Ended up watching the The Matrix trilogy…….ummm….. eeeerrr……for the fourth time during the weekend (played Doom 3 the rest of the time, so there’s no chance in hell I can even sound as if I have a life:)). Watched The Matrix in New Delhi (the only film in the trilogy I have watched on the big screen) in 99 and had to wait till, I think till last year to watch the sequels. Hence been lucky enough to own (proudly I might add) a 3-in-1 DVD that I picked up at a sale at the conventions center.
You ask somebody about their first Matrix experience and most would have a hard time getting past Monica Bellucci as Presephone (Mouse wouldn’t have been talking about any other woman in red if he lived long enough to meet Presephone). Never got past the back flips in mid air, the flying kicks, the cool shades and….eeerr……Presephone the first time either. Remember coming out of the movie hall blissfully ignorant of what a/the Matrix was. The Wachoski Brothers never had the averaged IQ Sri Lankan in mind when making this flick, thus explaining the requirement to watch it numerous times in order to understand the basic story line. Now yours truly will (try) explain the story for the benefit of the second timers.
The year is around 2099 and there is a conflict between man and the machines that he created. In order to cut off the energy source of the machines, man as messed up the sky (don’t worry this is where Arno ends and Keanu begins). The machines requiring another source of energy started growing humans in “fields” in order to drain the energy from the human body. Hence began the vicious cycle of hatred. Righty ho, now that’s out of the way, lets get down to the interesting stuff. The machines have created a virtual world, where all the humans are plugged in to, called “The Matrix”. In “The Matrix” the human mind is, what the machines wants it to believe. Everything that you eat, smell, touch, hear and see is an illusion created in “The Matrix”. The good thing about “The Matrix” is, as Cypher so articulately puts it “ignorance is bliss”. On the flipside you become a slave of the system and so dispensable that nobody notices that you are gone (eeeerrr……don’t even go there guys :)). In The Matrix all rules regarding gravity, friction and energy remains the same but “some rules can be bent and some rules can be broken”. Obviously depending on how strong your mind is.
This is where the cool dudes come in. They are a set of rebels fighting against the machines. These are the last of the real human beings. Most of them born and bred in the last human heaven of Zion and some recruited from “The Matrix” to serve a specific purpose. These guys travel in and out of “The Matrix” using a head jack plugged in to their heads. Basically like an out-of-body experience. While in The Matrix, you are just another programme. Which means anything you want to know/experience is at the press of a button. You think you want to master the art of kung-fu? Presto and Drunken Master is a load of BS!!
Moving beyond the environment, we come across the some main characters such as Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, Agent Smith and The Oracle.
NEO - Once an employee of Metacortex by day, who sold illegal software by night, Neo scoured the internet for the illusive Morpheus. Morpheus eventually found him and showed him the real world, adding him to the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. Although Morpheus believed he would be the One to fulfill the prophecy, Neo doesn't realize his own abilities until after getting gunned down by Agent Smith. Trinity's love for him brings him back. Her kiss makes him realize he was only dead within a simulation.
MORPHEUS - Morpheus is the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar. The Oracle prophesized that he would find the One, so Morpheus searches for his entire life until he finds Neo. Morpheus essentially sacrifices himself for Neo by fighting Agent Smith to give the crew time to escape. After being taken prisoner, he resists the efforts of Smith and the agents and refuses to give the codes to Zion's mainframe. Once Morpheus is rescued and he sees Neo begin to display his powers, he believes the war will come to a close soon. When the prophecy is fulfilled and Neo reaches the source but the war doesn't end, Morpheus is crushed. He is now dispirited and shipless, but his faith in Neo prevails.
TRINITY - The first mate on the Nebuchadnezzar, Trinity was told by the Oracle that she would fall in love with the One. Trinity watched Neo for a while before they attempted to free him. Over the course of time when Neo is aboard the Neb, Trinity realizes that she does love Neo. She kisses Neo in the real world after he gets gunned down by Agent Smith, causing Neo to realize he had only died in the Matrix.
AGENT SMITH - Smith has a hatred for human life and sees the human race as a virus. Smith makes a deal with Cypher in order to get to Morpheus. After Morpheus is in his custody, he attempts to get codes to the Zion Mainframe, hoping that the destruction of Zion would mean that he would no longer have to be a part of the Matrix. Smith kills Neo after his rescue of Morpheus, but Neo rises again as the One and destroys Smith. He is then supposed to return to the source to be deleted, but in a phenomenon resulting from Neo's jump into Smith's body having something to do with their code getting mixed, Smith no longer felt the need to obey orders. He multiplies as a virus, taking over more and more hosts inside the Matrix, with one purpose in mind: To destroy Neo.
THE ORECLE - A program who is seen as a guide to the rebels, the Oracle was the one to speak of a prophecy and an anomaly who would end the war by reaching the source. She has the sight; the ability to see the world without time. The Oracle is the mother of the matrix and is the one who discovered the need for choice in order for the illusion to work. She realizes that the best way for both worlds to progress is together.
The story, in short, revolves around the above five characters. The programme “Agent Smith” whose sole purpose is to get the codes to hack in to the Zion mainframe, realizes the fact that he will be deleted once Zion is annihilated. Smith spreads like a virus on The Matrix. Neo, being the chosen one, realizes that peace between man and machine cannot be achieved through war and makes an agreement with the machines to destroy Agent Smith. In an epic battle at the end Neo kicks Smiths ass to infinity and back. All in all peace is achieved. This is very basically how I understood the whole thing but there are whole heap of twists and turns and characters that make up almost the nine-hour journey through the matrix. Characters like The Keymaker, The Merovingian, The Architect, The Trainman, Niobe, The Twins and …….ummmm…..did I mention my personal favorite, Presephone?
All the criticism the director brothers and Revolutions received, in my opinion is not justified. Don’t think there could have been a better ending, cinematically speaking. It had all the action, drama, romance and twists required for a cracker movie. So who cares how and where Smith learnt to fly or why Morpheus is degraded to first mate (though I personally had an issue with Persephone just having one sentence to say in Revolutions but then if it was my film there wouldn’t be anybody else talking to start with :)).
That’s all on my account of The Matrix. Now must settle down to watch the Vijaya Kumaranathunga tribute on Sirasa. Tonight it’s “Nommara da-hatha”. Yippppeeeee.
Character details from http://matrix.thescarymonkeyshow.com