22 October 2011

The Matrix: The Flow Mo Revolution

The Matrix was a revolutionary movie that is still revered today as one of the best action movie of the last century. Everyone knows the plot of the matrix. A drawn-off reality,tech savvy man who is curious about the world finds an un-utopian like world that really is the center of all reality and that his digitalized "real" world is a cage where he is trapped in. He encompasses tasks to save humanity and finally becomes "the one". All of this rides on intense action sequences between Neo and "Agents". These sequences are where The Matrix shines in editing. The editor Zach Staenberg really took risks combining Hollywood Continuity and some discontinuous editing techniques shown at some points throughout the film to show the difference in the digitalized matrix and the real world.
The Matrix was the movie that invented what is called "Flow-mo". This style of editing was the star of the movie and was showcased in every fight scene throughout the movie. Flow-mo or bullet style editing was first shown in the opening scene involving the character Trinity. Her fight involving officers of the matrix shows the slowness of the scene involving quick shot takes from all angles. The camera rotates nearly 360 degrees around her while she is fighting. It flows around her to give us the viewers the sense that she is superiorly faster than her enemies.
The main representation of bullet style editing is the actual bullet dodging scene between Neo and an Agent. This scene is iconic for its shots. In the scene Neo actually dodges a full clip of bullets from an Agent on a rooftop. Neo's bending in slow motion makes the shot look as though it is flowing around him although it is actually multiple shots. Again, the 360 degree rotation makes itself very apparent here to show the full magnitude of the scene. After the scene it goes right back to the regular continuity editing.
The Matrix continued its "flow-mo" style throughout all three movies and eventually was the epitome of how action sequences are shot. The Matrix won 4 Oscars with one of them being for editing. Zach Staenberg revolutionized editing and introduced something that was never made. The movie shows us that Hollywood style editing doesn't always have to be used in every single scene and that it's okay to cross that 180 degree in movies.

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