So, I finally finished the Matrix again. It’s hard with the children. And I think DVD’s are actually not as convienent as VHS for stopping and starting.
Anyway, I still can’t get what is so motivating/compelling about this film. Could it be as visceral as the music (Rage Against the Machine could move anyone)? or is there some underlying theme that I’m not paying attention to, being wholly bedazzled by the awesome story and effects.
What do you think?
3 responses to ““I don’t know how this is going to end. . .””
Well… since no one else has said anything and I’m a fan of the Matrix, I’ll give some thoughts.
Some are of the opinion that the only people who can truly enjoy the Matrix series are computer programmers. I don’t know if that’s true, but I enjoy it and I am a computer programmer. I think just about all the other people I know who saw Reloaded and were willing to have lengthy discussions about whether the finale would have a matrix within a matrix (recursive matrices) or if Neo left part of himself in both the matrix and the real world at the same time… they were all computer programmers. Are you one? If not, maybe you could learn C or something. That might help you like the movie more. 😉
I do think there are a lot of underlying philosophical and religious themes. Some people see it very similar to the biblical narrative–especially after seeing the whole trilogy. Others see a lot of postmodern themes: ‘Which truth is really truth and does it matter if you can’t tell the difference?’, the question ‘What does it mean to be free?’, and ‘Can we be free as individuals or does it take a community?’, finding a balance between mechanism vs. humanity, etc.
However, it can be difficult to pull those themes out for various reasons. First of all, since there isn’t one simple cohesive ‘point’, a person can’t inherently tell what was intended by the creators (another postmodern aspect, I think). One of my co-workers once made the comment that there is nothing new in the Matrix. The Watchowski brothers are just really good at squishing together a whole lot of stuff from different genres.
Another reason is that if you just don’t enjoy the visual style and general ‘world’ of the Matrix for whatever reason, those things will just slip right by because you’ll have already moved onto another movie. You can’t enjoy ‘Office Space’ if you’ve never worked in an office. Same thing here, really.
Since this has turned out longer than I intended, I should probably stop now. I just have two more comments:
1. A viewing of “The Animatrix” in between movie 1 and 2 is necessary if you want to get more of those themes and a better feel for the conceptual styles behind the films.
2. Just because movie 3 was not well made doesn’t mean that we need to call it all crap. The story line needed to be ended and 2 and 3 should have just been combined into one 3 hour movie instead.
Let me clarify. I do love the Series, which is why I was trying, desperately, to see it again. what I can’t understand is why I like it so much.
your points are valid and I have to try not to intellectualize the experience because I don’t think I am that involved in the symbolism.
I dig the concept to its completion and I was one who was very captivated by the final installment. The ending was crisp and emotionally satisfying, to my mind.
I dig the world and its possibilities. And, of course, I have a few questions, things that were either unresolved in the writing/editing of the films or that I simply didn’t understand. Like in the first movie what is the meaning of “you’ve been down that road, neo. . . ?” I don’t get that and with the time spent on it it seems as though it should mean something.
In the second film, to my understanding, everyone attached to the matrix should have died when neo chose the “trinity” door or did I misunderstand the architect.
And what is neo and smith’s relationship to the matrix? Are the some sort of evolved being that was both “man and machine?” Did the source terminate neo with a “retrovirus” and this eradicate smith? And what is the source?
I like the series. I don’t know why. And no, I’m not a programmer. I teach writing. and chase my kids.
Yeah, that’s cool. I must have misunderstood you and gotten the impression that you weren’t really all that sure about whether or not you liked it. I’m glad you do!
Here’s some of my thoughts on each of your questions:
When Trinity says “You’ve been down that road Neo” she could be referring to him deciding to turn away from people… like giving up on past relationships or journeys with them. At the time we meet him, he’s a pretty lonely and reclusive person. Not sure.
When I first saw the 2nd movie, I also thought that when Neo decided on Trinity that it meant all the people in the Matrix would die. I think now that the Architect was simply misunderstanding what “destruction of the Matix” would mean.
Since he deals in probabilities and the probability that Neo would succeed with saving all the people and ending the Matrix system in a peaceful way was virtually impossible, he could only see the ‘destruction of the Matrix’ as an event where machines would still be in total control but because of human stupidity (choice) they’d destroyed their only chance at living whatever meager existence the machines allowed them to carry on. Ultimately his choice did bring about the ‘destruction of the Matrix’, but not in the negative way the Architect thought it would occur.
Here’s how I see the end of the series:
I do think that Neo and Smith are some sort of new thing that can exist both as machines and humans. I also think the two were supposed to be complete opposites as well. Neo was man/machine being that chose to live and create, and despite how much he fought for his own right to life and freedom, ultimately he saw the path to achieve that life and freedom for all others would require he give up his own.
Smith was a machine/man that resembled a computer virus. All of his will and power was bent toward himself and the destruction of all else. His sole purpose for existence was to replicate himself and gain mastery over all life that existed (either machine or human).
Smith achieved a certain level of this mastery within the world of the Matrix. All people and even the oracle had been taken over by him, but he couldn’t do the same to Neo as long as Neo chose not to let him. Neither could ‘kill’ the other within the world of the Matrix because both could exist ‘outside’ the limitations of that fake world and manipulate it as they saw fit.
Then, when the stalemate battle occurred, Neo could ‘see beyond’ the decision he was about to make but Smith couldn’t. Neo chose to let Smith take him over. Then, Neo chose to end his own life. Because he’d been completely fused with Smith, ending his own life also caused Smith’s existence to end. He understood that was the only way he could destroy Smith, so he allowed himself to be ‘absorbed’ into Smith’s being for that purpose. I don’t think it was the source (which is perhaps just a simple term for the seat of power in the machine society) that eradicated them both, I think it was Neo’s choice to end his life for the sake of all other life.
hmm… what do you think?