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Code source et « bullet time » : comment « Matrix » a changé la science-fiction

Source Code and Bullet Time: How The Matrix Changed Science Fiction

Characters dodging time- and gravity-defying bullets, computer code falling from the sky… Here’s how The Matrix, whose fourth episode released on Wednesday, December 22, has taken science fiction to a new dimension.

This new episode, signed by Lana Wachowski alone, marks a return between reality and the Matrix of the cybernetic rebel in dark glasses Neo (Keanu Reeves), and does not hesitate to reinterpret images from previous films, including the first, released in 1999 and much cult. .

“bullet time”

This is the image that made cinema through the third millennium: on the roof of a skyscraper, Neo dodges a splash of bullets in stunning slow motion, as the camera, circling the stage, seems to have frozen time. not seen at that time.

A combination of travel frame and freeze, this special effect that became iconic is “a moving camera in a stopped world,” sums up Dominic Vidal, of special effects firm Buf, who worked on three of the four parts.

He noted that “Bullet Time”, which influenced two decades of action cinema, was of French origins. Before the Wachowskis, French director Michel Gondry, a genius visual genius, used it, in craftsman’s setting, for … a cut-stone (like Rolling Stone).

The creators of the Matrix came up with the idea of ​​u200bu200bapplying it to combat scenes and professionalizing the process, which at that time required an abundance of technical means to capture the same scene, at the same time, from dozens of different points of view.

code columns

A barrage of fluorescent green computer codes falling from the sky and ending up drawing a parallel universe, the Matrix… This visual idea also remains in the records.

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“At the base was a menu of ramen (Japanese noodles) mixed with inverted numbers,” Dominic Vidal explains of these shapes that armies of fans have tried to decipher.

“We’ve done a lot of research on how to show people ‘made in computer code’,” he says of the latter effect, which is repeated again in “Resurrection”.

Because the Wachowskis are perfectionists. In some special effects, his bands made up to 20 different proposals to “get a combination of effects.” “We have plans to reach version 150!” he laughs. As a result, from an aesthetic point of view, the Matrix has seen a break, taking cinema into the era of “green screen” and omnipresent digital influences, assures Lloyd Cherry, founder of the C’est plus de la SF podcast.

Matrix and Metaverse

For many fans, The Matrix, featuring a group of AI-battling rebels who imprisoned humans in the Matrix, a virtual reality simulating the outside world, is the epic that predicted the beginning of the 21st century.

“The Matrix said a lot of things about what was going to happen, and reality is catching up with science fiction with the arrival of 3D and augmented virtual reality,” confirms Lloyd Cherry.

Until the news of recent weeks, with the emergence of the metaverse (a contraction of meta-universe), which the Facebook giant announced that it was creating its new business, recalling some of the Matrix universe.

Up front, the Matrix was also a syncretic belief, blending many different references and martial arts in Hong Kong cinema through religious mythology and cyberpunk, as pop culture does today, notes Lloyd Cherry. Neo, a type of Christ figure in a long black coat, experienced in kung fu and computer hacking, alone sums up these influences.

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And last year, Lily Wachowski, who has changed gender like her sister since the first movie, made it clear that she saw the work as a “cross” metaphor ahead of its time, at a time when questions about gender fluidity were more secretive.

Francois Becker / Agence France-Presse

Characters dodging gravity- and time-defying bullets, computer code falling from the sky… Here’s how The Matrix, whose fourth episode kicks off on Wednesday, December 22, has taken sci-fi to a new dimension. This new episode, signed by Lana Wachowski alone, marks a return between reality and the cyber-rebel matrix in…