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My fave scene from Matrix 1:
What’s The Matrix?
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in North America on March 31, 1999 and in Australia on April 8, 1999, and is the first installment in the Matrix series of films, comic books, video games, and animation.
The film depicts a future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Upon learning this, computer programmer “Neo” is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, involving other people who have been freed from the “dream world” and into reality. The film contains many references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas such as René Descartes’s evil genius, the Allegory of the Cave, the brain in a vat thought experiment; and homages to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action cinema, Spaghetti Westerns, dystopian fiction, and Japanese animation.
Computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) leads a secret life as a hacker under the alias “Neo” and wishes to learn the answer to the question “What is the Matrix?”. Cryptic messages appearing on his computer monitor and encounters with three sinister Agents, led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), lead him to a group led by the mysterious underground hacker Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a man who offers him the chance to learn the truth about the Matrix. Several members of Morpheus’ inner circle, including an infamous female hacker called Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), take Neo to a secret meeting, but only after they have exposed and removed a robotic tracking bug implanted in Neo’s body by the Agents. Morpheus then offers Neo a choice between two pills: A blue pill that would return him to his old life, and a red pill that would allow him to learn the answers he seeks. Neo swallows the red pill, and he abruptly finds himself in a liquid-filled pod, his body connected by tubes and cables to a vast mechanical tower covered with identical pods. The connections are severed, and he is rescued by Morpheus and taken aboard his ship, the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo’s atrophied physical body is restored, and Morpheus explains the situation.
Morpheus informs Neo that the year is not 1999, but estimated to be closer to 2199, and that humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created in the early 21st century. The sky is covered by thick black clouds created by the humans in an attempt to cut off the machines’ supply of solar power. The machines responded by using human beings as their energy source in conjunction with nuclear fusion, later growing countless people in pods and harvesting their bioelectrical energy and body heat. The world which Neo had perceived since birth was actually the Matrix, an illusory simulated reality construct of the world as it was in 1999, developed by the machines in order to keep the human population docile in their captivity. Morpheus and his crew belong to a group of free humans who “unplug” others from the Matrix and recruit them to their resistance against the machines. They are able to use their understanding of the Matrix’s nature to bend the simulation’s laws of physics, giving them superhuman abilities within the virtual world. Morpheus believes that Neo is “the One,” a man prophesied to end the war through his limitless control over the Matrix.
Neo is trained as a member of the rebellion. A socket in the back of Neo’s skull, formerly used by the machines to connect him to the Matrix, also allows knowledge to be uploaded directly into his mind. In this way, he is able to quickly learn numerous martial arts styles, and demonstrates his skills by sparring with Morpheus in the rebels’ self-contained virtual reality environment, impressing the crew with his speed. Further training introduces Neo to the key dangers in the Matrix itself. He learns that fatal injuries suffered within the simulated reality will also kill one’s physical body in the real world. He is warned that the Agents he previously met are powerful sentient computer programs whose purpose is to seek out and eliminate any threats to the Matrix simulation. Among their superhuman powers is the ability to take over the virtual body of anyone still directly connected to the Matrix. Morpheus is confident that once Neo fully understands his own abilities as “the One”, the Agents will be no match for him.
The group enters the Matrix and takes Neo to meet the Oracle (Gloria Foster), the woman who has predicted the eventual emergence of the One. She tells Neo that he has “the gift” of manipulating the Matrix, but that he is waiting for something, possibly his next life. From her comments, Neo deduces that he is not the One. She adds that Morpheus believes in Neo so blindly that he will sacrifice his life to save him.
Returning to the hacked telephone line which serves as a safe “exit” from the Matrix, the group is surrounded by Agents and SWAT teams. One of the members of the group, Mouse (Matt Doran) is killed in the initial ambush. Morpheus allows himself to be captured so that Neo and the others can escape. They learn that they were betrayed by their fellow crew-member Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), who preferred his old life in the Matrix over the real world, and who had made a deal with the Agents to have himself reinserted into the Matrix in exchange for giving them Morpheus. Cypher is killed, but his betrayal leads to the deaths of all crew-members except Neo, Trinity, Tank (Marcus Chong), and Morpheus.
Morpheus is imprisoned in a government building within the Matrix. The Agents attempt to coerce him into revealing the access codes to the mainframe of Zion, the unplugged humans’ subterranean refuge in the real world. Neo and Trinity return to the Matrix and storm the building to rescue their leader. Neo becomes more confident in his ability to manipulate the Matrix, ultimately dodging bullets fired at him by an Agent. Escaping to a subway station, Morpheus and Trinity use a payphone to exit the Matrix, but before Neo can leave he is ambushed by Agent Smith. Neo stands his ground and eventually causes Smith to be run over by a subway train, but flees when the Agent possesses another body.
As Neo runs through the city toward another telephone exit, he is pursued by the Agents while “sentinel” machines converge on the Nebuchadnezzar’s position in the real world. Neo reaches an exit, but Agent Smith is waiting and shoots him dead. In the real world, Trinity whispers to Neo’s body what the Oracle had told her: that she would fall in love with “the One”. She refuses to accept his death and kisses him. Neo’s heart beats again, and within the Matrix, he revives; the Agents shoot at him, but he raises his palm and stops their bullets in mid-air. It is revealed that Neo is able to perceive the streaming lines of green computer code that comprise the Matrix. Agent Smith makes a final attempt to kill him, but his punches are effortlessly blocked, and Neo destroys him. The other two Agents flee, and Neo returns to the real world in time for the ship’s EMP weapon to destroy the sentinels that had already breached the craft’s hull.
A short epilogue shows Neo back in the Matrix, making a telephone call promising that he will demonstrate to the people imprisoned in the Matrix that “anything is possible.” He hangs up the phone and then flies into the sky.
The Matrix was a co-production of Warner Bros. and Australian Village Roadshow Pictures, and all but a few scenes were filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia, and in the city itself. Recognizable landmarks were not included in order to maintain the setting of a generic American city. Nevertheless, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, ANZAC Bridge, AWA Tower, Martin Place and a Commonwealth Bank branch are visible in some shots, as is signage on buildings for the Sydney offices of Telstra and IBM Corporation among others. Other clues to the filming location include left-hand traffic flow and signs featuring Standard English terminology and spellings such as “lift” and “authorised” (rather than the American English “elevator” and “authorized”).
Subtle nods were included to Chicago, Illinois, the home city of the directors, through a subtly placed picture of the Chicago skyline, city maps, the destination of the subway train during the subway station fight between Neo and Agent Smith saying “Loop” and place names like the Adams Street Bridge, Wells and Lake, Franklin and Erie, State and Balbo, and Wabash and Lake.
The rooftop set that Trinity uses to escape from Agent Jones early in the film was leftover from the production of Dark City, which has been remarked upon due to the thematic similarities of the films. According to The Art of the Matrix, at least one filmed scene and a variety of short pieces of action were omitted from the final cut, and have (to date) not been published.
The Wachowski Brothers were keen that all involved understood the thematic background of the movie. For example, the book used to conceal disks early in the movie, Simulacra and Simulation, a 1981 work by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, was required reading for most of the principal cast and crew.
Comic book artists Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce worked on The Matrix as concept and storyboard artists respectively.
Actor Will Smith turned down the role of Neo to make Wild Wild West, due to skepticism over the film’s ambitious bullet time special effects. He later stated that he was “not mature enough as an actor” at that time, and that if given the role, he “would have messed it up”. Nicolas Cage also turned down the role because of “family obligations”. Prior to the casting of Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock turned down the role of Trinity because she didn’t see herself working with the actor then being considered to play Neo. Sean Connery also respectfully declined the role of Morpheus.
See also: Matrix digital rain
In the film, the code that comprises the Matrix itself is frequently represented as downward-flowing green characters. This code includes mirror images of half-width kana characters and Western Latin letters and numerals. In one scene, the pattern of trickling rain on a window being cleaned resembles this code. Generally, the film’s production design placed a bias towards its distinctive green color for scenes set within the Matrix, whereas there is an emphasis on the color blue during the scenes set in the real world. In addition, grid-patterns were incorporated into the sets for scenes inside the Matrix, intended to convey the cold, logical and artificial nature of that environment.
The “digital rain” is strongly reminiscent of similar computer code in the film Ghost in the Shell, an acknowledged influence on the Matrix series (see below). The color green reflects the green tint commonly used on early monochrome computer monitors.
The famous lobby scene is considered by many to be one of the greatest action scenes in film history.
As for artistic inspiration for bullet time, I would credit Otomo Katsuhiro, who co-wrote and directed Akira, which definitely blew me away, along with director Michel Gondry. His music videos experimented with a different type of technique called view-morphing and it was just part of the beginning of uncovering the creative approaches toward using still cameras for special effects. Our technique was significantly different because we built it to move around objects that were themselves in motion, and we were also able to create slow-motion events that ‘virtual cameras’ could move around – rather than the static action in Gondry’s music videos with limited camera moves.
The film is known for popularizing the use of a visual effect known as “bullet time”, which allows the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow-motion as the camera appears to orbit around the scene at normal speed.
The method used for creating these effects involved a technically expanded version of an old art photography technique known as time-slice photography, in which a large number of cameras are placed around an object and triggered nearly simultaneously. Each camera is a still-picture camera, and not a motion picture camera, and it contributes just one frame to the video sequence. When the sequence of shots is viewed as in a movie, the viewer sees what are in effect two-dimensional “slices” of a three-dimensional moment. Watching such a “time slice” movie is akin to the real-life experience of walking around a statue to see how it looks from different angles. The positioning of the still cameras can be varied along any desired smooth curve to produce a smooth looking camera motion in the finished clip, and the timing of each camera’s firing may be delayed slightly, so that a motion scene can be executed (albeit over a very short period of real time).
Some scenes in The Matrix feature the “time-slice” effect with completely frozen characters and objects. Film interpolation techniques improved the fluidity of the apparent “camera motion”. The effect was further expanded upon by the Wachowski brothers and the visual effects supervisor John Gaeta so as to create “bullet time”, which incorporates temporal motion, so that rather than being totally frozen the scene progresses in slow and variable motion. Engineers at Manex Visual Effects pioneered 3-D visualization planning methods to move beyond mechanically fixed views towards more complicated camera paths and flexibly moving interest points. There is also an improved fluidity through the use of non-linear interpolation, digital compositing, and the introduction of computer generated “virtual” scenery. The movie was rendered on a FreeBSD cluster farm.
The objective of the bullet time shots in The Matrix was to creatively illustrate “mind over matter” type events as captured by a “virtual camera”. However, the original technical approach was physically bound to pre-determined perspectives, and the resulting effect only suggests the capabilities of a true virtual camera.
The evolution of photogrametric and image-based computer-generated background approaches in The Matrix’s bullet time shots set the stage for later innovations unveiled in the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Virtual Cinematography (CGI-rendered characters, locations, and events) and the high-definition “Universal Capture” process completely replaced the use of still camera arrays, thus more closely realizing the “virtual camera”.
See also: The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Score and The Matrix: Music from the Motion Picture
The film’s score was composed by Don Davis. He noted that mirrors appear frequently in the movie: reflections of the blue and red pills are seen in Morpheus’s glasses; Neo’s capture by Agents is viewed through the rear-view mirror of Trinity’s Triumph Speed Triple motorcycle; Neo observes a broken mirror mending itself; reflections warp as a spoon is bent; the reflection of a helicopter is visible as it approaches a skyscraper. (The film also frequently references the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which has a sequel entitled Through the Looking-Glass.) Davis focused on this theme of reflections when creating his score, alternating between sections of the orchestra and attempting to incorporate contrapuntal ideas.
In addition to Davis’ score, The Matrix soundtrack also features music from acts such as Rammstein, Fightstar, Rob Dougan, Rage Against the Machine, Propellerheads, Ministry, Deftones, The Prodigy, Rob Zombie, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Marilyn Manson. Other pieces from artists such as Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, and Massive Attack are included in the film, but not featured on the soundtrack.
The Matrix is arguably the ultimate cyberpunk artifact.
William Gibson, 2003-01-28
The Matrix makes numerous references to recent films and literature, and to historical myths and philosophy. These include Advaita/Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Existentialism, Judaism, Gnosticism, Messianism, Nihilism, and occult tarot. The film’s premise resembles Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Calderon de la Barca’s Life is a Dream, Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland, René Descartes’s evil genius, Georges Gurdjieff’s The Sleeping Man, Kant’s reflections on the Phenomenon versus the Ding an sich, and the brain in a vat thought experiment.
Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation is featured in the film, and was required reading for the actors. However, Baudrillard commented that The Matrix misunderstands and distorts his work.
In Postmodern thought, interpretations of The Matrix often reference Baudrillard’s philosophy to demonstrate that the movie is an allegory for contemporary experience in a heavily commercialized, media-driven society, especially of the developed countries. The influence of the matrixial theory of Bracha Ettinger articulated in a series of books and essays from the end of the 1980s onwards was brought to the public’s attention through the writings of art historians such as Griselda Pollock and film theorists such as Heinz-Peter Schwerfel.
There are similarities to several works by science fiction author Philip K. Dick, as well as cyberpunk works such as Neuromancer by William Gibson.
Japanese director Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell was a strong influence. Producer Joel Silver has stated that the Wachowski brothers first described their intentions for The Matrix by showing him that anime and saying, “We wanna do that for real”. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa of Production I.G, which produced Ghost in the Shell, noted that the anime’s high-quality visuals were a strong source of inspiration for the Wachowski brothers. He also commented, “… cyberpunk films are very difficult to describe to a third person. I’d imagine that The Matrix is the kind of film that was very difficult to draw up a written proposal for to take to film studios”. He stated that since Ghost in the Shell had gained recognition in America, the Wachowski brothers used it as a “promotional tool”. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was another science fiction film that helped inspire the visual style of The Matrix.
Reviewers have commented on similarities between The Matrix and other late-1990s films such as Strange Days, Dark City, and The Truman Show. Comparisons have also been made to Grant Morrison’s comic series The Invisibles; Morrison believes that the Wachowski brothers essentially plagiarized his work to create the film. In addition, the similarity of the film’s central concept to a device in the long running series Doctor Who has also been noted. As in the film, the Matrix of that series (introduced in the 1976 serial The Deadly Assassin) is a massive computer system which one enters using a device connecting to the head, allowing users to see representations of the real world and change its laws of physics; but if killed there, they will die in reality.
The Matrix was first released on March 31, 1999. It earned $171 million in North America and over $292 million in foreign box offices, for a total of $463 million worldwide, and later became the first DVD to sell more than three million copies in the US. The Ultimate Matrix Collection was released on HD DVD on May 22, 2007 and on Blu-ray on October 14, 2008.
The film was also released standalone in a 10th anniversary edition Blu-ray in the Digibook format on March 31, 2009, 10 years to the day after the movie was released theatrically.
The Matrix received generally favorable reviews from critics, with a consensus forming that it presented an “ingenious” blend of Hong Kong action cinema, innovative visual effects and an imaginative vision. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 87% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10, based upon a sample of 126 reviews. The site reported that 68% of selected notable critics gave the film a positive review, based upon a sample of 28. At Metacritic, which assigns an average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 73 upon its DVD release, based on 35 reviews.
Philip Strick commented in Sight & Sound, “if the Wachowskis claim no originality of message, they are startling innovators of method,” praising the film’s details and its “broadside of astonishing images”. Roger Ebert praised the film’s visuals and premise, but disliked the third act’s focus on action. Similarly, Time Out praised the “entertainingly ingenious” switches between different realities, Hugo Weaving’s “engagingly odd” performance, and the film’s cinematography and production design, but concluded, “the promising premise is steadily wasted as the film turns into a fairly routine action pic… yet another slice of overlong, high concept hokum.” Other reviewers criticised the relative humorlessness and self-indulgence of the movie.
In 2001, The Matrix was placed 66th in the American Film Institute’s “100 Years… 100 Thrills” list. Also, the phrases “He is the one” and “Welcome to the real world” were featured among their revised “100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes” list, though unranked. In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called The Matrix the best science-fiction piece of media for the past 25 years. The film is also ranked number 39 on Empire’s “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.”
Several science fiction creators commented on the film. Author William Gibson, a key figure in cyberpunk fiction, called the film “an innocent delight I hadn’t felt in a long time,” and stated, “Neo is my favourite-ever science fiction hero, absolutely.” Joss Whedon called the film “my number one” and praised its storytelling, structure and depth, concluding, “It works on whatever level you want to bring to it.” Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky commented, “I walked out of The Matrix […] and I was thinking, ‘What kind of science fiction movie can people make now?’ The Wachowskis basically took all the great sci-fi ideas of the 20th century and rolled them into a delicious pop culture sandwich that everyone on the planet devoured.” Director M. Night Shyamalan praised the Wachowskis’ passion for the film, saying, “Whatever you think of The Matrix, every shot is there because of the passion they have! You can see they argued it out!”
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Matrix franchise
The Matrix received Oscars for film editing, sound effects editing, visual effects, and sound. The filmmakers were competing against other films with established franchises, like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, yet they managed to sweep all four of their nominations. In 1999, it won Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction. The Matrix also received BAFTA awards for Best Sound and Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, in addition to nominations in the cinematography, production design and editing categories.
Award Category Name Outcome
72nd Academy Awards Film Editing Zach Staenberg Won
Sound Mixing John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, David E. Campbell, David Lee Won
Sound Editing Dane A. Davis Won
Visual Effects John Gaeta Won
The Matrix has had a strong effect on action film-making in Hollywood. It set a new standard for cinematic fight scenes by hiring acclaimed choreographers (such as Yuen Woo-ping) from the Hong Kong action cinema scene, well-known for its production of martial arts films. The success of The Matrix put those choreographers and their techniques in high demand by other filmmakers who wanted fights of similar sophistication: for example, wire work was employed in X-Men (2000), and Yuen Woo-ping’s brother Yuen Cheung-Yan was choreographer on Daredevil (2003).
Following The Matrix, films made abundant use of slow-motion, spinning cameras, and, often, the bullet time effect of a character freezing or slowing down and the camera dollying around them. The ability to slow down time enough to distinguish the motion of bullets was used as a central gameplay mechanic of several video games, including Max Payne, in which the feature was explicitly referred to as “bullet time” (although the game went into production before the film was released). The Matrix’s signature special effect has also been parodied numerous times, in comedy films such as Scary Movie, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Shrek and Kung Pow! Enter the Fist; in animated TV series such as The Simpsons, Fairly Oddparents and Family Guy; in the OVA series FLCL; and in video games such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
Main article: The Matrix (franchise)
The film’s mainstream success led to the making of two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. These were filmed simultaneously during one shoot and released in two parts in 2003. The first film’s introductory tale is succeeded by the story of the impending attack of the human enclave of Zion by a vast machine army. Neo also learns more about the history of the Matrix, his role as the One and the prophecy that he will end the war. The sequels also incorporate longer and more ambitious action scenes, as well as improvements in bullet time and other visual effects.
Also released was The Animatrix, a collection of nine animated short films, many of which were created in the same Japanese animation style that was a strong influence on the live trilogy. The Animatrix was overseen and approved by the Wachowski brothers who only wrote four of the segments themselves and did not direct any of them; much of the project was developed by notable figures from the world of anime. Four of the films were originally released on the series’ official website; one was shown in cinemas with the Warner Bros. movie Dreamcatcher; the others first appeared with the DVD release of all nine shorts. Several of the films were shown first on UK television prior to their DVD release.
The franchise also contains three video games: Enter the Matrix (2003), which contains footage shot specifically for the game and chronicles events taking place before and during The Matrix Reloaded; The Matrix Online (2004), a MMORPG which continued the story beyond The Matrix Revolutions; and The Matrix: Path of Neo (2005), which focuses on situations based on Neo’s journey through the trilogy of films.
The Matrix Comics is a series of comics and short stories set in the world of The Matrix, written and illustrated by figures from the comics industry. Most of the comics were originally presented for free on the official Matrix website; they were later republished, along with some new material, in two printed trade paperback volumes.
The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 American science fiction film and the second installment in The Matrix trilogy, written and directed by the Wachowski brothers. It premiered on May 7, 2003, in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and went on general release by Warner Bros. in North American theaters on May 15, 2003, and around the world during the latter half of that month. It was also screened out of competition at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. The video game Enter the Matrix, which was released on May 15, and a collection of nine animated shorts, The Animatrix, which was released on June 3, supported and expanded the storyline of the movie. The Matrix Revolutions, which completes the story, was released six months after Reloaded, in November 2003.
Neo wakes from a nightmare in which Trinity is shot by an agent of the Matrix while falling from a building. Morpheus receives a message from Captain Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) of the Logos calling an emergency meeting of all of Zion’s hovercraft. Zion has confirmed the last transmission of the Osiris: an army of Sentinels is tunneling towards Zion and will reach it within 72 hours. Commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix), the ranking military officer of Zion, orders all ships to return to Zion to prepare for the onslaught. Morpheus asks a ship to remain in order to contact the Oracle, in defiance of Commander Lock’s orders. The Caduceus receives a message from the Oracle, and the Nebuchadnezzar ventures out so Neo can contact her. One of the Caduceus’ crew, Bane, encounters Agent Smith, who takes over Bane’s avatar. Smith then leaves the Matrix, gaining control of Bane’s real body.
In Zion’s temple, Morpheus announces the news of the advancing machines to the people. Neo receives a message from the Oracle and returns to the Matrix, meeting her. After realizing that the Oracle is part of the Matrix, Neo asks how he can trust her; she replies that it is his decision. The Oracle explains that she is an exiled program and instructs Neo to reach the Source of the Matrix by finding the Keymaker, a prisoner in the home of the Merovingian. The Keymaker makes keys that can open portals hidden within the Matrix. As the Oracle departs, Smith appears, telling Neo that after being defeated, he knew he was supposed to return to the Source to be deleted, but refused, and is now not bound to remove threats from the Matrix. He demonstrates his ability to clone himself using other people in the Matrix as hosts. He then tries to absorb Neo as a host, but fails, prompting a fight between Neo and Smith’s clones. Neo is more than a match for each clone individually, and is able to more than hold his own against the growing army of Smith clones. Unfortunately, Smith’s clones keep coming in more and more numbers, until eventually, overwhelmingly outnumbered, Neo flees.
Neo, Morpheus and Trinity visit the Merovingian and ask for the Keymaker, but the Merovingian refuses. His wife Persephone, tired of her husband’s attitude, betrays him and leads the trio to the Keymaker, allowing one of the Merovingian’s henchmen to escape and notify him of it. The Merovingian soon appears and, while Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaker escape, Neo fights the Merovingian’s henchmen and ends up in an unknown mountain range. He then heads for town, where Morpheus and Trinity are trying to escape with the Keymaker on the highway, facing several Agents and The Twins. Ultimately, the Twins are destroyed, and Neo saves Morpheus and the Keymaker.
Zion’s remaining ships prepare to battle the machines. Within the Matrix, the crews of the Nebuchadnezzar, Vigilant and Logos help the Keymaker and Neo reach the door to the Source. The crew of the Logos must destroy a power plant in order to prevent a security system from being triggered by the Keymaker’s keys, and the crew of the Vigilant must destroy a back-up power station. The Logos is successful, while the Vigilant is bombed by a Sentinel, killing everyone on board. Although Neo requested that Trinity remain on the Nebuchadnezzar, she destroys the back-up station. However, her escape is compromised by an agent, and they fight. As Neo, Morpheus and the Keymaker reach the Source through a hallway of shortcuts to other doors in the Matrix, the Smiths appear and try to kill them. The Keymaker unlocks the door to the Source, allowing Neo and Morpheus to escape the Smiths, but the Keymaker is killed.
Neo meets an anthropomorphic program called the Architect, the Matrix’s creator. The Architect tells Neo that there have been multiple versions of the Matrix and multiple versions of the One, a computer anomaly used as a means of control. As humanity rejected the “perfect” Matrix as well as the dystopian Matrix, the machines realized that humanity needed to be offered the power of choice in order for them to accept it. The current Matrix is flawed and remains an unbalanced equation. The One is the sum of the remainder of that flaw. The One’s purpose is to return to the Source, resetting the Matrix to its prime program. Afterwards, he will choose sixteen females and seven males to repopulate Zion and provide another round of humans for the “rebellion”. Otherwise, the unresolved error will spiral out of control, destroying the humans connected to the Matrix, which coupled with the battle at Zion, will result in the extinction of the human race. Neo retorts that the machines need humans to survive and will not allow this; the Architect replies that, “there are levels of survival we are prepared to accept”.
The Architect gives Neo a choice of two exits from the room: one door leads to the Source and the resetting of the Matrix, the other will lead to the Matrix’s failure and humanity’s destruction. Neo notices Trinity’s battle with the agent on the viewscreens and returns to the Matrix to save her. Neo’s love for Trinity is revealed as a new variable in the repetition of the Matrix – while the previous Ones had no reason to choose humanity’s destruction over accepting their function, Neo chooses to save Trinity at the cost of mankind’s survival, despite the near certainty that she will die anyway after Zion’s destruction.
Neo races to save Trinity, who is shot by an agent as they fall from a building but is caught by Neo before hitting the ground. He refuses to accept her death, removing the bullet and reviving her. On board the Nebuchadnezzar, Neo reveals that the prophecy is false and Zion will be destroyed in twenty-four hours. Sentinels destroy the ship, whereupon Neo saves his friends by using a previously unknown power to disable the Sentinels, then falls unconscious. The crew is rescued by the hovercraft Mjolnir (also known as the Hammer), whose crew explains that they were leading a pre-emptive attack on the Sentinels advancing on Zion. The strategy was to use the ships’ EMPs and stay out of each other’s range, but an EMP was detonated by the Caduceus before the ships were in position. Multiple ships were left without power, with only a handful of survivors escaping, the Sentinels having destroyed any ship that could not escape. Once the machines returned to digging, the Mjolnir looked for survivors and found only one: the Smith-controlled Bane.
Zee was originally to be played by Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash on August 25, 2001, before filming was complete.
The Matrix Reloaded was largely filmed at Fox Studios in Australia, concurrently with filming of the sequel, Revolutions. The freeway chase scene was filmed at the decommissioned Naval Air Station Alameda in Alameda, California. The producers constructed a 1.5-mile freeway on the old runways specifically for the film. Some portions of the chase were also filmed in Oakland, California, and the tunnel shown briefly is the Webster Tube, which connects Oakland and Alameda. Some post-production editing was also done in old aircraft hangars on the base as well.
The city of Akron, Ohio was willing to give full access to Route 59, the stretch of freeway known as the “Innerbelt”, for filming of the freeway chase when it was under consideration. However, producers decided against this as “the time to reset all the cars in their start position would take too long”. MythBusters would later reuse the Alameda location in order to explore the effects of a head-on collision between two semi trucks, and to perform various other experiments.
Around 97% of the materials from the sets of the film were recycled after production was completed; for example, tons of wood were sent to Mexico to build low-income housing.
Some scenes from the film Baraka by Ron Fricke were selected to represent the real world shown by the wallmonitors in the Architect’s room.
Sound editing on the Matrix Trilogy was completed by Danetracks in West Hollywood, California.
See also: The Matrix Reloaded: The Album
Don Davis, who composed the music for The Matrix, returned to score Reloaded. For many of the pivotal action sequences, such as the “Burly Brawl”, he collaborated with Juno Reactor. Some of the collaborative cues by Davis and Juno Reactor are extensions of material by Juno Reactor; for example, a version of “Komit” featuring Davis’ strings is used during a flying sequence, and “Burly Brawl” is essentially a combination of Davis’ unused “Multiple Replication” and a piece similar to Juno Reactor’s “Masters of the Universe”. One of the collaborations, “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, is titled in reference to the cyberpunk novel of the same name by William Gibson, a major influence on the directors. Leitmotifs established in The Matrix return – such as the Matrix main theme, Neo and Trinity’s love theme, the Sentinel’s theme, Neo’s flying theme, and a more frequent use of the four-note Agent Smith theme – and others used in Revolutions are established.
As with its predecessor, many tracks by external musicians are featured in the movie, its closing credits, and the soundtrack album, some of which were written for the film. Many of the musicians featured, for example Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine and Marilyn Manson, had also appeared on the soundtrack for The Matrix. Rob Dougan also re-contributed, licensing the instrumental version of his eponymous “Furious Angels”, as well as being commissioned to provide an original track, ultimately scoring the battle in the Merovingian’s chateau. A remixed version of “Slap It” by electronic artist Fluke – listed on the soundtrack as “Zion” – was used during the rave scene.
Linkin Park contributed their instrumental song “Session” to the film as well, although it did not appear during the course of the film. P.O.D. composed a song called “Sleeping Awake”, with a music video which focused heavily on Neo, as well as many images that were part of the film.
The film earned an estimated $5 million during Wednesday night previews in North America. The Matrix Reloaded grossed $37,508,303 on its Thursday opening day in North America from 3,603 theaters, which was the second highest opening day after Spider Man’s $39.4 millon and highest for a Thursday. It earned an additional $91,774,413 from its Friday to Sunday run while in 3,603 theaters. which was the second highest at the time after Spider Man’s $114.8 million. Although the film exceeded box office records during its first week, it fell to the number two spot on the box-office totals the following week, when it was beaten by Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty. Ultimately, the film grossed $281.5 million in the US, and $742.1 million worldwide.
Reloaded had mostly positive critical reception, with a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 73% The film’s average critic score on Metacritic is 63/100. However, Entertainment Weekly named it as one of “The 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made”.
Some positive comments from critics included commendation for the quality and intensity of its action sequences, and its intelligence. Tony Toscano of Talking Pictures had high praise for the film, saying that “its character development and writing…is so crisp it crackles on the screen” and that “Matrix Reloaded re-establishes the genre and even raises the bar a notch or two” above the first film, The Matrix.
On the other hand, negative comments included the sentiment that the plot was alienating, with some critics regarding the focus on the action as a detriment to the film’s human elements. Some critics thought that the number of scenes with expository dialog worked against the film, and the many unresolved subplots, as well as the cliffhanger ending, were also criticized.
The film was initially banned in Egypt, because of the violent content, and because it put into question issues about human creation “linked to the three monotheistic religions that we respect and which we believe in”. The Egyptian media claimed the film promoted Zionism, as it talks about Zion and the dark forces that wish to destroy it. However, it was eventually allowed to be shown in theatres, and was later released on VHS and DVD.