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Official Matrix Discussion
Entered on: May 12, 2003 5:00 PM by Swerb
I figured, now that I have recently enhanced powers on, I'd initiate discussion of The Matrix Reloaded. This also gives me the chance to gloat about having seen it already today (Monday), before all y'all.  
Without giving anything away, let me just say that you'll log in your Underoos when you see some of the cool shit in this movie. I haven't been this blown away by killer action/fight sequences since probably the Darth Maul lightsaber battle at the end of Phantom Menace (I don't count Yoda v. Tyranus because it was way too short). Also, the dialogue is pretty dense and cryptic, so you've got to pay close attention. In fact, I have to see the movie again in order to properly comprehend the advancements in the plot....  
No one will be disappointed by this...

NEWS 30 - 52 Comments
From: The Bone Entered on: May 12, 2003 7:32 PM
I've already hatched a plan to leave work early and catch the first showing on Thursday. I thing I have a log in my Underoos already from from sheer anticipation.
From: Ross Entered on: May 12, 2003 8:12 PM
Picked up my tickets on the way home from work today. 7PM on Thursday. That will probably put me seeing it around the same time as The Bone, given the 5 hour time difference. Roche and Zilla will be lagging behind a full day. I figure Thursday will be tough to stay cryptic so as not to spoil anything for the non-chosen ones.  
I am deathly jealous of you, Swerbeus. You are a virus on the ass of moviegoing society. Damn you and your supernatural Press Powers.
From: John Entered on: May 12, 2003 11:12 PM
Bert, now I'm laughing MY ass off.
From: Creeko Entered on: May 13, 2003 7:57 AM
I don't want to take anything away from you guys, but the release date for Spain is still some time away, so if any commentary is to be made, please try to keep it contained within this forum. I'll try to avoid reading any thing that might spoil it for me.  
I thank you in advance  

From: The Bone Entered on: May 13, 2003 5:48 PM
Just told my boss that I have to take my wife to get a root canal on Thursday at 11 and I ain't coming back.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 15, 2003 8:47 PM
Just saw Matirx Reloaded. Holy Fuckin Shit! Some of the scenes were so sweet I could feel my molecules starting to disintegrate. I was begining to worry that it would be the same movie as the first with different fight scenes, but the plot had evolved in to much more. Swerbs right, you need to watch it more than once to fully appreciate the flick. Without giving much away, I have to say the French asshole really cracked me up.
From: John Entered on: May 15, 2003 9:44 PM
By now Bert has already viewed The Matrix Reloaded. The Bone has already called me with his review. Whats surprising is no review as of yet from Bert. I was eagerly awaiting his take on it.  
Needless to say I'm super excited to see The Matrix Reloaded. The Bone said I will not be disappointed. My tickets are for 9:15 p.m. so I have just shy of 23 hours to go. An eternity when waiting for a movie of this caliber. Come tomorrow night Zilla and I will be with our women ejoying a sweet movie that was worth the wait.
From: Ross Entered on: May 16, 2003 1:28 PM
I'm not giving a review until Jack and John have seen it. Sorry Creeko, we can't wait for Spainards. I will get into specifics then but otherwise I am too tightly bound by not being able to discuss specific aspects of the movie. But I will agree with everyone that it bears repeat viewings.  
Update: I have written my review, and it's long. I will post it tonight after I get home from my obligations, by which time Jack and John will probably have seen the movie.
From: John Entered on: May 16, 2003 1:43 PM
Sweet, I look forward to reading it.
From: Ross Entered on: May 16, 2003 10:23 PM
Here is my Matrix review. Warning: it's lengthy. Do not read unless you've seen the movie.  
Did I like it? Yes.  
Did I love it? No.  
Was it as good or better than the original? No and no.  
Was I disappointed? Yes.  
Will I see it again? Yes.  
What gets me about most of the reviewers is that they all seem to forget that when they reviewed the Matrix four years ago, most of them panned it. Now suddenly they talk like it was genius, a milestone in filmmaking, which it was. However, I knew this long before they did, though in fairness it took me a day or two to realize how sweet it was. Keep in mind that unlike them, I came to this realization all on my own - in fact I had to convince both Johns here that it was good and that they should see it in the first place. I say all this not to build myself up but so that no one will think I'm somehow biased against this movie from the get-go.  
Yes, my expectations were high, even though I said earlier that all I really needed were sweet fight scenes to make me happy. Well, turns out this was only partially true.  
So let me get into my first point: the fights. The fight choreography was phenomenal. That is, when they actually used real actors. Keanu Reeves' skills are far above and beyond what they were in the first film. I was highly impressed and my jaw was open more than once watching him fight. I loved it. Of special note was the fight with Seraph, the guy guarding the Oracle, and the first fight with three agents, though maybe only because it was first. But then they started with the over-the-top fighting which was sweet at first but a) was obviously computer-generated and b) as the critics said, redundant. Also, computer nerds are poor choreographers compared to Yeun Woo Ping or whatever his name is. Even I have my limits of what I will find interesting in a fight scene. But that wasn't the real problem with the fights. I have two main issues here:  
1) When the combatants struck each other, even the real life non-CG versions, there was no sense of damage. It was like plastic toys fighting. Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. Knock Agent Smith into the 3rd story window, and he pops back up with a grin on his face. Same with Neo. But even the Morpheus and Trinity fights had this problem to an extent. And this is a symptom of the larger issue, namely...  
2) ...there was no sense of danger in these fights. In the first movie, we were told (and we sure as hell believed) that when you see an agent, you run your ass off. So when Neo and Morpheus were forced into their brawls with agents, you are concerned, because they both get whupped upon and it nearly means their demise. In this film there is no pretense of danger. In Neo's case, he's such an ass whupping machine that plot-wise, there is no need for him to fight whatsoever. Furthermore, as he demonstrated at the conclusion of the first film, he doesn't even need to fight. He can just tear you apart through code. Apparently he forgot that shit. But even Morpheus and Trinity no longer seem to fear the agents. They fight them, and Morpheus fought alongside Neo in the hallway, taking on tons of them at once! Absurd! Compare that to the fateful feeling you got when Morpheus busted out of that wall to fight Agent Smith and save Neo in #1. The quality of the situations in which these characters are placed is not even in the same league, my friends.  
Okay, so that's the fights in a nuthsell. Overall, technically impressive, but lacking in any kind of drama or gravity. This is why the Phantom Menace Jedi fight still reigns supreme. On technical merit it is challenged, but the fact that Darth Maul was mysterious and could easily kill you is an easy win over anything this film had to offer.  
What else? Well, first off, where did Tank go? I liked that guy, and I thought he survived. He had personality. The dude that replaced him was a chump by comparison.  
Zion - I always said I wanted to see Zion after hearing about it in the first movie. Well, I was awed at first, but it got boring quick. That cave rave was leighm as hayull, too.  
French dude - Funny as shit. The more I think about him, the more I think that was one of the best aspects of the movie. Speaking to Tony about it, he remarked on how Frenchie mentioned Neo's predecessor which comes into play at the end, but then I realized that even Morpheus mentioned a predecessor in the first film. Very interesting. In any case, I want to see more of this guy in the future. I would rather have had Neo fighting him than his minions, which wasn't nearly as interesting as it could have been. If they were supposedly so hard to kill, how come Chesty McGee could just plug one in the dome so easily?  
Same goes for those ghost dudes. Why didn't we get to see them in action more? They seemed to be about the only people that might give Neo a run for his money, and they were barely in it. Maybe theirs and Frenchie's menace will manifest more in the next movie.  
Trinity - again, she suddenly can inexplicably hang with agents. Now, this would be interesting if everyone and their mother hadn't already been beating agents like redheaded stepchildren the entire movie. Anyway, when she "died," I didn't even care. I knew she'd be back. No drama there. In the first film, she was a mysterious figure, central to the plot of the movie. She was as responsible for bringing Neo out of the Matrix as Morpheus was. Here, she's basically Neo's fucktoy. Sure, she's an ass whupper, but who isn't? Booooring.  
Speaking of agents, some reviewer said that 100 Agent Smiths are 1/100th as interesting as one. I agree completely. In order to have the fights the way they did, I understand and even don't mind that they had him go replicant, but in terms of the fighting, it diluted his powers of intimidation considerably. However, as a character, I was interested in what Smith had to say. What he had become, and Neo's involvement. There was too little of this, though.  
The Oracle - sweet. I loved hearing about her origin and place in the grand scheme of things.  
Which brings me to the architect. Now HERE was the whole reason to make the movie! That conversation was sweet, not predictable - it was a revelation! The fact that this all is iteration #6 in a process that has happened five times exactly like this already was mind-blowing. I loved it. It approached the level of "I am your father," though not quite that powerful. Regardless, this is the reason to see the movie again. There's a lot to take in during that scene and I didn't get it all, I'm not going to lie.  
Other miscellaneous shit: the motorcycle chase was sweet as hell. I also liked Morpheus' fight on top of the semi, although the end of it was kind of anticlimactic. The ending in the real world - how did Neo do that? Inquiring minds want to know. I figured there would have to be some Deus Ex Machina in order to have the humans fight the machines in the real world, but they've never hinted that anything supernatural was possible in the real world until that point. Also, that reminds me that I don't think I like the fact that Smith was able to infect that dude in the real world. How is that possible? Smith is software, and people are not hardware. Granted, we don't know exactly WHAT Smith is at this point, but they're going down a path that so far is not sitting well with me as a computer scientist. Still, it's pivotal to the plot so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.  
One thing I'll say is related to Roche's question of whether I liked it more than X-Men 2. I'm not sure that I did, and as crazy as it sounds, I do have trouble comparing them, even though they're about as similar as two summer sequel blockbusters are going to be. So overall, yes, I think X-Men 2 was a better film. But what I find interesting is that I have so much more to say about the Matrix than X-Men. That counts for something, I'd say.  
Oh, one last thing: I think I overdosed on hearing "bell-eeve" coming out of Morpheus' and that other captain's mouths every other goddamn word. I bell-eeve you two need to upload a fucking thesaurus into your brains, you unoriginal bastards.
From: Ross Entered on: May 16, 2003 10:17 PM
Also here is an article I read that speculates on some of the meanings of the movie. Again, don't read this unless you've seen the movie, but he brings up some interesting issues:

From: The Bone Entered on: May 17, 2003 11:04 AM
The Bone take on Matrix Reloaded.  
I wasn't nearly as dissapointed as Bert. I was more interested in how the fuck they planned on advancing the plot. In this respect they exceded my expectations. Like I said before, I was worried it would be just pure kick ass without any interesting twists.  
I do agree with Bert about the fights. Visually, I was dazzeled by them, however I quickly realized Neo was so sweet that each fight he was going through the motions. No suspense. You knew that things would never get too rough for him. However, on a basic level, I was visually impressed.  
I also agree with Bert on the agents vs Trinity/Morpheus. Bullshit! No way could they have been hanging like they did against upgraded agents. My favorite fight scenes were Neo vs Kung Fu Phooey (I stole that from Neill Cumpston), Morpheus vs Agent on semi-trailer, and the whole highway of motherfucking- ass -whuping scene.  
Here's where the movie fucking kicked ass:1) Agent Smith's powers/purpose. Although I'm hard pressed to explain how he transferred his essence to the real world, I'm confident that there is a reason and I'm betting it's sweet. Has something to do with Neo's powers against the Sentinels. 2) Oracle - if that wasn't sweet then you are brain dead 3) French fag - he seems like a turd, but watch out. I'm betting he's got something up his sleeve - plus he's funny. 4) The conversation with the Architect, not only does he slip the word "aprapos", the notion that Neo/Zion is now on version 6. The big point is the sweetness of this movie was in the building up for Revolutions. Perhaps the fight scenes were a little predictable and monotonous at times but the sweet thing was in the ramifications of the plot advancements. Bell-eeve it now motherfuckers.
From: Ross Entered on: May 18, 2003 9:11 PM
I downloaded a watchable but not-so-good quality copy of the movie. After watching, I appreciate the movie a little bit more. I think my points about the fights are still valid for the most part, but me being me, I tend to overemphasize fight scenes in the grand scheme of things anyway. Though I watched it again and I do love the first fight with Neo and the three agents, even though it's short.  
I'm finding that The Bone was right in that the plot was advanced satisfactorily, albeit not very far. Still, it answered some questions and raised more, and has me scratching my head and wondering what is going on. I can only assume this is good. So my thumb was pointing up before, but it's pointing up with a little more gusto now.  
And although Roche won't put his thoughts down on the site, he (and apparently everyone else but Tony and I) shat upon the Architect's spiel at the end. Well, I'm here to reiterate how sweet it was. Roche, I think you are too used to immediately grasping what is happening in movies, a situation that apparently faces me more often. Any reason for annoyance in his speaking patterns should be eradicated when you realize that he is a program, his "ergo"s are basically the english equivalent of the bread-and-butter conditional logic that machines deal with. I personally found it to be sweet as fuck.  
I still shit upon almost everything that happened in the real world including Neo's disabling of the sentinels. I've tried to read others' opinions online as to what it could be but found none of them to be satisfactory. I don't buy any of this "Neo is/has a program" bullshit.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 19, 2003 1:02 AM
Bert - extraordinarily well said regarding the Architect's speech. By far the sweetest part of the film.  
As for Smith's foray in the real world as well as Neo's power, I'm betting that it will be satisfactorily explained in such a way that you'll be saying, "Holy shit that's sweet." I view Reload as only half a film where Revolutions is the other half. Taken as a whole, the product should be mindblowingly sweet. I simply can't make a final determination as to the sweetness of Reloaded until I see Revolutions. I don't think that it's cooincidence that Revolutions was filmed at the same time and is being realease later on this year. The Wachowskis (spelling?) realize that Reloaded leaves the audience with many questions unanswered, it is crucial to have them answered in a reasonable timeframe.  
If I'm right in my assesment of Reloaded/Revolutions then I'm willing to forgive some instances of stank throughout the movie.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: May 19, 2003 1:42 AM
I was hesitant to leave remarks regarding the film, but Ross has encouraged me, so...  
My reaction after viewing the film was "it was ok." Let me first state that there were some cool effects -- the best being the highway chase sequence. And there are some cool ideas here, but that part of the film seemed unnecessarily bloated. There was a lot of fuckin' text being read in this thing.  
I thought most of the first part of the movie was weak. The rave? Good lord! "People of Zion!" I also thought a lot of the fighting was lacking. Some of these came across as slap fights. Where was the drama? The DANGER! The fighting in TAO FENG is sweeter! And why have Neo fight a hundred agents for 15 min. when he can just fly away? Making him so powerful takes away a lot of the drama. And I've seen Jackie Chang do sweeter fight scenes and he doesn't have all the computer effects.  
What can I say? I enjoyed X-Men 2 a lot more. None of the Matrix's fight scenes matched Nightcrawler's opener for pure kick ass-ability.  
Will I see the third movie? Yeah. But I really have no desire to see Reloaded again.  
There! My thoughts! You asked for 'em!  
What's up next?!  
THE HULK (I'm really excited to see this one!)  
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (Connery is wicked sweet at 74!)  
and the third LORD OF THE RINGS. Which I just can't believe how cool this series is. Can you imagine if Peter Jackson (that is the director, right?) had been in charge of the new STAR WARS movies?  

From: Ross Entered on: May 19, 2003 8:38 AM
Roche told me your theory on the "slap fights." Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I couldn't disagree more with you on this one. This style of fighting has been seen in lots of martial arts films and is basically what you get when you have two opponents who can block anything the other throws at them. I found it to be amazing. Keanu Reeves has set the bar very high for actors doing martial arts in their movies.  
And I think I'm finding something smelly about the League of Extradordinary Old Timers movie. I watched Connery throwing a punch that looked like he couldn't knock over a tin can and I immediately proclaimed "I'm out!" Unless the reviews are stellar, I'm sitting that one out.  
But I do still want to see the Hulk. And your idea of Peter Jackson doing Star Wars is interesting. They would undoubtedly be better for having him in charge.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 19, 2003 10:42 AM
I love Sean Connery but The League looks like it may include too much stank for a theater viewing. Ever see The Avengers with Ralph Fienes, Uma Thurman, and Connery? Boy, that was some stank.
From: Ross Entered on: May 19, 2003 11:26 AM
I found a message board with a lengthy discussion of the architect scene. Here is a cut-and-paste of the conversation so that it may be more easily understood:  
"Hello Neo."  
"Who are you?"  
"I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I've been waiting for you. You have many questions and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human, ergo some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concordantly while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize that it also the most irrelevant."  
"Why am I here?"  
"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 anomoly which despite my sincerest efforts I've 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. Which has led you inexorably... here."  
"You haven't answered my question."  
"Quite right. Interesting... that was quicker than the others."  
Now Neo's other selves in the monitors start asking all sort of questions, like "Others? What others?", etc...  
"The Matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomoly to the emergence of the next in which case this is the sixth version."  
Now the others Neo's start cursing and calling him a liar as we zoom into one of the Neos on the screen who says...  
"There are either two possible explanations... either no one told me... or no one knows."  
"Precisely. As you are undoubtedly gathering, the anomoly is systemic, creating fluctuations in even the most simplistic equations."  
Now the other Neos start screaming "You can't control me! I'm gonna smash you..." etc...  
The camera again zooms into another Neo in the center screen...  
"Choice. The problem is choice."  
"The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect. It was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumph equalled only by its monumental failure. The inevitablility of its doom as aparent to me now is a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus I redesigned it... based on your history. To more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However I was again frustrated by failure. I've since come to understand the answer alluded me because it required a lesser mind or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus the answer was stumbled upon by another... an intuitive program. Initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the Matrix... she would undoubtedly be its mother."  
"The Oracle."  
"Please. As I was saying she stumbled upon a solution whereby 99 percent of all test subjects accepted the program as long as they were given a choice. Even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level. While thid answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory... systemic anomoly... That if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo, those that refuse the program, while a minority, if unchecked would constitute an escalating probability of disaster."  
"This is about Zion."  
"You are here because Zion is about to the destroyed. Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existance eradicated."  
"Bullshit"... the other Neo also say "Bullshit."  
"Denial is the most predicatable of all human responses. But rest assured... this will be the 6th time we have destroyed it. And we have become exceedingly efficient at it."  
Now there's Trinity fighting the Agent.  
"The function of the One is now to return to the source allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program. After which you will be required to select from the Matrix, 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash, killing everyone connected to the Matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race."  
"You wont let it happen, you can't. You need huamn beings to survive."  
"There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept. However the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world."  
Architect clicks his pen and the screens change to varioud human beings.  
"It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication, a contigent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific... vis-a-vis... love."  
"She entered the Matrix to save your life, at the cost of her own."  
"Which brings us at last, to the moment of truth, where the fundamental flaw is ulimately expressed and the anomoly revealed as both beginning... and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her and to the end of your species. As you eloquently put, the problem is choice. But we already know what you are going to do, don't we? Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason, and emotion that is already blinding you from the simple and obvious truth... she is going to die and there's nothing you can do to stop it."  
Neo takes the door to the left, but stops before leaving as Architect says...  
"Hope... it is the quinisential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness."  
"If I were you, I would hope that we don't meet again."  
"We wont."
From: Ross Entered on: May 19, 2003 11:35 AM
To me, the most interesting part of this whole conversation is the part where the architect says "The function of the One is now to return to the source allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program." The code he carries. This goes to Roche's idea of Neo "having a program." I don't know what this means, or how it is possible. I think this is the sticking point that pretty much explains everything.
From: Ross Entered on: May 19, 2003 2:42 PM
Okay, something just occurred to me regarding Neo's powers outside the Matrix, and Smith's "possession" of that guy Bane outside the Matrix. I believe that the only satisfactory answer is that Zion and the rest of the Real World is part of the Matrix as well, or another, separate Matrix.  
Yes, I know that this is not an idea that I came up with on my own, but it makes sense given this: the fact that the machines created The One as a result of the "anomaly" and know full well that some percentage of humans will not accept the Matrix, why not let them reject it, but instead of them breaking out into the real world as they believe (and thus allowing them to actually cause problems for the machines), breaking them out into ANOTHER alternate reality, which they believe to be the real world? I mean, they already have the power to control what humans accept as reality, right? So if they reject the Matrix, give them another reality. Didn't Smith in the first one say that humans define their reality by their suffering? Can't get much worse that shitty-ass Zion in the "real world", right? Maybe the rejectors don't reject Zion reality.  
The only problem I have with my theory here is that if the humans were still in a "safe zone" in their "real world," the machines really wouldn't have any imperative to destroy it. On the other hand, if left unchecked, they may eventually "free" more and more people to their reality and expect to win out against the machines, which the machines wouldn't want to deal with. So it's in their best interests to keep as many people as possible in first Matrix.  
Just thinking out loud, here... See, this movie has a lot of shit going on, more that you may initially give it credit for.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 19, 2003 4:13 PM
I think it is definitely a possibility as well, as I told Roche yesterday, although I had not fully developed the theory to this extent. Besides, Zion has been destroyed 5 times already. In allowing Neo to pick people to re-populate Zion, the Achitect is demonstrating the need for the Matrix to have a place for the "liberated" individuals to exist. In the real world, humans have real choices. What garantee does the Architect have that humans would develop Zion in the same fashion every single time? The only way to ensure Zion would be created and developed every time would be to write a program functioning exactly the way Ross describes.  
Other Sci-fi/fantasy movies (X2/LOTR) may be more entertaining on a visceral level, but don't compare on a cereberal level. If you like a mind-fuck movie and have the capacity to understand it, this movie is sweet. Of course that's just one asshole's opinion.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 19, 2003 4:52 PM
Also, why do the machines feel the need to attack Zion if it is only a creation? It supports the whole idea of having a ZIon. People need a purpose to exist and the pupose here is to fight for human existance. According to the Architect's plan, Neo reinserts the source code, Zion is destroyed and and rebuilt. Sounds like the Matrix program is re-booted or "Reloaded".  
Another interesting note, I did a little research on the Merovingian (Frenchie) since I'm certain his character is very important to the overall story and I found out some interesting things. Merovingian legend is chock full of weird shit: French Kings of divine lineage, battles between heaven and Earth, good vs evil, and a an individual (female in this instance)who is basically "the one" who is supposed to triumph and reset the whole universe brand new. Way too much bullshit to sort out but I think the Matrix characters are also named for a reason and some Merovingian bullshit may possibly be applicable.
From: Ross Entered on: May 19, 2003 10:32 PM
I totally agree with the visceral/cerebral comment. I was just telling this to Roche in fact. Although X2 may have had less wrong with it, there is far, far, FAR more depth in the Matrix movies. The more I think about it, the sweeter it gets. Which, not suprisingly, was my reaction to the first film as well. The thing is, it's sweet in different ways, not what I expected at all.  
I do also think that many people have trouble with the movie because they didn't understand it all. But when you realize that this is one half of a movie, it makes it easier to accept the fact that perhaps you were not meant to understand it all at this point in time.  
I just think (and hope, dearly) that it would be truly awesome if the Brothers ended up tying everything up in a kickass way that made everyone, including the naysayers, go "Oooooh, I get it!"
From: Swerb Entered on: May 19, 2003 11:01 PM
OK, just got back from Vegas, and I need to chime in... first, the only reason for the 100 Smiths scene, to me, is to entertain the audience. I laughed during the scene because it was so fun, and there's some sweet shit going on. Some people complain about the it being entirely CGI, but it's probably the best CGI sequence out there. I imagine it would be wild to do bong hits and then watch it... so I think the Wachowskis were simply inserting it in an attempt to appease the fans of the noodle-blowing stuff. Where it fits into the greater scheme of the story is uncertain.  
As for the architect scene, thanks, Ross, for posting the script, because when the scene came up, so much was happening (especially with the TV screens behind Neo), I concentrated so hard, as if I was constipated and trying desperately to boot. I appreciate the Wachowskis' desire to not talk down to their audience in this scene; a lesser director would have given the audience some more obvious visual clues in an attempt to hammer home a point.  
I dunno, I liked it on a visceral level, and I wasn't disappointed with the movie, because I think a second or third viewing and Revolutions will clarify some questions. I hope. But the film in general could use some editing. There were a lot of looong speeches (the Architect scene included) that needed some trimming, the first hour was, a few scenes excepted, pretty much a drag, the "rave" scene was pointless and extraordinarily gay. But still, I think there's extraordinary depth in the film that can't be comprehended until Revolutions... so let's hope the third movie isn't a 2 1/2 hour explanation of Reloaded. More commentary will come after I see the movie for a second time on Wednesday...
From: Jackzilla Entered on: May 19, 2003 11:24 PM
Please let's not automatically equate "so and so didn't like the movie" with "so and so just didn't get it." I got it fine. It was still bloated.  
I almost forgot about Jada Pinket's boyfriend -- that other captain that doesn't like Morpheous -- Could he possibly be more annoying? He needs to seriously take it down a notch. In the next movie, I'd like to see some nasty machine take him down like a bitch and interface with his orifice. THAT might be the appropriate time for him to make that grimace he's got going on during the ENTIRE movie.  

From: Ross Entered on: May 20, 2003 9:50 AM
I agree about the other Captain - he sucked.  
And I didn't mean to insinuate that you didn't "get" the movie - but I don't think anyone "got" it fully. Just look at how much people are talking online about what it means. My point was no one was supposed to have gotten it all at this point. That infuriates some people. Me, I find it quite cool.
From: Ross Entered on: May 20, 2003 10:47 AM
By the way, I found out what happened to Tank:

From: The Bone Entered on: May 20, 2003 11:01 AM
Ross is absolutely right. To quote Swerb. the dialogue was, "dense and cryptic" and the plot twists were very difficult, if not impossible to fully comprehend. With that being said, Joe Sixpack off the street expecting a movie that was as easy to follow as the first one would naturally be dissapointed. I think if you are a fan of the first one, you owe it to yourself to watch Reloaded again. It only gets better as you become aware of the ramifications of the plot twists. I'm absolutely certain now that Revolutions will tie everything together in a sweet way and Joe Sixpack will finally realize how sweet Reloaded is. For that, I'm willing to overlook some of the mistakes made.
From: Ross Entered on: May 20, 2003 11:10 AM
I know that it's pretty much just Bone and I discussing the meaning(s) of the film here, but I keep reading interesting things. Some guy on that message board I was reading sums up exactly my argument about Neo's power in the real world and Smith's possession of Bane:  
If the real world actually IS "the real world", then they're going to need a damn good explaination how a binary set of ones and zeros can possess a man's mind, or how direct contact with Agent Smith can provide Neo with the ability to create telepathic links with the sentinels. Saying that "some of Agent Smith rubbed off on Neo" just won't cut it. The Brothers have dug themselves a hole here, and there aren't many ways out of it. Either the real world is just another Matrix, or they're asking the audience to buy some pretty incredible leaps of faith. My money is still on the former.  
For anyone that wants to read a buttload of conversation on this movie, check here:

From: Ross Entered on: May 20, 2003 11:19 AM
Also Swerb, regarding the 100 Agent Smiths, I think only a small part of that fight was CGI, and it was fairly obvious where those parts were inserted. Honestly I could have done without them. I was far more entertained just by watching Keanu's fighting skills, which, when viewed on their own, are amazing.  
Personally, I found the most impressive special effect in the entire film to be from the first fight, in a scene I was already clamoring about before the movie opened: when one agent tries to grab Neo's shoulder, Neo grabs his arm, swings under it like a pole, does at 270 and kicks another oncoming agent. That's a move that only a superhero can do and it looked so real that most people never question it.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 20, 2003 2:54 PM
Here's some thoughts out loud, primarily for Bert since no one else seems to appreciate this discussion. Some are my own thoughts and others I'ved adopted from other discussions.  
1) I am more and more convinced that Zion is in fact part of the Matrix. In fact I'm about 90% certain.  
2) It's possible Neo never really existed as a human. He is merely the 6th version of a software program designed to compensate for the necessary imperfection in the Matrix algorithm. Neo 6.0. What's intersting about this idea is what the program has evolved into. Each of the previous Neos were designed with a "contigent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species." However Neo 6.0 displys more than just a "profound attachment" to the human species, he actually falls in love which seems to suprise or at least intrigue the architect. What this suggests is pretty important although I havn't figured out exactly what it means. It is a very good way to explore the nature humanity. What gives each individual thr personally identity, their essence, or as some would say, their soul (for this discussion I refer to it as "essence") If you believe that a human being is merely an organic machine with the body as the hardware and the chemicals within the brain as software (I'm over-simplifying here), then its possible a computer program with a sufficient level of Artificial Intelligence can develop or evolve the very characteristics that give human's their humanity or "essence".  
3) It's possible the Merovingian and Persphone were at one time humans. The Merovingian probably rejected the Matrix program and tried to do something about it but realized it was impossible for him to defeat. He struck a deal with the Machines to copy his "essence" into a program which has a vast amount of power (on par with Neo) to fufill a purpose benificial to the Matrix as well as his own power hungry design. What leads me to think of this is Persephone's desire to kiss Neo. She can no longer feel love except through the emotions of someone like Neo, yet she remembers what it was once like when she was human.  
4) If Neo,Trinity, Morpheus, etc. are humans, how can they actually they insert their "essence" into the Matrix? And if you can go from human world to Matrix world, then is it a far stretch for Smith to go to human world? They might have explained this in the first movie but I don't remember the answer. Ross - please help.  
5) The best part about the Zion scene was the discussion between the Council guy and Neo. The theme of the human's dependence on machines and vice versa was an intersting topic.  
I'm not putting any of these theories out as doctrine. There are inconsitancies in my own mind with regard to each one. I'm just throwing them out so maybe someone else with sufficient mental powers can expand or get some ideas. I feel sorry for those who didn't like this movie because it has provided me with days of post viewing entertainment just thinking about it. I usually never have a strong desire to see a movie again while it's still out at the theater but I can't wait to watch this one again.  

From: Ross Entered on: May 20, 2003 3:40 PM
Re: #4 - This has been a point of contention for me as well. The interface between the true human and the "residual self image," or "avatar" in the parlance of this domain, is something that is bothering me.  
Up until this installment, I was under the impression that there is nothing special about Neo (or perhaps more correctly, Thomas Anderson) in the Real World. This is also supported by The One being chosen by the machines and presumably this means bestowing something upon Thomas Anderson's avatar. Coupled with the fact that the Architect says that Neo is "carrying code" to reinsert the prime program or some such, this means that their avatars are more complicated than Morpheus' description of "the mental projection of your digital self."  
This brings up my problem with what happens to avatars once they get on one of the special exit phones in the Matrix. Where does their avatar go? What would happen if a non-freed human picked up one of these phones? Granted, if the avatars aren't "real", they don't "go" anywhere. But if there is more to them than a projection - they carry code, for instance, or have properties of being/not being The One, there is some stateful information associated with them that is beyond what their human equivalent holds.  
Of course, since the machines have put the computer interfaces (holes) in the baby humans as they are grown, they could have added the necessary logic/storage devices to render all my musings moot. Who knows.  
But you're right, there is nothing to state for sure that Neo is human, Re: #2. However, since he does show up in the Real World, and assuming it's not part of the Matrix, he would then be an android, manufactured from scratch by the machines. I don't see why this would be necessary, but perhaps it is because of the whole attachment to the human species thing. This is where it all kind of breaks down for me, though. Because the Architect talks about him in a way that almost suggests that he was created, ie an eventuality of an anomaly. But everywhere else in the films, he is referred to as "only human."  
As far as "essence," I have no need for it either in real life or in the context of this movie. I assumed before that when entering the Matrix, humans are simply issuing instructions to a series of programs, just like you when you use a computer. The only difference is the quantity and quality of interaction. Instead of a keyboard and monitor, you use a neural link. Now that view is somewhat challenged.  
At the end of the day, all this seems like an awful lot of trouble for the machines to go through. Why not either grow humans in a vegetative state (should still have the same power output) and not worry about any Matrices, or grow cows instead? Better yet, rely on that "form of fusion" that Morpheus alludes to in the first one - which ought to be way more efficient than using animals' body heat as a power source.  
Re: Persephone. There is a lot of interesting shit with names here. I believe there is something interesting about that kiss, but I can't figure it out. As far as her name goes, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades to be his bride in the Underworld in Greek mythology. I don't remember much else beyond that. Morpheus is a god of dreams. Interesting that he says something like "I dreamed a dream but now that dream has gone from me" when the Neb gets destroyed.  
Also did you read anything about the 101's in the movies? Real quick, from memory:  
101 was Neo's apartment in the first film.  
101 was the floor Merovingian was on in the building  
101 was the highway they were on  
101 in binary is 5 in the decimal system. If you start counting at zero, we are on iteration 101 of the Matrix.  
Cool shit.  
About the conversation in Zion: I'm not sure it revealed anything - I assumed that it was there to bring up an obvious point to those not paying attention. I could be wrong though, I'll have to watch it again. Still, it could foreshadow something like humanity going machine-free at the end of Revolutions.
From: Swerb Entered on: May 21, 2003 12:39 AM
I think an interesting interpretation of the Matrix is all the religious imagery, the "Neo as Christ" idea... it wouldn't surprise me to see Neo sacrifice himself to save humanity in Revolutions. The way the poor and downtrodden Zionians (Zionites?) wanted him to perform "miracles" (so to speak) alludes to this, as well, although the film doesn't really explain the hows and whys and whether he's doing or saying anything to/for these people. Also, the Architect could be viewed as God, especially if Neo is his creation; notice that the room he is in is all white, with the zillion TV screens being his all-seeing eyes. Of course, I'm not the religious type (Bert can testify to that), but some of the parallels are quite obvious.  
Remember, too, that the first movie doesn't give Neo any background, even if it is manufactured by the matrix - no information about friends, family, etc., just the insinuation that he's a loner who spends a lot of time in front of a computer. I wouldn't be surprised if Revolutions included a further exploration of his character.  
Regardless, I agree with The Bone that the scene with the council guy was more important than it may seem. Dig deeper into the symbiotic man-machine relationship he explains, and I think it implies that the machines may be, ironically, using human souls/essences as "energy" (they never really explain how this works, or what sort of "energy" is being drained from the humans - correct me if I'm wrong), which may explain why the humans aren't raised as vegetables or why cows aren't harvested. Which further illustrates the spiritual dimension of the film; Neo is asking these questions that really don't have answers on this level of consciousness - and it's also implied that perhaps the machines don't necessarily have the level of consciousness as humans, just a really close imitation of it - maybe 99.9999999 percent - which may also explain Neo's ability to love. Is he the first machine to gain the extraordinary level of consciousness? If so, it's also ironic that he's a creation of machines.  
Not trying to babble on, but the film also challenges the definition of the word "machine." Are you and I machines, in that we are constructed from basic organic building blocks, or we're just infinitely more complex machines than any AI robot?  
Regardless, the sweet thing about these movies is that it prompts these questions, it prompts further analysis, and, like any good literature, none of the answers are definite. I can look past the fact that the movie is "bloated" and imperfect, just because it challenges the mind. I felt similarly about the movie A.I.; although it had some problems on a surface level, it was fascinating and disturbing (especially when Haley Joel Osment starts malfunctioning) - but, admittedly, The Matrix is a hell of a lot more fun to watch. I can't fucking WAIT to see it again.
From: Ross Entered on: May 21, 2003 9:14 AM
I think the whole Neo as Christ thing is a fairly old interpretation, but I do not think the brothers are meaning it to be too literal. Though you're right - Morpheus is John the Baptist, and I hadn't thought of the Architect as god other than that he is, literally. But the white hair and beard definitely makes that stronger. Of course, even though her name is Biblical, Neo's relationship with Trinity breaks down the parallel. I've also wondered about Neo being "immaculately conceived" since we know nothing about his parents. However, Neo ALREADY died and was reborn ala Christ - at the end of the first movie. Furthermore, it's already been stated that Neo must sacrifice himself to save Zion - after he picks 23 more to start it over, at some point he dies so another "One" can be reborn.  
But I don't buy any BS about the machines harvesting people's "essences." I've never seen anything in these movies to indicate that they were ever postulating the existence of a soul or its importance in the grand scheme. And they do say how they harvest energy - they said the brain generates x amount of bioelectric energy and the body gives off x BTUs of body heat. (Which, by the way is very very small. The brain runs on about 10 watts which can't power much of anything).  
As far as consciousness goes - it's overrated. I've done a lot of reading on this topic, especially its relationship to artificial intelligence. People always draw the line between human and machine intelligence as being one of a level of conciousness - in my estimation because entertainment media has told us that this must be what makes us human - but I'm here to tell you that consciousness is a very, very small part of what makes you human. Most of the shit that you can do that makes you an amazing animal, you can do without full consciousness: running, driving, talking, riding a bike. Sure, you had to concentrate to learn these things, but that's akin to being programmed. Once you got the program, it's second nature. You can't do arithmetic without it, however, and look how bad you are at it compared to a "dumb" machine.  
I'm not saying the W Brothers won't go down this avenue - but again, as a computer scientist, I will be highly disappointed if they do.
From: Ross Entered on: May 21, 2003 9:37 AM
Oh, and to me, there is very little question: we are machines. We are the most fantastic machines that we know of, but we are certainly not beyond comprehension, replication, or improvement. Not a popular view, but I have seen absolutely no credible proof anywhere to suggest otherwise.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 22, 2003 9:30 AM
I just watched reloaded in the theaters again and it was a suprememly enoyable experience. I was no longer viewing with the burden of expectation and I found that many of the scenes I orignially shat upon were much more digestible, with the exeption of Morpheus' speech. Fishburne should have kicked the Brothers' ass for making him do it, and his own ass for doing it so poorly.  
At any rate, reading the message boards before hand allowed me to pick up on a few more details than had originally registered. One example being the guy escorted from the Merovingian's table - Neo takes a long hard look at him emphasising something important. Who the fuck is that guy? Also, I was fairly confident Neo was just a program and ZIon still part of the Matrix. Now I'm not so sure about that any more. I'd still probably go with that idea, however I'm just not as sure. Also, there is a lot of music for effect during Neo and Persphone's kiss, emphasizing something very important as well.  
I managed to stay through the credits at the end and saw the preview for Revolutions and it seemed to me that it all boils down to a showdown between Smith and Neo. Obviously they are very connected in Reloaded. Neo can sense Smith approaching. Should be an interesting twist.  
My official opinion after 2 viewings. One of the sweetest movies I've ever seen based on special effects, action sequences, and above all the complexity of the story. As good if not better than the first.
From: Ross Entered on: May 22, 2003 10:00 AM
God damn still no Roche or Fatty commentary.  
Anyway, I have some more thoughts as well, since I have the luxury of re- watching any scenes I want. I know this is obvious, but it finally truly clicked for me last night that the reason Neo has powers in the real world has the same explanation as why Smith can infect Bane. Before the Burly Brawl, when Smith is talking, he refers to their connection, and Neo imprinting/copy/overwriting part of himself onto Smith. I hope we get a better explanation than that, but it's possible that the W Bros are just meaning that Neo has picked up Smith's abilities somehow - his connection with the rest of the machines, hence his ability to affect the Sentinels, and Smith has picked up Neo's real world abilities. Still, this is not satisfactory to me in the slightest but I fear that this may be all we get.  
Okay couple other things: I read someone referring to the two cuts that Smith was making on Bane's hand right before trying to kill Neo in Zion. What was the significance?  
I also read about the guy being led away from Merovingian's table. I haven't watched it again since reading that so I will refrain from further commentary.  
Bone and I have discussed it before, but it bears mentioning here: the fact that one of the orphans gave Neo the gift of a spoon in Zion - a spoon that looked like it had been bent a shitload of times - may be indicative of the notion that "there is no spoon" even in Zion.  
I have to admit that Merovingian and Persephone are a total mystery to me. But here's what I know related to who's a program and who's a person:  
Oracle - a program. She said so herself. Co-creator of the current Matrix.  
Seraph - a program. Guards the Oracle.  
Keymaker - a program. Helps guide the One to the source.  
Architect - a program. Creator of the Matrix.  
Neo - human. This is reiterated by so many people so many times, if he's not it will be the biggest betrayl of an audience ever.  
Merovingian - program. The Oracle says so. The interesting thing is that Persephone draws a parallel between Neo and him, though. That's what I don't get.  
Persephone - a program. Not sure what her function is, but it's got to be important. As evidenced by my list here, each program has a purpose (this goes back to the Oracle's discussion with Neo)  
Smith - was a program, now who knows? Still, I'm inclined to say "once a program, always a program" But wait! He's a PROGRAM WITHOUT A PURPOSE. The whole thing he was bitching to Neo about! So what is he, really, now?  
The Senator - human, but look - he doesn't have any holes. He must be a child of Zion. Not sure if that's important but I did notice it upon a repeat viewing.  

From: John Entered on: May 22, 2003 2:50 PM
I see you and Bert have pretty much discussed this movie in depth. To tell you the truth I'm just not as inclined to spend so much time analyzing this movie.  
I do want to say that for me a deeper movie does not necessarily make for a better movie. The first movie had much more drama and tension in it. It also lacked the shitty scenes that I believe inundate this movie.  
I'm going to see it again tomorrow. Maybe it will be better for me after a second viewing.
From: Ross Entered on: May 22, 2003 11:34 PM
Well, I am adding some more fuel to the fire. I found this post on the internet (a Usenet newsgroup to be exact, rec.arts.movies.current-films) and it's so lengthy that I'm putting a link to it rather than pasting it in its entirety here. The guy who wrote it seems to be pretty together and brings a lot of thought to the table. If you have a bunch of time and inclination, read it:
From: The Bone Entered on: May 23, 2003 8:51 PM
I read the guy's post and while I think it was very interesting, I don't think he has it any more figured out than anyone else.  
On another note, when Neo asks the Seraph what his purpose is, Seraph tells him that he guards that which is most important. What exaclty does that mean? That which is most important to him? That which is most important to the human rebellion? That which is most important to the Matrix? Or simply no significance at all? I'd like to think there is significance here. Obviously that which is most important refers to the Oracle, so it's meaning has significance to her purpose and identitiy. Any speculation here?  
Also, the Oracle tells Neo, we are all here to do what we are all here to do. Who is this "we" she is refering to? To me it sounds like she is refering to programs like herself, Seraph, keymaker, etc.- and Neo. Although there are many references that Neo is only human, there are also a few that suggest he is not. Like this particular reference as well as the Architect's speech which refers to Neo's predecessor's design to have an attachment to humanity. To me, the different Neos we see on the monitors represent the previous Neos, and how can there have been five others unless he is a program? Just food for thought -for the limited few on this sight with an opinion about such matters.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 24, 2003 12:15 AM
General knoweldge for you all. Seraph is the root form of Seraphim. Sort of attendants for god in Judeo-Christian mythology.
From: Ross Entered on: May 24, 2003 10:20 AM
Well I knew that Seraph was related to Seraphim, who is an angel so when the Oracle mentioned angels I thought of him. But I didn't know Seraphim's story beyond being an angel.  
It is interesting in the text you cite that "saraph" means "to consume with fire" in verb form and in noun form "a fiery and flying serpent". And now I know that Seraphim are a whole order of angels. Sweet.  
I was thinking more about Smith - I am more and more convinced that his lack of purpose is going to infect other machines and "free" them. They could be the equalizing force that helps free mankind from their bonds.
From: Ross Entered on: May 27, 2003 11:46 AM
Couple more things I found about the Matrix: I picked up a book containing several essays analyzing the original Matrix (neither of the ones we discussed, Bone, they didn't have the one I wanted at the bookstore).  
According to one guy, the 101 on Neo's apartment door was possibly a reference to 1984. In that book (one of my favorites), Room 101 was the pyschological torture room where they "broke" the main character and made him believe whatever they wanted him to. Could be a reference to the mind-control aspects of the movie.  
Another very interesting thing mentioned was the scene in the original movie where Thomas Anderson is being bawled out by his boss and those window washers were out there noisily cleaning the windows. I always wondered why that was in there and this guy nailed the reason, I'm 99% certain. There is a poem by William Blake that contains this line:  
"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: infinite".  
At first I thought the link (door/window) wasn't too strong until the guy reminded me that shortly after that scene, Neo uses a window as a door. Frickin sweet.  
There were some other interesting revelations but now I can't think of them. If I do, I'll post them here as well.
From: Ross Entered on: May 27, 2003 12:26 PM
Also, if you want to stretch your brain and read a real-life Matrix style philosophical paper, check this out:
From: John Entered on: May 27, 2003 1:31 PM
Seems as though even the first Matrix was pretty intelligent. Who'd have thunk it.  
I'll give that paper a whirl and get back to you later Bert.
From: The Bone Entered on: May 27, 2003 10:46 PM
Here's a copy of an article on the Matrix website. Not as complex as Bert's link but interesting none the less.  
Is The Matrix merely a science fiction scenario, or is it, rather, a philosophical exercise? Alternatively, is it a realistic possible future world? The number of respected scientists predicting the advent of intelligent machines is growing exponentially. Steven Hawking, perhaps the most highly regarded theoretical scientist in the world and the holder of the Cambridge University chair that once belonged to Isaac Newton, said recently, "In contrast with our intellect, computers double their performance every 18 months. So the danger is real that they could develop intelligence and take over the world." He added, "We must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it."1 The important message to take from this is that the danger?that we will see machines with an intellect that outperforms that of humans?is real.  
I. The Facts  
But is it just a danger?a potential threat?or, if things continue to progress as they are doing, is it an inevitability? Is the Matrix going to happen whether we like it or not? One flaw in the present-day thinking of some philosophers lies in their assumption that the ultimate goal of research into Artificial Intelligence is to create a robot machine with intellectual capabilities approaching those of a human. This may be the aim in a limited number of cases, but the goal for most AI developers is to make use of the ways in which robots can outperform humans?rather than those in which they can only potentally become our match.  
Robots can sense the world in ways that humans cannot?ultraviolet, X-ray, infrared, and ultrasonic perception are some obvious examples?and they can intellectually outperform humans in many aspects of memory and logical mathematical processing. And robots have no trouble thinking of the world around them in multiple dimensions, whereas human brains are still restricted to conceiving the same entity in an extremely limited three dimensional way. But perhaps the biggest advantage robots have over us is their means of communication?generally an electronic form, as opposed to the human?s embarrassingly slow mechanical technique called speech, with its highly restricted coding schemes called languages.  
It appears to be inevitable that at some stage a sentient robot will appear, its production having been initiated by humans, and begin to produce other, even more capable and powerful robots. One thing overlooked by many is that humans do not reproduce, other than in cloning; rather, humans produce other humans. Robots are far superior at producing other robots and can spawn robots that are far more intelligent than themselves.  
Once a race of intellectually superior robots has been set into action, major problems will appear for humans. The morals, ethics, and values of these robots will almost surely be drastically different from those of humans. How would humans be able to reason or bargain with such robots? Why indeed should such robots want to take any notice at all of the silly little noises humans would be making? It would be rather like humans today obeying the instructions of cows.  
So a war of some kind would be inevitable, in the form of a last gasp from humans. Even having created intelligent, sentient robots in the first place, robots that can out-think them, the humans? last hope would be to find a weak spot in the robot armoury, a chink in their life-support mechanism. Naturally, their food source would be an ideal target. For the machines, obtaining energy from the sun?a constant source?would let them bypass humans, excluding them from the loop. But as we know, humans have already had much success in polluting the atmosphere and wrecking the ozone layer, so blocking out the sun?s rays ? scorching the sky, in effect ? would seem to be a perfectly natural line of attack in an attempt to deprive machines of energy.  
In my own book, In the Mind of the Machine2, I had put forth the idea that the machines would, perhaps in retaliation, use humans as slave labourers, to supply robots with their necessary energy. Indeed, we must consider this as one possible scenario. However, actually using humans as a source of energy?batteries, if you like?is a much sweeter solution, and more complete. Humans could be made to lie in individual pod-like wombs, acting rather like a collection of battery cells, to feed the machine-led world with power.  
Probably in this world of machine dominance there would be a few renegade humans causing trouble, snapping at the heels of the machine authorities in an attempt to wrestle back power for humans, an attempt to go back to the good old times. So it is with the Matrix. It is a strange dichotomy of human existence that as a species we are driven by progress?it is central to our being?yet at the same time, for many there is a fruitless desire to step back into a world gone by, a dream world.  
Yet it is in human dreams that the Matrix machines have brought about a happy balance. Simply treating humans as slaves would always bring about problems of resistance. But by providing a port directly into each human brain, each individual can be fed a reality with which he or she is happy, creating for each one a contented existence in a sort of dream world. Even now we know that scientifically it would be quite possible to measure, in a variety of ways, the level of contentment experienced by each person. The only technical problem is how one would go about feeding a storyline directly into a brain.  
So what about the practical realities of the brain port? I myself have, as reported in ?I, Cyborg,?3 had a 100-pin port that allowed for both signal input and output connected into my central nervous system. In one experiment conducted while I was in New York City, signals from my brain, transmitted via the Internet, operated a robot hand in the UK. Meanwhile, signals transmitted onto my nervous system were clearly recognisable in my brain. A brain port, along the lines of that in the Matrix, is not only a scientific best guess for the future; I am working on such a port now, and it will be with us within a decade at most.  
II. Human or Machine  
With the port connected into my nervous system, my brain was directly connected to a computer and thence on to the network. I considered myself to be a Cyborg: part human, part machine. In The Matrix, the story revolves around the battle between humans and intelligent robots. Yet Neo, and most of the other humans, each have their own brain port. When out of the Matrix, they are undoubtedly human; but while they are in the Matrix, there can be no question that they are no longer human, but rather are Cyborgs. The real battle then becomes not one of humans versus intelligent robots but of Cyborgs versus intelligent robots.  
The status of an individual whilst within the Matrix raises several key issues. For example, when they are connected are Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity individuals within the Matrix? Or do they have brains which are part human, part machine? Are they themselves effectively a node on the Matrix, sharing common brain elements with others? It must be remembered that ordinarily human brains operate in a stand-alone mode, whereas computer-brained robots are invariably networked. When connected into a network, as in the Matrix, and as in my own case as a Cyborg, individuality takes on a different form. There is a unique, usually human element, and then a common, networked machine element.  
Using the common element, ?reality? can be downloaded into each brain. Morpheus describes this (as do others throughout the film) as ?having a dream.? He raises questions as to what is real. He asks how it is possible to know the difference between the dream world and the real world. This line of questioning follows on from many philosophical discussions, perhaps the most prominent being that of Descartes, who appeared to want to make distinctions between dream states and ?reality?, immediately leading to problems in defining what was real and what was not. As a result he faced further problems in defining absolute truths.  
Perhaps a more pertinent approach can be drawn from Berkeley, who denied the existence of a physical world, and Nietzsche, who scorned the idea of objective truth. By making the basic assumption that there is no God, my own conclusion is that there can be no absolute reality, there can be no absolute truth ? whether we be human, Cyborg, or robot. Each individual brain draws its conclusions and makes assumptions as to the reality it faces at an instant, dependant on the input it receives. If only limited sensory input is forthcoming, then brain memory banks (or injected feelings) need to be tapped for a brain to conceive of a storyline. At any instant, a brain links its state with its common-sense memory banks, often coming to unlikely conclusions.  
As a brain ages, or as a result of an accident, the brain?s workings can change; this often appears to the individual to be a change in what is perceived rather than a change in that which is perceiving. In other words, the individual thinks it must be the world that has changed, not his or her brain. Where a brain is part of a network, however, there is a possibility for alternative viewpoints to be proposed by different nodes on the network. This is not something that individual humans are used to. An individual brain tends to draw only one conclusion at a time. In some types of schizophrenia this conclusion can be confused and can change over time; it is more usually the case, though, that such an individual will draw a conclusion about what is perceived that is very much at variance with the conclusion of other individuals. For the most part, what is deemed by society to be ?reality? at any point, far from being an absolute, is merely a commonly agreed set of values based on the perceptions of a group of individuals.  
The temptation to see a religious undertone in The Matrix is interesting ? with Morpheus cast as the prophet John the Baptist, Trinity perhaps as God or the holy spirit, Neo clearly as the messiah, and Cypher as Judas Iscariot, the traitor. But, far from a Gandhi-like, turn the other cheek, approach, Neo?s is closer to one that perhaps was actually expected by many of the messiah himself, taking on his role as victor over the evil Matrix: a holy war against a seemingly invincible, all-powerful machine network.  
But what of the machine network, the Matrix, itself? With an intellect well above that of collective humanity, surely its creativity, its artistic sense, its value for aesthetics would be a treat to behold. But the film keeps this aspect from us ? perhaps to be revealed in a sequel. Humans released from the Matrix grip, merely regard it as an evil, perhaps Cypher excluded here. Meanwhile the Agents are seen almost as faceless automatons, ruthless killers, strictly obeying the will of their Matrix overlord. Possibly humans would see both the Matrix and Agents as the enemy, just as the Matrix and Agents would so regard humans ? but once inside the Matrix the picture is not so clear. As a Cyborg, who are your friends and who are your enemies? It is no longer black and white when you are part machine, part human.  
III. In and Out of Control  
Morpheus tells Neo that the Matrix is control. This in itself is an important revelation. As humans, we are used to one powerful individual being the main instigator, the brains behind everything. It is almost as though we cannot even conceive of a group or collection running amuck, but believe, rather, that there is an individual behind it all. In the second world war, it was not the Germans or Germany who the allies were fighting but Adolf Hitler; meanwhile in Afghanistan, it is Bin-Laden who is behind it all. Yet in the Matrix we are faced with a much more realistic scenario, in that it is not some crazed individual up to no good, but the Matrix ? a network.  
When I find myself in a discussion of the possibility of intelligent machines taking over things, nine times out of ten I am told?following a little chuckle to signify that I have overlooked a blindingly obvious point?that "If a machine causes a problem you can always switch it off." What a fool I was not to have thought of it!! How could I have missed that little snippet?  
Of course it is not only the Matrix but even today?s common Internet that gives us the answer, and cuts the chuckle short. Even now, how is it practically possible to switch off the Internet? We?re not talking theory here, we?re talking practice. Okay, it is of course possible to unplug one computer, or even a small subsection intranet, but to bring down the whole Internet? Of course we can?t. Too many entities, both humans and machines, rely on its operation for their everyday existence. It is not a Matrix of the future that we will not be able to switch off, it is a Matrix of today that we cannot switch off, over which we cannot have ultimate control.  
Neo learns that the Matrix is a computer-generated dream world aimed at keeping humans under control. Humans are happy to act as an energy source for the Matrix as long as they themselves believe that the reality of their existence is to their liking; indeed, how are the human nodes in a position to know what is computer-generated reality and what is reality generated in some other way?  
A stand-alone human brain operates electrochemically, powered partly by electrical signals and partly by chemicals. In the western world we are more used to chemicals being used to change our brain and body state, either for medicinal purposes or through narcotics, including chemically instigated hallucinations. But now we are entering the world of e-medicine. Utilising the electronic element of the electrochemical signals on which the human brain and nervous system operate, counterbalancing signals can be sent to key nerve fibre groups to overcome a medical problem. Conversely, electronics signals can be injected to stimulate movement or pleasure. Ultimately, electronic signals will be able to replace the chemicals that release memories and "download" memories not previously held. Why live in a world that is not to your liking if a Matrix state is able to keep your bodily functions operating whilst you live out a life in a world in which you are happy with yourself? The world of the Matrix would appear to be one that lies in the direction humanity is now heading?a direction in which it would seem, as we defer more and more to machines to make up our minds for us, that we wish to head.  
IV. Ignorance and Bliss  
In a sense, The Matrix is nothing more than a modern day "Big Brother," taking on a machine form rather than the Orwellian vision of a powerful individual using machines to assist and bring about an all-powerful status. But 1984, the novel in which the story of Big Brother was presented, was published in 1948. The Matrix comes fifty years later. In the meantime, we have witnessed the likes of radar, television for all, space travel, computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. What would Orwell?s Big Brother have been like if he had had those technologies at his disposal ? would Big Brother have been far from the Matrix?  
With the first implant I received, in 1998, for which I had no medical reason (merely scientific curiosity), a computer network was able to monitor my movements. It knew what time I entered a room and when I left. In return it opened doors for me, switched on lights, and even gave me a welcoming "Hello" as I arrived. I experienced no negatives at all. In fact, I felt very positive about the whole thing. I gained something as a result of being monitored and tracked. I was happy with having Big Brother watching me because, although I gave up some of my individual humanity, I benefited from the system doing things for me. Would the same not be true of the Matrix? Why would anyone want to experience the relatively tough and dangerous life of being an individual human when he or she could be part of the Matrix?  
So here we come on to the case of Cypher. As he eats his steak he says, "I know that this steak doesn?t exist. I know when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious!" He goes on to conclude that "Ignorance is bliss." But is it ignorance? His brain is telling him, by whatever means, that he is eating a nice juicy steak. How many times do we nowadays enter a fast-food burger bar in order to partake of a burger that, through advertising, our brains have been conditioned into believing is the tastiest burger imaginable. When we enter we know, because we?ve seen the scientific papers, that the burger contains a high percentage of water, is mainly fat, and is devoid of vitamins. Yet we still buy such burgers by the billion. When we eat one, our conditioned brain is somehow telling us that it is juicy and delicious, yet we know it doesn?t quite exist in the form our brain is imagining.  
We can thus understand Cypher?s choice. Why be out of the Matrix, living the dangerous, poor, tired, starving life of a disenfranchised human, when you can exist in a blissfully happy life, with all the nourishment you need? Due to the deal he made with Agent Smith, once Cypher is back inside he will have no knowledge of having made any deal in the first place. He appears to have nothing at all to lose. The only negative aspect is that before he is reinserted he may experience some inner moral human pangs of good or bad. Remember that being reinserted is actually good for the Matrix, although it is not so good for the renegade humans who are fighting the system.  
Robert Nozick?s thought experiment puts us all to the test, and serves as an immediate exhibition of Cypher?s dilemma. Nozick asks, if our brains can be connected, by electrodes, to a machine which gives us any experiences we desire, would we plug into it for life? The question is, what else could matter other than how we feel our lives are going, from the inside? Nozick himself argued that other things do matter to us, for example that we value being a certain type of person, we want to be decent, we actually wish to do certain things rather than just have the experience of doing them. I disagree completely with Nozick.  
Research involving a variety of creatures, principally chimpanzees and rats, has allowed them to directly stimulate pleasure zones in their own brain, simply by pressing a button. When given the choice of pushing a button for pleasure or a button for food, it is the pleasure button that has been pressed over and over again, even leading to starvation (although individuals were quite happy even about that). Importantly, the individual creatures still had a role to play, albeit merely that of pressing a button. This ties in directly with the Matrix, which also allows for each individual mentally experiencing a world in which he or she is active and has a role to play.  
It is, however, an important question whether or not an individual, as part of the Matrix, experiences free will or not. It could be said that Cypher, in deciding to re-enter the Matrix, is exercising his free will. But once inside, will he still be able to exhibit free will then? Isn?t it essentially a similar situation to that proposed by Nozick? Certainly, within the mental reality projected on an individual by the Matrix, it is assumed that a certain amount of mental free will is allowed for; but it must be remembered, at the same time, that each individual is lying in a pod with all his or her life-sustaining mechanisms taken care of and an interactive storyline being played down into his or her brain. Is that free will? What is free will anyway, when the state of a human brain is merely partly due to a genetic program and partly due to life?s experience? Indeed, exactly the same thing is true for a robot.  
In the Matrix, no human fuel cells are killed, not even the unborn?there is no abortion. Yet, naturally dying humans are allowed to die naturally and are used as food for the living. Importantly, they are not kept alive by chemicals merely for the sake of keeping them alive. The Matrix would appear to be more morally responsible to its human subjects than are human subjects to themselves. Who therefore wouldn?t want to support and belong to the Matrix, especially when it is making life easier for its subjects?  
Neo is kidnapped by Luddites, dinosaurs from the past when humans ruled the earth. It?s not the future. We are in reality heading towards a world run by machines with an intelligence far superior to that of an individual human. But by linking into the network and becoming a Cyborg, life can appear to be even better than it is now. We really need to clamp down on the party-pooper Neos of this world and get into the future as soon as we can?a future in which we can be part of a Matrix system, which is morally far superior to our Neolithic morals of today.  
Kevin Warwick  

From: Ross Entered on: May 28, 2003 10:13 AM
Yes, this essay is interesting. I have heard about Kevin Warwick many times before. In the popular literature, he is often regarded as "the world's first cyborg." I think this puts a fairly specific and arbitrary definition on "cyborg." After all, aren't deaf people who get cochlear implants cyborgs?  
Anyway, I don't agree with everything Warwick says. He may be an expert on cybernetic interfaces but he is not among the top AI theorists, as far as I know. I don't think many of them really worry about a war between AIs and humans. Granted, some may allow it as a possibility, but I think the general consensus is that when you have super-intelligent beings (AIs), you can't predict what they'd do. Just like Warwick's example of cows: it's like a cow trying to predict what we'd do. They have simply no comprehension of our level of comprehension. And so it would be with AIs.  
A good treatment of the question by a guy writing a "meaning of life" FAQ:
That was the first place I heard about the Singularity. This does tie into the Matrix, as they are basically purporting a doomsday scenario when mankind reaches the Singularity, which makes for good (and bad) sci-fi but I don't think it's the most likely scenario. The same author goes into more specifics on the Singularity here:  
Personally, I find few things more interesting than reading about this stuff.
From: Ross Entered on: May 29, 2003 12:26 PM
Something in the link above caught my attention as I was re-reading it. It relates to the conversation Roche was having with his mother-in-law about Einstein. He had just read about some of Einstein's accomplishments and was sharing his wonderment at his sheer intelligence with her. Her response was that "couldn't anyone if they really put their mind to it, do what he did?"  
There is a paragraph in the above link (the singularity one) that sums up the proper response nicely:  
"Different humans may have different degrees of the ability to manipulate and structure concepts; different humans may see and invent different things. The great breakthroughs of physics and engineering did not occur because a group of people plodded and plodded and plodded for generations until they found an explanation so complex, a string of ideas so long, that only time could invent it. Relativity and quantum physics and buckyballs and object-oriented programming all happened because someone put together a short, simple, elegant semantic structure in a way that nobody had ever thought of before. Being a little bit smarter is where revolutions come from. Not time. Not hard work. Although hard work and time were usually necessary, others had worked far harder and longer without result. The essence of revolution is raw smartness."
From: The Bone Entered on: May 29, 2003 1:34 PM
I haven't read very much on AI so this was a very interesting link. It's pretty cool to think we will most likely be around for the singularity if the above links are correct.
From: Ross Entered on: May 29, 2003 2:37 PM
Well, this was written by the guy who came up with the term "singularity":
and this has spawned a whole institute devoted to bringing about the Singularity. Their website has several interesting articles. I could spend days reading this stuff:  

From: John Entered on: October 18, 2003 5:14 PM
I just read a review of the Matrix Reloaded DVD by Scott Chitwood that I couldn't agree with more. He basically said everything I would say if I wrote a full review. One of the things he touches on is that it took repeat viewings in order to appreciate the movie more. After further viewings I've come to like this movie more than in the intial viewing. It seems I like the word "viewings". At any rate, I'm glad I gave this movie a second chance.  
Oh, and one more thing, I of course purchased the Matrix Reloaded DVD when it came out. I think I'll partake in a viewing tonight.
From: Ross Entered on: October 19, 2003 3:54 PM
I am watching it right now, in fact, and loving it. Something occurred to me while watching it, too. That annoying kid that pesters Neo was the focus of one of the stories in the Animatirx. The main point of his story was that he died in the Matrix and woke up in th real world. I'm now realizing that even if the machines do destroy the Matrix, this kid has shown that it's possible for humanity to survive anyway.

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