The Bane Of The Matrix

Foxbat

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A new year always brings the opportunity for a new rant – so here’s my tirade:

The Matrix. A wonderful movie. It had wit, action and its very own particular style. The two sequels were the perfect example of how over elaborating on a story can destroy its effect. Still, that aside, The Matrix was peerless in its time.

But, like the Illearth Stone in Stephen Donaldson’s classic fantasy (The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant), something seethed and festered beneath the surface. But what was this terrible thing? A growing procession of movies cloning the techniques of The Matrix and drowning in their own editorial unoriginality.

Now there’s always a tendency to repeat success (let’s face it, without Star Wars there probably would never have been Battlestar Galactica).

Success can breed success but also can lead to hubris and complacency.

That thing that became known as ‘Bullet Time’ although fantastic in its day, has become so overused and copied by others that to use the word cliché is in itself clichéd.

I suppose the real question is – is Hollywood bereft of ideas? It’s an argument that has raged for many a year now but may become more pertinent in the months that follow. There is a belief among many that the foreign movie is finally leaving the ‘arthouse’ and slipping into the mainstream consciousness. I don’t know if this is true but, if it happens and if a large swathe of English-speaking cinema-goers overcome their dislike of subtitles (and that is a big if) then Hollywood may well find it with a big fight on its hands.

Don’t get me wrong – I love film. I want a strong and stimulating foreign film industry – but I also want a strong and dynamic Hollywood. I don’t believe that can occur if all that happens is that the same editorial techniques are regurgitated over and over again. We have enough actual remakes; do we really need editorial remakes as well?

My message to the film industry? As good as The Matrix was, it’s time to move on. Simple as that.

Am I Right? Am I wrong?

You decide.

 

McMurphy

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Bane Breaking Backs

I agree. The Matrix, like the original Star Wars movie, was the accumulation of science fiction/fantasy influence already popular on the "b list" level. In the case of The Matrix, it followed the guiding light of trend setting literary influences such as William Gibson. I think just how much Wachoski Brothers relied on their influences with the first film was evident by the lackluster sequels that followed.

Also like Star Wars, The Matrix become a lightening rod in regards to influencing other films within the pop culture: to phenomenal proportions.

So, what I am attempting to set up here is the basis of my agreement with you. It is time to find, as Jack Kerouac would say, "the next It."

My lord, even comedic parodies of the "bullet effect" was old hat years ago.
 

Joel007

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I think a bit of slow motion can add to a film, although it has become an instant cliché. I didn't mind the use of slow motion in 300, for example, since in that case it emphasized their efficiency in combat, and demonstrated just how chaotic a battle is even when slowed down.
 

ravenus

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My message to the film industry? As good as The Matrix was, it’s time to move on. Simple as that.

Am I Right? Am I wrong?
You're right but who's listening? They're even trying to make new movies of that overbearing Tolkien tripe, which I'm sure will be full of that same old soft focus and wide angle sweeps and close-ups of people looking like they really have to go to the bathroom that were done some 5 million times in those earlier movies. They should at least try to make it interesting by having Ken Russell direct or something.
 

Kissmequick

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You're right but who's listening? They're even trying to make new movies of that overbearing Tolkien tripe,
*Chokes on her scones and cream*

which I'm sure will be full of that same old soft focus and wide angle sweeps and close-ups of people looking like they really have to go to the bathroom that were done some 5 million times in those earlier movies. They should at least try to make it interesting by having Ken Russell direct or something.
I reckon Tim Burton, now that would be an interesting take on Tolkien. :D

On topic - Hollywood ofc is after bucks - so if something is successful they do it till they stop making any money , ie people get bored. A shame but the nature of the beast. 'Arthouse' would be the same if it made the kind of money tinseltown did, because their backers would expect, nay demand, big bucks be made, and so would demand that they do what is bringing in the money now, not what may bring in money. The eternal struggle between art and money.
 

Winters_Sorrow

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I think there will always be a market for the "kiss, kiss, bang, bang" action movies and the numerous derivative rom-coms churned out by Hollywood.
Having said that, I am heartened by what seems more financial clout and promotion being given to the Sundance & Canne festival type movies. Of course, that too runs the risk of the money-men taking over the indie scene as well as the mainsteam (so could argue that this is already happening)

Still, there's plenty of room for both sets of film fans I think. The main danger for me isn't the generic pap produced by Hollywood, but the growth of 12 screen multiplexes only showing said product, which puts pressure on the smaller independant cinema houses to follow suit or go out of business
 

Lith

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I disagree with the OP, but on the grounds that I really didn't think the Matrix was that original. Good, yes, and it's improved on repeat viewings, but I wasn't at all impressed with it the first time I saw it. The ONLY original thing they did was bullet time; the rest of the story rests on a well-rehashed mixture of cyberpunk and Hollywood action movie and kung-fu whiz-bang stuff. So I don't think it's surprising that everyone has chosen to add bullet-time to their pile of artistic tools. And I think it's worth remembering that slow-down at critical moments in the story preceeded the Matrix; it's only the camera moving with the film supposedly stopped that counts as bullet time. And the irony is that they could have come up with such an effect decades earlier, if only anyone had thought of it.
 

williamjm

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And I think it's worth remembering that slow-down at critical moments in the story preceeded the Matrix; it's only the camera moving with the film supposedly stopped that counts as bullet time. And the irony is that they could have come up with such an effect decades earlier, if only anyone had thought of it.
The Matrix didn't invent the 'camera moving' effect either, there's a similar effect in the dire Lost in Space film, for example. IIRC there's one in Blade as well. The Matrix did do the bullet time particularly well, though.
 

Foxbat

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I agree that The Matrix did not invent the camera move but it did bring it to the fore. The real problem with the bullet time effect is not that everybody seems to use it but that nobody seems to have the courage to evolve it - hence the stagnation and plummeting into cliche of this effect. Of course, this is merely a symptom of a much greater stagnation within Hollywood.
 

McMurphy

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It is doubtful that a sequel of sorts is needed for the "Unoriginal Hollywood" thread, but the following should be noted since it is what makes The Matrix rip-offs most discouraging. What Hollywood does get right in leaps and bounds over other film industries are special effects. Hollywood has cemented many visual fabrications in the minds of audiences; thus, it has no excuse when taking a lazy effects approach. Simply copying The Matrix is not a good trend.

Albeit, a lot of hard work by incredibly talented people take place in the special effects department regardless of the artistic merit of the project (of which they have no control).
 
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steve12553

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I suspect we've entered that area again where a large chunk of the population of this forum is literate and requires mental stimulation, at least occasionally. A large chunk of the film consuming populace merely needs more movies. Different movies (at least a little different). There are more of them. Perhaps by powers of ten (0r by powers of 1010 for those of you who think in binary). The older I get the more I see it. The end of the world will not take place in some place action-packed world of adventure but we'll be bored and red-taped to death in a world of clutter and repetition.
 

Vincent Tauscher

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Re: Bane Breaking Backs

So, what I am attempting to set up here is the basis of my agreement with you. It is time to find, as Jack Kerouac would say, "the next It."
You're essentially describing the business world in general, which of course would encompass movie production. Each "new" idea that could lead to the "next it" is a risk that does not always reap reward. I'm sure we all can think of a specific, horrible movie that tried something unique and bottomed out instead. So, if the Matrix was amazing, then every movie will try to shoot for elements from that to capture that amazingness. Hence, why we see things get "old" and "overused".

Personally, I think Hollywood should try new ideas and take risks, but actually screen their productions to a lot of people first for input so that they don't get caught with a bad flick.
 

Connavar

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Everything that makes huge amount of Money like Matrix did will be copied.

Look at the trend of superhero movies and the new trend of Fantasy epics. Spiderman was huge and BAAM! 20 Superhero movies made in only couple of years.

LOTR movies was huge and BAAM! Narnia,Golden Compass etc Not that i mind, i enjoy seeing fantasy in the cinema.

The trend i hate most are spoofs movies. All time record in 2007/2008 for those crappy movies.....


Bullet Time was used many years earlier in HK movies 8-9 years before Blade and Matrix.

Slow motion and Bullet time can be used to make a movie better. John Woo HK action classics and Matrix has shown that.

The problem isnt the use in the good movies, but that many movies from hollywood suck these days.
 

Omphalos

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I remember bullet time being used in quite a few advert before Matrix came out too.
 
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