Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Join me on August 26 for the Desert of the Real...

"Aiming their film squarely at a generation bred on comics and computers, the Wachowskis stylishly envision the ultimate in cyberescapism, creating a movie that captures the duality of life à la laptop. Though the wildest exploits befall this film's sleek hero, most of its reality is so virtual that characters spend long spells of time lying stock still with their eyes closed." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times, March 31, 1999).

"...special kudos to the mysterious Wachowski tag team, who have created a lurid, splashy nightmare for the end of the millennium. As we grit our teeth in preparation for the Y2K computer problem, the most interesting thing about "The Matrix" is the fact that the Wachowskis see technology for exactly what it is – both our curse and our salvation." (Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post, April 2, 1999).

"the film is a feast of unexpected fidgets and perspectives, punctuated by trademark overhead shots and teasing detail and detour, such as the squeal of washed windows as Neo is reprimanded by his boss, or the White Rabbit subtext culminating in a glimpse of Night of the Lepus (1972) on a television...Primarily, The Matrix is a wonderland of tricks and stunts, light years from Kansas, combining computerised slow-motion with the extravagant choreography of martial-arts movies to create a broadside of astonishing images." (Philip Strick, Sight & Sound).

Our summer blogging project, the Cameron Curriculum, comes to a denouement this Friday with my review of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).  I'll be very sorry to see this series end. It's been a heck of a lot of fun, and the feedback and discussion have been extraordinary. 

Beginning, August 26 (and then continuing on September 2 and September 9), I'll next be revisiting The Matrix films (1999 - 2003).  So, if you get the opportunity before we begin, please haul out your DVDs (or blu-rays), put on your sun-glasses, and swallow the red pill.

Some aspects of The Matrix series I especially want to gaze at include the revolutionary special effects, the  trilogy's view of technology, the strong Buddhist influence underpinning the narratives and also the politically/culturally subversive material.  I'm especially intrigued by the idea, so powerful in The Matrix, of a person living two "lives" -- a real one of "drudgery"and responsibility and a romantic, heroic one of fantasy and escapism.  I'm also endlessly intrigued by Agent Smith's view of humanity, and his description of mankind as a "virus."

I've long been an ardent admirer of The Matrix (and yes,even  the much-derided sequels too, especially Matrix Reloaded...), and this will be my first time writing about the films in depth.

So I hope you'll join me starting August 26, and together we can see just how far down this rabbit hole goes...


  1. Very cool, John. Count me in!

  2. Hi Michael!

    Excellent. I'm glad you are willing to follow the White Rabbit...

    Seriously, it's great to have you aboard, and I look forward to your commentary on The Matrix and its sequels.


  3. Sounds good! I am also a fan of MATRIX RELOADED and felt that it got a raw deal - probably because expectations were so high. Granted, REVOLUTION is a mess of a film but still....

  4. Anonymous9:20 AM

    I've been enjoying the Cameron retrospective a great deal, even if my schedule has permitted me to engage in very little of the discussion.

    And now we're going to dig into the Matrix films as well? What an absolutely delightful summer. I'll state up front that I'm a fan of the whole lot, and I will definitely look forward to this one.

  5. Will there be cookies and juice?

  6. J.D.: It's great to have you aboard as well, my friend. Good to know that you also like Matrix Reloaded. It definitely seems to have gotten a bum deal as far as audience and critic response, but's pretty solid. As far as Revolutions goes, I've felt differently about it at different times. I'm looking forward to watching it again to try to get a good handle on it.

    woodchuckgod: I'm glad you've been enjoying the Cameron fest too. I've had a blast with it, and felt I didn't want the fun to end. I hope looking back at the Matrix films will make summer last a little bit longer...

    Cannon: Not cookies and juice. Punch and pie! :)

    best to you all,

  7. I have been enjoying your Cameron series, John. Very fun, very illuminating.

    So we are going to follow the White Rabbit now, eh? Very cool... I've always wondered how they were able to conquer the humans and force them into servitude as their batteries. Most speculation centers around Skynet, which probably derived itself from Colossus (The Forbin Project). However it came about, at least they didn't lead to the nuclear war that helped give rise to the Planet of the Apes.

    But a movie with Apes, Mutants, Terminators, Colossus, and Predators would be a kickass funfest, most assuredly!

  8. Challenge accepted :)
    For the first movie in the series, anyway.