"Whoa" - Neo
There are dozens and dozens of famous quotes I could have picked from The Matrix. I picked the one that most accurately describes 12 year old Li'l Zachy's reaction to seeing it for the first time. It wasn't my first R rated film, but I consider it my first because it's the one that's stuck with me the longest. My real first was likely The Peacemaker (1997), but I can't remember when it was that that one entered my life. I'd like to forget it ever did, but that's not how my memory works.
The Matrix was one of those movies I knew my parents would disapprove of because of the R rating, but when my friend Colin asked if I wanted to see it, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I immediately fell in love with the pseudo-philosophical story, the ground breaking special effects, and the sexy stylistic black and green world inhabited by sexy people. I was a little sheepish a couple years later when I received a gift of the DVD (the very same one I watched!) from my cousin after he heard we were getting a DVD player. I felt I had to admit quietly that yes, I'd seen it, when asked by my parents after them seeing the excitement on my face.
It has new meaning for me every time I've watched it and continues to be a comfort I return to time and time again. The Matrix even continues to reveal itself in chunks. I heard a part of the Oracle's speech to Neo that I can't remember ever connecting before. She tells him he's waiting for something to truly become the One, maybe his next life. Neo dies and is reborn as the One! Mind blown! Whoa, indeed.
Throughout The Matrix, but the one aspect that has always spoken to me is the longing to break down oppressive systems. The characters desperately want to be free of the machines and their control and that longing echoes through so much of our own lives and the systems clung to by those who want to keep their power. This longing is ever so painfully real even now as we watch and wait for the change that's been so desperately needed for so long.