Friday, June 04, 2004

I've always been a complete fan of the Matrix movies. To atone for the sin of not having seen the first two movies when they hit theatres, I went on opening day to watch Revolutions. Over the five years since the first release, I've felt myself change towards the phenomenon in stages-first, complete bewilderment at the first movie-it took me 2 more viewings on a badly scratched VCD before I 'got' it. While people have nitpicked on the first being the best of the lot, and Revolutions the worst, with reloaded falling in between, to me, all the three movies fit together as in a jigsaw puzzle, along with the Animatrix stories (To be precise, The Second Renaissance, The Kid and Final Flight of the Osiris)-to present an open ended picture of the entire saga.
I have seen the Matrix evolve into a complete subculture, embracing elements of all kinds of philosophy, from Judeo-christian and hindu references to the cyberpunk and anime sub genres. The Matrix phenomenon to me, excels in the multiplicity of metaphors that one can derive from it. Infact, that would be the core strength of the series,
even the endleaves you pondering whether Neo will resurrect, or the truce will last.(END SPOILER ALERT!)

Ultimately, the series offers the greatest form of escapism that ever could be. Picture Thomas Anderson, aka Neo, in his desk job as programmer at 'a respectable software company' called MetaCortex-another Dilbert stuck in a warren of cubicles, living out his parallel life online, where he can transcend the drudgery of his existence. One phone call on a Nokia 7110 that gets FedExed to him instantly changes his life beyond comprehension: his former colleagues could not in their wildest dreams imagine his being the one, much less know about the matrix.
At one level, each person wants some sort of release, some sort of escape from routine, to 'a world where there are no rules'.
A place where your 'residual self image' is sufficient to overcome all physical and mental barriers.
Notice how Neo's skills evolve through the three movies: the slow realization of his powers when he resurrects at the end of the first movie, to the confidence with which he addresses the machina when telling it that he alone can counter Smith in exchange for peace...
Perhaps that's the hidden message here (my interpretation of the metaphor)-you truly can be all you can be if you only try. Sure, dodging bullets may not be possible, but one has to be confident of oneself and shatter the glass wall (matrix cocoon?) that limits us.

(hehe..and rise into the waiting arms of a squiddy bot)


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