AFI Movie Club: THE MATRIX – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: THE MATRIX

THE MATRIX, directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, was named by AFI as one of the most heart-pounding thrills in the cinematic pantheon.    

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, Keanu Reeves talks about THE MATRIX: 

 

Movie Trivia about THE MATRIX

DID YOU KNOW that THE MATRIX was nominated for four Academy Awards® and won in all four categories, including Best Editing? 

DID YOU KNOW most of THE MATRIX was filmed in Sydney, Australia? Although the Australian city was used to represent a generic American city, many of the street names are based on streets in Chicago, where the Wachowskis grew up.   

DID YOU KNOW that the Wachowskis hired artists Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce to draw a 600-page, shot-by-shot storyboard of the film to get the studio’s approval? 

DID YOU KNOW that Gloria Foster, who plays the Oracle, first came to prominence in 1963 for her performance as a 13-year-old Arkansas girl who tries to enter her Little Rock school in the play “In White America”? 

DID YOU KNOW Samuel L. Jackson turned down the role of Morpheus in THE MATRIX, which ultimately went to Laurence Fishburne? This was a moment of poetic and professional balance, as Fishburne had previously turned down the role of Jules in PULP FICTION – a role which had earned Jackson an Academy Award® nomination. 

DID YOU KNOW according to the Wachowskis, the original concept for THE MATRIX was as a comic book? The filmmakers had previously written for Marvel Comics, and the ambition of their idea seemed at the time suited to the limitless potential of the format. 

DID YOU KNOW the lead actors of THE MATRIX trained every day for four months in order to master the film’s elaborate fight scenes? The Wachowskis brought in Hong Kong martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and his stunt team to train the stars themselves in the film’s complex the fighting and wire work, in order to for the actors themselves to perform as much of the combat as possible. 

DID YOU KNOW the iconic “Bullet Time” effect was conceived and created especially for THE MATRIX? Rigs of still cameras were set up in patterns determined by computer simulations, and then shot either simultaneously or sequentially depending on the effect needed for the scene. 

DID YOU KNOW Carrie-Anne Moss performed the stunts in which her character Trinity jumps across the rooftops in THE MATRIX? She also did all the wire stunts herself. 

DID YOU KNOW Neo and Trinity’s three-minute lobby shootout took 10 days to shoot? All of the explosions and gunfire were practical effects. 

DID YOU KNOW every scene that takes place within the computer world of the Matrix was given a green tint, while all the scenes that take place within the real world have a blue tint? In fact, the only time the color green appears in the real world-set scenes is in the iconic Matrix code on the ship’s computer screen. 

DID YOU KNOW the sunglasses worn in THE MATRIX were custom-designed for the movie by a company called Blinde Design? 

DID YOU KNOW the night club in the beginning of the film is a real place in Sydney, Australia? The Wachowskis simply asked the regular attendees of the Hellfire Club to show up in their usual attire for the scene in which Neo meets Trinity. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-What is the Matrix and what does it represent? 

-Do you think it’s better to live in blissful ignorance or an informed reality? 

-If people are content and/or satisfied living in the Matrix, is that wrong? Why or why not? 

-Is it wrong for Neo to threaten the contentment – albeit artificial – of so many people living their lives within the Matrix? 

-How does the Matrix compare or contrast to the ubiquity of our online lives today? 

-Without knowing either outcome, would you have taken the blue or the red pill? Would your choice change if you knew the outcomes in advance? 

-Why does the Oracle tell Neo that he isn’t the One? 

-Do you believe Neo is destined to become the One, or does he become the One only after embracing his potential? 

-Do you recognize any real-world philosophical or ideological notions woven into the narrative of THE MATRIX? How do they inform the world-building and/or the story? 

-What does “There is no spoon” mean? 

-Within the artificial reality established in the Matrix, pain and suffering exist. Do you believe that misery is part of the human experience? Why or why not? 

-In a speech at the GLAAD Media Awards, Lilly Wachowski said, “There’s a critical eye being cast back on Lana’s and my work through the lens of our transness. This is a cool thing because it’s an excellent reminder that art is never static. And while the ideas of identity and transformation are critical components in our work, the bedrock that all ideas rest upon is love.” How do you think THE MATRIX represents the transgender experience? 

-How would you rate THE MATRIX? 

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

 

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