Cover Story

Caught in 'The Matrix'

Plug into the year's most-anticipated movie with EW's primer: Get a refresher on the first flick and then meet the coolest new characters in this excerpt from Entertainment Weekly's April 18, 2003, cover story

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, ... | ORIGINAL GANGSTAS Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) gear up
ORIGINAL GANGSTAS Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) gear up

When was the last time you actually watched ''The Matrix''? We're guessing it's been a while. And let's face it -- if you were anything like a goodly number of our nation's college students, you probably saw it, uh, altered. (Suffice it to say that experience adds a whole new layer of meaning to all those whoas.) So for the purposes of memory refreshment, upload this data file to your cortex. You may not know kung fu, but you'll be ready for ''The Matrix Reloaded.''

-- The story so far: In the future, machines have enslaved human beings, growing them in pods to harness their bioelectric energy as a power source. To keep human brains active and happy, everyone is plugged into the Matrix, an artificial reality that looks just like the present day. A few intrepid souls have escaped and live in the last human city of Zion, where they launch attacks against the machines and try to liberate powerful hackers. ''The Matrix'' follows Morpheus' quest to find the leader who will head up the revolt against the machines and free the humans. He finds him in Neo (Keanu Reeves), a computer freak who turns out to be the most powerful person in the digital world.

-- After evolving into ''The One'' at the end of the first movie, Neo is now all-powerful within the Matrix. He can fly. He can stop bullets. He can defeat scores of bad guys single-handedly. And he'll have to, considering that the evil Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and his digital goons are on his trail.

-- Having fulfilled his destiny by finding Neo, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), captain of the rebel ship Nebuchadnezzar, will now act as a general in the antimachine army. A very important general, obviously.

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