Do you like The Matrix series? Sure, we all do. Did you ever listen to the commentaries or watch any of the behind the scenes featurettes in the box set? No? You poor pathetic plebe. I (and plenty other sun-averse souls) shed tears for you.
No worries. I just recently took the red pill so my eyes open wider than Ted “Theodore” Logan after realizing strange things were afoot at the Circle K.
Oops. I mixed up my Keanu movie references there. I meant to go with a Neo reference.
It should be mentioned that over the next three Mondays, the Charleston Music Hall will be showing The Matrix trilogy for those who’d like to re-experience the films on a 20×30 foot screen or the rare newb that has never seen the film(s). In preparation for the upcoming headtrip, I’ve compiled three factoids (and two other things) that have everything to do with the Wachowskis’ groundbreaking film.
Interesting Factoid No. 1
In a way you can thank Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly for bringing the Wachowskis’ most popular pre-Matrix film to the screen. That film, Bound, was a neo-noir crime thriller that follows two women hatching a $2 million heist scheme while in a clandestine affair with one another. The film was well-received from critics and audiences alike. It was this film’s success that drove producer Joel Silver (the Lethal Weapon films, the Die Hard films, the Predator films, Demolition Man, and Road House) to give the writers $63 million to make a film about a computer programmer/hacker, with the help of two other sunglass-wearing weirdos, saving the world from an ever-threatening alternate reality.
Interesting Factoid No. 2
Remember that time when Anna Faris kicked the ever-living crap out of the Scream-looking killer in Scary Movie? Or how about that time Rob Schneider (who will be at the Charleston Music Hall in March) got totally kicked in the face and flew against the wall in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo? What about that time Fiona smashed Hood and his henchmen in Shrek? Aside from the reemergence of wire-fu that the Matrix films helped usher in, the films also helped usher in the aforementioned scenes from those early ’00s masterpieces thanks to their spoofing of the “bullet-time” shooting/editing technique used in the “Neo avoids a bullet” scene and throughout the film. It is here that I must don my taped-up eyeglasses and take a pull from my inhaler to mention that the first movie to use a literal bullet time scene was James Ryan’s 1981 martial arts sequel Kill and Kill Again.
Interesting Factoid No. 3 (not a fact, but an opinion)
While I still have my glasses on, I must mention that my favorite thing about The Matrix and its sequels were the influences therein. The dystopian cyberpunk friendly setting of the films; the existentialism and hyper-kinetic violence of animes like Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell; the multiple explorations of philosophies from Plato to Descartes and; in its own dated way, the “Smack My Bitch Up” -ness of the film’s use of Rob Zombie, The Propellerheads, Meat Beat Manifesto, and, of course, The Prodigy in the soundtrack.
Interesting Factoid No. 4 (that really isn’t a fact, per se)
Unfairly, Keanu Reeves gets a lot of crap. He can act. Unfortunately, when your most popular roles involve surfing (Point Break), taking out vengeance (John Wick), altering time and space with your equally dim-witted best friend (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Bogus Adventure Journey), driving a bus with Sandra Bullock (The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down a.k.a. Speed), and a slew of other ’90s hyper techno-action-thriller films, you tend to get sidelined as a person whose only value is as a single-minded lunkhead. It’s a shame because people forget or don’t know that Reeves is capable of more. Look no further than his work in River’s Edge and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho that showcase his dramatic side. And there’s his comedic side in Eli Roth’s Knock Knock and Nicholas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. After gorging on the dessert-y goodness of his more popular stuff, like The Matrix trilogy, feel free to sample these films to get a balanced movie meal.
Interesting Factoid No. 5 (the most interesting one)
One year after the release of Small Soldiers and four years before Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Warner Brothers released their green tinted blockbuster to innocent eyes everywhere. Warner Brothers was also the company that released Gremlins 2: The New Batch and — holy shit! — Gremlins.
Interesting Factoid No. 6 (in an annoying way)
Because Warner Brothers, once known as the home of many great films and Bugs Bunny, has become more reliant than ever on DC and other popular properties, the company has been seriously toying with the idea of rebooting The Matrix. Well that’s just lovely.
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