quarta-feira, 13 de maio de 2009

The Matrix - a Cyberpunk parable ?

The Matrix, a Warner Brothers film released in April of 1999 in the USA, was directed by brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski. The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, among others.

Mankind created Artificial Intelligence (‘A.I.’), which in turn “spawned a race of machines” that defeated humanity in a great war. Because nuclear winter has darkened the sky, those machines required a substitute for solar power. The machines found a way to siphon the heat and bioelectricity from a human body, but they needed a way to keep captured humanity docile during the process. So the machines built a vast ‘power plant’ system of prison pods where humans float in a lifelong coma, their brains hooked up to a vast virtual reality called the ‘Matrix’.

The Matrix is a simulation of 1999 earth, where people go about their illusionary lives oblivious to their true state of captivity. The machines have ‘sentient programs’ called ‘Agents’ who patrol within the Matrix simulation to ensure the mental prison runs smoothly.

Neo, the protagonist, is a human in the Matrix who senses something is wrong with his existence. A tiny group of freed humans from outside the Matrix extracts Neo from the Matrix simulation then physically rescues him from the machine ‘power plant’.
From their hovercraft, they train Neo to overcome the rules of the Matrix.

Neo must then use the socket on his skull to jack back into the Matrix simulation world so he can free other humans and fight the virtual Agents. Neo masters the Matrix world and destroys an agent at the end of the film, leaving us to guess the rest as he ascends into the simulated sky.

On the surface, The Matrix is a polished, thinking man’s sci-fi action flick with big budget special effects, tech tunes, and cyberculture influences.

But The Matrix mainly succeeds as a canvas for conjecture. The film pulsates with religious and philosophical nuances, provocative names, cultural commentary, and myriad metaphors, giving the perceptive observer a mental playground.

Simply put, it seems that with a little effort, one can get just about anything out of this multifaceted movie. And for a thinker, that’s fun – which is one reason why the film quickly developed a dedicated fan base.

Is The Matrix a commentary on man vs. technology?
Or reality vs. illusion?
Does Neo represent an anarchist? Or the antichrist? Or even Christ?
Is Neo a nihilistic rebel? Or is he a parable of a Christian?
Does The Matrix use eastern philosophy?

The answer to all these questions is “Yes”, depending on how you choose to view the film!

We will glance at some of the many ways to view the film, then analyze in detail two fascinating allegories of The Matrix: Neo as a lost person who finds truth, and Neo as a Messiah figure.
As DuJour says, “Come on - it’ll be fun!”

The Matrix - a Cyberpunk parable ? [ Download ]