The matrix a 1999 science fiction film
I will be looking closely at matrix a 1999 science fiction film that illustrates the future, and refers to the present world that we live in as the ‘matrix’, based on an imitation of reality created by machines and artificial intelligent. The brief story outline of the film is that Morepheus is a human freed from the matrix and the captain of the ship who is certain that Neo a magnificent computer programmer and hacker is ‘the one’ and he alone can save the human civilisation. Throughout the film neo is believed to be the ‘one’, which is an anagram of ‘Neo’.
The film brings to attentions various themes for instance the hacker and cyberpunk subcultures and especially philosophical and religious ideas. In this critical review I will be looking at these particular themes. The film is based on cyberpunk and hacker subculture, cyberpunk is related to science fiction genre and focuses on high technology and low life’s for instance corrupt officials (Cypher who was willing to give Morepheus to the agents if he got his life back) the cyberpunk characters are mostly alienated individuals who live on the edge of the world for example Neo who was known by Mr. Anderson in the businesses professional world but in the illegal world of crime he was known by the name of Neo. Story line of the Matrix is similar to cyberpunk films which are based on virtual reality and normally have conflict between artificial intelligent.
The setting is normally dystopias. Philosophy is concered with the fact of how one should live and in the Matrix this topic is explored;’ what exists? And what system are we in? in the Matrix it is shown that the real world is just an illisuion with several references of philosophers who I will look in to closely and making slight connection with them and the film. The first reference is to a philosopher who’s book appeared in the near beginning of the film when Neo opens the book of ‘Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation’ (published in 1981 ) to take out his illegal stored disk, the book it self talks about the simulation of reality has become more real than reality its self known as the ‘hyper -real’
Baudrillard’s argues that we are in a system that represents things that really exist and our lives are revolved around those things, and that they are made to believe something when it’s something else. Us humans we wear down reality to the point where it becomes desert to us, When Morpheus introduces Neo to the system he recalls it as ‘desert’ and in Baudrillard’s book the opening chapter said ‘the desert of the real ‘this is exactly what Morpheus said to Neo. The film can be argued that it is criticising the consumer culture that we are surrounded by things that distract us from the reality for instance work and fancy cars. Read about the allegory of the cave questions and answers
In the Matrix the concept of machines that exploit the humans is exactly the matching the real world as things are becoming more computerised we are surrounded by computers and machines just like in the Matrix which is suppose to be set in the year of 2199 Marx theory is also visible in the film; the misuse of the working class by the ruling class, but the working class do not comprehend with the fact they are being exploit, this is because they are confused and distracted by the social message of how to live their life’s and how they should behave.
This exactly is what the Matrix is suggesting that we live in an ideal world. Another philosopher who is referenced in the film; Rene Descartes with the popular sayingof ‘I think, there fore I am’ this phrase is also recited in the film, Rene Descartes theory is also illustrates in the film as Neo questions the world, like Rene who poses the question how are we certain that the world that we live in is not just an illusion and strained upon him by an evil spirits (Matrix).
Neo’s character sort of is similar to Plato’s allegory of the cave where in this book he explores the idea of the real world being an illusion, he talks about this cave where people are kept prisoners since they were born and know nothing better then what they were taught until one day this one person comes out of the system and realises something and goes back to the cave to convince the others about his findings. Just like in the Matrix, where the finder of the matrix realises something spectacular and goes back to the real world to tell the others
And finally when Neo discovers the hidden truth he finds it his duty to save humanity from this ignorance and acceptance of false reality. The religious theme that is linked to this film is the ‘city’, in the film the city is talked about but not seen the parallel connection to this is the land that was promised by god to the Jews. The ‘city’ is called Zion a representation of Jerusalem the promised land for Jews, which is also known as Zion. Some say it means “legacy of peace” -jeru (legacy) and salem (peace).
The connection between Zion in the Matrix and Zion the promised city for the Jews is that Zion in the Matrix is said to be in the middle of Earth, giving a sense security and safety just like where Zion is for the Jews on top of the hill in between mountains also giving a sense of safety. After years of torture and struggle Zion became the holy place for Jews a place of peace and harmony just like Zion in the Matrix was found after a struggle and battle of human civilisation and became a place of reality.
Another religious link is that Morepheus represent some one who delivers the news of a saviour, as he is the one that is convinced that Neo is the one and believes in him and that Neo is the only one that can safe humans from war and any other disasters even though the others are unsure, later on in the trilogy Neo exemplify the quality of a messiah as people relay on him to show the righteous way and show proof of his power.
The props in the film are very distinctive such as the leather jackets and black sunglasses but on the other hand very ordinary for a science fiction film like the use of machines and gadgets and space ships. The main characters are dressed very sharp either in suits or black leather and very little emotions is used sort of like robots.
Only time the characters feel like humans when they are not wearing their sunglasses, with the sunglasses on it hides their eyes which show sense of emotions when the sunglasses are removed the character is shown in an emotional situation the character seem to have a perspective in the scene when Morepheus offers Neo the red or blue pill the pills are shown in the his sunglasses one each, when Neo enters the real world the glasses are used for his protection When Morepheus offers Neo the choice between the red and blue pill the pill represented the choice of fate and free will.
Matrix is the fate, and it shows the fate as an organised and pre-constructed world where everything has a consequence and the choice that we get in the real world is just an illusion, we are told that we have free speech but its free speech until it does not effect the government. In the real world the humans have a choice to take action and make mistakes the red pill, which represents real life when Neo chooses the red pill he realises that the world is a messed up place and Cypher who is one of the characters in the film even regrets taking the freewill option he claimed life was better when everything was decided for you.
In conclusion the matrix is about how technology is becoming more advanced then us that they are becoming more humanlike and have similar qualities as us, that its starting to be used against us, man made machine for its own purpose but it all went out of control to the point where the characters in the Matrix are machinelike as well as their fighting skills and superhuman strength and the use of programmes that were downloaded in them to give them the result of liquid movement.
The technology has reached to a point where it is using us, because humans turn to these artificial intelligent for help. In the film we realise that machines and humans are mutually dependent, as machines need humans to determine their existence and humans need machines as self defence.