I’ve seen The Matrix many times and many times over. I know what I’m talking about when I say that it is one of the most fascinating, thought provoking, and thrilling movies ever made. Now, I understand that many other people have Watched The Matrix play across a screen. These people I have heard criticizing the movie for its flaws, most usually cited as having “too much talk”, being “too hard to understand” or having poor acting. As far as acting and understanding, I will admit that I agree to both. These aren’t the best actors in the world, and not even I caught everything the first time through. As to the “excess dialogue”, I say if you’re too shallow to value the discussion of ideas through verbal exchange, then eff you. Don’t talk to me about this movie, because you missed most of it. For the rest of you who may not see the depth of this fantastic film, by the end of this discourse, I hope to get you to See the power and profundity beneath the surface.
To make this easier, I’m going to break down the movie’s most prominent aspects. I think the best thing with which to start should be the central idea of the dichotomized equality of Smith and Neo, and of the machines and the humans. From there, we’ll consider the characters and their symbolic significance. We’ll follow that up with various philosophies offered throughout the trilogy, which is, by the way, what I mean when I say “The Matrix.” If I come up with anything else after that, I’ll edit it in.
The fundamental idea behind the matrix as a program is the ironic dependence of the machines on the humans and visa versa. The program requires a number of minds to escape the falsehood of the matrix for it to maintain its function of containing all the others. Each side depends on a captive form of the other. The relationship appears in other places, but it literally manifests itself in the identities of Smith and Neo. As the architect so periphrastically states, “Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the Matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which, despite my sincerest efforts, I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control.” In other words, you’ve got an equal sign. On one side is the machine world, and on the other is the human world. The two sides are purposely unbalanced, and the “One” is what’s left over. That’s why Neo has his powers. However, at the end of the first installment, Neo accidentally imparts his unique characteristics into the Former Agent Smith, endowing him with each and every one of the traits Neo has, but in inverse. As the Oricle states in the third installment, “[Smith] is you. Your opposite. Your negative. The result of the equation trying to balance itself out.” Look at their traits:
1. Neo frees minds
2. Neo Grows...