Most of us have heard of the cult classic movie, The Matrix. In this 1999 film, Keanu Reeves plays an everyday person who discovers he has extraordinary powers when he is plugged into a virtual world called The Matrix. The blockbuster success of this film spawned a thousand memes and even more parodies. Will the same cannot be said for Need for Speed?

Released in 2015, Need for Speed is a live-action adaptation of the classic video game of the same name. Based on the events that occurred in 1993 when the game was first released, Need for Speed follows high school junior Robert Pattinson as he deals with the stress of his parents’ divorce and struggles to become the best race car driver he can be. In this regard, he is inspired by the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who were both deeply involved in the creation of the first versions of Microsoft Windows.

The Matrix Meets The Roadrunner

You might not know it, but The Matrix and Need for Speed share a lot of similarities. For starters, they are both based on video games, which were first released in the early 1990s. Additionally, they both feature an over-the-top performance by one of our favorite Hollywood actors, namely Keanu Reeves and Robert Pattinson, respectively. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities between these two classics.

First, let’s discuss the main characters. In The Matrix, Keanu plays the role of Neo, a computer programmer who helps the world to understand the true nature of reality. After he is forced to leave the comfort of his office, Neo must brave the physical and digital world in order to save the ones he loves. Meanwhile, in Need for Speed, Robert plays the role of Jack, a high school junior who wants to be the best race car driver he can be. As the story begins, Jack is faced with the sudden and unexpected departure of his parents, who are in the process of getting a divorce.

This is the same situation that Neo encountered in The Matrix. At the start of that film, Neo is living in a house full of computer programmers who are trying to find the answers to the questions of life, the universe, and everything. When his friends turn against him and try to stop him from leaving, he goes on an epic road trip to save his friends and family.

Similarly, in Need for Speed, Jack is faced with the challenge of saving his family’s business from going bankrupt. He must defeat his arch-nemeses, including a tyrannical CEO played by a very young Kate Winslet. In order to do this, he embarks on a journey across the country, driving a variety of cars and using different racing techniques.

Although the situations are somewhat different, the characters’ journeys are very similar. Both heroes begin their journeys outside of their comfort zones and are faced with countless trials and tribulations along the way. As a result of their efforts, they are granted extraordinary abilities and, in the end, save the day. As in The Matrix, the film’s villains were unable to beat the hero on his own terms, and the underdog ultimately triumphed.

A Passion For Racing

Another significant similarity between The Matrix and Need for Speed is that both focus on the theme of competition. In fact, the very name of the movie points to this similarity as “need” is a word that is widely used in racing. This is no accident, as the two films’ directors are long-time motorsport enthusiasts who know exactly what they are doing when it comes to racing scenes. That being said, the racing in The Matrix takes place entirely in cyberspace, while that in Need for Speed occurs in the real world. This distinction is subtle yet meaningful, as the idea behind cybernetic racing is that it takes place in the “real” world but is influenced by (and, as a result, is a reflection of) the virtual world.

In The Matrix, we are first introduced to Neo’s quest for competition when he decides to enter a virtual competition called the Matrix Race. Although this may not seem like a standard racing competition to you, The Matrix is a movie that was made almost two decades ago, before the world knew what “virtual reality” or “cyberpunk” was. So, it was quite plausible that a movie about fighting for survival in a computer-generated world would include a virtual competition that reflects this world. In this way, this scene could be considered as the film’s own take on what it means to be a “cybernetic” racer and why this theme is so prevalent in the film.

A Few But Big Changes

Let’s take a quick look at some of the significant changes that Need for Speed made from the original game. First, the cars have changed a lot, not just in terms of styling but also in terms of performance. For example, the 1980s classic, the Volkswagen Golf, looks and drives completely differently than it did in the original game. This brings us to our next point.

The Game Genre Has Changed

One of the most significant changes that Need for Speed made from the original game is that it is no longer a traditional racing movie. Instead, the filmmakers took the opportunity to experiment with the genre and incorporate film techniques that don’t usually go together. As a result, while the action may follow a familiar pattern, it doesn’t quite feel like a traditional racing movie.

This is an important theme throughout the film, and it’s actually one that applies to the entire genre of racing movies. You see, the evolution of video games and the internet have opened up new possibilities for sports movies. In the past, the most exciting thing to watch on TV was the Super Bowl or the World Cup. These days, fans can follow the latest news and opinions about their favorite sports teams via social media. This has given rise to the “fan fiction” genre, where writers tell stories about the games and celebrities that they love.

Through this lens, you could look at Need for Speed as an attempt to bring the filmic techniques of today’s Hollywood cinema into the world of video games. The filmmakers wanted to make the game feel more “real” and give it that cinematic sheen that viewers can connect with. In doing so, they incorporated practical effects and stunt drivers who are well-known for their work in movies, like Mad Max and The Martian. This is a marked difference from the majority of previous racing movies, which were mostly driven by software engineers who happen to be good at racing cars.

The Evolution Of Social Media

If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re already aware of the influence that social media has on our lives. As a result of everything from Twitter to TikTok, the way we consume media has completely changed. This paradigm shift is most prominent in film when it comes to the way we experience stories. For example, if you love to watch movies at the theater, you will soon find yourself unable to escape the influence of social media, as there will be trailers and previews for upcoming films embedded in your news feeds.

The influence of social media on film is most visible in the way that film festivals have changed. Gone are the days when movies were selected based solely on their cinematic qualities. Today, movie attendees can also vote with their feet at film festivals, and they often choose to see movies that they have heard great things about via social media.

The Rise Of Online Hate

The video game industry has had a long history of controversial content, ranging from the overt sexism of the early ‘90s to the gruesomely violent games of today. However, with the rise of the online sphere and social media, this content has found a new platform and a new audience. While the games themselves may be targeted towards a young male audience, the people who play them are open to all demographics.

In this regard, online trolls have found a new way to express their hatred and anger towards certain groups of people. Through the use of “meme magic,” or the practice of using online memes to spread a certain message or cause, these people can gain a significant audience and, in some cases, even power. Because of this, it would be a mistake to underestimate the influence that these trolls can have.