The Matrix is old hat now but back in the day every geek with an internet connection was singing its praises.
The film’s innovative cinematography and solid performances were only part of its success story. The Matrix blended several religious and academic ingredients popular at the turn of the century. Computers, VR, the New Age, Spirituality, Postmodernism. Somehow The Matrix wrapped up all of these elements into a monster hit.
Myself, I probably wouldn’t watch it again today. But I remember its impact.
Here’s a little time capsule for what I wrote at “Think Free” in 2010, with a new concluding paragraph:
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction film written by Andy and Larry Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves as Neo.
The Matrix is part of a trilogy. The first film gained the attention of pop culture theorists through its depiction of the world as a deceptive computer program – called ‘the matrix’ by those in the know – designed to enslave human beings.
The majority of humanity exists in comatose slavery, plugged into a master computer which, through cyber connectivity, creates the illusion of everyday life. Essentially, people are nothing more than dreaming batteries for the matrix, installed in a horrific vault and sustained by a liquid that itself is the product of the dead.
Neo apparently is The One destined to free humanity from this cybernetic deception. Neo’s mentor Morpheus and other awakened liberators believe in his heroic calling so liberate him. As it turns out, Morpheus and his eccentric band of followers are right. Neo really is The One.
However, Neo is filled with doubt and wouldn’t have made it if not for the love of Trinity (portrayed by actor Carrie-Anne Moss), who at one point literally brings him back to life with a kiss.
But don’t think that dehumanized social relations are only germane to the 21st century and beyond. Human beings have always been objectifying, lying, spying, manipulating and betraying one another. We don’t need AI to enslave us. We’ve been doing a pretty good job throughout history, sans électronique.