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Source Code and Bullet Time: How The Matrix Changed Science Fiction

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Characters dodging time- and gravity-defying bullets, computer code falling from the sky… Here’s how “The Matrix”, whose fourth episode released on Wednesday, December 22, turns science fiction into a new dimension.

This new episode, signed by Lana Wachowski alone, marks a return between reality and the Matrix of the cyber-rebel in dark glasses of Neo (Keanu Reeves), and does not hesitate to reinterpret images from previous films, including the first, released in 1999 and the cult of many. .

“bullet time”

This is the image that made cinema through the third millennium: on the roof of a skyscraper, Neo avoids the explosion of bullets in stunning slow motion, as the camera, circling the stage, seems to have frozen time. Unheard of at the time.

A combination of frame travel and freeze, this special effect that became iconic is “a moving camera in a stopped world,” sums up Dominic Vidal, of special effects firm Buf, who worked on three of the four parts of the saga.

Bullet time, which influenced two decades of cinema, has influenced the movement French origins, notice. By the Wachowskis, French director Michel Gondry Ingenious optical genius, use it in literal mode, for… section of stones (“Like a rolling rock”).

The creators of the Matrix came up with the idea of ​​u200bu200bapplying it to combat scenes and professionalizing the process, which at that time required an abundance of technical means to capture the same scene, at the same time, from dozens of different points of view.

code columns

A barrage of fluorescent green computer codes falling from the sky and ending up drawing a parallel universe, the Matrix… This visual idea also remains in the records.

“At the base was a menu of ramen (Japanese noodles) mixed with inverted numbers,” Dominic Vidal explains of these shapes that armies of fans have tried to decipher.

“We’ve done a lot of research to figure out how to make people appear in computer codes,” he says of this latest effect, which was mentioned again in resurrection.

Because the Wachowskis are perfectionists. In some special effects, his teams made as many as 20 different suggestions to “get a color scheme for the effects.” He laughs, “We have plans to get to version 150!”.

The result, from an aesthetic point of view, the Matrix constituted a rupture, propelling cinema in the era of “green screen” and omnipresent digital influences, as Lloyd Cherry, founder of the podcast asserts, “It’s more than SF.”

Matrix and Metaverse

to many fans, matrix, featuring a group of rebels fighting artificial intelligence that imprisoned humans in The Matrix, a virtual reality world that simulates the outside world, is the story that best predicted the beginning of the twenty-first century.

“The Matrix said a lot of things about what was going to happen, and reality catches up with science fiction with the arrival of 3D and augmented virtual reality,” said Lloyd Cherry.

Until the news of recent weeks, with the emergence of the metaverse (a contraction of meta-universe), which the Facebook giant announced that it was creating its new business, recalling some of the Matrix universe.

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Previously, The Matrix was incorporated as well, blending many different references, from martial arts to Hong Kong cinema through religious mythology and Cyberpunk, as pop culture does today, Lloyd Cherry notes. Niu, a type of Christ figure in a long black coat, experienced in kung fu and computer hacking, alone sums up these influences.

And last year, Lily Wachowski, who’s changed gender like her sister since the first movie, explained that she saw the work as a “cross” metaphor ahead of its time, at a time when questions of gender fluidity were more secretive.

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