The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained.
The Film: The Matrix (1999)
The Plot: At the tail end of hacking being considered cool, a cool hacker is approached by other cool, smartly dressed hackers about fighting the man. But seriously now, Neo, a whipsmart hacker, is recruited by an underground movement only to realize his entire existence has been lived inside of a machine. Foreseen to be “The One” who will free humanity, Neo must master himself within the virtual world to topple the evil computer overlords.
The Review: Very few movies can actually claim, or live up to the claim, of being revolutionary. The Matrix is one such film. Written and directed by Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski, this mind bending action tale brought leather back to the mainstream, briefly made hacking cool again, and inspired a decades worth of action imitations, as well as innovating the “bullet time” film technique.
Ignoring the cash-grab and bland (despite their overt sadomasochism) sequels, The Matrix is one of the smartest movies of the modern era. While not utterly groundbreaking in plot, it cleverly merges plenty of spiritual ideals into the computer age. Keanu Reeves, unjustly the butt of many jokes, perfectly channels the stunned persona of a man finding himself thrust into what is now the real world – a desolate waste land.
Supported by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Neo grapples with newfound abilities and rules within the virtual world, while struggling with the weight of the entire world on his back. After all, he’s supposed to save the entire humane race from computer enslavement. Woah.
With groundbreaking and exciting action sequences, The Matrix blends Hong Kong action with American sensibilities and technology, creating some of the most awe inspiring ass kicking moments on film. Full of gun play and Kung Fu, the lobby scene still stands today as one of the coolest action sequences put to film.
Deeper still than an action film, The Matrix toys with varying philosophies on a surface level, giving you just enough to think about (Would you take the pill? Follow Cypher’s route?), but never overloading your brain. Well written, acted, and directed, The Matrix is an action movie for the ages, with an excellent villain in Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving).
But why spend 136 minutes watching this film when you only have 363,420 minutes left to live?
Because it’s awesome. Seriously, sometimes that’s all it takes to make a film worth watching. Awesome ass kicking gun play in tight leather clothing. But if that’s not enough, you can grapple with the Christian undertones of the film – Neo is clearly a Jesus figure who must die and be reborn to save humanity.
Debate with your friends which pill you’d take or what deal you’d broker – why live in a shit hole world where all you’ve got is nasty oatmeal when you could live in your own mind, eating delicious steaks and drinking expensive wines. If your mind tells your body it’s real, isn’t it?
Take hope from the film in that maybe we’re all just living in a virtual world anyways. If that’s the case, there will be no doomsday asteroid hurtling towards us. Unless we’re in the virtual world and the asteroid hits the real world, destroying the machines and severing our connection to them, causing as all to wake up to the dystopian world we’ve been living in all along.