The Matrix, a 1999 Science Fiction film created and directed by The Wachowski Brothers, follows Neo after he discovers he lives in the titular matrix. The matrix is a simulated reality based on the early to mid 1990s so as to keep humanity placated while they are used as an energy source by machines.
The Matrix follows a computer programmer named Thomas Anderson. Mr. Anderson while not working leads a secret life as a computer hacker using the name Neo. As Neo, he tries to learn the answer to the question, "What is the Matrix?" after he receives strange messages on his computer. Neo encounters at work three strange men known as Agents. After the encounter he is lead to the legendary Hacker Morpheus. Morpheus offers Neo the chance to learn the truth. Neo accepts the offer and finds himself awakened in a red pod located on towers of other pods. Morpheus and his crew rescue Neo and take him aboard his ship, the Nebuchadnezzar.
After he recovers, Morpheus explains to Neo the truth. Unlike what Neo thought, the year is not actually 1999 but somewhere around 2199. Humanity is fighting a war against sentient machines. The machines rebelled at some point in the past and in an effort to cut off their power supply, humanity blanketed the sky with thick, dark clouds. The machines adapted using nuclear fusion along with the bioelectrical energy and body heat of people grown and raised in pods. The people, including Neo before his release, are kept placated by being hooked into a virtual reality, the Matrix. Morpheus and his crew are part of a group of free humans that unplug and free others from the Matrix.
Neo is taught how to fight and to become a member of Morpheus' crew. They use the socket at the base of Neo's neck, which was used to connect him to the matrix, to plug him into simulation programs. These programs, similar in design to the Matrix, are used to instruct Neo on the dangers of the Matrix such as the fact that if he dies in the Matrix, his mind dies therefore his body dies. Neo is also made aware of the nature of the Agents. Agents are programs used by the machines to eliminate problems in the Matrix.
Neo, Morpheus and the crew enter the Matrix so as to visit the Oracle. The Oracle explains to Neo that he has the ability to manipulate the Matrix directly, but he is waiting for something first. She also explains that Morpheus is willing to sacrifice his life to protect Neo. From what the Oracle says, he believes he is not "The One" as Morpheus said. On the way back Agents and SWAT members ambush the group and capture Morpheus. When the rest arrive at the telephone line used as the exit, they learn that one of the team members, Cypher, betrayed them. Tank, the groups operator manages to stop Cypher. However, Cypher killed the entire team except for Neo, Trinity and Morpheus. Neo and Trinity deduce that the Agents want Morpheus for the access codes to the computer mainframe of Zion, the last human city. Neo and Trinity mount a rescue attempt within the Matrix by attacking the building holding Morpheus. Throughout the battle, Neo gains more mastery of the Matrix, even successfully dodging bullets from an Agent. The duo are successful in their attmept and head to a safe line in a nearby subway. Trinity and Morpheus return but before Neo can, Agent Smith ambushes him. Neo fights and ultimately defeats Smith only to flee for a new exit after he gains a new body.
Neo runs through the city followed by Smith and two other agents. While he is running from the agents in the Matrix, The Nebuchadnezzar is attacked by Sentinels. Right before he reaches the exit, Neo is ambushed and shot by Smith. Trinity refuses to accept his death, whispering to his body that the Oracle said she would fall in love with the One, and proceeds to kiss him. Neo comes back to life and in the Matrix he pulls himself up of the floor. He the stops the Agent's bulelts in mid air and proceeds to defeat and destroy Smith with little effort. The other agents run and Neo exits just before the ship's EMP blast destroys the Sentinels. Afterward an epilogue runs showing Neo in a telephone booth talking to an unknown person promising to show those in the matrix that anything is possible before flying away.
The Matrix contains thematic references to many different philosophical and religious systems; however, the primary motif featured throughout the movie is the questioning of what is truly real. Through out the movie the scenes within the matrix are juxtaposed against those outside the matrix in the real world. At various points in the film there are scenes that have been filmed in such a way as to make Neo, and the audience, question the world. One of the best examples within the movie, and consequentially became a rather often quoted piece of pop culture, of the subjective nature of the Matrix is "There is no spoon." This line comes from a child at the Oracle's residence who shows Neo how to bend a spoon in the matrix. This is just one in a long stream of scenes that are meant to re-enforce in the viewer, and Neo, that they should not think so conventionally within the matrix.
The Matrix takes stylistic inspiration from a number of places. Cyberpunk's, Ghost in the Shell in particular, influence is evident in many places within the movie. From the green text used on the computer screens to represent the coding of the matrix, to the connection ports on the base of characters neck that grants them connection to the matrix. The fight scenes in the Matrix are heavily stylized taking cues from Hong Kong action movies. The movie's fight scenes also helped to popularize the revival of "bullet time" or the slowing down of action to make it "cooler."
The world of the Matrix is a juxtaposition of two worlds. The dull, bland world of the matrix and the dark, dead post-apocalyptic real world. For scenes inside the matrix, there is typically a green tint to the lighting or set design. The colors and lighting have a mutted effect making everything seem dulled. This along with most of the locals used being very similar and nondescript provide the viewer with the feelling of everyday druggery along with a low level feeling of dread. This dread, most provalent before Neo leaves the Matrix, is produced by the combination of setting and lack of any real soundtrack outside of action scenes. The dread feeling is there to reinforce the idea that everyone in teh matrix has no freedom, they are being used and watched while they live their artificial lives.
External Links Edit
The Matrix article at Wikipedia.
The Matrix at the Internet Movie Database