THE MATRIX

matrix2jpg

Overall Impression – Too. Cool.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Thomas A. Anderson / Neo.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Become “The One” – the savior prophesized to save humanity from the machines.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Agent Smith, a traitor on Morphius’ team, and potentially anyone in the Matrix who hasn’t been ‘unplugged’.

What happens if he fails? – Agent Smith will get the codes to the Zion mainframe, allowing the last human city to be destroyed by the machines.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Thomas Anderson is disinterested in his job, has no friends, is socially withdrawn… because his true persona is Neo – a computer hacker.

Wanderer – When Neo is contacted by Morphius, he learns that the world he is experiencing is really a computer simulation called The Matrix. Believing him to be The One, Morphius ‘unplugs’ Neo, making him part of a human resistance against machines that have taken over the real world. Using training programs, Neo learns how to fight within the Matrix, and is told about ‘agents’ – vicious sentient programs that hunt down anybody who hacks into the Matrix.  Neo also meets his love interest, Trinity, and is taken to see the Oracle (a prophet within the Matrix) to see if he’s truly The One.

Warrior – A traitor in the group allows the agents to capture Morphius, who gives himself up so Neo and the others can escape. As the agents interrogate Morphius to get the codes to the Zion mainframe, Neo and Trinity return to The Matrix on a rescue mission.  Neo puts his new skills to the test, becoming increasingly confident at manipulating The Matrix to the point where he can dodge bullets!  Morphius and Trinity get back to the real world, but Agent Smith cuts off Neo’s escape.  He’s a gonner if he doesn’t run…

Martyr – Neo embraces his destiny and fights Agent Smith.  It seems like Neo destroys the agent… but he merely takes over another ‘plugged in’ person and kills Neo!  It’s only when Trinity confesses her love for Neo that he’s reborn as “The One”, giving him the ability to fully manipulate the Matrix and destroy Agent Smith for good.

AND, IN THE END…

There aren’t many movies I can watch over and over, but this is one of them.

Aside from the incredible technical achievements, the great action and the mind-blowing concept, THE MATRIX hits all the right marks structure-wise.  Neo’s Wanderer experience is especially engaging, and when he goes down the rabbit hole and discovers the real world, you’re pulled along with him.

THE MATRIX also stood out for me because it’s so layered.  There are some serious philosophical questions and curiosities in there!  What’s kind of interesting, and made me feel less than smart, is that “Neo” is an anagram of “one”.  I was amazed when I realized that, because it hit me three months after seeing the film!  I wonder if the Wachowski bros. were going for the idea that it’s so obvious, most people won’t even see it.  Either that, or I’m just in a special minority…  Depending on which is the case, there could be a multitude of meanings behind the anagram.  What’s in a name?  Lots, apparently.

THE MATRIX is almost ten years old and I’m still thinking about it.

– Dan Pilditch

6 Responses to “THE MATRIX”

  1. Andrew March 21, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    I did like the Matrix back in the day, but I do feel it is not as fresh as it once was. It certainly didn’t help that after it was made, everyone and their dog made a parody of it.

    Also-It does seem after the Matrix Trilogy ended, Keanu Reeves did more than a few roles where he was an emotionless git, making me think back to the days when he was “Ted” Theodore Logan and actually fun.

    And the idea of a film about a “Chosen One” has now become a tad Cliché.

    However-The Matrix was a big thing. The action scenes – both the Kung-Fu and Shoot outs, are still awesome. The scene where Neo fights Smith in the subway for example is fantastic. Also, the way the characters break the rules of the universe is mind boggling at first, but truly awesome. Films that make you think and settle your urge for violence are still rare.

    Also-I didn’t spot the Neo/One anagram at first either.

  2. Dmitry April 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    In this film Stakes Character is Triniti?

    • danpilditch April 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi Dmitry,

      Here’s a useful definition: the Stakes Character is the human face that represents all of the people the bad guys are victimizing. It’s usually someone personal to the hero, or about whom the hero feels very deeply about.

      While all of the “unplugged” humans on the Nebuknadnezza represent the victimized humans still plugged into the Matrix, I’d say THE MATRIX has two true Stakes Characters:

      1. Trinity (like you said) – She’s certainly being hunted (pretty personally!) by the machines, and Neo loves her.

      2. Morphius – He’s the face of the resistance and is at the top of the machines’ ‘most wanted’ list. He freed Neo, and is his beloved mentor.

      It’s up for debate whether Morphius is more important (in terms of stakes) than Trinity… If Morphius is captured and by broken by the agents, Zion will be overrun by the machines, destroying the resistance. If Trinity is killed either by the “squids” The Matrix, Neo will never become The One… in which case the resistance fails anyway.

      IMO, we’ve got 2 equally important Stakes Characters, for different and shared reasons.

      Best,

      Dan.

  3. Dmitry May 17, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks, Dan.
    Dan, help me to understand with Michael Bay’s film – Armagedon. As well as in Star Trek, I cannot define where Akt 1 comes to an end.

    • danpilditch June 2, 2009 at 12:31 am #

      Hi Dmitry,

      I’ll track down a copy of Armageddon and get back to you 🙂

      Dan.

  4. Lipplog January 29, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    I always took “Neo” at its literal Greek meaning for “new.” As in the protagonist has an Ordinary World name, “Mr. Anderson,” and an Extraordinary World name, “Neo.” But I like your interpretation better.

Leave a Reply