From left to right : Ghost in the shell, The facilitator, Dark city.
Photo: Lionsgate; Warner Bros.

When it debuted in 1999, The matrix pulled off a good spin: it was unlike anything anyone had seen before despite sampling and remixing a raft of pop-cultural source material. It’s a compliment, not a demerit, and several films later, with Lana Wachowski Matrix resurrections Now around the world, fans have spent hours and hours with a fictional reality that packs the aesthetic of anime, the filfu action of Hong Kong cinema, and cyberpunk’s high-tech lens on culture. bass in mind-boggling stories about the rebellion against authority and self-realization. At best, films transcend these influences and common reference points, while continuing to be defined by them.

This curated queue is for anyone looking to spend more time in similar hip worlds they’ve just seen Resurrections or haven’t watched any Matrix movies yet. These are not all “influences”, but they are all must-haves if you want to better understand how The matrix was born. We also divided the guide into two categories that we found most appropriate.

Because in some ways The matrix owes more to anime than live Hollywood movies.

If you liked The matrix and want to dip your toes into action anime, there is no better crash course than The facilitator – an anthology of short films made by respected anime directors. The results are a visual bounty, a format that was emulated earlier this year for almost equal effect in the Star Wars: Visions anthology. Short films like “The Second Renaissance” (directed by Mahiro Maeda) flesh out the stories behind the plot. Matrix films, while stand-alone films like “Program” (Yoshiaki Kawajiri) and “A Detective Story” (Shinichirô Watanabe) use the setting as a creative sandbox to try out new characters and storylines.

Without Mamoru Oshii Ghost in the shell, we probably would not have obtained The matrix. The Wachowski’s movie took so closely into the 1995 anime classic that they actually showed it to producer Joel Silver during the film’s first pitch meetings. Frame by frame, the influences are there, from the choreography of the action to visual tributes, such as the way the shots of Neo waking up and Trinity jumping into an illuminated cityscape mirror scenes from the anime. (Oh, yeah, while we’re here: To avoid the remake of Scarlett Johansson.)

Run along several of the same narrative checkpoints as The matrix – AI, conspiracy theories, and robots, robots, robots! – by Noboru Ishiguro Megazone 23 exploded into the Japanese direct-to-video market in the mid-1980s. Although it was originally planned as a TV series, plans were scrapped when the sponsors pulled out, leading Ishiguro to release the episodes ended as an 80-minute standalone segment that followed the story of rebel motorcycle hero Shogo Yahagi. It became such a hit in video stores that three more segments were completed. When asked in an online chat if this influenced The matrix, the Wachowskis replied, “Never seen. But send us a copy, that sounds good.

Available in streaming for free

Next to Akira and Ghost in the shell, the film by director Yoshiaki Kawajiri Ninja scroll made its way into cult ’90s anime fandom in America, so much so that not only were the Wachowskis influenced by it – they invited him to direct sequences of The facilitator. “The way they edited their scenes was very similar to the way I edit my scenes, but when you do it live it feels like a whole different thing,” Kawajiri once pointed out. “It got me thinking, What sort of steps do we need to take to achieve such fabulous images? And it made me feel a little anxious, ”he joked.

Yes, okay, this is a 13 episode series and not a movie, but in an alternate universe, director Ryūtarō Nakamua and writer Chiaki J. Konaka’s show about a teenage hacker unhappy could be the story of Neo. Instead, we get Lain, a high school student who falls deep, deep into the dark recesses of the internet, known in the series as “The Wired”. Without spoiling too much, Lain’s existentialist character arc and isolation echoes much of Neo, a vibe accentuated by the ’90s alternative rock soundtrack and the trippy, almost psychedelic take on the imagery. cyberpunk.

Because The matrix was far from the only ’90s cyberpunk movie. Hell, it’s not even the only’ 90s cyberpunk movie starring Keanu.

The grandfather of dystopian cyberpunk cinema, Ridley Scott’s Blade runner introduced a ton of visual iconography and existentialist ideology that would reappear in The matrix movie theater. As a film recut and re-released in many forms over the years, you can also draw a comparison to how its (unintentional) mystique also mirrored the Matrix saga’s “viral” approach to marketing – a long one. Leaking strategy of plot points and character details via hidden websites, games and DVD extras. In 2014, Resurrections Director Lana Wachowski checked it again: “This beautifully eerie world still tints the sci-fi films in the making today.”

Shot on the same Australian sets a year earlier, director Alex Proyas’ neo-noir tribute to films like Metropolis and Akira, Dark city has been compared to The matrix since the release of the latter in 1999. The plots differ, because Dark city is more steeped in film noir than sci-fi, but themes of identity and isolation persist. Roger Ebert adored it, praising his imagination and calling it “a film to feed us” in his original four-star review and writing about his take on human nature seven years later, after the first two Matrix the aftereffects had run their course.

Bruce Lee, more than perhaps any other individual, with the possible exception of Jackie Chan, did oriental martial arts cool as hell in the United States in the second half of the 20th century, and this film is one of its defining roles. The fights themselves are spectacular, but it’s hard not to like and quote pretty much every badass one-liners in this movie. “I know kung fu,” Mr. Anderson? Try: “Planks don’t fight back. “

Available in streaming for free

The grandeur of John Woo’s flagship Hong Kong action flick is hard to sum up (sorry, not sorry!) In a few sentences, but its influence on The matrix is easy to trace. Just look at the hospital scene.

Available in streaming for free

In Johnny Mnemonic, the year is 2021, society is almost entirely consumed by a viciously capitalist internet, and a man named Neo Sorry, Johnny, played by Keanu Reeves, is tasked with tampering with memories in his cybernetically enhanced brain. Adapted by cyberpunk writer William Gibson from his short story of the same name and originally conceived as an art film by director Robert Longo, Johnny Mnemonic is more “cult” than classic. Its dialogue is campy, its production design is garish, and its CGI seems absurd by modern standards, but it’s also lovely to see what the Wachowskis and Reeves would do with another tech movie in just a few years. I can’t hit him.

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