The Matrix slipped onto the big screen in 1999 as a thoughtful meditation on the nature of reality that captured digital age anxieties about man and machine. With a sleek techno look and slickly choreographed violence, the sleeper film grossed more than 450 million dollars worldwide and spawned two more films. Tepid reviews for The Matrix Reloaded sequel didn't hurt its box office take, which surpassed the original. This week, the third, and ostensibly final installation, The Matrix Revolutions, landed in 18,000 theatres worldwide. But it does make us wonder at the endless human and Hollywood fascination with the interaction of man and machine. Tonight, On Point: From Frankenstein to The Matrix, Screen Heroes wrestle with the nature of reality and what humankind has wrought.
Andrew O'Hehir, Arts and Film Editor for SALON.COM
Alexander Cohen, Lecturer for the Program in Film Studies at UC Berkeley and co-founder and Executive Director of Undergroundfilm.org, a web site for independent film distribution.