From the stars of cult hit Mystery Science Theater 3000 comes RiffTrax, audio commentaries you can play along with your favorite, or least favorite, blockbuster and/or B-grade films. As RiffTrax claims: “We don’t make movies, we make movies funny.” In this weekly series, we will be reviewing their Geek Speak-friendly offerings, in order of publication. This week:

thematrixThe Matrix (1999)
Riffed by: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy
Release Date: October 25, 2006

FROM RIFFTRAX.COM

In Earth’s dirty, dystopian future, one in which every person alive is kept in a dark, moist pod and fed misinformation (kind of like Manhattan, only the odors are less pungent), only one man can save us – and that man is Johnny Utah.

Wait, no – Johnny Mnemonic. Hold on, that’s not it. It’s some kind of car name…uh, Horizon, um…Omni. Ram Charger – No, Neo. That’s it. Neo. Led by the enterprising Morpheus, and the hot-erprising Trinity, Neo learns his fate from the Oracle, a corpulent, crusty, chain-smoking broad who is likely to put you off Oracles forever.

THE RIFF

Placing a lot of emphasis on Keanu Reeves’s famous impassiveness, supposed intellectual deficiencies and work in sundry romantic comedies, this riff never really hits its stride, though it does a credible job of pointing out just how very gooey the movie is, in case you’ve never noticed that before. There really is just a lot of goo.

HIGHLIGHTS

[A shot of Neo’s computer screen]
RIFF: It’s running Fake-intosh, v. 9.

MORPHEUS: You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…
RIFF: Side effects include dry throat, nausea and digital effects.

[Neo is brought from the Matrix]
RIFF: He looks like a young, hairless James Woods.
— Not that funny, he just really does.

[Trinity does a flip off a wall during a gun battle]
RIFF: That was neat, but tactically, I don’t think it really did much.

[Neo strikes a kung fu pose]
RIFF 1: I’m a little teapot.
RIFF 2: Short and stout.

RUNNING GAGS

Keanu Reeves’s body of work.
And lack of facial expression.
Trinity is hot.
Leather.
All the fluids.
Agents = Mormon missionaries.

ENOUGH ALREADY!

Keanu Reeves is stupid. And stoned all the time. No.

SCATALOGICAL INDEX

Pretty high, pretty gross.

GROANS

TRINITY: You know the question?
RIFF: Is Anderson Cooper gay?
— In fairness, he wasn’t out yet, but why did anyone care?

[Neo is the medical bay, covered in blue lights]
RIFF: He’s all lit up, he’s like a Christmas Reeves.

OBSCURE REFERENCES

thebobs[Neo is in trouble with his boss at the office]
RIFF 1: [as Neo] Nah, not now, I got a meeting with the Bobs in a few minutes.
RIFF 2: [as Milton] Uh, excuse me, I believe you have my stapler.

This is Office Space, of course. Hopefully you already knew that.

MORPHEUS: [to Neo] Stay as low was you can.
RIFF: Low like that Oak Ridge Boy.

The Oak Ridge Boys are a country/gospel quartet. Their bass singer, Richard Sterban, sang very low indeed.


howie-longMORPHEUS: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
NEO: What truth?
RIFF: That Howie Long was raised by a pack of wild hedgehogs.

Howie Long is an American football player and actor known for sporting a luxuriant flattop.

lonelygirl15[Cypher stares at a computer screen]
RIFF: [Typing] I think that the whole Lonelygirl15 thing was really disillusioning.

Lonelygirl15 was a YouTube webseries that launched in June, 2006, ostensibly the video diary of a teenager named Bree. It was revealed three months later that the videos were scripted and that Bree was played by actress Jessica Rose.

drvegasCYPHER: I know what you’re thinking, because right now I’m thinking the same thing. Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here.
RIFF: Why was Dr. Vegas cancelled?

Joe Pantoliano (Cypher) played opposite Rob Lowe in the medical drama which ran for only ten episodes in 2004.

RIFF: Cypher’s going for the Scott Spezio look.

cypher
This is baseball player Scott Spezio.

spiezio

veronica-marsTRINITY: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.
RIFF 1: Like the night Veronica Mars airs.
RIFF 2: How will she ever find an audience if we can’t find her?
— And that gets the guys a retrospective “Preach!”

tupacCYPHER: Say goodbye to Apoch.
RIFF: But the Oracle foretold that Suge Knight would be the one to kill Apoch!

The 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur is still unsolved, but fringe conspiracy theorists believe record producer Suge Knight is the culprit.

mulva[Building sign reads MULPHA]
RIFF: Mulpha, didn’t she date Jerry Seinfeld?

In the episode “The Junior Mint,” Jerry is unable to recall the name of the girl he is dating and knows only that her name rhymes with a female body part. He guesses “Mulva.” (It’s Dolores.)

[Agent Smith and Neo fight]
RIFF: Ha ha! I studied under Hong Kong Phooey, number one guy. I repeat, Hong Kong Phooey, who I’m sure you know, is quicker than the human eye!

Here you go:


littlebuddha[Neo explodes out of Agent Smith]
RIFF: The First Noble Truth: pain don’t hurt.

The Four Noble Truths are Buddhist teachings understood by those who have reached spiritual enlightenment. And Keanu Reeves was in Little Buddha, y’all.

RIFFTRAX IN-JOKES

Morpheus = the sweating president of The Fifth Element.
Dalton (Patrick Swayze) from Road House, earlier riffed by Mike.

OBLIGATORY STAR TREK AND/OR WARS REFERENCES

Luke Skywalker, the Millennium Falcon and the Force.

BONUS! LORD OF THE RINGS REFERENCES

Elrond – many times, given Hugo Weaving’s presence here – Arwen and “Pack your mushrooms, Frodo, ‘cause we’re heading to Mount Weathertop.”

VERDICT

C+. Mike and Kevin call The Matrix “fiercely stupid.” That kind of sums up this fairly lackluster outing.

PURCHASE INFORMATION

Audio Download

NOTES

Things to conjure in the Matrix, according to Kevin: anvils, Pudding Pops and glockenspiels.

About the author

RACHEL HYLAND

Rachel Hyland is Editor-in-Chief of Geek Speak Magazine and, she is pretty sure, the one true queen of Fantastica, raised in obscurity to protect her from the dark lord Sinisterium. If you see her magic sword, get in touch via twitter: @rachyland or Instagram: @rachelseesdeadpeople. The fate of the many worlds may just depend upon it.