• Ellis & Gareth

Scene Standoff: Pulp Fiction vs. The Matrix

Mia and Vincent's dance to 'You never can tell' in 'Pulp Fiction' vs. the moment that Neo realises the extent of his power when he stops bullets in 'The Matrix'.

If you've clicked on this wondering what's going on, then click on the link here to read the rules of the Scene Standoff: https://www.focusfilms.online/post/scene-standoff-lion-king-vs-grease

The diner dance - Pulp Fiction

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) has been given a job to do for the evening. Keep his boss' wife, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) entertained for an evening. They go to Jack Rabbit Slim's and there Mia is insistent that they enter the dance competition. What happens after is a masterclass in acting chemistry.

- Ellis' scene


Neo stops bullets - The Matrix

Neo (Keanu Reeves) is just starting to discover the extent of his powers. And in a moment where he's being chased down, and it seems there's no way out, he stops the bullets being fired at him. We see a level of wonder in Neo's face and although it slows the pace down, it all feels very triumphant.

- Gareth's scene

Ellis - italics

Gareth - bold


PERFORMANCE

I cannot fault the performance of John Travolta and Uma Thurman in this dance scene. The moves get more awkward as the dance goes on which I think is very authentic.


The Matrix scene is quite clever, the visuals are pretty cool!


And sometimes you can't beat a bit of Keanu Reeves.


The performance isn't that amazing though.


PULP FICTION - 10/10 THE MATRIX - 7/10

NECESSITY

It shows Neo's power in this Matrix scene.


He's experimenting isn't he! So it's very important!


In Pulp Fiction, it's necessary for different reasons. If you don't have that scene then you don't have the relationship built between Mia and Vincent.


It's not full marks because the film works without the scene.


PULP FICTION - 7/10 THE MATRIX - 8/10


REFERENCABILITY

People do reference the moves in the Pulp Fiction diner scene. The outfits are often replicated for fancy dress too.


I may do those moves but I don't think I'm referencing Pulp Fiction.


Or maybe you are without knowing it.


Maybe! And The Matrix when it came out, people were referencing it and doing slo-mo fights. Maybe not so much now.


PULP FICTION - 6/10 THE MATRIX - 6/10


POPULARITY (using Letterboxd for reference)

Pulp Fiction gets a 4.3.


The Matrix is a 4.1.


It's a close call then.


Very close! I thought you'd pip it though.


PULP FICTION - 4.3 THE MATRIX - 4.1


ICONIC RATING

On a scale of types of dance, how iconic are these scenes?


I'm going with breakdance. It's a similar dance to the moves that Neo does and it's pretty iconic.


Well for Pulp Fiction I'll give a waltz. Because in a waltz the chemistry is pivotal for the dance. The same can be said for this scene with Thurman and Travolta.


PULP FICTION - waltz THE MATRIX - breakdance

THE FINAL STANDOFF

Pulp Fiction 3-1 The Matrix

Quentin Tarantino now has two entries in the second round of the Scene Standoff. This film pushed Tarantino into the forefront of people's minds in the 90's. And this scene was one of many that stuck with many after watching. Using Travolta's dancing background and mixing it with the cool style of Uma Thurman was a recipe for true movie magic.


The Matrix is often referenced incorrectly and perhaps that has played into its loss here. For example the iconic Matrix theme that we all know and love doesn't appear in this scene, and in this scene Neo doesn't perform the back bending move that we associate with the character. All of those moments are spread across the trilogy.


Current Standings: G - 8 E - 14


STILL TO COME:

10 more iconic movie scenes will do battle next week. And that will see an end to the first round of Scene Standoffs. Be here next Wednesday to see the final 5 battles!

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Pulp Fiction available on Netflix

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