I was thinking the other day about the iconic nature of the Matrix trilogy. Although the impact is not quite as strong as with Star Wars, I have to believe The Matrix is in the top-10 of all-time iconic movies in the history of filmmaking. I mean, matrixeyewear.com still sells tons of Matrix sunglasses despite the fact that the last movie came out over 8 years ago!
One of its largest impacts relates to the production of fight scenes. The Matrix was the first mainstream US movie to employ acclaimed choreographers from Hong Kong to create cinematic, martial arts-based fight scenes. After The Matrix was released, these choreographers were in high demand for movies such as X-men, Daredevil, and many more.
Another lasting impact is the effect known as Bullet Time, which I have written about before. Bullet Time uses spinning camera technology to slow down fast-moving objects like bullets, which allows the motion to slow down long enough to produce clear, high-resolution visuals that were not previously possible.
Finally, the general concept was so unique at the time, that it has since been recycled over and over. The virtual reality, “what you see is not what’s real” aspect of The Matrix has been used in movies such as Surrogates, Vanilla Sky, Inception, and many others. The concept that reality itself is an illusion is something that will be used in film for decades to come.
I’m sure The Matrix was influential in other ways too, but I think the three concepts mentioned above are probably the dominant forces. In the final analysis, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions were each groundbreaking in their own respective way. The mind-bending concepts and special effects techniques that were introduced are things that will be tied back to the trilogy for many years to come.