When you’re invited to a special screening of The Matrix at Warner Bros, you know you’ll definitely be tumbling down the rabbit hole to see what happens next. The screening was to celebrate the release of the Iconic Moments collection, including The Matrix’s ‘Dodge this’ scene featuring the now infamous ‘Bullet Time’ effects.
We were all welcomed with cocktails to fit the theme, but the question was, do you take the red drink or the blue drink? Wanting to find further answers, like Neo, I went for the delicious red cocktail. Everyone was also treated to a chance to up like the heroes in the film, donning the incredibly heavy black leather coats and sunglasses. Moments we will forever treasure, safely up on Instagram.
Seeing the film on the big screen for the first time was exciting enough for me, having had to watch it on a tired out VHS tape all those years ago. The fantastic shots, angles and of course effects still feel as fresh and innovative as the film did when it was first released.
Before flip phones, when phone booths still existed, when wearing a long black leather coat wasn’t a homage to Morpheus and the gang, before bullet time was created, The Matrix was released and it all changed.
Thomas Anderson, office drone by day, hacker Neo by night has been searching for answers and the elusive figure, Morpheus. He meets infamous hacker Trinity who connects him but warns of the Agents who are on his tail. When Neo meets Morpheus, he is offered the truth, of which may not be easy to swallow or comprehend straight away. He believes Neo has a bigger part to play in the fight to free humanity.
Back in 1999, the film was released to critical and box office success. There had been science fiction films that explored the dystopian future and the rise of machines as a result of human oversight, but there hadn’t been a film that explored computer programming and how it could be used as a plot device, weapon or reason for our very existence. The big question was ‘what is The Matrix?’ which you found out once you had seen the film.
There are so many iconic moments in the film, such as when Morpheus offers Neo the red pill or blue pill, a moments that launched so many parodies. Some moments stretch into a scene, such as the famous lobby scene where Neo and Trinity storm the building where Morpheus is being held captive. The shoot out was all real, no CGI was used, which meant that after each take, the set had to be reset again. But the big moment was when Neo dodges bullets fired by an Agent on the rooftop. Shot using Bullet Time, where a visual effect or visual impression of detaching time and space of a camera from that of its visible subject or when the subjects is surrounded by many cameras all capturing a moment/movement. After Neo dodges most of the bullets, the Agent approaches but Trinity get there first and say ‘Dodge this’ shooting the Agent in the head.
Released just as just we entered the 21st century, the golden age of technology, social media and the time where films and TV shows explore robots and androids even further. The film was a great influence on later films and in technology, especially with the infamous ‘Bullet Time’ effects and of course the craze of the flip phone. The Wachowski sisters, then brothers, had created a world where it was possible to do anything once your mind was free.
Dir: The Wachowskis
Prd: Joel Silver
Scr: The Wachowskis
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
DoP: Bill Pope
Music: Don Davis
Country: US, Australia
Running Time: 136 minutes
The Matrix and other Warner Bros films in the Iconic Moments collection are available on Blu-ray and DVD