movie film review | chris tookey


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  Matrix Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.50 /10
Neo: Keanu Reeves , Morpheus: Laurence Fishburne, Trinity: Carrie-Anne Moss
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Directed by: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Written by: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

Released: 1999
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 135

MIXED Reviews

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A visually dazzling cyberadventure, full of kinetic excitement, but it retreats to formula just when it's getting interesting. It's kind of a letdown when a movie begins by redefining the nature of reality, and ends with a shoot-out. We want a leap of the imagination, not one of those obligatory climaxes with automatic weapons fire... It's cruel, really, to put tantalizing ideas on the table and then ask the audience to be satisfied with a shoot-out and a martial arts duel. Let's assume Neo wins. What happens then to the billions who have just been ‘unplugged’ from the Matrix? Do they still have jobs? Homes? Identities? All we get is an enigmatic voice-over exhortation at the movie's end. The paradox is that the Matrix world apparently resembles in every respect the pre-Matrix world... Still, I must not ignore the movie's virtues. It's great-looking, both in its design and in the kinetic energy that powers it. It uses flawlessly integrated special effects and animation to visualize regions of cyberspace. It creates fearsome creatures, including mechanical octopi. It morphs bodies with the abandon of Terminator II. It uses f/x to allow Neo and Trinity to run horizontally on walls, and hang in the air long enough to deliver karate kicks. It has leaps through space, thrilling sequences involving fights on rooftops, helicopter rescues and battles over mind control.

(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Ridley Scott's Alice in Wonderland by way of Tsui Hark based on a story by Aldous Huxley and Robert Heinlein. It's that bizarre, that intricate and that engrossing. And despite drawing a host of comparisons, the Wachowskis have concocted a movie that looks wholly unique around the concept of The Matrix, which is sprung from a backstory so brilliantly sci-fi preposterous it makes Ray Bradbury novels look derivative... If The Matrix has a shortcoming, restraining it from true depth, it's that the filmmakers seem intimidated by the implications of their very ideas. Thus, the film revels in boys-will-be-boys shots of raining bullet casings and slightly undercooks a blisteringly agile member of the outlaws named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Still, where most effects-laden extravaganzas aspire to be nothing more than a live-action comic book, The Matrix sees things with the venturesome clarity of a graphic novel.

(Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner)

As usual, Reeves has the look, but you have to try to ignore the actual acting most of the time. Fishburne, on the other hand, pulls off both the look and the character. His ability to exude both power and calm lends a great deal of needed credibility to The Matrix. There are a few quibbles, including a less-than-satisfying ending, but The Matrix remains a solid, entertaining, and ever-so-slightly thought-provoking action flick. To quote Fishburne's character, no one can explain what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself.

(Alex Lau , Movie Magazine International)

Has at least three ingredients in common with Dark City, that other large-scale sci-fi thriller shot in Sydney: a confusing plot, a computer-game look and an obsession with grunge. Filmed last year in the streets of the city and at Fox Studios, this joint venture between Australia's Village Roadshow and Hollywood's Warner Bros is visually exciting, at times even thrilling, but it seems squarely aimed at computer-game players of all ages, who might find it easier than I did to unravel an inordinately complicated and elongated plot... It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it coasts along on sheer energy and outlandish invention; and for its target audience, it will probably become an immediate cult hit.

(David Stratton, Australian)

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