As we’re already halfway through 2018, we’re rapidly approaching the 20th anniversary of one of the 90s’ most defining movies. The Matrix was a seminal action-based science fiction movie that made people sit and think about the possibilities of human existence. In 1999, the first part of the trilogy, The Matrix, was released. Written and directed by The Wachowskis, the movie was a box office commercial success and received four Academy Awards. So what is it that keeps this near-two-decades old movie series prevalent in pop culture.
The first part of the trilogy earned more than $460 million worldwide. The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, the sequels, were filmed simultaneously and released in 2003. The worldwide box office earnings of the trilogy stand at about $1.6 billion. So, the sheer number of people watching goes some way to explaining how it’s still a big part of our popular consciousness. But, it goes deeper than that.
Are we real or living in a virtual reality created by some intelligent machines? The trilogy set the ball in motion and seeded an idea that even has scientific brains pondering the very existence of human reality. It’s partly this that helped elevate the series to the popularity it has now. The movie still has a cult-like following and has even influenced the vocabulary of the generation with terms like blue pill and red pill becoming shorthand in some communities.
The setting of the story is even more intriguing as it explores the dangers of technological advancements that may lead to the complete annihilation of humanity, which is something that even esteemed professor Stephen Hawking once warned of. It’s a very real and terrifying fear for some and has been one used by sci-fi for years. Even Arnie’s Terminator still makes its way into pop culture references! In the future, what is in store for humans if artificial intelligence becomes self-aware? How are humans going to respond to the danger?
The franchise spawned a whole host of merchandise and spin-offs, including video games and anime, to popularise the trilogy. The video games and Animatrix connected the dots to give a complete picture of the trilogy. Enter the Matrix and The Matrix: Path of Neo were hugely-popular console games in the early 2000s and continued to develop audiences’ affinity for the rich Wachowski-built world. And, as the game industry changed, Neo’s adventures developed in the form of a The Matrix inspired slot available on Betfair casino. This ability for fans to engage with the story more has played its part in the franchise’s longevity.
One of the interesting aspects of the trilogy was the incorporation of theological and philosophical ideas into the trilogy and presenting them to the audience in a subtle manner that doesn’t create any disturbing ripple effect.
Whatever the reason, the trilogy still intrigues fans and forces the viewer to ponder the questions of reality. So, as we rapidly approach the two-decade mark, we’re still left to wonder: do we want to take the blue pill or the red?