Yes, that movie that starred Keanu Reeves in all his signature single-facial-expression glory. Say what you want about The Matrix, but you and I both know that it was one awesome and badass sci-fi spectacle. It reinvented the entire genre and popularised special effects like “bullet time”, which is now painfully abused in so many films.
When the first movie in the trilogy came out, I was such a happy, geeky schoolboy I almost peed in my pants whilst watching it in the cinema. The philosophy that it tackled, the big budget effects, the music soundtrack - I was in geek heaven. The second and third instalments didn’t quite hit it with the critics, but damn those critics they know not what they were saying. True, the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the franchise all in all.
Flash forward to fourteen years later, whilst walking along Martin Place in Sydney, my friend Renee nonchalantly mentions out of the blue that a scene in The Matrix was, in fact, shot in that very location where we were standing. My eyes widened.
Apparently, I’ve been living in The Matrix for three years now and I never knew about it. Somebody hand me a hammer so I conk myself out.
So what do I do with this gold mine of a realisation? Well, there’s nothing better to do than to embark on… a Matrix walking tour!
And so the weekend saw me watching the movie all over again to try to identify some locations so I can map out my own little tour. I was flabbergasted to realise that the movie was in fact shot entirely (or about 95%) in Sydney. Imagine my delight when even the company where I worked figured in the movie.
How cool is that? I really do live (and work) in the Matrix!
It took me the whole afternoon to visit all of the locations and honestly it was EXHAUSTING due to all the walking I had to do - probably around 8K all in all to get from one location to another. But you know what, it was all freaking worth it.
And so may I present - my neighbourhood.
This is at the intersection of Hunter and Castlereagh streets in the CBD. This figured in the final scene where Neo makes a phone call and then flies up up and away to rock music.
This is on the intersection of Hickson Road and Towns Place in Millers Point, close to the Sydney Observatory. It’s on this road where Trinity finds a phone booth to escape from an agent in the opening scene. I looked around and there was no phone booth in sight.
This is the Munns Street bridge over Hickson Road. It was shown in that same scene as above, when the agent rams his truck into the phone booth where Trinity makes the call to escape.
Another bridge - this time it’s the railway bridge in Surry Hills where Campbell and Elizabeth Streets intersect. This was where Neo was picked up to meet Morpheus for the first time.
Ah, Metcentre in Margaret Street, where I usually have my lunches. In the movie it’s “Metacortex,” where Neo is employed as a computer programmer. Amazing how they changed the appearance of the leftmost building.
At Hunter Street near the Grand Hotel. Here Trinity spies on Neo as he is led away by the agents after he was caught at his work place.
The Colonial First State Bank building in Martin Place. Apparently, Morpheus was held captive in this building. This is where Neo and Trinity stage “the rescue”, which was the climax of the movie.
The AWA building in York Street with its Eiffel tower-inspired radio tower. This also figured in the daring rooftop rescue scene.
AON Tower in Kent Street, which served as a backdrop in that scene where an agent was about to kill Neo who had managed to dodge his bullets. Trinity cuts in and utters the line, “Dodge this” and shoots the agent’s brains. Don’t mess with this woman.
At Martin Place, the smack middle of the CBD. This is where Morpheus teaches Neo about the Matrix.
That sexy lady in red by the Martin Place fountain. That sexy boy in grey jumpers in the same location.
All in all such a fun weekend.