Sunday, June 29, 2003
Neo flies in the Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix: Reloaded, Decoded

Is Neo in a Cult? Are You?

The tragedy of The Matrix Reloaded is not only that it           abandons the savior motif it so obviously advertised in the first           film for a bait and switch, but also that the product delivered           in the sequel is not even good old Hinduism or Buddhism—or even           relativism for that matter—but a vapid and reheated heresy packaged           in a smart business suit and sold at a price in a hotel conference           room.

By the brothers ::: philms ::: (63) Comments ::: Read the whole thing

Comments

51

Bullpup—Let me put it this way: Neo thinks he’s a human being with an independent physical existence, but also able to have a virtual existence within the Matrix.

The Matrix computers think he’s a program.

Which is right, and how do you know?

Shanny—

Glad you like the discussion :)  That’s probably why we’re all here.  Agent Smith is aligned with the machines, ultimately, so I think that’s the reason the person whose consciousness he appropriated was left alive during the attack on the ships defending Zion. 

I suspect he essentially wants control of the Matrix, and theoretically he should be able to continue replicating himself until the whole thing is Him.  This would align his interests with the machines against Zion when Zion is trying to destroy the Matrix, but it would also put him in a power struggle with the mainframe.  When his character wakes up, I suspect he’ll just continue working against Zion and Neo—if Neo isn’t able to recognize him—as much as he can get away with it.

I’m not terribly comfortable with those lists of associations, though.  I don’t see the Oracle, for example, as being “God”—her name and function implies a more prophetic alignment.  Morpheus was the “god of the dreamworld” in Greek mythology, so I’m not sure he should be aligned with “reality.”

I suspect many of these questions will be answered in the third installment, but I also suspect a lot will remain.  That third film, in my opinion, will really show up the WB’s creative abilities and limitations, and the depth of their understanding of the issues they have raised.

Jim

Posted by Jim Rovira on 30 Jul 03 at 03:34 PM
52

When all is said and done, you still won’t know. But given the legacy of the first film (which left you leaving the theater curious about your own existance). I would guess that when all is said and done, they would like you to still wonder.  There is a big biblical play, but once again it only works if everything weve seen so far is in the matrix. The oracle would in fact be Jesus, the Architect would be God, and Smith would be Lucifer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 04:23 PM
53

Morpheus and Neo combined would be a Moses. So “Let my people go”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 04:25 PM
54

Jim -
Oh, I didn’t mean to associate the characters with that list of “themes” in exactly that way, my fault.  Let me put it another way:  many of the characters Neo encounters represent challenges or questions to Neo on one way or another.  The Big Interactions and Conversations he has with them represent a challenge presented to Neo and a theme in the movie.  When he talks with Morpheus, I don’t mean to imply that Morpheus represented Reality in the movie, but that Morpheus’s character was always bringing up the nature of reality vs. dreams and consciousness with Neo, lots of what Morpheus says to Neo reflects his character’s role to challenge Neo in that way….but on that note, Morpheus is also aligned with the religious/faith/God theme of the movie, as he also talks a lot about his complete faith in The Oracle and the Prophecies, and don’t forget (how could you??) his big Sermon on the Rock…that was a crazy nutty scene, eh?  In the dance/rave/(orgy??) that followed, I wasn’t sure if I was watching a car commercial or something (take a look at some recent car ads or Adult Drink ads if you don’t know what I mean!)
Also, I don’t think The Oracle herself is meant to BE God - but she reflects the role of a High Priestess, maybe, with a direct line to a god…whether that’s the Architect, or something/someone else.  I mean, she really does predict things that really do come true, as you said, Jim…how??  She knows Neo’s dreams, she knows who Trinity will fall in love with, she knows Neo’s smallest movements to come (shen he broke the vase in first one).
Either she does have a link to a supernatural source that allows her to know all of this, OR all the boys and girls are still in the Matrix even in Zion…that’s all I can come up with, anyway.  Which was why I asked originally, are Morpheus and Trinity, etc., programs designed to find and court Neo respectively, to bring him to the Architect??

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 04:33 PM
55

Um, me again, sorry….I mean to finish up my thread of thought in response to Jim.  ;)
SOOO…I mean that Smith brings out the question of Purpose to Neo, the Merovingian brings out the question of Choice and Consequenses, Trinity brings Neo to Love, and that Purpose, Choice, Love, and again, Religion, Reality, etc. are central themes in this movie.  My friend and I were trying to think out all the Main Ideas (sorry about my random use of capitals, I’m channeling A.A. Milne.  I’m a preschool teacher, can’t help it!) of the movies, and there are so many at different times, coming through in different ways, presented by different characters.  Does that make more sense?  Phew!!  ;)
-Shanny

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 04:39 PM
56

I think ther is a bigger questions, and that you are purposely led away from it from the beginning of the first movie, and that you will come back to it at the very end of the story. I think you will find they have always been in the matrix, even in Zion, but the question remains “What is the matrix?” It may end up being as the story had lead you to beleave, but it could also be any number of different things, a video game such as Tron (high tech sequeal due out next year), it can be a dream (links awaking), it could be a simulation (skewed version of total recall), it could be a computer virus (t3 rise of the machines), it could be almost anything.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 05:01 PM
57

Ok…that makes more sense, Shanny. 

I would say about this:

“She knows Neo’s dreams, she knows who Trinity will fall in love with, she knows Neo’s smallest movements to come (shen he broke the vase in first one).”

that even in the first movie she brought up the question: “would you still have broken the vase if I hadn’t said anything?” 

I think she’s working as a “guide” and some of her predictions are self-fulfilling, designed to serve the needs of the system.  Her goal was met when Neo confronted the Architect and was given the option to integrate with the mainframe—but Neo didn’t buy it.  I wonder what role, if any, she will play in the third movie?  I think humans need to get a bit proactive and start calling shots. 

Neo, in the second movie, was sitting around wondering what to do next, and didn’t move until he was told what to do.  I think he’s going to learn to do some telling himself in that third movie.

So I’d say the Oracle wouldn’t be Jesus—that’s Neo’s role.  I think she’s become irrelevant by the end of the second movie.  If you can’t trust her prophecies, what good is she?  The Architect is playing the God position, but that’s being threatened.  Smith, yeah—either Lucifer or the antiChrist. 

Jim

Posted by Jim Rovira on 30 Jul 03 at 05:03 PM
58

Bullpup—if the WB’s go any of these routes

“I think you will find they have always been in the matrix, even in Zion, but the question remains “What is the matrix?” It may end up being as the story had lead you to beleave, but it could also be any number of different things, a video game such as Tron (high tech sequeal due out next year), it can be a dream (links awaking), it could be a simulation (skewed version of total recall), it could be a computer virus (t3 rise of the machines), it could be almost anything.”

They’ll never be anything but adolescent comic book hacks in my book :). 

I lean away from Zion being part of the Matrix, but don’t exclude that as a possibility.

Jim

Posted by Jim Rovira on 30 Jul 03 at 05:05 PM
59

It could be read as the ten commandment (the Chuck Heston version) With the archetect being Pharo Neo/Morpheus as Moses. And the matrix as God or Existance. Neo /Morpheus wouldnt really be fighting to leave the matrix, (because its all the matrix) but would be fighting for freedom from the architect control.  I don’t know i’m getting a headache.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 05:11 PM
60

Shanny brings up a point that was my first idea when I saw Reloaded: themes. The first film had us walking around going ‘Do I exist?’ ‘Does anything exist?’ ‘How do I know?’. The question of the first film is ‘What is reality?’ In the second one there was all this talk of causality and choice. So Reloaded’s question is ‘What is free-will?’ There is a stream of thought there, which might give us clues as to what Revolutions will be like. There are three levels to every question: What, Why, and Where. What is eating? Why do we eat? Where do we eat? “What is reality?” “Why are we here (to fulfill some divine destiny or to carve out our own future? Destiny or choice?)” The third one thus falls into “Where is reality?” I think that the entire focus of Revolutions will be on answering the questions between the relationship of Zion, The Matrix, and the real world.
Seeing the preview of Revolutions after the credits, we saw that Neo will fight Smith in some street deserted, except for the hordes of Smiths. We also know that those security exo-suits in Zion will get to go into action. So we know that Zion will be attacked and we can assume that the ultimate battle will be between Neo and Smith. What if ‘The Matrix’ exists in two parts independant of each other, but still one program: Zion and The Machines. What if the Architect runs the Machines, not the actual Matrix? I’m thinking that Revolutions will be the final struggle between Zion and the Machines for control of the Matrix, once the nature of their relationship is established.

Jim-
You should watch ‘Unbreakable’. I think that comics have been keeping alive artistic romanticism while the rest of pop culture has been taking a cynical nose dive away from imagination. Imagination, according to the poet Coleridge, is ‘a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite’. In more religious terms: ‘the attempt by man to repeat the act of creation performed by God’. There’s a book you might want to read called ‘The Sleep of Reason’ by Derek Jarrett which discusses this idea more fully.

-Za’chary

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 05:36 PM
61

Hey, Jim….but what about that The Oracle knows Neo’s dreams, not before they happen (so they could not be a self-fulfilled prophecy) but after?  And what’s more, that Neo’s dreams themselves are prophetic?  And that even when he tries to stop them from coming true (by begging Trinity not to enter The Matrix), his actions lead to the chain of events that cause them to happen…like Oedipus, right?  So again: choice, free will, cause and effect.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 03 at 06:25 PM
62

Zach—thanks for the references.  I’ve seen Unbreakable, but I’m not sure how you’re referencing it.  Right now I’m inundating myself in William Blake, so I’m getting plenty about The Imagination :).  I don’t think comics are the primary domain of imaginative activity in western society.  I used to read them as a kid, and going back to them I find them terribly limited.  They’re good for the audiences they were written for.

Interesting thesis about Revolutions, btw. Definitely a possibility, I guess we’ll just have to see.

Shanny—does the Oracle really know the content of Neo’s dreams?  Seems like in Reloaded she had to ask him about them, acting then as an interpreter.  If she was just generally asking about whether or not he was having dreams, I don’t think that’d require any special knowledge on her part.  I think that’s part of the territory.

Jim

Posted by Jim Rovira on 02 Aug 03 at 01:40 AM
63

I have read all metaphilm’s responses to Matrix: Reloaded and while I find much of it insightful and illuminating I think the responses do not make enough of the tripartite structure of the whole ‘piece’.  One of the things Read’s original metaphilm review pointed out was that the Matrix 1 was an attempt to do a philosophical disquisition in the mode of an action flick.  If we carry this insight on, one of the basic structures of much philosophical discourse is it comes in three parts: thesis, antithesis and then synthesis.  If it works for Aquinas and Hegel, why not the brothers Wachowski?

Thus Matrix 1 posed the question (albeit in an overly Gnostic form for my tastes) of whether there really is a supersensory world outside or beyond this one, a world which intrudes upon our reality: real and imagined.  Reloaded sets up the antithesis: there is no supersensory world – only a material universe from which there is no exit or salvation, we must make of it what we will.  The crucial scene is Neo’s conversation with the Architect – this both proposes the antithesis and presents the options within that argument.  These options come in the form of the two doors Neo has to choose between, which are in effect a choice between two forms of Darwinism/materialistic determinism: if there is no supersensory dimension then the choice is between a Richard Dawkins ‘Selfish Gene’ type view in which Neo opts to perpetuate his genes as the dominant ones in the human species or we have a Steve Jones-type argument in which even though we live in a closed material system love/altruism and freedom of choice are still a possibility.

I await Matrix: Revolutions to see what the synthesis will be – the final scene of Matrix: Reloaded is ambiguous.  Anyway, all of this is to say I don’t think it’s a ‘bait and switch’ – perhaps the Matrix is still holding to its original direction…we shall soon see.

Luke

 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 31 Oct 03 at 08:04 PM

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