Year after year there are a lot of good movies that come out with a few really great ones thrown in here and there. But every so often, there comes a film that seems to revolutionize the entire film landscape and influence nearly every movie that comes out after it. The Matrix is undeniably one of the latter. The Matrix is one of those movies that immediately embeds itself into the minds of everyone who watches it, and it's hard to find an action or sci-fi movie that came out after it that wasn't influenced by it in some way.
But even with iconic movies like The Matrix, there are usually some mysteries and misconceptions left in the minds of the audience, even if they think they know everything about it. So, what are the things that everyone thinks they know about The Matrix that they actually have completely backward?
10 There Are Less Special Effects Than You Think
There's no denying that The Matrix is an exceptionally special effects-heavy movie. However, it may come as a surprise that there are probably way less special effects than you think. Obviously, creating a lot of the scenes in the film required special effects elements to them, but the filmmakers seemed to go out of their way to film each scene with as many practical, real-life effects as they could.
Most of the fight scenes were accomplished with wirework, and many of those scenes were even performed by the actors themselves instead of stuntmen, which required months of physical training on the part of the cast.
9 Its Signature Camera Style Was Done Practically
Or at least partially practically. Many things about The Matrix are unforgettable, but their most iconic movie moments are their signature swirling camera moves that capture their characters moving in slow motion and get a 360-degree view of the action.
This signature style was actually accomplished by creating a ring of cameras around their subjects that capture them in still photography. Those shots were blended together with CGI (and obviously the added special effects of the super slow-moving bullets) to create the classic Matrix scenes. It actually took the producers quite a while to develop the right technique to capture these scenes, and it ultimately took some old school techniques to make it a reality.
8 The Wachowskis Were Nearly Pushed Out Of Directing It
Most producers who read the script for The Matrix were incredibly impressed by the project, but the Wachowskis actually had some trouble convincing people that they should direct the film that they penned.
Before The Matrix came out, the Wachowskis were relatively inexperienced filmmakers. Many producers who were familiar with The Matrix thought that the movie was simply too complex and too large of an endeavor for anyone but the most experienced directors to handle and execute well. However, the Wachowskis wouldn't budge on their need to direct their movie, and as everyone can see now, they were completely in the right on that.
7 Seeing Double? It's Not CGI
There is one particular scene in The Matrix that is pretty memorable, and it's also surprisingly one of the instances where the filmmakers created a dazzling effect practically instead of digitally. At one point in the movie, Morpheus takes Neo into a simulation for a little life lesson, and Neo is distracted by a woman in a red dress.
However, the other people passing through the scene look like the same generated images repeating over and over. In reality, the Wachowskis cast many different pairs of twins to give the visual effect of the same people walking through the scene at the same time.
6 The Style Wasn't Expensive
The Matrix is an action film that had a pretty well-sized budget, which is easy to see in the final product. However, the Wachowskis wanted to devote as much of the film's budget towards making their revolutionary ideas into a reality, which meant that they really cut corners in any place they could find.
One of the more surprising places where they cut their costs is with their wardrobe. The style of The Matrix was actually one of the most unique elements of the film, and the costumes of the characters definitely look quite expensive. But, in reality, the costume designer made them out of incredibly cheap fabrics in order to save money.
5 The Studio Didn't Want To Invest Much
It's unclear how much truth there is to this particular myth around The Matrix, but it's pretty much universally agreed upon that the studio didn't have much faith in the final product and didn't want to invest as much into the film as the Wachowskis wanted until they actually saw some of the final product.
But, supposedly, the studio wanted to shell out $10 million dollars for the film, which was only a sixth of what the directors requested. In response, the Wachowskis took that $10 million and spent almost all of it on the opening sequence of the film. They, in turn, showed that opener to the studio, which convinced them to invest the full $60 million budget.
4 The Production Moved To Keep The Budget Down
Although The Matrix had what could be considered a good budget for a normal film, The Matrix clearly is not a normal film. The Wachowskis understandably wanted to make every dollar count for the movie and wanted to end up with the most visually stunning product possible.
So, in order to get even more bang for their buck, they moved the film's production to Sydney, Australia to save money. Unsurprisingly, that move to save money resulted for more work for their location scouts. Filming in Sydney was considerably less costly, but it was also considerably harder to find places to shoot that actually looked like an American city.
3 Keanu Wasn't The Wachowskis' First Choice
The role of Neo is one of Keanu Reeves' most iconic roles out of his entire acting history, and at this point, he is probably more identifiable as Neo than he is as any of his other characters. So it's kind of a shock to learn that he wasn't the first choice for the role.
Originally, the Wachowskis were hoping to cast Johnny Depp as Neo, and the studio itself was pitching actors like Brad Pitt or Val Kilmer. Eventually, the choice came down to Johnny Depp or Keanu, but Warner Brothers were exceptionally keen on Keanu over Johnny, which in the end definitely seems like the right call.
2 A Lot Of Their Unique Sets Were Recycled
The Matrix made an enormous impact on the film world the moment it was released, and for very good reason. Everything about the movie seemed unique, new, and like nothing anyone had ever seen before, and that included the entire aesthetic of the movie.
So it's interesting to learn that most of the sets for the film had actually been recycled from previous productions, in particular the less well-known but almost as awesome movie Dark City. The visual similarity, as well as similarities in the story, led many Dark City fans to claim that The Matrix had actually ripped off Dark City in some ways.
1 Everyone Loved The Script, But No One Wanted To Make It
The script for The Matrix was passed around to many different producers and studios before it was made, and most of the people who laid eyes on it said that it was an incredible script. So getting the movie made should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong.
The producers that read the script almost universally agreed that it was great, but they also almost universally agreed that it was a film that would be ridiculously difficult to actually execute. They claimed that the ideas and concepts that drove the narrative were so unusual that the viewing audience might not understand it or might reject it outright.