viewing experience:1
- Watch The Animatrix shorts Final Flight of the Osiris and The Second Renaissance Part I & II before watching the sequels. The Animatrix is a separate film comprised of animated shorts. Final Flight of the Osiris bridges the stories between The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded. These three shorts explore the Matrix universe, but will also expand on inferred elements within the films. The rest of The Animatrix is great, too.
- Make sure you understand the basic story structure. Whether you’re asking a friend or watching the films more than once, fully understanding the story makes a huge difference in how you’ll feel about the films. Again, I’ve never met someone who fully understands the films and doesn’t enjoy them.
- Beyond the basic story structure, you should understand the themes, motifs, and allegories involved. There are two amazing Matrix sequel essays by Brian Takle that I recommend to anyone who wants to a good explanation of the series as a whole.
- Along with those supplementary materials, it’s a good idea to watch the Matrix trilogy close together (within the same week, at least). Less confusion, more intense, just plain awesome.
Why am I so hyped up on The Matrix so 10 years after its release?
- Trinity still kicks as much ass today as she did 10 years ago.
- I still haven’t seen a better car chase scene than the one in The Matrix Reloaded.
- Agent Smith is still one of the best villains (right alongside Darth Vader and the T-1000).
- Neo is still The One.
Is anyone besides me still hyped up? When’s the last time you’ve watched the movies? Do you hate the sequels? Let me know what you think in the comments.
- This advice might seem a few years too late, but I figured that if I’m still gifting The Matrix to friends, then other people are too. [↩]