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Essay Three

979 words - 4 pages

The Matrix is a film directed by the Wachowski Brothers depicting a future in which machines rule. The machines have created a complex computer program called “the matrix” which simulates a form of reality. The machines have enslaved humans by hooking them up to the matrix so that they can harvest them as an energy source. A number of people have been able to escape the matrix and they continue to fight the war against the machines in hopes of being able to free everyone still trapped within the matrix. Throughout the film the main characters Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity enter back into the matrix several times for various reasons. Because the film bounces back and forth between reality and the matrix, the film induces a strong theme of appearance versus reality. In this essay I will examine the numerous ways the film furthers this theme of appearance versus reality through its editing style and innovative use of special effects.
In the first action sequence where Trinity is cornered in a windowless room by several members of law enforcement, the audience is introduced to the idea that everything might not be as it appears. In this scene Trinity is able to disarm and eliminate the threat posed to her by the members of law enforcement. While doing this, she displayed the ability to move and react faster, hit harder, and defy gravity. The visual effects used to give Trinity these abilities in the film have come to be known as “bullet time.” The Wachowski Brothers have described bullet time as “a visual analogy for privileged moments of consciousness within the Matrix." Bullet time was a major component of establishing the theme of appearance verses reality. These visual effects were used several times throughout the film. It illustrated the idea that while within the matrix, the characters are able to manipulate the code of the matrix, giving them control over time and space.
Another element in the film that furthers the theme of appearance verses reality is the actual appearances of the characters and the sets. Owen Paterson, the production designer for the film, has mentioned several methods for how the matrix and the real world were each construed to have their own unique feel. The matrix sets were designed to have a worn and torn look that was imposing and grid-like. The scenes depicting the characters in the real world mostly took place on the ship, Nebuchadnezzar. These sets were designed to have a “patched-up” look where the wires and components of the ship were clearly visible, communicating the idea to the audience that the ship is a “marriage between man and machine.” In addition to how the sets looked, how the scenes were shot within those sets added to theme as well. When the characters were within the matrix, the scenes were shot using a green tint,...

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