The purpose of today’s post is to compare the virtues of 2 incredibly awesome movies – The Matrix and Inception. This makes a great head-to-head comparison because both movies are extremely similar conceptually. Obviously I am prone to automatically giving the nod to The Matrix, mainly because it was the first of its kind (and secondarily because without The Matrix, there would be no Matrix sunglasses to sell!). That said, I thoroughly enjoyed both of these flicks, so it got me to thinking – without my bias towards The Matrix, which movie is really the better one?
Why Inception is Better
The leading role: One reason Inception might be the better film is that Leonardo DiCaprio is probably a better leading man than Keanu Reeves. In fact, Keanu was only chosen for the role of Neo after several other actors turned it down – notably Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, and Val Kilmer to name just a few. And rumor has it that the role of Neo was de-emotionalized once Keanu was chosen, which makes sense as his character is very emotionless, wooden, and matter-of-fact.
Special effects: Inception benefits from the fact that it was released more than a decade after The Matrix, and hence it has better special effects by default. The effects involving the twisting of physical reality in the dream world, and the slow motion falling car scene near the end of the movie, are my 2 favorite examples of the incredible special effects found throughout Inception.
Why The Matrix is Better
Supporting actors: Laurence Fishburne was simply awesome as Morpheus. He was the perfect choice for this role given his slow and deliberate verbal style, plus he looked awesome in those Morpheus sunglasses. Beyond Morpheus, the role of Trinity was also perfectly played by Carrie Anne-Moss. Aside from Sigourney Weaver in the Alien franchise, I simply cannot imagine a better and more effectively-portrayed heroine. And of course, let’s not forget about Hugo Weaving – could you even imagine anyone else wearing those Agent Smith sunglasses so effortlessly?
Memorable moments: There’s no doubt about it, Inception had its share of memorable moments, such as the hallway fighting scene toward the end of the movie as well as the aforementioned falling car scene. But in my opinion The Matrix had far more memorable moments – like the red pill / blue pill scene, the lobby fighting scene, the rooftop scene, the “there is no spoon” scene, and of course the Agent Smith fight scene in the subway tunnel near the end.
Originality: Obviously The Matrix would win on this criteria no matter what, simply because it came out first. But some of the theatrical concepts and special effects were so groundbreaking that they are now considered iconic. Bullet time is the one that immediately comes to mind, but there are plenty of other iconic elements as well.
Here’s the bottom line – I absolutely loved both movies, but I truly believe that The Matrix is better. Aside from the lead role, I thought The Matrix characters like Morpheus, Trinity and Agent Smith were much more memorable and effective than the characters from Inception. Plus, The Matrix had many more memorable scenes. And perhaps most important of all, The Matrix was truly innovative and was the first of its kind in many ways. The same cannot be said for Inception. Case closed. What do you think?