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Bond
May 19th, 2003, 06:04 AM
If you read many movie reviews of The Matrix Reloaded you'll find many comments dismissing the movie as another action--and a rather pretentious one to boot with a lot of pseudo-philosophical mumbo jumbo. They say there is actually nothing there aside from the action. I find that a little premature since I get the sense that the Wachowskis are trying to convey more than just a hip action movie. Since most of us are pretty avid readers I thought it might be fun to try and strip The Matrix Reloaded down and see if we can figure out what the Wachowskis are trying to impart.

I've seen many views focusing on Neo being a messianic figure and view the movies as a Christological story. There are other views that place emphasis on the Man vs. Machine conflict.

One perspective, however, that I find is being overlooked is one that was supposedly brought up by Keanu Reeves in an interview. There he stated that the first movie was meant to symbolize birth, the second movie life, and the third movie death. This perspective gives lots of possible interesting interpretations.

For example in the first movie Neo can be seen as a youth emerging from the safety of childhood and searching for meaning. Morpheus and Trinity are the friends he meets along the way, companions on this journey. The Oracle is appropriately a mother figure. New to his powers and with the excitedness of youth, Neo finds the means to banish his enemy Agent Smith.

The dynamic changes in the second movie. Here Neo and Trinity are lovers. Morpheus we see has his own interest in Niobe. The rave sequence can be figurative for the passionate hedonistic phase of early adulthood. If you pay close attention to the conversation between the Oracle and Neo one notices that the Oracle treats Neo much more as an equal and grown up. Neo has made "a believer" out of her, like a mother proud at how her son has turned out. We see, however, that something else arises. neo in his conversation with Trinity reveals he doesn't know what to do. Moreover, Agent Smith is back, and if you listen to him he says he knows no purpose. Agent Smith comes to symbolize purposelessness, purposelessness that threatens to devour people like Agent Smith literally threatens to devour Neo and Morpheus, and succeeds in overcoming Bane. The Merovingian and his group I think are similar and that they are literally "monsters" could be translated quite easily be taken to infer that they represent personal demons, the Merovingian symbolic of power lust and Persephone for infidelity.

Any thoughts? Comments? I'd love to hear them :)

Dominus
May 19th, 2003, 09:38 AM
It does have lots of Biblical references, in fact, my friend on the second time was interested in Morpheus' line at the end that went something like, "I had a dream and now it is gone," or something like that, I need to see the movie again, anyway he searched for it and found it was something King Nebuchadnezzar(sp?) said about a dream he had about a golden man with 5 parts (or something like that). No would could interpret it until he asked Daniel, who told him it represented 5 kindoms that had come before his that had been destroyed and forgotten, which ties directly in with Zion.

All in one line. Brilliant. :)

Bond
May 19th, 2003, 10:21 AM
That is brilliant. That line is from the Book of Revelations I wager? Seems neater than other one I read previously that instead was referring to the 5 books of the Old Testament and that "Neo" represented the "New" covenant of the "New" Testament.

saintjon
May 19th, 2003, 11:08 AM
Yeah but the only figure comparable to God that I've seen is the Architect, which would make Neo an anti-christ.

What gets me thinking is the nature of what Neo is. What the hell is he? That he can percieve the Matrix as electronic signals allows to do the amazing things he does, but what does it really mean that he's able to do this? People scoff at him shutting down the sentinels, but if you ask me, Neo's "One" bit means more than his brain having it's own little supercomputer.

I think he's achieved a higher consciousness, like a limited omniscience kind of thing. A sense linked directly to his being. The proof of it is in his ability to see the coding. If such a thing were limited to use in the Matrix, it would be just another sense for the code to manipulate.

I only thought of it because in a super-power mental exercise I was involved in once I got beaten by a guy. I had a perfect sensory manipulation power, I should have been able to put anyone in a concrete illusion by manipulating their senses. He had a limited omniscience thing happening, and insisted that what made it what it was was that it was input that didn't need to come from some sensory organ.

Like the Oracle said in the first movie: You just know.

kater
May 19th, 2003, 12:39 PM
To be honest I think this is a hugely difficult task, there is as much greek mythology, other historical and cultural references as there is religious and making it into some coherent theory I'd imagine is tough. You could take all day just debating the meaning of names for example :)

bethc
May 19th, 2003, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by Bond
That is brilliant. That line is from the Book of Revelations I wager?

Actually, it's from the book of Daniel. I think that it was in reference to the rise of Babylon, and its eventuall fall.

Dominus
May 20th, 2003, 11:02 AM
Actually, it's from the book of Daniel.
I'll have to find the exact text and post it.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Neo's "higher consciousness" is actually machine intelligence, and he saves Zion, but then destroys it when he finds out the truth and his place in 'reality'. And Neo's child with Trinity continues the line of Anomalies, and the cycle begins again. Maybe the Anomalies become the Architects when they realize what they are.

I think the limb I was just standing on broke and plummeted to the depths of the bleak forest. Where weird people go

saintjon
May 20th, 2003, 06:32 PM
I'm kind of starting to think the people in the story are meant to represent cast-off gods.

If you watch the Animatrix shorts, specifically the Second Renaissance, you see how man created the machines in his own image. But then the humans make themselves aloof and distant, (and destroy a bunch of machines) basically refuse to allow the machines to communicate on their level.

So the machines used the science which created them to overthrow their creators and used further developments of said tech. to force them into a reality which suits their own devices, kind of how we now question religious doctrine and try to force religious concepts to gel with our own lives.

I don't think it's man vs. machine, I think it's science vs. god. Pretty thin, I know, but it's a great setup to show how science and god (/religion) don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Ouroboros
May 23rd, 2003, 02:27 PM
++

SPOILERS














When the Oracle spoke of the secret role of programmes in the Matrix, that there was a programme to oversee every specific thing in the world, I could easily imagine she was speaking in Shinto terms.

Later, when the architect acknowleged that if he was 'the father', then the Oracle was 'the mother' I was reminded of Asherah. Asherah or Nintu or Ninhursag or Elat or Dione or Rhea or Tannit or Hawwa or Eve ( :D) the consort of El, or Yawheh, according to some religious traditions... (thanks, Neal Stephenson).

The world of the Matrix starts to look like a crazy big pantheon of 'gods', some in favour, some not. One thing I am satisfied with is that to a great extent the second movie shatters the overly-simple christiological reading of the Matrix and nicely demystifies Neo's role as messiah-figure. Even if he does seem to turn into a walking-EMP at the end of the film, we at least know the prophecy is trash.

I am reluctant to delve too deeply into the supposed message / intellectual content of the Matrix, because let's face it: it's an action-movie with some pop-philosophy. If you scratch past the surface you are wondering about something that is effectively not there. The questions of agency, free will etc. in the face of casaulity raised in 'Matrix reloaded' are the same questions that we've grappled with for time immemorial. The Wachowski brothers don't have anything in any way unique or interesting to say on these matters.

For those who are interested, I have seen a book on the shelves called 'Exploring the Matrix' which is composed of different sci-fi authors' essays on the significance of the Matrix mythos.









++

Pluvious
May 23rd, 2003, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Ouroboros
++

SPOILERS














When the Oracle spoke of the secret role of programmes in the Matrix, that there was a programme to oversee every specific thing in the world, I could easily imagine she was speaking in Shinto terms.

Later, when the architect acknowleged that if he was 'the father', then the Oracle was 'the mother' I was reminded of Asherah. Asherah or Nintu or Ninhursag or Elat or Dione or Rhea or Tannit or Hawwa or Eve ( :D) the consort of El, or Yawheh, according to some religious traditions... (thanks, Neal Stephenson).

The world of the Matrix starts to look like a crazy big pantheon of 'gods', some in favour, some not. One thing I am satisfied with is that to a great extent the second movie shatters the overly-simple christiological reading of the Matrix and nicely demystifies Neo's role as messiah-figure. Even if he does seem to turn into a walking-EMP at the end of the film, we at least know the prophecy is trash.

I am reluctant to delve too deeply into the supposed message / intellectual content of the Matrix, because let's face it: it's an action-movie with some pop-philosophy. If you scratch past the surface you are wondering about something that is effectively not there. The questions of agency, free will etc. in the face of casaulity raised in 'Matrix reloaded' are the same questions that we've grappled with for time immemorial. The Wachowski brothers don't have anything in any way unique or interesting to say on these matters.

For those who are interested, I have seen a book on the shelves called 'Exploring the Matrix' which is composed of different sci-fi authors' essays on the significance of the Matrix mythos
++

I never thought of the first Matrix as relating to any specific religion...just the search for reality in general. That's why I liked it. Neo was looking for truth...simple and effective. Society was the false reality. That's what it meant "to me".

The Matrix Reloaded goes away from this, and not very effectively in my opinion.