"The Matrix Re-Loaded"
May 18, 2003
We were very worried that this sequel to the original "Matrix" would lose too much or change directions too much. As we read the critics describe all the action scenes and sex, we realized before it opened that this part II would make much money. After making the original, the directors deserved to make a lot of money and gain influence the Amerikkkan way with sex, romance and violence. The combination of dance, martial arts and special effects is once again trend-setting and we won't mention it again in this review.
Rebutting the critics
There was at least one critic who did not like the fact that "Re-Loaded" called on some Christian imagery only to make Zion into one writhing dance and sex party. In contrast, we were thankful for the short prayer, followed by Morpheus's fairly grounded speech, after which sex and sexy dancing were the order of the day.
Morpheus makes a speech to the masses of Zion in which he says he has confidence in face of a massive robot attack, because humyns have been fighting the machines for a long time and they are still alive, not because of any belief that he has regarding prophecies. Thus while Morpheus is zealous, he proves sober-minded.
We will also defend the Wachowski brothers against some critics who nitpicked this and that about superheroes. In contrast with most comic strips and Hollywood directors exploiting the idea of superhero, the Wachowskis show us how Neo came to be from an ordinary humyn step-by-step. Granted, Neo arrives in the future after humyns have learned how to do a lot of things they cannot do now, most importantly, loading computer information into the backs of their necks.
Most superheroes in the arts arise out of pure philosophical idealism and individualism. In "Re-Loaded," we learn that Neo can see all the subcomponent parts of the Matrix and thus we are not surprised that he can fly--the most criticized aspect of the film. We're also not surprised that he chooses to fight the 100 agent Smiths to learn about them instead of just flying away. The enemy does the same thing to him--arranging fights just to learn something.
At the heroes' dinner with one of the enemy computer programs, we learn perhaps some of the rationale behind Trinity's name. The enemy starts by greeting Morpheus, then Neo and finally adds Trinity. It becomes clear that without her there would not be three.
On the other hand, regarding any parallel to the Catholic trinity, at the end of the movie, we see conflict between Neo and Morpheus as Neo spills the bad news that he did not inevitably defeat the whole Matrix as Morpheus thought; although he still has 24 hours --presumably in Matrix III-- to do the job.
In fact, much to our delight, "Re-Loaded" put any fantasies about "oracles" and fate in their proper place. Even the Oracle is connected to computer programs. It turns out that not all computer programs are completely compatible with each other. The only question Neo has to deal with is whether or not the Oracle is a plot against humyns by the machines or not.
In place of the question of fate, the Wachowski brothers now give us the question of causality or "why we do what we do." Unfortunately, the enemy seems to be the rational side in this movie, and Neo takes up the role of the irrational humyn in denial, as the enemy computer Architect points out.
In the past, Neo denied that the humyn was a source of heat energy used in a vast system controlled by robots. He thought his choices in the Matrix were real. However, Neo learned to surpass that attitude of his and accept the truth about the Matrix. In part III, we are hoping Neo can learn something from the enemy in Part II and advance yet further in the spiral of development.
In part I, Neo chose to sacrifice himself to save Morpheus for the good of his species. It turned out that he survived his altruism.
In part II, he gave up the good of the species for his love Trinity. One could say he made the same choice in Part I, because in both cases he chose the individual he knew over the abstraction. On the other hand, in Part I, he believed the abstraction false, because the Oracle told him he was not "The One." Hence, he never chose between the abstraction and Morpheus. He simply made an altruistic act toward the species by trying to save Morpheus at the cost of what he thought would be his own life. In fact, by sacrificing his own life he was choosing "the abstraction" of the greater good of the species.
The focus on sex and romance in "Re-Loaded" is definitely a downer. Neo chooses his sexual love above everything else and that seems to be merged into some vestigial Christian imagery.
We are not unhappy with how Neo looked inside Trinity as a mass of electrons to save her life. The fact that he does so in connection to love and not as an ordinary duty in combat is what distresses us. It leaves us wondering if he would not make the same effort for others caught in the Matrix. One fellow, the Keymaker shot by enemies in the Matrix before Trinity is not so fortunate: Neo leaves him for dead.
There were a few points that critics I read did not seem to cover. One interesting point is the title of the movie, which makes some sense in light of Neo's discussion with the Matrix architect. Computers keep re-loading altered software in order to control humyns better. Neo's enemies get better in fighting and systems of control expand and vary.
The most important point that seems to have passed by the critics is that Neo ends the movie fighting outside the matrix. He stops robot warriors in their tracks. Trinity picks up Neo in a coma--outside the Matrix--and says she cannot explain what happened.
Perhaps we are in for some explanations of how what Neo learned in the Matrix world is now changing his corporeal self outside the brain connected to the Matrix. In a few months, in part III, we will know.
This does not have to be the only review of "Re-Loaded." Send us your communist ideas about the "Matrix."
Replies from readers:
Kanadian reader writes in:
But reloaded is lame. The special effects used too much CGI instead of film. There was too much "Ninja-time" and not enough "bullet-time." And the car chase, billed as the most complex in film history, was flat and boring. Those technical details aside, what did Reloaded have to offer? Everyone I know came out of it confused, not like in the original Matrix. Reloaded just offers up a bunch of impoverished philosophical questions that I'm still not totally clear on. It's a major let-down from Matrix. They just thought that by adding sex and more killing, it would blow away audiences compared to the last movie. They forgot what made Matrix good. Hell, the producers clearly didn't even care.
You also missed the fact that GWB was briefly shown alongside Hitler in the scene in the computer core with the Matrix creator. The creator was talking about bad parts in history, and Bush was in the montage! This stirred up some controversy in the states. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32708 That was the one redeeming feature of the film in my opinion.
[email protected] replies for MIM:
Another reader thinks we at MIM missed the point
How are you doing?
There are quite a few things I like about your website, most recently your review of Mr.Lif's underground "Album Emergency Rations." The reason though I am e-mailing you is cause I really do respectfully disagree with a lot of the opinions placed on the Matrix.
Although I agree with where the site is coming from, I wish I knew who wrote this article. Just cause you take a position on something generally speaking, doesn't mean that you have to come at something with a select 'persepective' all the time, cause that tends to blind a person also (I'm hopin I could articulate these ideas thoroughly). I believe sometimes when someone takes a political stance they get so passionate and adamant, they tend to see things just like someone religiously. Whether it's well intended, it paints the way we see things, and holds us from expanding. Seeing something through someone else's perspective is as big a gift as anything. Don't you think that Dualism in any form handicaps persons and groups before they've even started to mobilize?
I'm talking about this cause "The Matrix" is not intended to come from a communist perspective. This movie comes from religious and phylosophical points of view. Metaphysical point of view.
I'm trying not to make this e-mail long. The Matrix series is such a complicated movie laden with symbolisms, and subtle messages etc. I know as a socialist you might not believe in religion, neither do I. But being spiritual is different and not irrelevant to our laborous struggles: I feel it's VITAL to understand who we are, so we could understand what they fear.
The powers that be are very spiritual, on a negative tip though. This movie is deep and it demands a person to know about The Old Testaments, Metaphysics, the Kabala especially Buddism. It's an amazing piece of work. I'm so shocked Warner Brothers would put so much money behind such a mind altering and revolutionary movie. But as the saying goes. "They'll sell you the rope to hang themselves." A lot of people won't take notice of the messages and symbolisms anyway. But people in this planet are waking up more and more day by day so, you never know.
I think you guys missed the boat on this movie cause you're so caught up in communist terms and referring everything to Maoist teachings you can't see how something hits truth right on the nail (you still gave it props, but you missed it by not explaining what exactly the movie is tryin to express) for example:
"Unfortunately, the enemy seems to be the rational side in this movie, and Neo takes up the role of the irrational humyn in denial, as the enemy computer Architect points out."
Like I said before, unfortunately for who? The Architect does not represent the "man" or the ruling class at all. And Neo does not represent the "proletariat." This movie shows you that those that you think might be one thing turns into another thing. This movie's main message is a manifest message. That everything we have around us is an illusion, ultimatly an illusion within an illusion. And there are forces for their own purposes that would do anything they can to keep us under such an illusion and realizing true spiritual freedom (ex. HARP). It's a metaphysical movie. The Architect is more rational then Neo, because he knows more about the system an the path of the Matrix then Neo does. They are both united more than Neo can even understand.
Neo is New Eon One. He is the manifestation of the matrix. The Architect is Neo, He is the Matrix. Neo is the all is us. The Architect is the reflection of Neo, through the inception. It was the spark of consciousness within the machine. He told Neo, in the beginning the Matrix was perfect. (If it was perfect why did it '''reload''???) This brings upon us the religious theory about God in the beginning God was perfect. And It felt confined by its perfectness and so it created chaos. Now it's experiencing itself. Searching itself out. Through struggle developing higher consciousness of self. As we are doing in our state in this world. All the main religions hold this basic belief that "God is man" "Son of man--son of the collective" "Church/ Body" = we are the temple. So to try and make this as simple as possible, We are humans are the manifestation the charectorized struggle of God. We're linked we are being. There is no dualism, no division, everything is BEING. Once we understand that there is no differentiation between anything else, we reach a higher understanding and it takes us to the next step. As we search God out God searches us out. So is the plight of Neo, and the Architect/Matrix. Get it? We're all forms of energy and frequencies. If you have any more questions you could e-mail me back about it, if I didn't articulate enough about that.
All the characters in the movie have some symbolism (rainbow of human emotions). The Agent represents the purpose. Trinity is the Three. Neo is the ONE. Thats connected to the Condulini (1-3, 3-1). another example is the Merovingian (the name itself has masonic origin) brings an interesting paradox to the Three (Neo, Morphius, Trinity). He says freedom of choice is in itself an illusion. He taps the chocolate cake with an aphrodisiac so the woman could eat it. When you're not aware of the circumstances, you would find yourself as such. He brings into the thought process the study of Cause (cause and effect). The Architect brings the same thing to Neo's perspective. You could see through all that and say "See the cause not the object."
There is so much depth and so much to throw at in the movie, it's amazing. The Matrix movie doesn't put Prophets in their "proper place" at all. Not only that, it's not like Prophets were invented by ruling class, they've been around for millions of years. Since man was put on this planet and before. The intent of prophets is to be proved wrong anyways. But thats besides the point. I'll end by saying that the Matrix movie is as multidimensional as the message it's expressing to us all. We need to wake up and break through the Matrix. There is no other way.
[email protected] replies:
Yes, the movie is about philosophy, but we at MIM agreed with the choices that the movie made on philosophical questions. Broadly speaking, there is no way so far to construe this movie as "post-modernist," which of course would be the main problem today. When humyns are injecting knowledge with cartridges through the back of the neck, we know we have a very materialist sense of knowledge--one true to the Enlightenment and entirely friendly to Marxism. Not all people who agree with us on the choices in the first movie are Marxists, because materialism and the Enlightenment have a broader influence that is difficult to track down in each individual's life.
As we said in the previous review, we disagree with the easy way out on this particular movie--but not most mind-control flicks--where our critic says the point is "that everything we have around us is an illusion, ultimately an illusion within an illusion." Discussion of such would be the typical image of metaphysics, but there would be no point in all the details about how knowledge is mechanically produced if such easy-going metaphysics and relativism were the point of the movie. There would be no reason to have kung-fu training, helicopter driving, shooting and a host of other forms of knowledge so central to the film, and all injected through known mechanical processes through the neck. In the scene in part I where Neo puts his hand through the goo that is air, there would be no reason to go through a laborious process of reconstructing his body if Christianity, most Buddhism or post-modernism were the angle.
By the way, knowing whether an idea has its historical origins in Christianity, Buddhism, masons or anything else is not a substitute for understanding the ideas themselves-- including what is missing from previous ideas. People of various religious and cultural-historical traditions may see something they learned from their training in "The Matrix." (Not everyone has the time to study the world's history of philosophy and religion.) This may in turn cause some excitement and a sense of ownership. That ownership can then turn to sectarianism. Social-historical origins of intellectual ideas is an interesting subject but distinctly separate from what we are asking at MIM. Post-modernists merge the content and social origins of an idea in order to come to an easy-going relativist conclusion. They try to tell us that it does not matter if we can inject knowledge into the backs of our necks one way or another and that there is nothing measurable about how it is done and what it produces--absurd as that may sound when Trinity can fly a helicopter after certain mechanical procedures. The post-modernists would be telling us "who" made the cartridge and how it's all an illusion instead of noticing how Trinity can fly.
The difference between a post-modernist or metaphysical take on the movie and a materialist take would be this: in a post-modernist "Matrix," there could be people who think we live in a battery mode of production and there could be other people who like to eat steak in the "Matrix." Who is correct is argued in a diffuse reality but not really knowable or central in the post-modernist view. There are plenty of "Alice in Wonderland" movies that exist at this level alone, but the "Matrix" is not one of them.
What places the "Matrix" into a friendly materialist camp for MIM is its attention to causation--on how mind-states are created and how people can tell whether they are in the "Matrix" or not. A persyn can question whether s/he cares or not or whether s/he wants to be on a ship doing a mission for humyns in Zion, but there is no doubt about the before and after of lying down and getting a whole cartridge of kung-fu inserted into one's brain.
Predictions for the future: "Matrix III"