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Afternoon Delight: The Remix That Was 'The Matrix'

by Jerome Weeks 1 May 2012 12:58 PM

Pure originality is a romantic illusion. Innovators steal and borrow and sample their predecessors. “All art is a remix” goes the new mantra. And one great example is The Matrix.


Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back weekdays at 1 p.m. for another one.

It’s Mayday, which used to be something of a workers’ day, but for our Hollywood-addled purposes, the month marks the beginning of Summer Blockbuster Season. And when it comes to summer box-office action-flick blockbusters, The Matrix may have been the last one (thirteen years ago!) that managed to be visually stunning, hi-tech-spc-fx cool and intellectually provocative, all at the same time.

So how’d it manage that multi-tiered jolt to our pop-cultural synapses? By recombining a lot of not-so-new ideas into one, original punch. Sure, first time out, you caught the John Woo, kung-fu and Alice in Wonderland in-jokes and hommages. But Philip K. Dick? Ghost in the Shell? Doctor Who? Check out this scene-by-scene, sometimes frame-by-frame footnoting of influences.