I watched The Matrix in 1999 in Long Island, NY in a movie theater. When it came out on VHS I watched it on that, and when it was on DVD I watched it as well.
TL;DR – just the experience of watching a movie on a Quest 2 / Plex. Then some potential marked spoilers at the end as Paul transitions into movie critic. You’ve been warned.
In 2003 I watched the Matrix Reloaded in Chicago while taking a break from the Chicago Improv Festival 6 if I remember things correctly (might have been Revolutions.) I later watched a purloined burned DVD of it from a camcorder that I found on the street on my computer.
Revolutions I watched at a theater in Nashville, leaving profoundly uninterested in rewatching much.
I remember catching the Animatrix at some point, someone loaned it to me. Had to play it on a computer with a CRT monitor that was going out.
The emergence of Blu-ray and 4K got me interested once again in having a look and … eh…
I decided I’d catch it on a different device this time, and my phone seemed a bit too… tiny
The Matrix 4 is streaming right now on HBO Max, which I get as a part of having an AT&T account, this … didn’t really help me much with my Quest 2 as there’s no app I could find that would directly take the HBO Max stream and give it to my goggles. I eventually resorted to methods that probably are DMCA incompatible to get the movie into my Quest 2 / Plex. Lot of capture / recoding / encoding.
It took me two days, a legal source stream, a questionable conversion that took 15 hours, to prepare. I was going to watch on a different medium because yeah. I considered this my vinyl phase, even if the only vinyl involved was the actor’s outfits.
last night I paired the Quest 2 with some Jabra Headphones I love, fired up Plex, opened a browser in the Quest 2, and started streaming.
I did this at 1am. I’ve had insomnia pretty hard the past week for unknown reasons. Not normal insomnia that I’ve faced most of my life, this time it’s wonky. I gave up and decided I was going to watch Matrix 4, drink a couple glasses of wine, and hopefully be tired by the end of the movie. I wasn’t, but that’s not due to anything much.
I plunked in my comfy chair, looked up, re-oriented the world so I could be watching on my back, and discovered wine glasses and Quest 2 goggles require some adjustments. Mainly you can only drink about half the glass before you have to arch your head. Sitting in large headphones and a large weight on my face and watching The Matrix 4 I realized that my attempts at watching in a different medium were somewhat wasted.
No matter how I watched it I wasn’t going to get the thrill I got from seeing it for the first time in that movie theater in NY, but it was at least interesting. I don’t think I would have noticed the reflections of Neo had I not been looking at a virtual 180 inch screen. I’d probably have been looking down at my phone a bit because for the most part nothing visually had to be seen. It’d all been done and done more interestingly 22 years ago. I think I might have had more enjoyment not watching in the Quest 2 and looking up some information on my phone.
I also had to refill the wine when it got halfway down because it was un-drinkable past that point with the goggles… the horror!
In the end I felt I’d watched the movie in a movie theater setting, and other than not feeling the Ootz (which can be felt if I wanted to throw in a Woojer or two,) my experience in a fairly inexpensive VR headset and a good set of headphones was better than I would have anticipated. The main issue I encountered was the VR medium is generally designed for fixed eye / head tracking. This meant when I looked left or right with my eyes the image is not the greatest… had to remember look with my head.
As for the movie itself, that’s another thing.
Paul’s potentially spoileriffic thoughts
I’ll start out with that I didn’t hate it. That doesn’t sound glowing but it’s a start. It’s one of those movies where I’m wondering a bit at the messaging. So much saying things aren’t ones or zeros and that choices are not this or that, and then offering the red or blue pill. I’m pretty sure there were at least three times that the choice to not be a binary choice was mentioned and then two options were given.
The Smith and Morpheus casting made sense, I wasn’t bothered by why.
I was mainly bothered by a somewhat formulaic walk through mind-fuck movie that I’m questioning at the end why Neo was back. Maybe I missed that, but why was he back? Why had he been saved – I mean I know who did it, I know when it happened, but why did the machines save him? Googling says there’s an answer and… yeah, that’s kind of … yeah I remember that now… sort of “machine civil war because not enough electricity due to people unplugging from the Matrix” – seems like windmills would have been built, but no let’s revive a couple of dead humans and use the power of emo.
Powered by emotional longing… yeah, managed to wipe that from my memories. Perhaps the wine.
One thing I did dig was that in the previous versions they mentioned werewolves and vampires, and in this the Swarm mode was definitely rage zombie inspired.
Interesting, it was interesting.
It was a different but very familiar story done yet again. At the end, did anything whatsoever change other than Neo, Trinity, and Agent Smith are a little bit happier and a character we didn’t know until this movie is no longer in control of 1.21 gigawatts of longing?
Not every story needs to go on forever, but hopefully The Catrix will end up being made because there’s a post-credits trolling pitch I can get behind.
Side note, the love story between Neo and Trinity – if you haven’t watched the original Matrix in a few years, the … yeah, we gave Twilight / Bella Swan major guff but seriously, have a re-watch, it’s cringe worthy dialog and character progression these days…