The Matrix: Revisited

May 21, 15:48 by John Frost
Comments on Irina's discussion of The Matrix.
May 21, 19:09 by Thomas Reeves
She's right I think. I thought of this in the first movie, which I wasn't that impressed with to start, then watching the later ones at insistence of a friend it figured. The Oracle is really the center of the film. She's certainly far more interesting than the others and even the people I know who liked the films agree. By the end of the third she's kind of been the behind the scenes person to everything. I don't think Jesus is quite right though. She may be more like the Old Testament God or Confucius. Confucius in that she's the source and following her logic their new civilization forms. More like the Old Testament God in that she tells people where to wander, what to do, and then largely lets them figure out the rest. Even the transformation could be like Old to New Testament religion.

And yet...Like her I'm a bit flip at analyzing it that much. There is something intensely unpleasant in it. In the first film they say that people who die in the Matrix die. Yet they also say it's unreal so Keanu can and even must kill as many civilians as necessary to achieve his ends. As mentioned when the original came out that's more like a ramped up version of the ubermenschen philosophy than Christianity or Buddhism. Although I don't think it inspired Columbine I am almost surprised, and obviously pleased, it didn't percolate in the demented mind of some potential mass shooter.
May 21, 20:31 by Chris Dodson
A brief aside: It's weird that we both mentioned The Matrix and Columbine at the exact same time on separate threads. Seems like we did something similar at the Asimov's board awhile back.
May 22, 22:07 by Simon Owens
That was an interesting article, I felt myself pulled into it. Not only did it touch on some of my own thoughts on the Matrix, but also pointed out some things I didn't notice, for instance, the Oracle's reference to love when Neo assumes that he isn't the One in the first one, and then later he comes back to life because Trinity figured out she was in love with him. I didn't make that connection before.

Like you, I agree that they were bad movies, but you've pointed out that they are at least noble failures, if nothing else.
May 23, 23:09 by Irina Khadiz
I don't think Jesus is quite right though. She may be more like the Old Testament God or Confucius. Confucius in that she's the source and following her logic their new civilization forms. More like the Old Testament God in that she tells people where to wander, what to do, and then largely lets them figure out the rest. Even the transformation could be like Old to New Testament religion.


I'm glad you're thinking about this, Camden. I do think, however, that the Old Testament God -- the wrathful one -- was played by The Architect. Man in a white beard, etc. etc. Not a lot of sympathy for the imperfections of humanity. Thus the need for a human mediator, which in the Matrix was the Oracle (although, she was technically a program, she was more human, certainly, than Neo), and in Christianity is Jesus. I am afraid I don't really know enough about Confucianism to comment; a blank spot in my education.

Speaking of poor Keanu as the robotic Neo, I have heard some very distressing rumors. I hope I have this wrong:

I have heard that Keanu Reeves has been cast as John Constantine (ack!) in an upcoming film, and that this John Constantine will be American (double ack!). There is no way Reeves can do Constantine; and there's no way Constantine can be from anywhere but London. It simply isn't permitted.
May 25, 13:09 by David Gardner
Irina,
Very nice article, extremely well thought out.
David
May 25, 22:46 by Melinda Stanners
That's some really good analysis, Irina, I really hadn't thought too hard about the Saviour Complex in the film until you brought it up. Well, the role of the Oracle as saviour, anyway... I feel that my understanding has been broadened. Also, the article was clearly written, and followed a logical plan. Well done - you've obviously done quite a bit of work for this piece, and that's something I like to see (I'm a researcher, myself). Excellent article, Irina!
May 29, 19:01 by Irina Khadiz
Thanks David, Mindles. Is that supposed to be Mindless by the way? I hope not!

Jun 16, 12:19 by Michael Kirchner
May I ask Why?
I never had the feeling that I understood what was basically going on in the movie (apart from cool leather and lots of guns) but there certainly is the feeling of big things ahead to happen. On the other hand everyone in the movie seems to have a different idea on Why he does it (apart from Neo, who has no clue): The last stand on mankind, The smell, The battery-idea, Love, The n-th restart. Same with the oracle but she never comments on her reasons. This puts her in the position of seeming victorious in the end. So even if she is the savior, Why does she do it?



Jun 16, 12:30 by Irina Khadiz
So even if she is the savior, Why does she do it?


Obviously, we are speculating about a work of fiction that may have no other 'why' than that the story wouldn't have taken place otherwise.

However, I think you can infer a 'why' from the fact that the Oracle is both of the machine world and of the human world: she is "an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche." Thus, infused with human intuition, and yet still an artificial intelligence, the Oracle has one foot in both camps. It is her nature to seek a reconciliation of the two, rather than this cycle of destruction and renewal in which human and machine are eternal enemies.

That's my take, anyway. You are welcome to have your own take!
Jun 22, 02:37 by Michael Kirchner
Obviously, we are speculating about a work of fiction that may have no other 'why' than that the story wouldn't have taken place otherwise.


Hm. Yes. 'She does it because it is her nature to do it.' is quite a good explanation within the context of the three movies.

Anyway, I will rather stay quiet on any guesses of my own. It may also be that I am too spoilt with Dickesque plots to really trust any of the realities in the movie.
Jun 22, 13:17 by David Kawalec
I found that I was alone in my conclusion that it was the worst kind of garbage: the kind that purports to be Important Art.


I agree. This is a series of films unworthy certainly of my $8, let alone the amount of time and thought you put into this piece. Your analysis gives the W. Bros. more credit than they deserve and attributes to the films a depth that quite simply doesn't exist.

The entire series was built over a series of large, nasty plot holes that not only set the films off plumb and level, but cracked their entire foundation.

As the story goes, humanity detonated nuclear devices making lots of Really Dark Clouds. Could the machines use another energy source? Wind power? Hydro-electric power? Nuclear power? The machines have big digging robots. Maybe they could dig really close to the Earth's core and use the geothermal heat.

No. Those would all be too easy. They just had to turn people into batteries. Never mind the inefficiency, the cost, the expenditure of energy to build the "Power From the People" infrastructure. These are vindictive friggin' machines and they HAVE TO TURN PEOPLE INTO BATTERIES.

What?!?

So, let's say you buy into the 'people are batteries' thing for whatever reason. People HAVE TO BE batteries and in order for that to work, the machines need The Matrix and in order for that to work, they need an error handler subroutine to take care of the few rogues who reject The Matrix and the solution to that is ...

Create an underground haven for people who are ejected from The Matrix to live in so they can plot the destruction of the machines. Then every hundred years or so, fight a costly and inefficient war to kill them just so you can start all over again.

My error handler goes like this:
- Neo takes the pill
- He wakes up in his little pod
- The robot unscrews the wire on the back of his head
- The pod flushes Neo into a food processor and he is instantly chopped into mush

Let's for the sake of a movie plot say that Neo takes the pill and lives. Now, wouldn't it make more sense for the machines to just have a remote control for Zion's life support system? No squadron's of squiddies. Just every hundred years or so -- CLICK. Wait about fifteen minutes. Woo hoo! The machines win the war! Again.

People argue that without these plot holes, there would be no movies. I argue that because of the plot holes, the movies amount to nothing.

I take that back. At least now we can have "Bullet Time" in potato chip commercials! Thank The Oracle!
Sep 12, 16:53 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Here is another plot hole I could not ignore or forgive:
If Zion is rebuilt from a very small genetic pool, why is there racial differention?
Sep 12, 20:35 by Bluejack
Good point!
Jan 7, 21:44 by Dave Harland
Good article, but I think comparing to the Christian mythology misses the mark a bit. The theme is far more akin to neo-Manichean Gnosticism. The story appears to be very similar to that of David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus, a philosophical book in a vaguely sci-fi/fantasy setting. Many of the themes are the same, the dualism, the protagonist "wading through blood" to discover truth and his place in the universe, and the ultimate reconcilliation through the agent of an outside power.

The parallels to that sort of neo-Manichaeism or Platonist dualism are so strong, and grossly oversimplified, that when the first movie came out, it was reviled by the intelligensia as "bargain-basement Gnosticism".
   

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