"The Matrix" just turned 20 years old. It's responsible for the modern look and feel of lots of movies, but did Hollywood learn the wrong lessons?
It's hard to believe that the Wachowskis were little known filmmakers in 1999, poised to change the world with their original screenplay idea. Since the onset of the movie, Hollywood has produced lots of imitators. And while the CGI revolution in this movie influenced all media, from advertising to video games, it appears if Hollywood failed to heed some of the best lessons The Matrix had to offer.
The Matrix is a mid-budget science fiction drama that came from an original idea. It was a screenplay that had two indie directors attached and a lot of revolutionary ideas. It's hard to fathom given the ideas from intellectual property and the public domain that dominate screens today, but there was a time when studios tried to build their own franchises.
Even if studios didn't take that away, it seems unfathomable that they couldn't see how the Matrix mined some of the best anime created and spun it into accessible tales for an American audience.
If Hollywood was smart, it would look back at how this movie hit and start thinking about how to generate internal IP instead of paying big bucks to make big swings.
Another idea The Matrix put forward that seems unheeded until lately is a diverse and interesting cast. Sure, the Matrix stars Keanu, but did you know it was originally going to be Will Smith and at one point even Sandra Bullock? While the movie didn't make the leap with the lead, it did put forward a very progressive and interesting world that expanded with its sequels.
Finally, we all know bullet-time was all the rage in 1999 and beyond, but what The Matrix did so well was action cinematography. Nowadays, many action movies are edited quickly to hide pulled punches and fake fighting. But The Matrix stayed wide, slowed shots down when they mattered and allowed actors to fight in long takes that felt like a dance.
Check out this video from The Hollywood Reporter for more!
What's next? Write a better character bio!
If everyone has a story to tell, then every character in those stories needs to be made up of stories of their own, so the tale comes across as real and engaging. The more detail you give your character, the more the audience can identify with them and the easier it'll be for your project to find its way to the big or small screen. To get your characters in shape, I recommend writing a character bio for them.
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