The Matrix is a ground-breaking an unforgettable film. When it was released in 1999, the inventive and unique science-fiction film blew audiences away and immediately began influencing the action movie genre. This year marked the film's 20th anniversary, and, with Matrix 4 ramping up, now is a great time to revisit the original.
With such big concepts and visuals audiences had never seen before, The Matrix is one of those films that could feel very dated but actually remains an enjoyable ride all these years later. Of course, there are some elements of the film that hold up better than others. Here are some things in The Matrix that have aged poorly and some reasons it is timeless.
10 Aged: Soundtrack
It's hard for a film to judge what music will stand the test of time. Some songs could be hugely popular one year and become laughable just a few years later. But The Matrix really tried to go for something specific with their soundtrack, and it does stick out like a sore thumb now.
The neo-metal songs used throughout the movie sort of fit with the tone of the film, but what might have seemed edgy and dark at the time, now seems a bit corny.
9 Timeless: Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves does not only look timeless as he never seems to age, but, as time has passed, his performance as Neo has only improved in the eyes of audiences. Reeves has become something of an internet icon recently thanks to the John Wick films and being a genuinely good guy. This has led to people revisiting some of his performances.
While Reeves can sometimes be criticized for his acting, he gives the perfect performance for a character like Neo. He is convincing as the detached everyman thrown into an extraordinary world and it's impossible to picture anyone else in the role and pulling it off, as well.
8 Aged: Gun Violence
There has been a lot of talk about gun violence in movies lately, largely due to horrific events in real life. While that kind of action does have a place in films without feeling gratuitous, it can still make some audiences uneasy.
The Matrix certainly doesn't hold back on the gunplay in the film with several extremely violence and stylized shootouts. These scenes are thrilling, but seeing as they depict the heroes of the film taking on police, it does have an uncomfortable feel to rewatch it now.
7 Timeless: Fight Scenes
While the shootouts might be too much for some viewers, everyone can enjoy the skill and mastery on display in the film's wonderful fight sequences. The Matrix helped reintroduce martial arts into American action movies with slightly heightened and expertly choreography scenes.
Despite all the big ideas and the interesting visuals, these hand-to-hand combat sequences are some of the highlights of the film. It is the kind of fight scenes we don't often see in film anymore and it remains exciting and impressive.
6 Aged: Mythology
People seem to be getting excited for Matrix 4, especially with the Wachowskis and the original cast returning, but many fans will remember that the franchise has not had much luck beyond the original film. In some ways, the sequels slightly tarnished the reputation of the original.
The Matrix is a complex film, but the Wachowskis were able to present these ideas in a way that made sense. The mythology that the sequels piles on makes things far more complicated and even undoes some of the ideas of the original.
5 Timeless: Concept
Regardless of whether the overall mythology of The Matrix franchise makes sense or not, there's no taking away from the brilliance of the original concept. The idea of the story is that the world we live in is a simulation created by machines that are harvesting the human race for energy. Neo is freed from "The Matrix" and becomes a part of the resistance in the real world.
It's so rare for big-budget action movies to have such complex and exciting ideas. As thrilling as the action in the movie is, it's doubtful we would enjoy it so much if there was a less interesting or generic story being told.
4 Aged: CGI
The Matrix was doing a lot of things that have never been done in movies before, and that required a good deal of special effects to pull it all off. While these visuals impressed audiences in 1999, they aren't so convincing now.
That's really not the fault of the movie as they could only achieve what the technology at the time allowed. Some effects are still pretty good even now, but there are certain sequences that take you out of the movie for a moment with some unconvincing CGI.
3 Timeless: Practical Effects
Though the film does have to rely on visual effects for some of its crazier moments, it has a surprising amount of in-camera stunts and practical effects. While so many of today's action scenes are done with motion capture and green screens, The Matrix took an old-school approach.
The result of the extensive use of practical effects is that the film looks shockingly convincing after 20 years. Some of the biggest action scenes remain as thrilling now, and it gives a grounded feel despite the heightened reality of the story.
2 Aged: Costumes
What seemed cool in 1999 might not seem as cool in 2019. That's to be expected. But the filmmakers really should have known that the overuse of leather in the film would become dated very quickly.
The costumes in the film do have a distinct look, at least when the characters are inside the Matrix. Like the music, this black leather-look does fit the movie, but it also looks pretty silly. It might have looked pretty badass seeing the characters walking in slow motion in their leather outfits, but it's cringe-worthy now.
1 Timeless: Bullet Time
Perhaps the most famous aspect of the film is the so-called bullet-time sequence. As an agent takes aim at Neo, he is able to dodge the bullets in a brilliant slow-motion sequence that spins around him as it happens.
The scene was parodied endlessly around the time of the film and copied in a number of action movies, but it still remains a great sequence in the film and no one has been able to recreate it as well. It is a moment that shows Neo's amazing potential and is displayed in a unique and showstopping way.