(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: we go to bat for The Matrix Reloaded on its 15th anniversary.)
If the burden of a sequel is to equal or better its predecessor, then few movie sequels have inherited as great a burden as The Matrix Reloaded did when it first hit theaters 15 years ago today on May 15, 2003.
The first Matrix movie gripped the public imagination, tapping into something deep in the collective unconscious. Steeped in grandeur, a sense of pre-millennial purpose, it was a motion picture that wielded the same kind of myth-making mojo as the original Star Wars trilogy. If anything, back in 1999, The Matrix was more Star Wars than Star Wars, as evinced by how widely it overshadowed The Phantom Menace that year as a cultural phenomenon.
The Matrix Reloaded’s legacy as a sequel is such that it and The Matrix Revolutions often get lumped together as inferior specimens. In terms of simple storytelling effectiveness — the lucidity of their dream-weaving as movie machines — both films are inferior to the smooth-running high-concept engine that was the first Matrix. But while the law of diminishing returns is at play in The Matrix trilogy and Reloaded does show signs of the impending system failure that Revolutions would bring about, it actually manages, despite its infamous cave rave scene, to expand the series mythology in new and interesting ways. A decade and a half later, the film’s dismantling of the oosen One narrative set up in The Matrix gives it a different but no less intriguing pull, one that takes to the freeway and attempts to broaden the viewer’s perspective on reality in a manner that now seems ahead of its time.
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(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)
Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about their favorite car chases in movie history. We then opened the floor to our readers: what is your favorite movie car chase? And you let us know!
We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question: what is your favorite TV episode of all time? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to email@example.com!
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Nowadays, with the advent of realistic visual effects, most big movie sets are actually just digital extensions of much smaller practical sets and locations. However, in the earliest days of cinema, some of the biggest epics actually had to physically create massive sets. And if you’ve ever wondered just how big some of the most massive sets in cinema’s history have been, we have an infographic that takes a look at some of the biggest movie sets that we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Check out the list below! Read More »
No matter how old you are, you remember the moment you were introduced to The Wachowskis. For me, it was February 1999. I was sitting in a screening of what I figured was some dumb new Keanu Reeves movie with about 1,000 of my fellow college students. A girl in black leather started to get into a fight and as she jumped in the air she froze. The camera spun around her, and she delivered a bone-shattering blow. Every single person in the room cheered wildly at the iconic visual moment at the beginning of The Matrix and, for the next two hours, we continued to be amazed at what was unfolding on screen.
The Matrix went on to gross almost $500 million worldwide and spawn two hugely anticipated sequels. More importantly, it supercharged the careers of Lana (then Larry) and Andy Wachowski. The filmmaking siblings have since gone on to make several films that are technical marvels and intellectual thrill rides. This past weekend, their latest film, Jupiter Ascending, finally hit theaters, so we saw a perfect opportunity to rank the films of The Wachowskis. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
One of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood is that major movies use fake titles when they’re in production. The purpose of the misdirection is to throw the general public living and working around the shoot locations off the scent of a picture that might have huge fan interest.
Thirty years ago, Star Wars fans had no idea the Return of the Jedi was being filmed near them because it was called Blue Harvest. Even today the practice continues. People would riot if they knew Christopher Nolan was filming The Dark Knight Rises in their town, so the film goes by the name Magnus Rex. (Not that it takes long for people to realize what’s up.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are being referred to as Freezer Burn and London Calling respectively.
A Reddit user has made a gallery of movie posters using the film’s production titles and it’s quite funny. Check it out below. Read More »
As fantastic a film as Cloud Atlas is, one of the best things about this new film is that fans are finally getting to hear from two of its directors, Andy and Lana Wachowski. Formerly the Wachowski Brothers, the siblings exploded onto the scene in 1999 with the seminal sci-fi action film The Matrix, which was then followed by two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. All three were massive commercial successes, but the sequels were far from revered by fans. Unfortunately, since the Wachowskis chose to maintain their privacy during this time, few got to discuss those films with them.
So now there’s Cloud Atlas and the Wachowskis are being incredibly generous with their time to discuss the film. I had 25 minutes to talk to them and while I had a few Matrix themed questions prepped, we delved so deep into Cloud Atlas we never got around to the subject of their other films. (That interview will be up soon.) One journalist did talk about The Matrix, though, and was fortunate enough to do it on camera. In the video, Lana Wachowkski talks about their intentions with the films, focusing on how the trilogy evolved into more than just a straight action vehicle. Watch it below. Read More »
/Film reader Derek Stettler has compiled a video titled “Reel Wisdom: Lessons from 40 Films in 7 Minutes,” which does just what it claims. Here is more from the editor:
I made this video because I love films and I think there is great wisdom inherent in the film medium. This video represents some of the best wisdom from films, edited together as a single coherent piece of advice on everything from life, death, and purpose, to anger, regret, and destiny. In creating this video, I tried to feature a broad array of films, from action/adventure and sci-fi films, to dramas and traditional/CG animated films in order to show how all genres of film have something important to say.
Watch the video embedded after the jump.
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YouTube user TheToaster2006 has created a supercut of film characters reciting the alphabet, one movie for each letter of the alphabet. Hit the jump to watch the video now.
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/Film reader Jonathan Kiwanuka decided to create a fan made trailer for The Matrix trilogy, showcasing all three Wachowski films in under six minutes. Jonathan explains:
“I’ve always wished to see an ultimate trailer for the Matrix trilogy and since there was no one to be found, I always wished to do it, so here is my attempt. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for the comments.”
Watch the fan created “Ultimate” Matrix trilogy trailer embedded after the jump.
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Let’s face it. As far as superpowers go, the ability to move things with your brain is pretty awesome. Sure, flying is cool, turning invisible would have fun benefits, and super-strength could always come in handy. Plus it’s a lot cooler than all the “problem” superpowers, like having your entire body burst into flame, turning into some disgusting creature, or having your power be that you’re just extremely fat, and bouncy, like the Blob.
It’s just not the first power that leaps into people’s minds when they get asked, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” Maybe because that other stuff is too sexy. However, it’s the real thinking man or woman who chooses telekinesis, because once you realize the full potential of that power, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. As the telekinetic Push opens up this weekend, read on for an ultra-brief history of telekinesis, and find out how it’s affected cinematic history.
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