rockerest’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie fucking rocks.
It's really easy as a modern viewer to look back on The Matrix and call it out for being cheesy over and over.
Oh time slowdowns wow this again.
Oh wall-running wow so trite.
Pick literally any scene from this movie and it's a movie trope. The thing is, it wasn't in 1999. The reason this movie reeks of tropes and cheesiness is because this movie fucking rocked so god damn fucking much the entire movie industry was fundamentally transformed at its most basic level and every sci-fi or action movie since The Matrix was released has been trying to be The Matrix.
There is - in essence - nothing wrong with this movie. There's a really good reason that this movie made more than SEVEN times its budget and won 4 Academy Awards, 2 BAFTAs, and 2 Saturn Awards. The movie is absolutely incredible.
I'm willing to admit that it's not the best script in the world. There's a bit of cheese. Sure, "I know kung fu" is a little cheesy. Was it cheesy in 1999 before it had been satirized 10,000 times? Yeah, probably. But ultimately, the screenplay works. There may be some dialogue missteps here and there, but the movie as a whole is epic. I don't mean "it was epic brah" I mean the movie is epic - the telling of the story of a hero's journey.
The acting was a tiny bit over the top in spots, but I am entirely of the belief that this was directorial, not a flaw of the actors. There is nothing bad to say about Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) (in any movie, maybe, in all of time?).
Sans a bit of script cheese and a bit of heavy-handed directing, the movie is practically without flaw. Incredible sound at every turn, incredible effects through and through. The fact that bullet time was invented for this movie and done with real cameras and real actors instead of CGI is just mind-blowing. For some reason the practical effects where fists went through walls and bullets hit walls were really obvious, but in the moment of a fight, it's honestly not a problem. The exception to this effects issue is the lobby scene (freeze any frame and it's perfect) and it remains one of my favorite action scenes of all time.
Ignore the heavy-handed directing and the blatant attempt at deep philosophical meaning (let's go with "there is none"), and this movie is a top-notch action / sci-fi film.
Even now, if you can ignore the 21 years of movies driving the 136 minutes of straight innovation in this movie directly into the ground by remixing and satirizing it into oblivion, The Matrix is a nearly perfect classic sci-fi action movie.
The Matrix is really good noodles.