Twelve years ago The Matrix made cinematic and geek-culture history with a fusion of epic story telling, ample special effects, and a compelling look at the life of men and machines in a dystopian future. Grab some computer swag to celebrate the movie.
If The Matrix did anything, thrilling audiences aside, it smashed together different movie styles and ideas in a way not previously seen by a mainstream audience. The film is packed with references, allusions, and homages to everything from hacker subcultures to philosophical texts from centuries past to Asian action films and animation to old Western films. The influence list for the movie is lengthy and includes movies such as Ghost in the Shell and 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as texts such as Simulacra and Simulation–a heavy text by Jean Baudrillard that was required reading for all the major actors in The Matrix and also made an appearance in the film as a hiding place for floppy disks. Some more interesting trivia:
- Warner Brothers balked at the eighty million dollar budget the Wachowski Brothers were asking for. They offered them ten million instead. In a rather ballsy move the Brothers burned up all ten million dollars shooting the first ten minutes of the film. Executives at Warner Brothers were so impressed they gave them the rest of the money.
- The studio insisted on a script revision that included lots of explanatory dialog as they were concerned nobody would get the movie; coincidentally, Sean Connery turned down the role of Morpheus for that exact reason–he found the script impenetrable.
- On the topic of interesting casting decisions that never came to be: Will Smith was approached to play Neo, he turned down the role to star in Wild Wild West. He later commented on the decision by saying he was glad he’d turned down the role because he was not mature enough as an actor and would have ruined the movie.
- Many of the props used in the movie appeared quite exotic to American viewers: the spring loaded cellphones the main characters used were only available in Europe, the sunglasses they wore were custom made, and many of the firearms were crafted for the production (including the crazy automatic shotguns Mouse uses later in the film).
In honor of the film, we’ve rounded up some computer-related goodies. Check out the following links to outfit your computer with Matrix screensavers, themes, wallpaper, and more.
- Matrix Screen Saver v3.6 – Windows – One of the most detailed and option-filled Matrix screensavers around; uses the actual character set from the movie and adapts automatically to multiple monitors.
- MatrixGL v2.2 – Mac – Nicely executed Matrix screensaver for Macs. It’s polished looking and has some really neat features like the ability to link the falling of the Matrix glyphs to the speed of the network connection–more network activity means a busier screensaver.
- Matrix Wallpaper Collection – Our in-house collection of Matrix wallpapers.
- Matrix Windows Theme – 32 wallpapers, custom sounds, and icons to tweak out your desktop.
Have a collection of Matrix wallpapers or themes you want to share? Let’s hear about it in the comments.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 03/31/11