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Production Design

In the film, the code that comprises the Matrix itself is frequently represented as downward-flowing green characters. This code utilizes a custom typeface designed by Simon Whiteley, which includes mirror images of half-width kana characters and Western Latin letters and numerals.

The color green reflects the green tint commonly used on early monochrome computer monitors. Lynne Cartwright, the Visual Effects Supervisor at Animal Logic, supervised the creation of the film's opening title sequence, as well as the general look of the Matrix code throughout the film, in collaboration with Lindsey Fleay and Justen Marshall.

The portrayal resembles the opening credits of the 1995 Japanese cyberpunk film, Ghost in the Shell, which had a strong influence on the Matrix series. It was also used in the subsequent films, on the related website, and in the game The Matrix: Path of Neo, and its drop-down effect is reflected in the design of some posters for the Matrix series.

The code received the Runner-up Award in the 1999 Jesse Garson Award for In-film typography or opening credit sequence. The Matrix's production designer, Owen Paterson, used methods to distinguish the "real world" and the Matrix in a pervasive way.

The production design team generally placed a bias towards the Matrix code's distinctive green color in scenes set within the simulation, whereas there is an emphasis on the color blue during scenes set in the "real world".

In addition, the Matrix scenes' sets were slightly more decayed, monolithic, and grid-like, to convey the cold, logical and artificial nature of that environment. For the "real world", the actors' hair was less styled, their clothing had more textile content, and the cinematographers used longer lenses to soften the backgrounds and emphasize the actors.

The Nebuchadnezzar was designed to have a patched-up look, instead of clean, cold and sterile space ship interior sets as used on films like Star Trek. The wires were made visible to show the ship's working internals, and each composition was carefully designed to convey the ship as "a marriage between Man and Machine".

For the scene when Neo wakes up in the pod connected to the Matrix, the pod was constructed to look dirty, used, and sinister. During the testing of a breathing mechanism in the pod, the tester went into hypothermia in under eight minutes, so the pod had to be heated.

Kym Barrett, costume designer, said that she defined the characters and their environment by their costume. For example, Reeves' office costume was designed for Thomas Anderson to look uncomfortable, disheveled, and out of place.

Barrett sometimes used three types of fabric for each costume, and also had to consider acting practicality. The actors needed to perform martial art actions in their costume, hang upside-down without people seeing up their dress, or work the wires when strapped to the harnesses.

For Trinity, Barrett experimented with how each fabric absorbs and reflects different types of light, and was eventually able to make Trinity's costume mercury-like and oil-slick to suit the character.

For the Agents, their costume was designed to create a secret service, undercover look, resembling the film JFK. The sunglasses, a staple to the film's aesthetics, were commissioned for the film to designer Richard Walker from sunglass maker Blinde Design.


Detailed Synopsis and Screenshots

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Neo is picked up by Trinity and two others in a car; they all wear black latex and leather. A woman in the front seat, Switch (Belinda McClory), pulls a gun on him and tells him to take off his shirt. Trinity tells him it's for their mutual protection and that he has to trust her. He takes off his shirt and she uses a device to remove the probe that Neo believed had been part of a nightmare.

She pilots the fiber-optic lens. On a monitor, we see the bug nestled in among Neo's large intestines. On the monitor, we watch it telescope out and the end separate into a tiny hooked, metal claw. The claw snags hold of the bug. But the bug reacts violently. Neo screams as it wraps itself around the soft tissue web of intestine.

Neo writhes in pain. Trinity wrestles with the bug. The electricity convulses through him as she yanks the speculum out. Trinity touches Neo, who is just beginning to breathe. Hanging from the claw pick is the inanimate metal wire-tap. Trinity drops the bug out into the road where it slowly goes dark in the rain. Trinity takes Neo to Morpheus.

The interior is a place of putrefying elegance, a rotting host of urban maggotry. Trinity leads Neo from the stairwell down the hall. They stop outside room. Neo can hear his own heart pounding. Across the room, a dark figure stares out the tall windows veiled with decaying lace. He turns and his smile lights up the room. He wears a long black coat and his eyes are invisible behind circular mirrored glasses.

He strides to Neo and they shake hands. Morpheus nods to Trinity, she exits the room. They sit across from one another in cracked, burgundy-leather chairs. Morpheus explains that he's been searching for Neo his entire life and asks if Neo feels like "Alice in Wonderland, falling down the rabbit hole." A smile, razor-thin, curls the corner of Morpheus' lips.

He leans forward and explains to Neo that they exist in the Matrix, a false reality that has been constructed for humans to hide the truth. Again, that smile that could cut glass. Neo shakes his head. Morpheus continues that the truth is that everyone in the world is a slave, born into bondage. Neo locks at his eyes but only sees a reflection of himself. Morpheus holds out two pills.

The pills in his open hands are reflected in the glasses. In one palm is a blue pill. If Neo takes it, he will wake up in his bed, the story ends, and "believe whatever you want to believe." But if he takes the red pill in Morpheus' other palm, then "you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." Neo takes the red pill. Neo opens his mouth and swallows the red pill. The Cheshire smile returns and he instructs Neo to follow him.

Morpheus leads Neo into the other room, which is cramped with high-tech equipment, glowing ash-bliie and electric green from the racks of monitors. Trinity, Apoc and Cypher look up as they enter. Apoc and Trinity are working quickly, hardwiring a complex system of monitors, modules and drives. In the center of the room sits a chair.

Near the chair is an old oval dressing mirror that is cracked. Neo sits and Trinity begins gently fixing white electrode disks to his head, arms, and the back of his neck. Neo is told that pill he took is part of a trace program, to "disrupt his input/output carrier signal" so that they can pinpoint him. Sweat beads Neo's face.

His eyes blink and twitch when he notices the mirror. Wide-eyed he stares as it begins to heal itself, a webwork of cracks that slowly run together as though the mirror were becoming liquid. Cypher works with Apoc checking reams of phosphorescent data. Trinity monitors Neo's electric vital signs.

Neo reaches out to touch the mirror and his fingers disappear beneath the rippling surface. Quickly, he tries to pull his fingers out but the mirror stretches in long rubbery strands like mirrored-taffy stuck to his fingertips. The strands thin like rubber cement as he pulls away, until the fragile wisps of mirror thread break.

With the tinkling of glass, shimmering snowflakes of electric-blinking mercury fall, hit the ground, and fade. He looks at his hand; fingers distended into mirrored icicles that begin to melt rapidly, dripping, running like wax down his fingers, spreading across his palms where he sees his face reflected. The mirror gel seems to come to life, racing, crawling up his arms like hundreds of insects.

The mirror creeps up his neck as Neo begins to panic, tipping his head as though he were sinking into the mirror, trying to keep his mouth up. A high-pitched electric scream erupts -- It is a piercing shriek like a computer calling to another computer -- Neo's body arches in agony and we are pulled like we were pulled into his scream and swallowed by darkness.

Neo finds himself floating in a womb-red amnion. His body spasms, fighting against the thick gelatin. Metal tubes, surreal versions of hospital tubes, obscure his face. Other lines like IVs are connected to limbs and cover his genitals. He is struggling desperately now. Air bubbles into the Jell-O but does not break the surface. Pressing up, the surface distends, stretching like a red rubber cocoon.

Unable to breathe, he fights wildly to stand, clawing at the thinning elastic shroud -- Until it ruptures, a hole widening around his mouth as he sucks for air. Tearing himself free, he emerges from the cell. He is bald and naked, his body slick with gelatin. Dizzy, nauseous, he waits for his vision to focus.

He is standing in an oval capsule of clear alloy filled with red gelatin, the surface of which has solidified like curdled milk. The IVs in his arms are plugged into outlets that appear to be grafted to his flesh. He feels the weight of another cable and reaches to the back of his head where he finds an enormous coaxial plugged and locked into the base of his skull. He tries to pull it out but it would be easier to pull off a finger.

To either side he sees other tube-shaped pods filled with red gelatin; beneath the wax-like surface, pale and motionless, he sees other human beings. Fanning out in a circle, there are more. All connected to a center core, each capsule like a red, dimly glowing petal attached to a black metal stem. Above him, level after, level, the stem rises seemingly forever.

He moves to the foot of the capsule and looks out. The image assaults his mind. Towers of glowing petals spiral up to incomprehensible heights, disappearing down into a dim murk like an underwater abyss. His sight is blurred and warped, exaggerating the intensity of the vision. The sound of the Plant is like the sound of the ocean heard from inside the belly of Leviathan.

Suddenly from above, a machine drops directly in front of Neo. He swallows his scream as it seems to stare at him. It is almost insect-like in its design; beautiful housings of alloyed metal covering organic-like systems of hard and soft polymers. The menacing, hovering nurse robot grabs him by the throat. At the back of the neck, the cable lock spins and opens, disengaging.

The cable pulls itself free, a long clear plastic needle and cerebrum-chip slides from the anterior of Neols skull with an ooze of blood and spinal fluid. The other connective hoses snap free and snake away as Neo is flushed down a tube into an underground pool of filthy water. The pipe is a waste disposal system and Neo falls, sliding with the clot of gelatin.

Banking through pipe spirals and elbows, flushing up through grease traps clogged with cily clumps of cellulite. Neo begins to drown when he is suddenly snatched from the flow of waste. The metallic cable then lifts, pulling him up into the belly of the futuristic flying nachine, hovering inside the sewer main line. The metal harness opens and drops the half-conscious Neo onto the floor.

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