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Third and final (for a while) post about The Matrix - Virtual Sacrifice Log
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Third and final (for a while) post about The Matrix
No spoilers at first. I'll cut for spoilers about Reloaded, and cut again for spoilers about Revolutions. Don't worry. Appropriate that I do a trinity of posts. But that doesn't add up to 23, unlike everything else.

So after the first viewing, we were wandering out of the theater. Some guy, not an employee of the place based on outfit, was slumped over the Star Wars arcade terminal. angryjonny commented, ``We've all been there.'' It was a hilarious sight - after one in the morning, this prone body draped over the dead machine.

Tonight redvector, windexcowboy, and I saw it a second time. Instead of physicsninja, angryjonny, and crew we had caniswolfie and his woman meeting us there. I invited periol, runstaverun, kikibird, johnstevensaul, and carrisse but none made it. After this viewing (and more people stayed after the credits), there was another amusing sight. A row of annoying chatty morons were situated behind us for this viewing, and they all had bottles of Powerade. Not just any, but the special Matrix Powerade. So there was a complete row of finished advertisement sitting in the cup holders for that annoying row. Fred Norris' sister and khephra did their jobs, and more money was milked.

So, anyway, spoiler time. redvector, windexcowboy, and I had a nice little chat after the movie, piecing everything together. I realized after seeing it the first time how much plot was shoved in this one. Less set up, less explaining, but plenty of plot. I disagree with redvector and his nemesis noelr about the sex scene. I personally thought it fit that point in the movie quite well (disagreeing with the latter), and belonged in the movie complete instead of just either Planet Soul Train (thank you shmivejournal) or monkey sex (disagreeing with the former). Yeah, I'm sorry, but I've read far too much cyberpunk literature, played far too many cyberpunk RPGs, and listened to Obsolete too many times to be able to resist such an obvious display of humanity. Show the movie patrons what they're fighting for. Give a few blatant tugs at the strings. We've seen into the eyes of the machine, we've seen the worlds of the machine (more on that later), we've seen the desolate ruins of what remains of the world of man (so we think), so let's give the audience a display of Zion. Not just Zion, but the Zion Tank described for us. The mass of flesh and humanity, the organic throbbing beat. While shmivejournal's joke about Planet Soul Train is hilarious if you watch that scene again thinking that, it's quite appropriate. Obvious? Yes. A bit too corny? Yes. But fitting. What would Star Ship Troopers be without seeing beautiful Buenos Aires? Ok, bad example, but you get my point.

Major nitpick that redvector has: they make a big deal about taking every single jack out of Neo except the one on the left arm and the base of the skull. Plop them into water. Every person has them taken out, we see enough of the other characters to know this, not just the ones born in Zion. Yet there are Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity... with a full array of jacks that were taken out, back. Why? Did they realize the removal of the extra jacks was like Microsoft Windows Update 811493, and not necessary? Certainly not so they can plug extra things in, based on Morpheus treating Trinity before she dies and Neo lying on the bed at the end. They don't demonstrate a use for them, yet they are clearly back. Must be a glitch in the... Yeah. Just like the denting of the truck when the agent first lands on it, that vanishes in the next shot.

Clearly, the Oracle has set things up for a fall. She engineers this reiteration of The One to fall in love with Neo, giving Neo a reason to break the cycle, ensuring that something different occurs and the Architect doesn't see him again. Appropriate, as Neo is Jesus, that Trinity acts as his last temptation. So The Oracle... Acting as Satan, as in Last Temptation, looking forward to humanity being wiped out? Or a benevolent program, a good witch, breaking the cycle for humanity's eventual freedom? Yeah, everything is different this time, all thanks to The Oracle, based on her obvious comments. No wonder The Matrix has these problems. As Uatu's race found, just watching changes everything. I like the whole bit about The One being a gateway between the end and the rebirth, just another part of the system of control. Reminds me of Ultima 6, the False Prophet. The Avatar thinks s/he is a brave warrior vanquishing the horrible gargoyle menace, not even noticing that he's completing the prophecy by desecrating the noble civilization's graves and slaughtering their warriors bent on saving their dying race which are all but destroyed thanks to the Avatar's actions. That game so nicely tricks you into acting out the part they've laid out for you, despite a million hints that you're just being the devil in your attempt to be hero. Unless you really like horses, that is. Sorry daylami.

The Merovingian was a cute touch. Let's take a look at yet another obvious naming here. Neo = One, the Merovingians (including Thomas Jefferson) being that secret Holy Grail protecting Knights Templar/Freemason affiliated group. So let's take an ancient program that protects exiled programs. Clearly the Agents wanted The Keymaker, and had been unable to get him until now (maybe until now in this iteration, whatever). So the Merovingian was capable of protecting him from deletion and being reabsorbed. And, of course, it's the Merovingians who believe in a sacred bloodline of Jesus, and those descended of Jesus taking the thrones and ruling the world. So that fits back nicely into Neo getting The Holy Grail/Keymaker from the Merovingian. Nice.

Plenty of other flaws and cute things that we picked out, that I'm too tired to remember. So instead, I'll let redvector post his own independent thoughts and skip ahead to spoilers for the next movie. So stop reading now unless you want to hear some ideas for the next one, like how the fuck Neo affected those SQUIDs.

So, The Oracle as Satan? redvector believes that the humans will attack The Oracle, believing her to be an element of the control. Hence the scenes of fighting with the Seraph, until she can explain that she was breaking the cycle. Possibly. Or, as he theorized, Agent Smith is really The One. He's the one that ends up breaking the cycle.

Agent Smith wants to be free. Neo wants to be free. They have different ideas of free, and Agent Smith wants to absorb the rest of The One to get a sense of identity. If we are to believe that Neo demonstrated some amazing powers in the real world, maybe Agent Smith wants to absorb these powers so that he can have some power in the real world so as to be free. He's already extended his reach into the real world through that one crew member. Amusing that he, who accuses humanity of being a virus, becomes a virus himself (thanks to redvector for first pointing that out). He extends his reach into the real world and takes out five ships with one EMP. He has The One, the supposed savior, on the run and fleeing the famous Burly Brawl. He's looking like pretty much the main enemy of the final installment. Maybe the virus infects all non-saved humans, and Neo must battle to pull humanity out of the grip of the Smith virus. Maybe Smith overthrows the dominant paradigm, and Neo must battle him instead. Maybe the main players of the control system (The Architect, The Oracle, etc) realize Smith is the more terrifying enemy, and trick Neo into beating him for them. It sure didn't seem like Smith was acting out of the good of the Matrix through his actions, despite turning that tunnel fight into a massacre of five ships.

Neo demonstrates some power over the SQUIDs. Woah. redvector hopes to fucking hell that's an EMP from the ship that saves them. We didn't see the pretty SFX from the EMP in the first movie, so probably not. So does Neo have some power in the real world? Some power over things in general like the WoD Mage he is in the Matrix, or just a power over machines? That code that's embedded in him that The Architect referred to, right? That somehow extends to the real world? How? Why do I have a sense of dread that I'm going to hate the answer as much as midichlorians. That is, unless the answer is...

Another layer. Yeah, they've talked about multiple matrices. Neo said it felt different before he turned to face the SQUIDs. Was that because he realized he wasn't truly out of the Matrix, and was still in it? And was that another layer that he's fallen into since the ``attempted'' infection by Smith, since that last jacking out, or has there been another layer all along? Do a percentage live in Zion, thinking they've escaped (except for the ``original'' 23 and those born there, did the counsel number sixteen women and seven men?), when really they're just in a different Matrix? The ``real world'' which exists to catch those who can't handle the inner Matrix as reality? As Ted Byrne said, ``A program, within a program. What strange new world was this?'' Most of us have taken Philosophy 1. It's a pretty obvious possible way to take things. The moment Neo said something about it feeling different and turning on the SQUIDs, I flashed through a million sci-fi stories. Fuck, my favorite book, Neuromancer. Case just woke up in the alley, and just got smokes from Linda Lee before the SQUIDs blasted his ass... err, Wintermute had a glitch. I've pulled that same layers within layers shit on cybersphere on zeek, Laura, corrosive, and Lily. Obvious, but it'd fuck with people. Then again, it looks like most people didn't ``get it'' already. Something like that would just alienate the fuckers drinking Powerade and weeping for The Keymaker twice even more. Seriously, they fucking expressed a loud concern for The Keymaker twice. No ``awwwww'' at any other moment of the whole fucking movie.

So yeah, I'll shut the fuck up before I just make even more obvious mistakes and say things that people will rip apart. So please, contribute, comment your own theories.

Tonight redvector, windexcowboy, and I had Quizno's yet again. It's growing on me. Got to get up early for graduation.

Feeling: sleepy sleepy
Listening to: Run Lola Run soundtrack, Wish (Komm zu mir)

Chorus of 38 demons || Preach it
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kingfox From: kingfox Date: May 19th, 2003 05:58 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
So I heard.

I might see you some time that I drag kikibird and runstaverun there. The things they do with cow flesh make me smile.
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redvector From: redvector Date: May 17th, 2003 12:33 am (UTC) (Hard link)

what else could possibly be said?

since you're reading comments, I'm assuming you're ready for any SPOILERS AHEAD>>>>>>

I didn't like the movie for the first 45 minutes or so the first time. the plugs and the long, drawn out dance sequences and the extremely drawn out action sequences really bothered me.

however, this movie really shines on the new plot it introduces.

The second meeting with the Oracle is priceless. The Oracle was probably my favorite character next to Black Morpheus from the first film, and even outside of her kitchen, she still retains some of her warmth.

However, this encounter brings up a possible dark side of this program. The fact that her whole existence seems to be to seek out the One coupled with the revelation of the One's true purpose...she is obviously just another agent of control. The ray of hope, as pointed out by kingfox, is her line "You've certainly made a believer out of me." So perfectly timed. She's lived through 5 other "One's." With these, she's obviously just carried out her dark purpose to slaughter a whole crop to make way for a new crop with less anomaly (i.e. Freed Minds [as the Architect says, less than 99% fully accept, and as Black Morpheus says they have freed more minds in the past 6 months than the past 6 years, it is obvious that at a certain point the number of freed minds living in Zion becomes a threat to the machines, therefore they need the One to destroy Zion and begin again with only 23 Freed Minds]).

Anyway, the bottom line is I believe in the good in the Oracle. Half of this is my hopes for my favorite non-Morpheus character, the other half is my knowledge of movies giving people what they want. They want Vader to redeem himself. They want Sharon Stone to shoot Gene Hackman. These are the endings that do, but should not, surprise us.

A short comment on the fatalistic view of the film-possibly the fatalism expressed by the "all knowing" machines is merely more attempts at control. As said in the first movie "What's really going to bake your noodle is, would you have broken it if I hadn't said anything?" The machines react quickly to actual choices made by the One and say they are inevitable or fate, in order to demoralize the Freed Minds into actually believing in Fate. too much noodle baking? perhaps.

Let me explain a few things from my end, hinted at by the above.

1. The squids vs. Neo, Neo wins-FATALITY (double KO?). hmm. many different theories, and many different reasons for and against.

A) Layered Matrices. I hate this idea. it's very easy. sure, it would explain the plugs, but I think that's just a circumstance of it having been 4 years since the writers have probably thought about something as minute as the surgery scene (also bad from that scene-they rebuild "atrophied muscles"-you know, the ones he USED TO PULL THE PLUG OUT OF HIS MOUTH AND LOOK AROUND).

B) EMP came from a ship to stop squiddies. This was mostly a joke, and I know there's no way they'd make it true. but it would be funny for all the fanboys to be like "NEO R0XX0RZ LOLOL!!!!!111" and then have the brothers W. be like "FOOLED YOU! 0WNZED!"

C) Neo==superhero in the "real world." I like this idea best. Not to say I think it's awesome, because I was hoping to see them spend the first few minutes of the 3rd movie running from squids without all the power they have in the Matrix (a good juxtaposition that would help root the audience back in the feeling of danger prevailent in the first movie, before Neo was so obviously going to KICK THE WORLD'S ASS). I was a huge fan of the idea of power through Zen in the matrix (you're only as strong as you think you are, don't think about how fast you are, just be how fast you are, etc.), and the addition of a fantastic element of superpowers in the "real" world would kind of put a damper on that. However, in the full scheme of things, that would perhaps bring the philosophy home-you don't have to be in a fake world for belief in your own power to give you that power. Anyway, I hope it's this. because the ideas of multiple matrices is kind of lame since it trivializes the mythology set up in the first movie.
redvector From: redvector Date: May 17th, 2003 12:34 am (UTC) (Hard link)

and because there's a character limit on comments...

2) Agent Smith == the One?
I didn't exactly say this. What I meant was that he was Satan, the Adversary, or whatever, and their conflict would be the classic good/evil one. Though it does make a good point (one I don't think was intended) if he is the True One of the prophecy, and he is the agent of change that Neo cannot possibly be. And if Neo is actually Satan and Smith Jesus, then I will eat my hat. provided that hat is made of fine cheese.

However, it would be interesting to see how quickly smith cna replicate. I'm sure if he continues at this rate, he'd have the whole population by now.

holy crap. it's late. maybe more later if I'm sparked to do so.
shmivejournal From: shmivejournal Date: May 17th, 2003 05:11 am (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: and because there's a character limit on comments...

The reason one would believe that there are matrices within matrices is because Agent Smith managed to upload himself into the "Real World" near the beginning of the movie through the phone.

If we're following matrix rules, he can't do that, so, sup wit that, yo.

noelr From: noelr Date: May 17th, 2003 11:29 am (UTC) (Hard link)


my theory is they're setting it up so that in the third movie it will turn out that the "real" world (zion, etc) isn't real either.

this explains that ridiculous comment the oracle made about vampires/ghosts/etc being rogue programs, and that's why we have legends of them... as if humans haven't had those legends for millennia before computer technology?

that also explains the neo vs the squids thing in the end, the agent smith leaking into the real world thing, and plenty of other things that they would otherwise need some crazy ad hoc shit to render consistent.

i doubt they'll actually go in that direction, because it is more metaphysical than the wachowski brothers seem interested in exploring, but if they do, i want my prediction in print way in advance.

and hey, am i the only one who noticed the cameo by cornel west?
shmivejournal From: shmivejournal Date: May 17th, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02

i did not notice if there was one, but I would like to note that not 2 weeks ago Cornell West was standing directly outside my office door waiting for a professor, peering into my office window.

i was sitting there at the computer as always and he looked at me with that crazy "Look at me, I'm frickin' Cornell West" look. I looked at him... and i thought to myself

"Wow, there is Cornell West. He looks like a black Colonel Sanders"

And he probably thought to himself

"Look, it's Whitey! He looks like Whitey! That's probably because it's Whitey!"

You see him everywhere around campus. It's fun.
noelr From: noelr Date: May 19th, 2003 09:23 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
He was one of the guys on the council in that scene that had the council in it. He had like a line or two. Repeat-viewers should be able to give you more info than that.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: May 30th, 2003 07:46 am (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02


Your thoughts exactly?
redvector From: redvector Date: May 17th, 2003 03:36 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02

I had a long post about the vampires, but I'll forgo it.

The way Agent Smith works is going to have to be further explained in the next movie. there just aren't enough clues. however, I don't find it hard to believe that he has the power to affect the outside world in the way he did, since he basically took over the mind of that guy right before he returned.
fist_of_khonshu From: fist_of_khonshu Date: May 20th, 2003 09:23 am (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02

Back to the vampires thing.

Someone mentioned today that the Merovingian's crew are all vampires. To this I responded "uhhh, what?" I asked them to explain why they thought this was so, and most of the explanations tied in to stuff they read about the movie on the web or video game tie-ins. The only real filmic element that seems to support this is that it took silver bullets to kill the guards.

Isn't that a leap? Granted, this ties in to the angels/aliens/vampires/werewolves shit the Oracle was saying, and it's not a bad tie-in. But how the hell did people get such a strong idea that the Mero's posse was all vampy (including "kiss me" chick)?
fist_of_khonshu From: fist_of_khonshu Date: May 17th, 2003 08:41 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02

I sincerely hope your theory is wrong. The MWAM scenario would just be horrible. Plus, I wonder, for those of you who believe the characters have entered a matrix-within-a-matrix, when do you think this happened? How long have they been in it?

I don't think the plugs have anything to do with anything, since the characters seem to have them from the first moment of this film onward. Which would imply that either 1) it was just a film discontinuity, a fuck-up, or 2) some sort of change (the MWAM?) occurred sometime between when Neo became the One -- think bullet-stopping -- and when he has the foretelling nightmare that opens up Reloaded.

As far as the aliens/angels/ghosts comment, I thought that was kind of cheesy too. But I guess they COULD explain it like this: Aliens, angels, ghosts and the like were always psychological constructs which humans perceived, long before robots were invented, either because of mental illness, a lack of other ways to explain the world around them (convenience in the absence of science), or because they -wanted- to believe in the supernatural. Then the Matrix comes along, which is responsible for the psychological constructs in the humans' minds, so it follows that supernatural phenomena must arise from the Matrix (since -everything- perceived arises from the Matrix). But the Matrix has no reason itself to create such constructs, so just chalk it up to rogue processes.

MWAM would explain the EMP flying out of Neo's hands at the end, though. I have no other way to explain this, other than he somehow gained powers in the real world. Somehow. No idea how that happened. Maybe something transpired during his meeting with the Architect.

I don't think MWAM needs to be true for the Agent Smith leak to make sense. I don't get why people are saying that this couldn't really happen in the regular Matrix. It makes sense to me, but maybe we have different understandings of the way things work. The way I think of it is that when someone jacks in, their mind, soul, or whatever you wish to call it -- the essence that makes humans something more than just a body -- is connected to and transferred into the Matrix program. It becomes a digital representation of their psyche/soul, 0s and 1s. Now... Agent Smith, as a result of his "uninstallation" by Neo, has gained the ability to take his code (psyche/mind/soul) and overwrite or image other Matrix constructs, including the digital representations of the souls of those who have jacked into the Matrix. So, naturally, when the person jacks out, the 0s and 1s are hacked back into or imaged onto their brain (the container of the mind/soul), and those 0s and 1s are at that point a representation of Agent Smith. That's just how I think of it, at least.

So, yeah, given my current understanding of the Matrix, I don't believe MWAM is needed to explain much of anything.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: May 19th, 2003 06:11 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Re: $0.02

this explains that ridiculous comment the oracle made about vampires/ghosts/etc being rogue programs, and that's why we have legends of them... as if humans haven't had those legends for millennia before computer technology?

Yeah, as I explained to you in kikibird and runstaverun's bathtub, I think it's not that out of whack. We had the legends from centuries ago due to a lack of understanding of swamp gas and the like. ``Now'' we have the stories about them due to glitches. We understand swamp gas. We understand tricks of the light. We don't understand a person twisting and distorting to suddenly sprout sunglasses, a suit, and a gun.

While I'm totally on the bandwagon of there possibly being another layer of matrix, I don't think the legends are indicative of that. The ``This feels different'' comment from Mr. Anderson is a bit more obvious, and a bit more jarring to me.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: May 21st, 2003 08:46 am (UTC) (Hard link)

Further reading...

And see this excellent article that periol, redvector, and windexcowboy have all been pimpin'.
kingfox From: kingfox Date: May 21st, 2003 02:17 pm (UTC) (Hard link)

Further reading part deux

Also check out a transcript of the conversation with The Architect, and a GameFAQS discussion on the topic.
Chorus of 38 demons || Preach it