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This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of The Wachowskis' existential sci-fi masterpiece, The Matrix, and we can't believe it's already been two decades since we dove down that nightmarish cyberspace rabbit hole.
Warner Brothers' revolutionary movie ushered in a brave new Hollywood era of sophisticated science fiction fare that would be emulated and imitated for years to come, and many of its elemental scenes, bullet-time SFX, and iconic lines have become pure pop culture candy. Whoa!
Whether you'd choose the red pill or the blue pill, you'll appreciate this kinetic collection of amateur fan films from around the globe that were inspired by the seminal Matrix series and the extended universe it gave birth to.
Kick off the big birthday celebration with these nine no-budget mini-movies, all injected with black leather, simulated realities, red-eyed sentinels, and buckets of bullets, then tell us which of them can truly be deemed "The One."
09. Glitches (2014)
Take a peek at this little gem of a fan film that focuses solely on the notion of strange and subtle aberrations observed by a young girl that makes her question her reality. It's a true grassroots production perhaps filmed on a single afternoon, directed by Carlos Diaz, and starring his suburban family. Unsettling and effective using a simple concentrated concept and leaving one wanting more.
08. The Matrix Final Battle (2016)
This zero-budget effort proves that fans can make a super short with an interpretation of a particular scene instead of attempting to tackle an entire story. Directed by Ammour Nadir, this quickie depicts a final confrontation between Neo and Agent Smith after the destruction of a lethal gun turret. Interesting use of SFX in a gritty railroad location give this fan film a down-and-dirty appeal.
07. The Muppet Matrix (2006)
Everything's better when you add Muppets, especially The Matrix. This humorous short adds Jim Henson's crazy clan to the bleak sci-fi landscape of Neo's world. It was created 13 years ago by three students enrolled in an Intro to 3D Modeling class at the ITT Technical Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. Watching it will make you seriously yearn for an actual Hollywood crossover production mashing up these two beloved properties. Hey, it could happen!
06. The Rise Of Smith (2018)
Behold the BTS machinations in this trailer for a The Matrix prequel set before the events of the original trilogy which follows Agent Smith's mysterious backstory and how the character became the head of the Agents. Directed by brothers Chase and Cane Armitage and starring a dedicated group of industry stunt pros, this short trailer (seen at the end) displays some slick cinematography and thrilling stunt choreography that could trigger a longer production based on its numerous merits.
05. Matrix Salvation (2013)
Step inside this intriguing Spanish fan film from director Miguel Carrion where two female "agents" are on the hunt for an anomaly named Cora. Nails a specific tone necessary for anyone attempting to create a cheap tribute project for The Wachowskis' cyber wonderland, with a capable female-led cast invested in the material and a twist ending that satisfies.
04. Trickster (2014)
This impressive little live-action short from Columbia was written and directed by Felix Joleanes. It stars Bridgette Hernandez as a downed resistance pilot playing hide and seek against a ruthless Sentinel stalker. Made for a minuscule amount of cash, it demonstrates many of the desirable hallmarks of amateur, not-for-profit tributes with a concentrated story and a definitive feel for the style and tone of the original source material.
03. The Matrix 4: Rebooted Fan Trailer (2017)
Here's a brilliant concept fan trailer for a potential The Matrix 4 feature film that perfectly captures the spirit and style of the original trilogy. It's directed and composed by Alex Luthor and utilizes clips from Equilibrium, John Wick, Lucy, Doctor Strange, Inception, and Edge of Tomorrow. Does this look like what you'd expect from a new Matrix flick if and when the franchise gets rebooted?
02. What If The Matrix Starred Will Smith? (2017)
Check out this fun mashup that imagines Will Smith as Neo instead of Keanu Reeves, which could have actually become a reality if the Fresh Prince hadn't originally turned down the role in one of the most famous cases of "what if?" Watch Smith become inserted into The Matrix in a seamless integration of clips from a group of Smith movies including Bad Boys, I Am Legend, Men in Black, I, Robot, and others. Would he have made a better Neo than Keanu?
01. Kaydara (2011)
This ambitious French fan film combines stop-motion, live-action, and CGI in a compelling tale about two brothers living separately from the Human Resistance Group who reject the prophecy of The One and aim to take down Neo. It's directed with a raw grind house appeal by filmmakers Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard with exacting detail, stirring music, and convincing performances from its talented Euro cast. With so much conviction and smooth execution, how could it not take home the gold?