Yep, it's been a while... and boy, they just keep makin' movies better and better, don't they? Take this latest fare for example: The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano and Hugo Weaving. A full-speed cyberpunk thriller for the Y2K crowd. You want a computer apocalypse, you got it, courtesy of Andy and Larry Wachowski, the brothers who both wrote and directed this startling glimpse into the possible downfall of mankind's incessant need to create.
While not realistically violent, this film is what one would call "Action-Packed", and definitely breaks new ground in the area of visual effect. If this one isn't nominated for best Special Effects in next years Oscars, I'll resign my membership to the academy (if and when I get one, that is)! The choreography is stunning, made even more so by the visual effects enhancements that lend an air of believable incredibility to the entire film.
The film begins with some foreshadowing that lets us immediately in on the "conspiracy" portion of the film, where we see an "Agent" (Hugo Weaving) coming after a young woman we come to know as Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). After enough action scenes to satisfy the most savage behemoth (but wait, there's more), we meet Neo (Keanu Reeves), a mild-mannered (and tardy) computer software engineer by day, a notorious hacker by night. Quickly, almost too quickly, it seemed at the time, he is drawn into a "real-life" conspiracy that ends up exposing him to certain truths... that the year is not 1999, but closer to 2199 (but they're not sure exactly the date), and that the world has fallen prey to man's baser need to create that which will ultimate rampage out of his collective control. What happens then? See the film, for, as Morpheus says; "In order to understand the Matrix, one cannot be told what it is, one must see it for oneself." (Ok, it's paraphrased, but you get the idea. Go see the movie!)
Keanu Reeves has never been what one would call a "strong actor", but his acting is improving, as evinced in this role. His dialogue is believable, his facial expressions dynamic, and his physical presence, while not the bulk we think of when we think of "Ah-nold" movies, is impressive due to speed and durability. Carrie-Anne Moss plays the stand-offish Trinity well, but with little to endear her to the audience until near the end. Lawrence Fishburne is, as always, phenomenal in his role as Morpheus, the semi-religious leader of the "good guys" in the film. Joe Pantoliano has long been one of my favorite supporting actors, even as far back as Snake in "Running Scared", and he's equally as good in this film. However, the "Who's got the creepiest way of speaking EVER" award has to go to Hugo Weaver as Agent Smith. How they got this man to talk like he does is beyond me, and I only hope, for the rest of the world, that he doesn't really talk that way in real life, or there will be people frightened of this man forever. Needless to say, he's a wonderful villain. In the supporting roles, my pick goes to a young man by the name of Marcus Chong, who plays the Operator "Tank" as bright, enthusiastic, and realistically optimistic, even in the dark moments of the films latter half.
This film is a roller-coaster ride, incorporating elements from films like Star Wars, Hackers, The Abyss, and even one scene which was straight out of any cliché western you've ever seen. Put together as it is, a cinematic experience the likes of which I've not had before has been created, and when the ride comes to a halt after a two-hour and fifteen-minute run time, you're left going "Umm.....", too stunned to put a coherent sentence together.
I give this film an A+. I said it before, I'll say it again: GO SEE THE MOVIE. 'Nuff said.