“The Matrix,” the 1999 neo-noir science fiction powerhouse by the Wachowskis, certainly proved to be a catalyst for all films that came afterwards; never before had audiences seen such intricate fight scenes, and the special effects work was groundbreaking for the time.
Nearly two decades later, these effects are still mesmerizing, and the poignant details the Wachowskis used — everything from multiple sets of identical twins, to the utilization of blue and green to differentiate worlds — continue to shape the face of science fiction.
But where did their inspiration evolve from? This new video essay from The Film Theorists explores the paradigms the Wachowskis borrowed from the comic book “The Invisibles” by Grant Morrison. In the books, otherworldly powers are abound, as are bald ninjas and the essence of steampunk — sound familiar? It’s also rumored that the books were handed out on set — to designers, actors, and other crew members alike.
The ideas for ‘The Matrix’ may have been inspired by comics (the franchise having gone on to be featured in a comic series of its own, featuring Neil Gaiman) but what if Neo, the chosen one, had been played by Nicolas Cage? Other actors rumored to have been up for the role (or desired by the studio) are Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, or Will Smith (who turned down the role to star in “Wild Wild West, for the record).
I can’t imagine the film (nor do I want to!) without Keanu Reeves, and I don’t think any alternate multiverse would be able to sell Tom Cruise as Neo either. Plug in and watch below.