The Legacy of The Matrix

10 Years of 1999: We explore ten movies that owe their existence to the Wachowskis' existential tale.

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The Matrix

10 Years Since 1999

1999 was one of the most important years for modern cinema. From defining originals like The Matrix and Fight Club to sleeper favourites like Office Space and Election, 1999 was a landmark year for the internet generation of movie fans and set a high standard for the big screen as we headed into the new millennium. Ten years on, we're celebrating a remarkable twelve months of movies with new features around some of the year's best and most important releases.

The big science fiction blockbuster of 1999 was going to be Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, but by comparison to The Matrix, which took audiences by surprise on its release exactly ten years ago today, it turned out to be the most eagerly-awaited sci-fi film of 1978. The Matrix was the phenomenon which made George Lucas' serial-style adventure seem as quaint as tie-dye loon pants. It did the proper sci-fi job of surfing the zeitgeist exactly in every single aspect: The long leather coats and cool shades (influenced by the look of Chow-Yun Fat in John Woo movies). The pounding techno music which would have given John Williams a headache. The frenzy of paranoia about computers whipped up by the millennium bug (remember that?). The notion that a computer geek could be an outlaw rebel hero. The end-of-century sensation that an apocalypse was coming even if all our Windows 98 platform PCs kept on working. And, of course, the notion that Keanu Reeves was potentially the wisest dude on the planet.

The Matrix didn't come from nowhere, and indeed arrived in the midst of a batch of similar projects it left standing commercially. Like Star Wars in 1977, it was the film of its moment -- it even dared to set its artificial city in the late 20th Century as if aware of a sell-by date -- and has seeped into subsequent movies which have either blatantly or subtly drawn from aspects of The Matrix -- ranging from its action-friendly fashion sense to franchise-building business plan. Join RT as we explore ten movies released in the ten years since The Matrix came out that owe a little something to one of 1999's most exciting releases.