Thursday, 22 May 2003

The Matrix Regurgitated

Listening to:

Mozart, violin sonata in C major, K. 303.

A recent movie:

I went to see Matrix Reloaded on Tuesday night. It wasn’t bad, and had some pretty spectacular moments. Those graphics programmers are getting better all the time. (Maybe I should say, the computers that those graphics programmers use are getting faster all the time.) On the other hand, it was hardly perfect. Moreover, I think it warrants criticism a lot more than X-Men 2 because it took itself that much more seriously.

First, there were at least a couple of structural flaws. The initial scenes in Zion (Neo/Trinity sex scene, general rave) are tedious. They don't need to go on anything like as long as they do. Neo and Trinity should perhaps be allowed to declare their undying love for one another, and Morpheus should be able to make another of his portentous speeches. Neo's conversation with the Councillor needs to be there. But endless shots of rave? Feh. Then there are two tedious fight scenes that go on too long as well. Neo vs. multiple instances of Agent Smith, and Neo in the lobby of the Merovingian's base. Both of these get boring fast. On the other hand, the extended sequence on the free-way kept my attention because the situations varied in an interesting way.

Apart from these problems of form, I was also irritated by the film's refusal to make any sense in a number of ways. Some of these matters are clearly hooks to get us to come back and see the next film. So, Neo's paranormal powers outside the Matrix (prophetic dreams, ability to knock out Sentinels) are clearly being set up for an explanation next time. I also fervently hope that the waffle that the Architect feeds Neo at the end gets revealed as deliberate nonsense. Why, for example, does Neo get a choice of doors at all?

Why are the Sentinels engaged in a tedious drilling operation to get to Zion, when there must be a open route that Zion's ships use themselves? And another thing that one suspects is there for the purposes of drama rather than sense, why can't a combination of right-coloured pill and physical disconnection from the Matrix serve as an escape route for virtual adventurers? It works for people when they are first disconnected. (This is a problem with the first film too, of course.)

My hope is that both the Matrix and the ‘real’ world will be revealed to be computer simulations. The machines are actually looking after humanity's best interests and realise that geeky malcontents need to think that they’re special and engaged in a special mission to save the world. The human minds that actually have any intelligence, the ones that won't buy the spiel about humans breaking the law of conservation of energy and producing energy for mechanical consumption, those minds get to be programmers.

Some chance!

Comments

And another problem:

where do the Zion rebels get their energy from?

What do they eat (much the same question)?

Perhaps they plug their babies into machine style battery farms...

Posted by: Michael at May 23, 2003 12:30 PM

How you know you are dating a geek, #64849:

You come out of the shower the morning after seeing The Matrix Reloaded and the first thing he says, before "good morning", before "would you like some breakfast", is:

"Do you think the Merovingian was legacy code?"

(Well, I guess the M. DID speak a weird language :)

Posted by: Amy Gale at May 24, 2003 02:57 AM

You're not exactly making me want to rush out and see the movie...

Damn, guess I'll have to do some work instead.

Posted by: Fi at May 26, 2003 10:57 AM

Yeah, maybe the Merovingian was legacy Architect in the same way that his henchmen were legacy Agents.

I quite liked that part of the film. Presumably Persephone had been trapped there by having eaten some of the Merovingian's magical pomegranates. :-)

Posted by: Michael at May 26, 2003 11:21 AM