Latex/Guns/Gnosis: The Matrix Turns 10

The Matrix turned 10 last week. It debuted March 31, 1999, though us plebs had to wait til April 2 to see it.

It’s easy to forget, in the wake of two disastrous sequels and equally lackluster (except for the Animatrix) tie-ins, exactly how radical and groundbreaking a pop culture artifact the first movie was.

Try, for a second, to look at the original trailer. Imagine you know absolutely nothing about the movie inside:

Pretty f’in cool, no?

To date myself, I was 16 at the time and came out of the theater utterly energized. I wasn’t the only one. William Gibson dubbed it “an innocent delight I hadn’t felt in a long time.” Darren Aronofsky raved that it heralded a new age in sci-fi. Neil Gaiman and Poppy Z. Brite wrote stories to fill out the movie’s universe.

It became a phenomenon, immensely successful and influential beyond anyone’s expectation. Hell, conservative scolds even blamed the movie’s anarchistic heroes for the Columbine massacre.

The Matrix worked because it managed to blend philosophy, allegory, action and fashion into one glorious, fun package.

There are, arguments (good ones too) that it derived a lot from Grant Morrison’s masterpiece The Invisibles, along with a bevy of other sources that the movie’s makers, the Wachowski Brothers, cobbled it together, Frankenstein-style, from earlier, edgier visions.

But the same argument can be made about many pieces of innovative art. The Matrix managed to forge its various pieces into a fast-paced whole that didn’t just electrify the fringes, but brought its fusion to sold-out theaters around the world.

I watched it a few days ago and remained impressed how utterly innovative it was, especially for a mainstream movie of the time. While its big reveal is now common knowledge, the Wachowski keep hold the suspense surprisingly well within the movie itself.

There’s something else too, a memory I’ve never forgotten, and something that ties The Matrix in perfectly to the times in which we find ourselves, and gives a key clue to its enduring appeal.

Sitting in the theater, still an awkward teen (is there any other kind?) I remember a surprisingly loud cheer going up all around when Carrie-Anne Moss’ uber-badass Trinity began beating cops senseless with her martial arts skills. It broke out again when she and Keanu Reeves’ blank-faced would-be messiah Neo tore into a government building, guns blazing.

I could understand the appeal, sure enough. The audience, like most people, were vaguely dissatisfied with their lives. They felt adrift, unfulfilled. Here were heroes who were once, at least somewhat, “normal” people, but they awakened and became their imagined identity, transformed into stylish, PVC-clad (oh yes), gun-wielding badasses, fighting against the shadowy powers that had ground them under heel.

I think the word “zeitgeist” is overused, but The Matrix captured it perfectly, becoming a technological vision of Gnostic liberation that caught on like wildfire. It carried within it that ancient appeal, at least as old as the Hymn of the Pearl, if not even older: The accepted world is a lie. Wake up and become who you are meant to be.

A dangerously powerful siren-song if there ever was one, and not always wrong. Selves, after all, are not found but made. Without some defiance, no one would get out of bed in the morning.

The movie also tapped into the anger a lot of people feel but never quite express, the pent-up resentments of our world that lead a packed theatre in the rural South to cheer a fetish-clad woman pounding the police into pulp. It fed the part in all of us that not only felt there was something deeply wrong with the world around us, but wanted to make “them” pay.

Seen in this light, many of The Matrix’s absurdities make sense. Using humans as a power source? Utterly, laughably impractical. As a metaphor for that nagging sensation that some vast structure is leeching your life? Perfect.

That’s what the original movie nailed, and the sequels missed. The Matrix hit such a nerve because, along with its visuals and style, everyone could imagine themselves into that kind of adventure. Making the setting too specific, fleshing it out too much, trying simply to create another Star Wars-like epic franchise, lost that tense, ragged magic. The Wachowski Brothers, despite some valiant attempts, never regained it.

But turn the lights low at some point and watch the original with younger eyes. It succeeds. The simmering mood it tapped into is still out there and the hopes it proved a powerful metaphor for will never disappear. If anything they’re far stronger now than in 1999. The Wachowskis should have forgotten the sequels and ended with Neo’s final proclamation:

We can dream, right? It’s not a bad place to start.

So, Coilhaüsers, what say you? What are your memories of the Matrix? What’s your opinion? Awesome classic or over-rated hodge-podge? Tell us.

40 Responses to “Latex/Guns/Gnosis: The Matrix Turns 10”

  1. the daniel Says:

    Invisibles, yes, and one of the other big ones mentioned is Ghost in the Shell.

  2. Damien Says:

    The Matrix provided the precise conceptual component necessary at precisely the right time for an entire generation of magicians, occultists, whatever you want to call them, to seriously and fully begin investigating their chosen paths. Take that as you will, good or bad.

    I personally saw this film at least seven times, in the theaters, in the course of a month.

  3. Steve C Says:

    Every time I think of them, or someone mentions them, or they come up by whatever means – I am increasingly offended by the Matrix sequels. The Matrix itself (disclosure: I’ve not got any experience with the Animatrix or any other tie-ins) was so good and new and fresh and exciting. And then it got pissed on, extensively and repeatedly. You mentioned it in passing to open this great article – but it really is easy to forget how good it was, to begin with. It’s clouded over by too much exposition, a poor messiah story (and the associated Dune rip-offs thinly disguised as allusions) and reliance on special effects. Somehow, I’ve done a better job at ignoring the Star Wars prequels than I have the Matrix sequels, and that’s upsetting because I would really really like to forget them. They significantly mar the face of a great film, and offend me deeply.

  4. Rick Says:

    All I had to go on was the 30-second teaser before it came out, and I was sorry I missed the movie in the theater. (Then I was sorry I saw the sequels in the theater… sigh…)

    I think the movie was single-handedly responsible for establishing DVD as a home video format. And considering how shitty the original DVD transfer was, that’s pretty impressive. And it might make me get a Blu-Ray player. I don’t know.

    I was 17 when the film came out, and 18 when it hit VHS… and my younger brother was a bigger fan than I was. I’ve long since lost the soundtrack, and I don’t have the original score anymore, but no other movie looked or sounded like it before, or possibly since. (Of course, there’s Dark City, but let’s not pick nits here…)

    In any case I loved (and still love) The Matrix. I can’t believe it’s already ten years past now… but… well… I can’t really believe I’m 27, either.

  5. Spotka Says:

    10 years, oh god… I was 14, saw the film 12 times in the theaters that year. It was a huge culture shock, like a punch to your face. And it felt awesome.

    The first movie is timeless.

  6. mitch Says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I mourn the death of the Cool.

  7. Sarah Les P Says:

    I recently re-watched it.

    And loved it.

    It brought back the memories of seeing it in the theater (also at 16) on a goth field trip, and still had a certain sense of relevance for now. It was nice,

  8. Hemlok Says:

    This movie came out before i became strange, weird, that is. I need to watch it again. It will be a completely new movie to me…

  9. kai Says:

    Every line in that movie has been repeated and reused so many times in popular culture since that it seems utter deja vu to watch even the tiny Youtube clip.

    I saw the Matrix in the theaters and was utterly taken with it. Because I was coming from a SF-literate background (I saw Ghost in the Shell in the theater too, still can’t figure it out completely) it wasn’t a surprise in terms of content, but it was in terms of style. I thought the movie was sleek and sexy and surprising and it sort of blew my mind. The elegant and reserved use of CG still holds up. It doesn’t look that dated, except for maybe the annoying sunglasses.

    Why are good Science Fiction movies so hard to make? Why do they all suffer from camp and bad acting? The few that are actually great are instant classics. I’ve had to develop an ironic taste for future-camp just so I can enjoy movies of this genre. I guess nothing dates a generation more than it’s depictions of the future. (Or maybe it’s the rampant use of Keanu as a leading man.)

    By the way, No one under 3o is allowed to have a “oh wow, I’m so old” kind of response! Not allowed! ;)

  10. Nathaniel Says:

    I was 29, on my second visit to America from England, visiting my girlfriend for the second time (yep, an internet relationship!) and she suggested going to the movies.

    I don’t even think I had seen the trailer for this; it was probably one of the last films that I went to see without knowing anything at all about it (what an absolute joy that is!). And we came out of it feeling different than when we had gone in. We got it. It was a film for us! That was confirmed when the people at work went to see it and said it was confusing.

    A year later we saw the sequels and just felt soiled.

  11. Glossolalia Black Says:

    I was with The Boyfriend That Turned Me On To Weed, and we were on our first date. I hadn’t even seen a trailer. They totally nailed the cybergoth and rivethead (“the real world”) aesthetic the way that they tried so hard/failed to over the years with movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Hackers and countless others. It was fabulous, and we came back later that same night to see it again with his roommates.

  12. R. Says:

    I went with my high school crush to see it. I was 16 and loved anything sci-fi and with more than a hint of paranoia. He didn’t want to but I did and I loved every minute of it. The first one is still my favorite. The sequels can just burn (if they had made them better and made Niobe and Ghost more badass characters…the game didn’t count).

    And what I came away with after watching it? A love for sentient machines, Massive Attack (“Dissolved Girl” is playing on Neo’s headphones when he’s first introduced) and Hugo Weaving’s forehead vein.

    Those comics and shorts that accompanied the first movie were gems. Pure gems. The Animatrix was also brilliant. I’m going to have to go on Ebay and try to find it again.

  13. Irene Kaoru Says:

    TEN YEARS! Way to make me feel OLD!!!

    I remember vividly seeing this film for the first time. I was floored by it and emerged from the theater filled with energy and delight. I felt that relief at having my torrential adolescent emotions and fantasies totally realised and wildly depicted on screen. My friends and I talked about it all night. We couldn’t stop talking about it. In the parking lot one of my friends exclaimed, ‘You know what that movie made me wantt o do??!! KICK THINGS! Kick EVERYTHING!!!” and she sprang up into the air and starting kicking things–trash cans, cars, everything in sight. We laughed and laughed and I saw the film at least 15 times. I will always remember that first time with much fondness, just as I will forget about the sequels.

  14. Lindsay Says:

    I was nine when it first came out, and I still remember the buzz it got. I saw it for the first time a few years ago. Even though it wasn’t the universal cultural phenomenon for my time, it still made a big impact. Huge. Love it. Not so much the sequels. Coincidentally, as I type this, there’s an ad on tv featuring parts of that trailer for a showing this weekend on a station I’ve never heard of.

  15. Celine Says:

    Shit…I was ten when it came out. And I went to see it in theaters…at the time I was just experimenting with astral projection and meditation, so the concept of having a conciousness interacting in a completely convincing virtual reality seperate from the body was very exciting to me. So of course all my other ten year old peers could only talk about the cool fight scenes and explosions, so appreciating the matrix for me was a very solitary thing. Now with all the sequels, no one can think of the matrix without making fun of Keanu reeves (who still had some emotion in the first film). But I watch it today and I still consider it ground breaking and it will be for future generations until something better comes along. It deals with very complex, abstract philosophical ideas that the average american up until that point never encountered unless they were a phil. major. And it explains these ideas in ways that most people can understand, and makes them relevant.

    Also, this movie was the first time I, as a bitter little girl, had seen a female role model on screen who wasn’t all bouncing titties and faux-toughness. That certainly made an impression.

  16. atavistian Says:

    Count me as another that feels old on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of The Matrix. Combined with another event, it became one of my most formative experiences as regards culture.

    Newly seventeen, I saw the movie the first weekend it was out and it was a transcendent experience validating so many inner feelings and outer habits I had, not the least of which was dressing in all black. I developed a keen interest in acquiring a long, black, sharp-looking coat.

    And then, what, two weeks later? Columbine. What a massive, massive amount of conflicting feelings I had, given the whole sensationalist “trenchcoat mafia” deal and media mutterings of a larger trenchcoat conspiracy. I followed news reports closely, and quickly became disillusioned with the war that the media, politicians, and pundits were waging on alternative culture of all types without stopping to think.

    I felt pressured to make a choice, and chose honesty. I sank deeper into The Matrix, eventually wearing out a VHS tape of it. Wrote stories in that world, imagined what I would do in it. Pondered the implications of things like instantly loading information into your head like pilot training (which I eventually found to be utterly impossible). And yes, I acquired that damn long black coat. I haven’t been without one since; sure I’ve traded up to a long black cashmere coat, but the way it moves and swirls, the way it still makes me feel when I slip it on, still reminds me of that whole dissonant episode, and still makes me feel like taking on an Agent or two.

  17. Nadya Says:

    I loved reading everyone’s first memory of this film. Lots of great stories here! For whatever reason, I have no recollection of the first time I saw this movie. None whatsoever. And that’s weird, because I *should* remember it, the way I remember seeing Blade Runner (I was skipping my high school graduation!) or Brazil (I was the new girl at school and showed up at the after-school Great Books and Movies Club, which I later became the president of). I even remember vividly seeing some really bad movies for the first time… but not The Matrix. I know I missed the theatrical release, and that I saw it sometime down the line, but I don’t know if it was in high school, or in college, or what. I don’t know where that memory went. I generally have an excellent memory and I never partied so hard that I wouldn’t remember what I did, so it’s weird.

    Of course, I’ve now seen it many times. It’s a wonderful film, one that’s aged very little. I still enjoy it every time I watch it. The performances, the costume design, the effects – it’s all perfect. The second two films sucked; they seemed more like long music videos than movies. Animatrix was amazing.

  18. Chuck Wood Says:

    Yeah, well here’s something to remember, The Wachowski brothers stole ideas from a hapless college student named Sxean Lee-David, and stole other ideas from an Old Black Lady known as the Great Grandmother of the Metric System, Sophia Stewardess.

  19. The Matrix, Ten Years On - Graveyard Contemplations Says:

    […] Ian on Apr.08, 2009, under Notes from the Graveyard The Coilhouse Blog has a post by David Forbes on the original Matrix movie, which came out ten years ago as of April 2 […]

  20. æon Says:

    I grew up on cyberpunk in russia. Bruce Sterling is often quoted to have called Russia “страна победившего киберпанка” (“the country, where the cyberpunk won”). I can’t find the original quote, so it might be an urban legend. I’d appreciate any info. I used to run FreeBSD with a Cool Hacker kind of theme (some of you know what I’m talking about, hehe), listen to obscure electronic music, make attempts at writing demo scene intros and viruses in equal measure. Oh, man, good old times.

    Anyway, my experience with the matrix was cyberpunk in itself. I learned about it in advance over the internet (14400, couldn’t afford a better modem, over a … borrowed dialup connection), a year or so before release, downloaded all the promo material: low resolution bits and pieces, wallpapers, all that. Naturally the russian release was a year or so after the american, so I found a bootleg tape at one of those russian pirate markets. I still remember watching it the first time. It was a godawful camcorder theater recording, you couldn’t see anything most of the time, but it still was an experience. (not that it blew my mind, I’ve read gibson and pkd by that time, but still.)

    Once it came out it got big really fast. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen it in theaters with friends in the first few weeks of release. Of course after that you couldn’t go places without bumping into someone calling himself “Neo” on irc, or at internet cafes.

    I’ve seen the sequels after I moved to america already, so in my mind they were completely separate from my cyberpunk years.

  21. Alice Says:

    I just remember seeing the third (or was it the second? I can’t even remember for sure) in the theater with my friend, who leaned over during the orgy scene, and, as Trinity was climaxing, said, “wow, Trinity really looks like your mom!”

    But I echo others’ sentiments–I’m only 21! How can I be having such a huge I’m-so-old moment?

  22. 1234 Says:

    I was working as a doorman at a theatre at the time and the screen showing the Matrix was right behind me. It was a treat to see the people come out of the theatre pretty much blown away by what they just saw. You’d get groups of people in the lobby chatting about the movie for long periods (which didn’t happen much at all).

    Lucky for me we had a late show, so we closed the box shortly after it started and I was able to go in to watch the movie every day the week it came out.

  23. Phil H Says:

    I saw the Matrix in the theater the night before my 18th birthday(and yes, count me among the crap-this-makes-me-feel-old camp), it was an absolutely amazing experience that kicked off a great weekend*. While I’d already been starting to break away from the massive born-again Christianity that defined my household, this really helped give a push to break away from it and pursue my own (for lack of a better term) definitions of reality.

    Then the Animatrix came out and blew me away all over again, being my first real experience with short-form anime. Beyond is far and away my favorite segment, but they all still hold up quite nicely. The sequels? Yeah, not so much. They have their moments, certainly, but I’d rather they didn’t exist.

    Seriously thinking I need to pick up the new Blu-Ray release and watch it for my birthday on Friday(or Thursday to match the theater experience) to mark the occasion. I’ve forgotten the exact order, but it, Blade Runner, and Ghost in the Shell were the first DVDs I ever owned and I watched the hell out of each of them.

    *Extra fun/reality warping: Going into the theater it was a warm and sunny afternoon, coming out it was dark, cold, and snowing. The joys of Northern Minnesota.

  24. Lydia Says:

    I refuse to feel old yet, even though I was nearly 30 when the Matrix debuted in theaters. Ask me about feeling old when the movie turns 25. I might have a different answer then, but maybe not.

    As someone who was already pretty firmly ensconced in the various cultures depicted in the movie (SF, fetish, anti-establishment, tech) it was less of a clarion call and more of a …comfort? Which seems really weird, but that’s how I felt. Above, Kai asks “Why are good science fiction movies so hard to make?” and I share the question/concern. It was so gratifying to see SF done so amazingly, mind-bendingly well. The Matrix did what so many SF movies don’t. It spoke on an intellectual and emotional level to a demographic outside of the traditional “sci-fi” (shudder) population. Walking out of the theater, I think my overall emotion could best be described as *joyful*–for many reasons.

    Sequels? What sequels?

  25. Andrew Swingler, England Says:

    Happy Birthday Matrix.

    the film has had ten years of other films borrowing parts, spoofing bits of it and otherwise demonstrating how to shit out a ‘matrix shot’ or ‘bullet time’ sequence all of their own.

    and every one reminds me why it’s such an great movie, and why the majority of films are trash. innovation like this, in something like the film industry is a kind of martyrdom.

    also out of general interest, the early terminator films bare a huge ammount in common with the matrix, the parallels are everywhere!

  26. inachis_io Says:

    David, I agree. You’ve plumbed the core, the appeal of the Matrix. “That tense, ragged magic.” The story of the first film is simply brilliant. And that elements have been borrowed from other stories… the Dutch have a saying for things like that, which says, “Better that something be well-stolen than poorly invented.”

    I myself saw The Matrix over a year after its release… I was 20. And I thought it was astonishingly good; all those elements you named (philosophy, allegory, action and fashion) were thrilling when combined into a single gorgeous package.

    I hoped that, in the second and third movies, the story would become more brilliant (or at least AS brilliant) and more intricately woven than the first installment. The sequels were such a disappointment. Perhaps the Animatrix, which I have yet to see, can offer some consolation.

    I still want to be the Oracle when I grow up.

  27. Carbon Data Says:

    this film didn’t just touch a nerve, it was the nerve itself, exposed and poking out into the air, – the audience is the nerve beaver chewing on it, daydreaming of lesbians with strap-ons – while so called ‘reality’ is learning to program code.

  28. Vivacious G Says:

    Saw this in the theater with my best friend. Have watched over a 100 times since. Definitely a mind job. Thank you Wachowski Brothers.

  29. Tequila Says:

    I remember the trailer screening for the first time in Burbank. I quickly commented to my friend that it was a visual orgasm. Then went about saying where so much of it was lifted from. :P By the time of The Matrix my diet of anime, HK action, and comics was vast…yet still I was happy to see what I saw.

    The Matrix polished and pushed a lot of what was at first only possible in the animation and comics world and in the hands of masters like John Woo. While I never bought into the deeper philosophical nuances that so many saw ( or projected) into the film I appreciated the sense of style & substance. It was a great sci-fi yarn. Did it make me think? Sure but not about the meaning of reality (Ghost in the Shell already mindfucked me by that point) but it did make me appreciate the potential for different realities and worlds much like Dark City had done.

    I couldn’t watch the film for YEARS after it was released though. So much pop culture overkill was associated with it that it became impossible to watch without thinking of it. Did spawn a pretty cool screensaver though…and fantastic website with pretty great comics.

    I sill prefer Blade Runner & Ghost in the Shell in terms of style but the Matrix wins out in the use of so much that came before it to achieve its own voice. It was like a great DJ mix. Sure it pissed that voice away with spectacular nonsense in parts II & III but that can only be blamed on its creators and the pressures of a studio system. Lets face it by part II The Matrix was no longer an idea but a brand. THAT killed it…though the Dragon Ball Z ending didn’t help either. Plus why was Zion filled with such annoying people? If that was the underground…kill em all Machines! :D

    Still the first film is still highly watchable…but stick to the original DVD release if you want it “as it was” since the later editions and new Hi-Def cuts give the scenes “in the matrix” that green tint so heavy handedly used in the sequels. Somehow this is George Lucas’s fault…has to be.

    The Animatrix pretty much stands on its own as a high watermark on multiple levels. It took The Matrix as an idea and world into places were the later films seemed almost too timid or weak to go. If there was ever a case were the creators should have stepped down The Animatrix not only highlights it but shows it would have been a better business choice too.

    Ah what could have been.

  30. Digitalia – Links For Thursday 9th April 2009 Says:

    […] Coilhouse » Blog Archive » Latex/Guns/Gnosis: The Matrix Turns 10 A short retrospective of the first Matrix film, as it turns 10. a) it is horrifying to me that that movie is ten, because it means I am very old, and b) I particularly love the title of this article. It occurs to me that I have never satisfyingly run a game with all three of those elements, and I really must get around to having a go at that. (tags: film matrix) […]

  31. Archie P Says:

    “Also, this movie was the first time I, as a bitter little girl, had seen a female role model on screen who wasn’t all bouncing titties and faux-toughness. That certainly made an impression.”

    If you think about it, not much has changed. Women are STILL just sex objects in far too many films. That being said, I was 9 when I saw it and had the biggest crush on Trinity…but she was equal measures hot and AWESOME.

  32. BigJonno Says:

    I was 15 when it came out and I was a complete geek.

    I saw the trailer, was completely blown away and dragged a few of my nerd friends to the cinema to go and see it. It was an awe-inspiring spectacle that had us talking for weeks.

    It had a profound nurturing effect on me. My love of Asian action/martial arts cinema was already blossoming, I’d recently discovered cyberpunk as a literary genre and my own musical tastes were already growing in that techno/industrial/metal/whatever (I’m awful at/hate classifying music) direction. The Matrix took everything I loved, rolled it into one awesome whole and let me know that computer geeks could kick arse too. It even starred Ted!

    I find it hard to answer the question “What is your favourite movie?” but I was once asked the much simpler “Which movie have you watched the most?” and The Matrix is definitely in that spot.

    I’m still a geek.

  33. Emily Says:

    Being a poor teenager and unable to buy the clothing in this movie was one of the reasons I started making clothing. I’ve watched it so so many times. The blonde chick in the white was one of my style icons. Not to say the only thing I loved about it was the aesthetic but the whole thing was just such an amazing visual trip.

  34. Patricia Says:

    This first and last time I ever saw a film at the cinema by myself was The Matrix. My internet date was late – though he stood me up at a later date so I doubt that – and I wasn’t going to let that spoil my evening! A few weeks later I met another chap over the internet who would end being my BF. He showed me the Animatrix and introduced me to Melbourne’s goth scene. Good stuff.

    RE: Sci-Fi heroines
    Aren’t we forgetting inarguably, the best one of ALL time? It has to be Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley from the Alien trilogy. Strong, kick arse, intelligent while still being sexy, but also sensitive and still in touch with her feminine side without turning to mush for a man. Trinity is sharp, hot and kick-arse but she was a bit mushy when it came to Neo with the One thing.

  35. 100 Sci Fi Movies to See Before You Die Says:

    […] The Matrix – Neo (Keanu Reeves) takes the red pill and learns that the world he’s been living in is a lie. […]

  36. Patricia Says:

    I’d also like to add for those of you who haven’t seen it:
    Matrix Ping Pong. Clever and funny.

  37. David Forbes Says:

    Oh my, so many wonderful comments. I’ve written a number of pieces for Coilhouse by now, but the responses on this one bought among the most smiles to my face of any. It’s late, I’m happy, and I’m going to ramble.

    Yes, I did feel old when this anniversary rolled around. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one. Time’s not just measured in years, but which years, and, to put it very damned mildly, a whole fuck ton of a lot happens between 16 and 26, between 9 and 19 or between 20 and 30, and let’s not even talk about the time from 1999 to 2009.

    Seeing a milepost, a big event that signposted that time and mindset, reminds us that the past is real.

    Looking through these comments, I’m confirmed in the belief that I don’t think the Wachowskis entirely knew the impact of what they had.

    In some ways it’s the mother of all mash-ups, before the word was even really in use. But that’s what a lot of art is these days. To some extent, it’s been throughout history, we just don’t see the strings as clearly now, because no much old culture recedes over the years.

    But now there’s so many subcultures, genres and styles to draw from, and so much information to trace back, that we can see the webs clear back through the decades or even just the months. At the touch of a button, we can trace the genealogies and sources in ways undreamt of before.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think humans are any more or less original now than they ever were (doubt it? Research the sources behind most of Shakespeare’s plays). There’s a lot more potential inspiration to work with, cultures that before were much harder to bring together. Eclectic works can still be just as horribly botched (Equilibrium, anyone?), but beautiful fusions are easier than they’ve ever been.

    What also surprised me is how many people went out and did something, inspired in part by a frickin’ movie. I’d dabbled in the internet in the years before the Matrix, but it got me delving into anime and a whole variety of subcultures that, living where I did, I’d barely known existed. It’s been for the best, trust me.

    And yes, Trinity will always remain one of my all-time favorite fictional heroes.

    P.S.- The day after this post, xkcd caught on weighed in.

  38. George Says:

    Did anybody else notice the World Trade Center in the background of the image at the top? I hate to be a dick, but that shot was Photoshopped!

    Anyway, I like the tribute to this great movie! And, to be quite contrary, I actually enjoyed Reloaded. Of course, it pales in comparison to the first one, but it was WAY better than the third. (C’mon, the twins were freakin’ badass!)

    And I’m not one of those “wow I’m so old” people. I didn’t see it ’til 2003, and the only thing I remember about it before then was everybody in my elementary school saying “matrix!” to anything cool. But my whole perspective changed after watching it. It really was a life-changing movie and it played an important role in finding my “identity” as a teenager.

  39. Lucy Says:

    I was about 13 when the movie came out and I didn’t see it until it was on vhs. Someone told me about it and hearing the summary I thought “Well that sounds damn stupid”. And then I watched it and I flipped out because I FREAKING loved it. And I was soooo disappointed by the later 2 movies, they were awful and ridiculous and destroyed the good feelings most people had towards the first movie. The first movie was epic, it was the kind of movie that kicked off a generation and is associated with a certain “time period” or a certain “feel”. Not a lot of movies can do that anymore. I think people do forget how great and cool the first one was because the 2nd two tried way too hard.

  40. Ilana Says:

    Anyone who’s interested in hearing a lecture on themes of Judaism found in the Matrix, check out this link: