Monday, July 9, 2012

The Matrix

The Matrix:  Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne together in one movie?  That's gonna be bad.  I mean no offense to either of them* but if you listen to those people who dislike Keanu they will all be saying the same thing.  "He can't act. He's got one style of acting and it's no good!"  And Fishburne?  Name one good movie that he's been in!

Except you're selling them both short.  Okay maybe Keanu doesn't appear to have a huge depth or emotional range but that doesn't necessarily make him a bad actor.  Look at the list of movies he's been in.  I mean he's not exactly trying to make Terms of Endearment here and truth be told I like Keanu.  Sure he's got some stinkers in his catalog**, but he's got a nice percentage of movies I enjoyed once and would gladly watch again.***

And I suggest you give Laurence another look.  Sure he's been overshadowed by Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson.**** but he's been in a ton of movies and TV shows.*****  And sure a lot of them were not that noteworthy, but they weren't horrible either.

And besides The Matrix is a movie that they were both a perfect fit for.  Keanu got to be quiet, sullen and moody and Laurence got to be quiet sullen and mysterious.  Oh yeah and they got to shoot a ton of guns and blow stuff up like crazy.  Add in a great plot and the stellar Hugo Weaving and this movie is fantastic.

Here are a few of the random things that I love in this movie:
- When Neo is firing off of the helicopter into the side of the office building and there's that shot from below the copter with the empty shells and the rain falling down to the camera.  I love that shot.  I've rewound the film before to watch it again.
- The bum in the subway who looks up in a drunken stupor to see Morpheus disappear into the phone and is completely bewildered.  Of course then he turns into agent Smith.
- But then a few minutes later when Neo back flips out of the way of the train as it pummels Smith, only to then have the train stop and Smith steps off.
- The cool car they drive around in with the rear doors that open backwards.
- All of the fighting.  All of it.  It's stupidly well done and looks fantastic.
- And the 'bullet-time' camera shots go without saying.******

Here are a couple of random things that I grimace at in the movie:
- When Neo and Trinity are invading the office building lobby and the major shoot-out occurs.  If you pay attention the walls are actually made out of foam rubber.  Hence when they fall instead of thudding down like concrete, they bounce around.  I've found if you focus on the people and ignore the debris you can pretty effectively 'not see' it.
- But then the scene ends with the exceedingly horrible CGI of the elevator door bouncing across the room in front of the explosion.  It's so bad I would rather have no door and just fire.

Anyway, the movies great.  Enough said about that.

The Matrix: A+

* - Yeah okay, clearly that was said with a little bit of offense intended.
** - Johnny Mnemonic to name one.  I'll never forgive you for that one Keanu.
*** - Including some that aren't action flicks.
**** - In fact I bet some of you thought he was either Morgan Freeman or Samuel L. Jackson
***** - Including Peewee's Playhouse.
****** - Of course I just said it, but whatever

For the record here are a few Keanu Reeves movies that I enjoyed:
Point Break
Much Ado About Nothing (though arguably Keanu detracts from this one)
The Devil's Advocate
The Gift
The Lake House
and more

And here are a few things Fishburne is in that you may have forgotten about:
Apocalypse Now
The Cotton Club
The Color Purple
Boyz n the Hood
Searching for Bobby Fisher
The Tuskegee Airmen
Mission Impossible 3
Akeelah and the Bee
and a ton of other stuff

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