2019 rings in yet another anniversary. The Matrix movie is twenty years old.
Released in the USA on 31. March 1999, it would take another few months before it reached South African shores. On 23. June I saw it for the first time, and in September I went to see it again. It is one of the rare instances that I saw a movie twice while it was still on the cinema circuit, and it was one of the first movies I purchased on DVD — long before the sequels appeared.
Confessing that The Matrix blew me away would be an understatement.
Had the film been released now, in 2019, it would still be a terrific actioner and perhaps even more relevant than it was then: the matrix will be instantly recognised as an obvious allegory to the always-connected, domesticated, utilitarian social media of today.
We’re permanently jacked into the internet matrix. Alexa is always listening.
Surveillance by machines is a pervasive theme, and much of the computer jargon that would have befuddled viewers two decades ago has since entered mainstream speak.
Back in 1999, however, the Internet was nowhere near as ubiquitous: it was the realm of technophiles, geeks and misfits. Although the general population had heard of its existence, its early reputation wasn’t exactly positive on account of the hysteria caused by a different computer glitch looming: Y2k. The world would end after 31. December 1999 because of machines going berserk.