Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Top Fims: Take the Red Pill, Don't Reload or Revolt

“If” is such a powerful word. What if what you thought to be reality was merely something you were being fed by virtual reality? What if you were really a prisoner without even knowing it? What if you could become aware of a reality beyond your senses, and then you were able to mold the lie around you?
 
What if the Wachowski brothers had decided to let “The Matrix” be a modern masterpiece and not cashed in by making it a trilogy?
 
Yes, yes, everyone knows that they intended “The Matrix” to be the first part of a trilogy right from the start. That doesn’t make it right. So, just pretend that parts 2 and 3 never happened and… wow! Postmodern philosophy, various theologies, Jungian archetypes, and new strides in special effects come together to create one of the most amazing science fiction movies ever made.
 
A surprise hit when it came out in 1999, part of the magic today is the way it holds up to repeated viewings. As with many directors’ early pet projects, every scene is layered with meaning and there are no throw away lines. The art direction, music, and special effects are all top notch. Of course, what ultimately makes the film such a treasure is the way it tells a unique story built around what were, at the time, obscure philosophical ideas. (Well, perhaps not quite so obscure when one considers 1998’s “Pleasantville,” “The Truman Show,” and the greatness that was “Dark City.”)

Unfortunately, as with many great works of art, the look and ideas behind “The Matrix” quickly became cliché, but don’t punish the original for the sins of the pretenders—including parts two and three of this trilogy. “The Matrix” is not just good; it is a great movie.

2 comments:

  1. Have you blogged on the obvious spiritual layering of the Matrix? I'd be interested in your take on it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, not yet. My whole set up here with the boundaries I have created do not give me enough space. I did a 3 or 4-week study with my youth on it before the sequels came out and we reserved final judgment knowing that there was more to come. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the end. I think there is a lot more eastern religion and Gnostic teaching behind the movies than Christianity. The list of films that use a "Christ figure" is really quite long. My favorite thing about the Matrix is using it to help people understand Postmodernism.

    ReplyDelete

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