When I heard we were watching the Matrix in class I began counting down the days and reminding all my friends that Thursday we would finally be watching it! Last quarter my Psychology teacher raved about The Matrix on the daily and related it to her lecture on consciousness and unconsciousness and everyday I would say to myself, “Dang, I need to see this movie!” So, after finally watching it I learned what the Matrix was and it’s this constant battle between what is real and what we know to be real. I would like to focus this movie review on the multitude of learning’s from the first two chapters of my cinema book while using the coolest scenes to explain them.
The movie starts off as a police chase on the character we learn to know as Trinity, bounding across rooftops of the city and using such skill to get away that is almost un-human. As she jumps in the air with Kung Fu moves time seems to slow down. When she sails through the air and through a window, it is almost like a bird. The most un-human part is when Trinity answers a phone and then disappears. In movie terms this is called a Form and Expectations, and we as viewers expect to find out how she moved from the phone booth by the end of the movie. The movie right away sets us up questioning who she is, how she has such skills and where has she gone?
In the next few scenes we are introduced to Neo, essentially the main character, who is sleeping but wakes up to his computer making strange messages appear across the screen. Messages telling him to, “Follow the white rabbit” and then “Knock, knock Neo” just as there is a knocking on his door. When he opens the door, something unique happens, a montage editing. This is when a scene is split into shots showing us what a character may be looking at. For example in this scene, in the first shot we see Neo looking intently at something, the next shot we see a white rabbit tattoo on a girl’s back, and then we can put it together and see that the directors were trying to show his face noticing the rabbit that he must follow… Is this The Matrix or Alice in Wonderland?
Now I am going to skip a bit ahead into the movie, where better examples are for this form on reality. Before we get started I would like to explain what form and content in movie terms is. The content in a movie is the subject in a scene and the form is how that subject can be expressed. So, I’ll share a scene and explain how this is expressing the main idea of reality or unreal.
In this particular scene the same agents, who were tracking Trinity in the beginning, are now interrogating Neo. While he was not cooperating, the agents mute him by sealing his mouth shut and then entering this creepy metal “bug” into his stomach with a futuristic machine. This, in our reality, could not have happened. But in this place of the movie we are still figuring out exactly where reality is and what can happen in our world as well as the “Real world.” It is expressed through the melting of Neo’s mouth, showing the audience that your idea of reality is going to get stretched. So the content would be this idea on what reality really is, and it is expressed by Neo’s mouth being sealed shut. Where are we really? This would be my worst nightmare.
Ah, Neo goes to see the Oracle, is he the The One? Interestingly enough, the oracles room number is 101. Here, Neo speaks with a young one in the waiting room who bends spoons with her mind. Not only does she give him very interesting advice on how to bend the spoon, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself,” but also that Neo actually ends up succeeding this unreal goal in our world-to bend a spoon. This again expresses the content by showing us an impossible thing in our real world, known as The Matrix. Bend your mind and this spoon bending could be a great party trick, don’t you think?
Was it the leather that made this movie so iconic? To some degree, yes! Notice that whenever they were in “The Matrix”, our current world, they dressed in all modern black leather looking clothes, in contrast to the “real world” on the ship where they are dressed in gray and raggy looking clothes. This shows us that the Matrix, like the food and sights, makes every thing seem more appealing. However, the real world is mostly destroyed, which can be seen by the dark colors and desert like landscape. These colors and scenes express to the viewers how the Matrix has been colored appealingly to us to make us believe it is real. Fighting must have been hard in squeaky leather suits, although it was probably pleather.
If you’ve seen the Matrix, you know that there are many more things to analyze and discuss about the movie, these were just a few of my favorite scenes. This class makes me feel like I am in the backstage of the movie, learning all their secrets and information, it has really opened up my eyes to viewing things and working to understand them better, rather than just watching a movie.
The Matrix. Prod. Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. Dir. Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. By Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. 1999. Film.
Barsam, Richard M. Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. New York, NY: Norton, 2013. Print.
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