Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?
AND RATING WARNINGS (as a service to readers)
This document is a detailed examination of the story and some allegorical possibilities of
The Matrix. Readers not wishing to know such things before seeing the film may wish
to see it before reading further.
|RATING WARNING: The
Matrix film was rated 'R' in the USA for:
* intense scenes (medical, acupuncture, blood, burns, physical
grotesquerie, the 'bugging' of Neo, etc.)
* violence (including a direct gunshot to the head when Trinity
says "dodge this")
* language (19 scatological references, 4 'posterior' references,
11 variants of 'God', 7 variants of 'Jesus').
|The film does not
contain sex or nudity.
|The Matrix, a
Warner Brothers film released in April of 1999 in the USA, was directed by brothers Larry
and Andy Wachowski. The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, among others.
paragraph) Mankind created Artificial Intelligence ('A.I.'), which in turn "spawned a
race of machines" that defeated humanity in a great war. Because nuclear winter has
darkened the sky, those machines required a substitute for solar power. The machines found
a way to siphon the heat and bioelectricity from a human body, but they needed a way to
keep captured humanity docile during the process. So the machines built a vast 'power
plant' system of prison pods where humans float in a lifelong coma, their brains hooked up
to a vast virtual reality called the 'Matrix'. The Matrix is a simulation of 1999 earth,
where people go about their illusionary lives oblivious to their true state of captivity.
The machines have 'sentient programs' called 'Agents' who patrol within the Matrix
simulation to ensure the mental prison runs smoothly. Neo, the protagonist, is a human in
the Matrix who senses something is wrong with his existence. A tiny group of freed humans
from outside the Matrix extracts Neo from the Matrix simulation then physically rescues
him from the machine 'power plant'. From their hovercraft, they train Neo to overcome the
rules of the Matrix. Neo must then use the socket on his skull to jack back into the
Matrix simulation world so he can free other humans and fight the virtual Agents. Neo
masters the Matrix world and destroys an agent at the end of the film, leaving us to guess
the rest as he ascends into the simulated sky.
|On the surface, The
Matrix is a polished, thinking man's sci-fi action flick with big budget special
effects, tech tunes, and cyberculture influences. But The Matrix mainly succeeds as
a canvas for conjecture. The film pulsates with religious and philosophical nuances,
provocative names, cultural commentary, and myriad metaphors, giving the perceptive
observer a mental playground. Simply put, it seems that with a little effort, one can get
just about anything out of this multifaceted movie. And for a thinker, that's fun
which is one reason why the film quickly developed a dedicated fan base.
|Is The Matrix
a commentary on man vs. technology? Or reality vs. illusion? Does Neo represent an
anarchist? Or the antichrist? Or even Christ? Is Neo a nihilistic rebel? Or is he a
parable of a Christian? Does The Matrix use eastern philosophy? The answer to all
these questions is "Yes", depending on how you choose to view the film!
|We will glance at
some of the many ways to view the film, then analyze in detail two fascinating allegories
of The Matrix: Neo as a lost person who finds truth, and Neo as a Messiah figure.
As DuJour says, "Come on - it'll be fun!"
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