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What if the Matrix was shot in the era of silent film?

By Shamus
on Saturday Dec 5, 2009
Filed under:


Actually, the title of the movie is, “What if Matrix was shot in the silent films’ era”, a mangled phrase which irritated me until I realized that the people who made the movie are Russian. Their English is better than my Russian, so I can’t be the one to cast the first stone here.

Link (YouTube)

They did an amazing job of capturing the aesthetic and rhythm of those old films.

The answer to the question posed in the title seems to be, “If The Matrix had been made in the era of silent film, it would have sucked. But it still would have been better than either of the sequels.”

Comments (32)

  1. pHonta says:

    Going out on a limb here, but shouldn’t the title be, …era of silent filmS? Not sure, ofc, not being a native english speaker myself. Also, what’s wrong about their “original” title, apart from the sound of it?

    Apart from that grammar/naziing crap, grrreat answer to their question!

  2. Ironhand says:

    Actually, it should read “What if the Matrix WERE shot…”.

    But I’m more than willing to overlook their grammar.
    Very funny.

  3. neothoron says:

    I call BS. There would never have been a black skinned mentor in that era. Except if it was to teach jazz.

  4. UtopiaV1 says:

    Okay, now i have OFFICIALLY seen everything.

    Oh, and btw, the matrix NEVER HAD ANY SEQUELS, okay? Don’t tell me otherwise, I don’t want to have to go to therapy again…

  5. Henebry says:

    If you want to go subjunctive, Ironhand, you need to use the past subjunctive, not the present: “What if the Matrix had been shot etc.” After all, this is a speculation about an alternative past, not an alternative present.

    The funny thing about this postmodern mashup is that it makes me long for the whimsy of Keaton and Chaplin. The Matrix was all green-screen and wirefighting. Wonderful, but consider: Chaplin and Keaton really performed their stunts.

  6. Mephane says:

    Maybe it is just me, but I don’t like these kind of silent films at all. They don’t amuse me in any way. To me, they all look like they are the movie and the parody of the movie at the same time, which becomes kind of silly when a whole era of film-making does this and only this.

  7. Telas says:

    UtopiaV1: Thank you for recognizing that there are no Matrix sequels, just like there are no Highlander sequels.

    “There can be only one…”

  8. RPharazon says:

    Oh man, this brings back memories of my time taking Russian classes to fill up my high school and college course requirements.

    All the grammar errors are consistent with Russian, and sometimes just generally with languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet. For example, once or twice the subtitles use a Y instead of a U, since a y-like character is used as a U sound in Cyrillic.

    But the movie was very nice overall. Now my brain hurts.

  9. STV says:

    It’s not “Their English”. The guy who translated this is from US.

  10. kjones says:

    Smithes! You’re all scoundrels!


  11. Talby says:

    That was a million times more entertaining than both the Matrix sequels combined.

  12. Magnus says:

    @UtopiaVI/Telas: I agree. See also: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Discontinuity/Film and http://xkcd.com/566/

    I enjoyed it immensely. I only wish it were 60 minutes instead of 6.

  13. Helgi says:

    I actually like the Matrix sequels. Sure, they aren’t nearly as good as the first movie but I like them.

  14. Boolean says:

    I grew up as much on Charlie Chaplin-era films as on contemporary ones for my time, and so I really got a kick out of this. It was well done, and captures the era’s feel well.

  15. Ingvar says:

    “The silent films’ era” is at least consistent with Swedish (“stumfilmseran”, “stum” is silent/unable-to-speak, “films” is possessive singular or uncountable noun of “film” and “eran” is definite singular of ‘era’) and I’d not be in the LEAST surprised if the same is true of Russian.

  16. Dev Null says:

    If The Matrix had been made in the era of silent film, it would have sucked.

    Whattaya mean? That was awesome! Loved the pie-dodging scene!

    I think the moral of the story is, the Matrix was a fine movie, its just that it only had about six and a half minutes worth of plot wedged in amongst the special effects…

  17. Caffiene says:

    @pHonta: Both “film” and “films” are probably fine.

    When “a film” is used to mean an entire movie it could be pluralised as “films”, but the origin of “a film” is the media it is recorded on: Film. And that form of film doesnt get pluralised – if you add more film, you still have film.

  18. Zak McKracken says:

    I’m no native speaker either, but it would seem to me that the title is quite correct.
    It’s the same construction as in “A Hard Day’s Night”, only “films” is plural and already has an “s”, so it’s “the silent films’ era”. Otherwise it would be “the silent film’s era”.

    But maybe that’s not how people are talking on your side of the big water… ?

  19. Lanthanide says:

    The Matrix Reloaded isn’t that bad, really. It could have been better, but it wasn’t the stinkfest people make it out to be. Matrix Revolutions on the other hand…

    “Hey, lets make a Matrix movie where the Matrix only takes up about 10% of the running time…”

  20. Lord of Rapture says:

    Is it just me, or did they use Charlie Chaplin films to make this video?

  21. Sam says:

    That was…strange…I can’t think of another way to describe that video.

  22. DungeonHamster says:

    “silent films’ era” seems to me correct. Although I agree that “era of silent film” rolls more readily of the tongue, I don’t see any reason that possessive noun wouldn’t work just as well as a prepositional phrase for grammatical purposes.

    All that aside, I liked it, particularly the pie-dodging, but I don’t think I would like to see a full-length version of it.

  23. DocTwisted says:

    I’ll set the grammar debate aside and say…

    …what this REALLY is, is a homage to Charlie Chaplin’s best known films, with the Matrix script loosely used.

    I think it’s awesome.

  24. mixmastermind says:

    It’s not Russia’s fault they don’t have the word “the”.

    Well, it’s kind of their fault.

  25. Zaxares says:

    Could somebody explain to me exactly why so many people seem to loathe the two Matrix sequels? I have to say that Matrix: Reloaded was my personal favourite of the three. Revolutions was getting over the top (and into DBZ-esque territory), but it still wasn’t BAD. Was it?

  26. Joe Cool says:

    Great musical choices for that video. I tried to name as many as I could. Definitely noticed the Cascades Rag, Crush Collision March, and 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. There were a couple others I recognized but can’t name.

    P.S. Laugh tracks suck.

  27. ephant says:

    I liked Reloaded so much more than the first movie. I really hated the first movie (I thought it was a fairly poor and predictable execution of a premise that wasn’t nearly as shocking as they made it out to be. Yawn, heard this story. Actually I kind of liked the second half of the movie where they ran out of plot and just started to shoot things) and I only saw the second one in theatres out of some sort of hope that it would be more like the second half of the first movie. I was not disappointed, and was extremely well entertained.

  28. nilus says:

    I think the Matrix was pretty ground breaking. It was an attempt to cram a heady art house movie into a Chop Socky Kung-Fu flick. I think the sequels suffered because what was a revolution when the Matrix came out was overdone by the time the sequels came out. That and the W brothers decided to add even more heady ness without an equal amount of chop socky. Neither are really bad movies imo, but neither were as shockingly original(while at the same time being really a knock off on so many things) as the first.

  29. TObias says:

    Hmm, from what I get, this was made for Ukranian television and the translator/uploader appears to be a Russian/Ukranian expat.

    It’s hugely funny, especially heavy usage of pie for just about any conflict. It seems people were really obsessed with pies at the time. Makes you wonder why they didn’t fight WW I + II with pies, that would have been a lot nicer.

  30. […] Shamus Young (upon whose blog I found this gem) put it, “If The Matrix had been made in the era of silent film, it would […]

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  1. […] Shamus Young (upon whose blog I found this gem) put it, “If The Matrix had been made in the era of silent film, it would […]

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