It’s hard to believe that The Matrix is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The ground-breaking sci-fi actioner was truly game-changing cinema in Hollywood back in 1999, and has paved the way for the modern blockbuster that we enjoy today. The film and its sequels are currently being screened in various cinemas across the UK this week so that fans can relive the magic on the big screen.
At the start of 2015, the UK cinema chain Cineworld launched their first 4DX screen and since then, the format has been rolled out across the country. The Cineworld Leicester Square houses IMAX, 4DX and Superscreen now, and today (July 17th) The Matrix will be screened in 4DX (and in 4K) giving the movie a whole new experience in the theatre.
4DX is immersive cinema that adds something different to the cinema-going experience. If you’ve ever been to one of the big theme parks, you’ve probably experienced this technology before. Utilizing the elements to create its concept, the film uses water, air, motion and scent to enhance what comes up onscreen, with strobe lighting also used in choice moments. The seats are attached to rigging (a bit similar to a rollercoaster) that come in banks of 4, and which rotate forwards, backwards and side-to-side to put you directly into the action. The Matrix has plenty of action which means the sensory part of a 4DX screening really gets the full run-around.
As a lifelong fan of IMAX, that format will never be beaten for me; however 4DX does offer something completely different. I will say that this won’t be to everyone’s taste as the experience does get quite intense. It can get jarring and distract you in key moments. I’d also do without the backrest effects as it never seemed to do anything but annoy me. However the moments where the rigging really works are in the scenes high up. When Neo is escaping from his office building you genuinely get a sense of vertigo as the seats move in correlation with the original camera angles the Wachoski’s used.
The gun-fights are also well represented, with the 4DX lighting adding a new angle to the mix. The success of the format depends heavily on how well the effects have been paired up to the film, and for the most part The Matrix 4DX achieves this. However, I think this works far more effectively for films on a repeat viewing compared with a first-watch movie.
As for the film itself… well the two decades that have past have done nothing to age this film. It’s still a perfect mix of action and science fiction that oozes originality at every opportunity. Ground-breaking and utterly absorbing, The Matrix still remains one of the greatest blockbusters of all time with one of the coolest soundtracks ever put to film. It acts as a wonderful time-piece of its era and a bold new vision for where big screen story-telling will eventually go.
The ageless Keanu Reeves still looks amazing today (check out John Wick for more Keanu action) and seeing the 20th anniversary of The Matrix makes his aging process seem even more incredible. Actually, the same can be said for the entire principal cast, with Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Joe Pantoliano still looking the same!
If you’re a fan of The Matrix and want to experience the film in a bold new way, check out 4DX. Be sure to check out the cineworld website for more info and the requirements for using 4DX.
The film and its sequels are also showing in regular formats across the country and are well worth a trip down memory lane to revisit a time when originality was at the forefront of blockbuster cinema.
Check your local listings for screenings of The Matrix, The Matrix 4DX, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions.