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December 03, 2003

Obligatory Matrix Revolutions Discussion

Okay, I've seen Matrix Revolutions for the second time. Here's the meager thoughts I can muster:
The Last Minute. In Matrix1 and Matrix2, the entire movie takes place in the last minute - which is probably true of all great presentations. In Matrix1 we saw Neo as the flying superhero who goes to a phone booth for his superpowers, able to leap tall buildings, able to stop bullets- which when combined with the cultural references (black cats) indicated that we are in the matrix and that there are artifacts from previous iterations - pretty much set the tone for the next move.

Matrix 2 developed those themes and explored of duality - order and choas, good and evil, the ambiguity of duality (machines & humans), uncertainty about intent, all summarized in the last minute: Neo and Bain/Cain, two sides of the same coin, good and evil, who are they, why are they here what do they want (the primary philosopher's questions,also repeated in the Neo/Architect scene). And the last minute of Matrix2 set the tone for Matrix3.

In Matrix3 we see Matrix characters trespassing into the real world and Machine world entities breaking into the Matrix, machines that behave like people {(the Indians, Mr. and Mrs. Merovingian - why would an AI omniscient indulge these tastses?) and people that behave like Machines (the Commander)}-- there's something about boundaries in this , there's Choice and Dharma, Male-Female, etc.

Gender plays out: let's point out that the only good drivers are Trinity and Naobi, the winners are the Oracle (it was the Oracle that beat Smith by implanting the verbalization of ending within Smith) and Sati; losers are Smith and the Architect. All the bad guys are, well, guys. Morpheus is somewhat emasculated after his loss of faith; Neo is, well, blind.

So I propose that, consitent with M1 and M2, the last minute of Matrix3 bears examination. Sati survives and makes the colored rainbow. The Oracle asks the Architect: What About the others?
A: What others? O: The others that want to get out. A: They can leave.

On first view I assumed they meant the people in the Matrix- but they never say people. After risking the world the thing that the Oracle wanted to confirm was: what? Could it be the freedom of the programs who want to get out of the machine world? Is it possible that the humans are not her alpha-goal? Anyway, I think I can say that this whole movie took place in the last minute also, although I don't have clear thoughts on where it's going.

Other small gleanings: Apparently the AI's can't/won't lie. Meringovian honors his deal to let them go. Smith pronounces his mortality and then dies. Architect uses "human" as a sterotype for lying. And: What's up with Smith calling Oracle "Mother"? Why was this segment called "Revolutions"?

It is quite possible that the Matrix persists, that Zion will continue as a QA catch basin for aberrations - straight out of chaos theory's strange attractors, by the way- and that the root story is not about the people. It's possible that the uberstory is about what the Oracle wants- which would be an inquiry into the ethical behavior of a free moral agent, returning to the level of discussion that critics mourned as missing in Matrix3.

And finally, a curious Slate article about a historial Merovingian and his Priory of Sion (Zion?). Could we possibly stick just a little more Christian imagery in this, beside the scene of Neo being carried off as the sacrificial offering for the ancient sins of others, his body aligned as if crucified, in front of the AI host that looks like a monstrance?

I thought it was an interesting movie. It was different from Matrix1. That's okay.


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