The day after I saw The Matrix (Lana and Lilly Wachowski, 1999), I proclaimed to anyone within shouting distance that the film changed my life. I was 23, and I meant it. I felt energized, bowled over, and ready to deliver some flying kicks to the establishment. Certainly, the visual audacity of the film made a huge impression, because at the time I was unfamiliar with wire-fu. The coolest gift had landed in my lap, and thankfully the world of martial arts films just keeps on giving. I was intrigued as well with the concept and philosophy. I kept coming back to the film again and again to find things I missed or try to find answers to my endless questions.
My friends and co-workers were indulgent of my enthusiasm. Maybe if I hadn’t been 23, or maybe if I had seen Master Yuen Woo-ping’s other films, or maybe if I had explored the same required reading the cast did, the film might not have had the same impact. The Wachowskis quipped that in writing the story they incorporated just about every idea they ever had in their entire lives, and it shows. I find that to be charming in this instance. This spirit of exploration and openness, and maybe even undone-ness is what keeps me engaged after 2 decades and counting. The Wachowskis may not have had all the answers, but they created something that inspires multiple viewings, discussions, and interpretations. As Lilly Wachowski put it, art is never static. And that’s so cool!
What you’ll find in this episode: whether the film surpasses its Philosophy 101 underpinnings, what our hacker names would be, and why the film appeals to outsiders of every stripe.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Matrix on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Ghost in the Shell.
Wu-Tang’s RZA Breaks Down 10 Kung Fu Films He’s Sampled.
Master Yuen Woo-ping on his extraordinary career.