Friday, June 6, 2003

Hugo Weaving is now a virus: random thoughts on "The Matrix Reloaded"

(1) Hugo Weaving is now a virus. That’s cool. Inadvertently created by a programmer (Neo) he can replicate himself by infecting other programs - even human minds through their manifestation in the Matrix. (Think about it, they were going to hack into Morpheus’ mind in the first film, so why not “possess” humans? Also the whole ability to “download” skills suggests programs in the Matrix can affect human consciousness.)

(2) I like in principle the “bored immortals” addition to the plot - really an extension of Agent Smith’s dissatisfaction in the first film - programs that start to play their own games.

(3) The plot is now overburdened with significant characters. The sequence reeks of a pet-project so long in the gestation that the creators aren’t prepared to ditch even one of the squillion ideas they came up with. Uncool. Sure, have a big complex universe for your genre masterpiece, but hint rather than speechify, leave some things as glimpses of a greater picture.

(4) It wasn’t until I left the film that I realised Persephone’s French-speaking (or cursing) husband was in the Ladies’ room shagging dessert-girl when she goes to round up Neo, Morpheus and Trinity and take them to the Mens’. Stupid of me.

(5) The rave was OK, the sex was ugly. Not that I object to Carrie-Anne Moss, just Cardboard Keanu. And naked people full of industrial size plug-sockets.

(6) The Architect is not cool. God is an Englishman in a pale linen suit, sitting at the heart of the universe, watching everything. Yawn. What’s worse, his speech made little sense and misused the word “concurrently”.

(7) Free will. So, under the gobbledegook, the Architect said: free will in the Matrix exists, but is limited. Up to 99% of people will be happy with some level of near subconscious choice. The other 1% cause escalating instability by “rejecting” the illusion like a bad transplant, resulting in an Anomaly (Neo) that shows it’s time to roll over from Matrix v5 to Matrix v6. The Anomaly gives Neo his powers, but he’s a design element that reboots the system. Maybe the limited nature of free will in the Matrix explains why the Oracle keeps saying “you’ve made you’re choice already, you’re here to figure out why”. In the Matrix she designed you only really get to make one, limited choice, at an almost subconscious level.

(8) On free will and symbolism, the fact that the opening credits resolve into a clock is cute: the Newtonian clockwork universe, in which there is still room for God as a watchmaker.

(9) If Neo is just the reboot disk for the Matrix (and his power to crash Sentinels suggests he’s more, unless the world of Zion is a “Matrix outside the Matrix”) - why does Zion need to exist? I don’t get the Architect giving Neo the “it’s the girl or the human race” choice. Not every other Anomoly could be given that choice, because Neo was the first to be in love with someone. So what was the choice for the others? If the Machines have wiped out Zion before, why rebuild it? Why tolerate it? Morpheus has already said they have fields where they grow and harvest humans. What is Zion needed for? I musta missed something here.

(10) Violence against innocents. Every time an Agent possesses a human to fight Morpheus & Co, it’s the ordinary human being who dies when they temporarily “kill” the Agent. Morpheus’ answer: “they’re the enemy”. Not very spiritual as the creed of a movement devoted to human freedom and liberation.

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