Believe it or not, March 31, 2011 marked the 12-year anniversary of The Matrix! At the time, it was a somewhat risky venture, but here we are 12 years later and Matrix sunglasses continue to sell like hotcakes. Here’s a brief look back at this iconic film and its recurring impact on pop culture.
When The Matrix first came out in March 1999, it really wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Andy and Larry Wachowski were relatively unknown, and Keanu Reeves was in the midst of some career stagnation as he made some poor movie choices following Speed (for example, 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic, 1996’s Feeling Minnesota & 1997’s The Last Time I Committed Suicide).
But once The Matrix hit the theaters, it was a near instant hit. The combination of the movie’s uniqueness, mythology, martial arts choreography, and of course special effects (see: bullet time) created a true watershed moment for Hollywood. The movie has since earned well over $460 million globally, and the DVD’s continue to sell well.
Beyond the numbers, The Matrix almost single-handedly reinvented the science fiction genre. In fact, soon after its release, Entertainment Weekly declared 1999 “the year that changed movies.” Then in 2003, the publication asserted that the movie is “the most influential action movie of its generation.” Pretty bold statements, yet very well deserved.
Unfortunately, the general consensus is that the 2 sequels never lived up to the first one, but in reality, how could they? Yes, both sequels were financially fruitful (even more so than the original), but the novelty of the extremely unique concepts introduced in The Matrix had simply worn off. This makes sense, because by definition, only the first iteration of something can truly be considered unique.
Much like Star Wars, The Matrix continues to have a strong influence on Hollywood to this day. 2010’s Inception is the most obvious example, but there are other examples as well (Equilibrium, Donnie Darko, Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, etc.). That said, The Matrix stands alone atop the perch, and as such will truly go down as a classic flick in the annals of Hollywood!