August 12th, 2007 11:24 EST
Not With A Bang, But A Whimper
What happened to The Matrix?
Although I am a major Star Trek fan, my all time favorite movie is The Matrix.
Immediately after the premier in 1999, a glut of entertainment media material arrived on scene.
There was the Animatrix DVD collection of nine short films, several online comics (collected in paperback), Enter The Matrix and Matrix Online games, a few fan films and spoofs. And then… nothing.
These examples of stories that were produced illustrate and demonstrate only a glimmer of the availability and versatility of potential stories. Alas, much more has been written about the films than written within their fictional universe. A multitude of books and online articles regarding philosophy, story points and behind the scenes… but relatively no narratives--- in any medium. Thoughtful and thought provoking-- structurally, conceptually and thematically… The Matrix is inherently an ideal and incredible story telling platform. Where are the novels, the comics, the fan films, the TV series, the cartoons, and role playing game that a story phenomenon as massive, rich and vibrant as this should have generated, to elaborate and continue the saga? Plus, it is perfectly suited to an alternate reality game scenario. Here awaits an unlimited source of untapped and untold stories. Even at the height of its popularity and hype, when such stories would definitely have been profitable-- or at least at their most profitable, they were notably absent, considering just how in demand and sellable they were.
The Matrix has-- or seemed to have-- the makings of an entertainment juggernaut in the magnitude of Star Trek and Star Wars. And for a brief while, it was. For a few years, Matrix was huge, everywhere.
Yet in less than five years, the “franchise” seems to have faded away, and all but disappeared.
So what happened?
Did it extinguish itself by burning too bright and too fast?
Did general disappointment or disgust with the second and third movies of the trilogy taint it as a whole, and make the public lose interest? Did the convoluted progression and/or “resolution” of the trilogy cause the franchise to be less interesting or fun--- as a mystery solved (or unsolved?) tends to be… and thus less appealing; thereby shooting itself in the foot, painting itself into a corner, or some other similarly trite colloquialism?
Was it just a passing fad or a faze, and the novelty of it has worn off? Are we no longer amused or impressed? Has it been discussed and dissected so much that no one wants to talk about it any more?
Was it rendered merely academic?
But that can’t be enough to explain the unfortunate lack of stories. Even excusing or ignoring parts 2 and 3, the fan base for part 1-- the core idea of The Matrix-- is still present and substantial. However, I’ve heard and seen no new and forthcoming Matrix related projects being pursued or discussed.
Except for the occasional lingering fan fiction, development and exploration of The Matrix universe has stalled. Surely, there is still much remaining to be said, and worth saying. Have we really heard the last of it?