The Matrix, Technology & Modern Storytelling
[This is a repost from August 26, 2015 given the recent rumor of a possible Matrix reboot planed at Warner Bros.]
When I was growing up, I was always interested in movies. I used to write short films and trailers in my spare time. My friends and I made movies for just about every school project we could. I filled notebooks with story ideas, sketches, character breakdowns and more.
However, my interest in movies/screenwriting became an obsession the night I saw The Matrix…
UNFORTUNATELY NOBODY CAN BE TOLD
WHAT THE MATRIX IS
YOU HAVE TO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF...
I was 16 when The Matrix was released. Some friends and I rented a couple movies (on VHS no less) and settled in for a night at my house. The Matrix was the first movie we watched and while it was playing we wound up getting into conversations and stopped paying attention.
That’s the absolute worst thing you can do during a movie like The Matrix. When we finally clued in to the cinematic history we were ignoring, the final act had begun.
“Does anybody know what’s happening?”
“No clue but it looks insane!”
We restarted the movie and no one said a word until the credits rolled. I wish I could fully explain how I felt after experiencing The Matrix. I was hyper, full of energy and completely inspired. I watched it again the second my friends left and purchased it the next day.
Before that day, I was simply a huge movie fan. From that day forward, I was truly passionate about filmmaking and screenwriting.
But that was just the beginning.
REVISITING THE MATRIX
In the months that followed, I realized that the story of The Matrix was far from over. Sequels were announced, video games were developed, comic books were created. There was fan fiction, essays, videos, parodies and so much more.
Much like Star Wars, I was blown away by the cross platform approach with content constantly being released on multiple mediums. If you loved The Matrix, it didn’t end with the first film. I was hooked.
The first DVD I ever purchased was The Matrix Revisited. We didn’t have a DVD player at the time but my Dad ran his business from home and upgraded to a new computer that had one. (Remember DVD Rom?) I sat in that computer chair with a comforter and watched it over and over and over.
The movies we made in high school began to change. We added more stunts, more action and more effects. We created sequels to films we made in completely different classes. We focused more and more on story and character. We believed in the stories we were telling. I don’t attribute this burst of creativity to The Matrix entirely but it was certainly the catalyst in those days.
Then came The Animatrix.
AND FOR A TIME... IT WAS GOOD
The Animatrix was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The project brought together 7 visionary directors who created nine incredible short films that delved further into the mythology of The Matrix.
All of this was a primer for the sequels. A way to expand the story and introduce new characters. What fascinated me was the idea that an animated short film could directly connect to the films in amazing ways.
The Second Renaissance Part 1 & 2 served as a prequel to the original film depicting the start of the war between man and machine.
The Final Flight of the Osiris was a direct introduction to The Matrix Reloaded and played a crucial part in the first act of the film. Not too mention it’s direct ties to the video game, Enter The Matrix.
Kid’s Story introduced a brand new character in the films and offered a glimpse of his back story.
A Detective Story featured Trinity in animated form.
The connections go on and on…
Then we got to Enter The Matrix!
THEY GAVE US A BULLET TIME BUTTON!
It wasn’t enough to just create a video game based on a movie. Enter The Matrix told a brand new story that directly connected to The Matrix Reloaded & The Matrix Revolutions.
There were live action scenes featuring the stars of the film trilogy and moments you could only experience by beating the game. It remains one of my favorite video games based on a film franchise. You got to play out remarkable scenes and jack in to the story telling on an unprecedented level.
On the big screen, Niobe was there to catch Morpheus when he fell off the transport. But it was the players who survived the freeway in the video game. Quite frankly, the whole movie would have fallen apart if I wasn’t a skilled driver and a master of bullet time gun fights.
The Matrix introduced us to Neo and the fight to save Zion. It was a story that bent the rules of reality and challenged audiences with deep themes of philosophy and the role of technology in our world.
But that wasn’t enough…
The team behind the film also pioneered new technology that produced images that blew audiences minds. Inside 2 hours and 30 minutes, we experienced some of the best fight sequences ever filmed in one of the most complex and visual stories of it’s time.
But that wasn’t enough…
They gave us video game tie ins, animated short film collections and documentaries. Every original piece of content connected to the universe in different ways. You could watch The Matrix and love or hate it. But an incredible experience awaited any fan who wanted more. An experience that spanned multiple mediums and raised the bar for what storytelling could be with new technological advances.
But that wasn’t enough…
The Wachowskis filmed both sequels to The Matrix at the same time. That alone sparked my
interest obsession to find every piece of information I could. I searched the internet multiple times EVERY DAY for news about the sequels.
Eventually, this led to an integral part of my daily routine. Movie news! Through my searches for Matrix info, I discovered websites and I began following more and more projects I was interested in.
By the time The Matrix Reloaded was released, I had collected a vast amount of movie resources. If a trailer was released, I knew about it. If a movie was announced I knew about it. I read reviews, editorials and every word of movie speculation I could find.
Essentially, The Matrix is responsible for my love of movie blogs. That led to the creation of my own movie blog years later and eventually the blog you’re reading now. It’s truly amazing how a single film impacted my life.
The Matrix was a story unlike anything I had ever seen. The Matrix used every medium available to tell an expanded story and I devoured everything.
Since that time, I’ve been completely immersed in the movie industry. I’m still addicted to screenwriting, filmmaking and how technology has evolved to deliver new ways to experience the stories I love.
For that reason, I will always love The Matrix.
A MATRIX NERD
As an extra section of this article, I decided to go through my old movie blog for posts about The Matrix. I’ve included a few of my favorites below: