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Story Notes for The Matrix

Award Notes
The Matrix won Oscars for Best Visual Effects, Movie Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Carrie-Anne Moss was nominated for several awards, including a Saturn Award and the MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance.

Biography Notes
This wasn’t Keanu Reeves’ first cyberpunk part. He also played the title role in Johnny Mnemonic.

The lead actors trained for three to four months with fight choreographer Woo-Ping Yuen and his team. Among his credits: Fist of Legend, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Drunken Master.

Matt Doran, the actor who plays Mouse, had a minor role in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He played a junkie who tries to sell “death sticks” to Obi Wan.

Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss worked together again in the psychological thriller, Memento.

The Wachowskis previously directed Joe Pantoliano in the movie Bound. That movie helped persuade Warner Brothers to greenlight The Matrix.

This movie made Hugo Weaving a star. He was in two of the highest-grossing fantasy trilogies of all time: The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings.

Fashion Notes
Keanu Reeves was dressed in tight-fitting clothes to make him feel more confined in “everyday life.”

The glasses worn by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) were hand-made for the movie by designer Richard Walker.

Finance Notes
This movie shattered box office records for Warner Brothers. Combined, the trilogy earned over $1.5 billion worldwide.

History Notes
Nebuchadnezzar II was a biblical king. He said, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.” (Daniel 2:3)

Zion is a hill in Jerusalem on which Solomon’s Temple was built. In the Jewish tradition, it has come to represent the Promised Land.

The Pythia at Delphi was the most powerful oracle in Ancient Greece. She inhaled toxic fumes before delivering prophecies.

“Know Thyself” was one of the phrases carved into the temple at Delphi in Greece.

Location Notes
Every intersection mentioned in the movie is in Chicago, hometown of the directors. But The Matrix takes place in a generic place called “Mega City,” or simply, “The City.”

The street scenes were all shot in Sydney, Australia, hometown of one of the actors, Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith).

Franklin & Erie is a real intersection in the filmmakers’ hometown of Chicago.

Music Notes
The movie ends with “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine. How appropriate.

Pop-Culture Notes
In 1999, people were worried about computers going crazy because of the “Y2K bug.” The Matrix reflected those fears and became the year’s #5 box office hit.

Agent Smith is known for his calm, calculated voice. Hugo Weaving says he emulated a “50’s news reader.” Laurence Fishburne compared him to Walter Cronkite.

In Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams.

One of the martial arts styles Neo learns is called “Drunken Boxing.” It was made famous by Jackie Chan’s breakout movie, Drunken Master.

The Matrix was one of the first Hollywood movies to use wire work kung fu. Now, it’s everywhere.

The Sentinels, or “Squiddies”, were partially inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Cypher, whose last name is Reagan, wants to be “important, like an actor,” a wink to President Reagan.

The concept of robots evolving and enslaving humanity is a common theme in Science Fiction. Other examples include the Terminator series and Battlestar Galactica.

Dual-pistol shooting is a staple of Hong Kong action movie director John Woo. The Directors, the Wachowski Brothers call him a “genius”.

The directors admire Hong Kong action movies for the “supernatural grace” of their wire work.

“Mr. Wizard” is a reference to an early 1960s Saturday morning cartoon called Tooter Turtle. Tooter always got into trouble and Mr. Wizard the Lizard helped him out of it.

Quote Notes
Fishburne on Morpheus: “It’s like being Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi in one character.”

The first time he saw the movie, Laurence Fishburne said, “Morpheus scared the s*** out of me.”

Random Notes
This movie ranked # 66 in the American Film Institute’s list “100 Years… 100 Thrills”.

Set Notes
The directors hired comic book artists to storyboard the movie. The image of pills reflected in Morpheus’ glasses is straight out of the original concept art.

Symbolism Notes
“Follow the white rabbit” is the first of many references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

The name Anderson (which is how Agent Smith refers to Neo) contains the letters N, E, and O.

On a computer, a “cookie” is a piece of personal data. The Oracle gives Neo a literal and a figurative cookie.

The real world appears more blue while the Matrix world has a computer’s green hue. You’ll rarely see blue in the Matrix, even in the sky.

Tech Notes
This movie popularized a special effect called “Bullet Time.” Bullet Time appears to freeze a moment while the camera rotates around it.

Trivia Notes
Neo works at Metacortex “Meta” means beyond, so “Metacortex” means beyond the boundaries of the brain.

The majority of matrix code consists of reversed letters, numbers, and Japanese Katakana characters.

An oracle is a source of mystic wisdom and prophecy.

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