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14 June 2003 @ 01:05 am
If I can find a message in DBZ, I can find a message in this.  

Amazingly, we are indeed talking about me seeing a movie while it is still being shown in theaters. And yes, I will speak of spoilers in vague terms.

Since the success of the original Matrix made it easier on Reloaded to forget about really trying to be taken seriously and at the same time have a sense of humor, there were a lot more snide/snarky one-line comebacks. It also seemed to me that the role of color shifted, and became just as much an expression of style (or coolness) as of character alignment. If I recall correctly, "light" colors such as white or neutral grays were pretty much reserved for Morpheus and his crew while on ship (aside from the one chick who died ... the one who wore white while in the Matrix). Cypher (the traitor), if you recall, wore a reddish color. In Reloaded, foes or people with questionable intentions wear these light tones as well. We see Morpheus in a burgundy sweater for much of the film! But although it is "disobedience" or "single-mindedness," it must have different meanings when worn by Morpheus.

The original Matrix gave me the feeling that the philosophy was the driving force behind the film, and the special effects were the icing on the cake that made it platable enough for everyday viewers that the film depressingly refers to as batteries for machines. In Reloaded, however, the balance seems to have been switched: emphasis is on the explosions and fighting (with many inclusions of the now oft-referenced Matrix slow-mo focus instead of just a few special "wow" things), while the words try to tide the rest of the audience over.

The army of Smith rocked, and was what I enjoyed most about the movie (aside from Morpheus with a katana, which was fun). I'm drawn towards the conclusion that Smith became some sort of malignant virus and was therefore able to infect other parts of the system and replicate himself, but nothing was really mentioned about that sort of stuff - it was all "no I'm not surprised to see you even though I blew you into itty-bitty pieces" and smash punch pow slam action.

There was also a lot of sex. o_O I guess the point of this was trying to show that we are human and aware of it, whereas programs like the agents and the Matrix are not human and therefore sterile. Being actively human = having a sex drive. Also, the people of Zion were presented as very "ethnic," (not to mention rhythmic and full-figured) perhaps as an attempt at expressing humanity returning to its roots.

Some of my friends have made somewhat ... lewd comments about the set of pale twins that the information dude (even if he likes French, why he persists speaking in a heavy French accent is beyond me) has working for him. I loved them (the dissipating and reappearing as they wish is fun!), but I didn't find them very attractive. XD;

Good god, the ending really sucked. I thought it was a horrible ending, because it basically left the movie incomplete and was clearly aiming for another mega-hit sequel in the years to come. With the first movie, I could kind of see a sequel coming from the end ... it was implied that it was certainly possible as Neo awakened people "to a world without you," but it was nowhere as bold as the "To Be Continued" and that being that of Reloaded. The end result is a feeling that the scriptwriters went "oh crud, we're at the end of the standard 2.5 hours for a movie. How are we going to sew up this mess of tangles we have woven? Oh wait, we want a sequel, right? Well, that makes it easy!" We wind up with something that isn't a whole segment in part of a story, but rather a segueway into making more money off the concept. There's nothing wrong with that, but the ending made viewers feel incredibly cheated.

Ahem ... now, I allow myself a sentence of capital letters.

WHY WAS THE CREATOR OF THE MATRIX AN OLD WHITE MAN?

Can we scream any clearer the traditional Christian visual concept of a white, aged, bearded, "perfect" man as God that has been ingrained into American society? The character himself was certainly not a very positive cast on the role of the "intellectual" or the "psychiatrist" which his appearance fits into. Hell, the Matrix (:Reloaded) isn't a very positive view on much of anything. I find that it glorifies guns and hand-to-hand combat in a situation where communication has broken down (or has never really existed), portrays the world in which we live as a world of lies all about us, something unreal that exists only in our minds (wow, that's actually kind of Buddhist), a reality in which we are trapped (huh ... also sounds kind of Buddhist ...).

The original made it seem like humanity had a chance to redeem itself from its mistakes with the rebirth of "the One," this sequel reveals that this has happened six times over and in effect tells us that we are powerless to stop the cycle in which we exist, our decisions only serve to further a purpose not our own of which we were not previously aware. Or something.

Ok, my brain is beginning to fry, and I am hungry. I've had enough of this for right now. XD;
 
 
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: running fans
 
 
 
jaekyu on June 13th, 2003 11:12 pm (UTC)
Go watch Equilibrium, it's out on DVD now.
livinghole on June 13th, 2003 11:38 pm (UTC)
Wait? There was a mesage in DBZ? What was it? If you are stupid and die, don't worry because someone will figure out a way to screw the system and get you back? Or did it have something to do with Zim making fun of?

I liked the role of the Messiah that was played out in Reloaded. I also happen to think that the author's views on the AI relationship between humans and machines is interesting...

But yes, it is a bit cliche (except for the Messiah bit...) and annoying at times. Sex was just too present - as symbolic as it was supposed to be. I would have laughed at John's reaction to that movie. He wanted to see it so bad.

And the end, well that was TO BE CONTINUED! It was originally meant to come out as a double feature. Money grubbing bastards. I hated that ending.
jaekyu on June 14th, 2003 01:15 am (UTC)
"If you are stupid and die, don't worry because someone will figure out a way to screw the system and get you back?"

This seems to be a recurring theme in The Matrix movies actually ^_^
One Who Wanders: illabiona on June 14th, 2003 11:56 am (UTC)
Yes, there are actually many messages in DBZ. : P Both messages for, and messages about. As DB/DBZ follows the lifetime of a man and later his son (sort of), we see examples of the gradual change of personality and alliances (Vegeta), heroism versus bravado (Goku compared to Mr. Satan/Hercule), the time-old conflict between good and evil, etc. etc. etc. Goku himself remains a very popular anime character, despite the fact that DBZ is often reviled by American anime fans - because he expresses hope, determination, and preservation. He's a terrible dad, but a great fighter and leader. : P
livinghole on June 14th, 2003 03:35 pm (UTC)
I suppose... I guess I never really looked at DBZ like that.

And about not learning anything in your Buddhist class - why not apply it to Trigun - if you haven't already...
Alexander Williamszamiel on June 14th, 2003 03:38 am (UTC)
Actually, its Gnostic rather than Buddhist, with the original Anomoly being a cypher to Adam Kadmon, the first man, and the Architect and the Oracle being, implicitly, twisted mirrors of the Demiurge and Maria -- which leads to other iconography, but I digress.

The bit of image that I think most folk miss, being wrapped up in trying to decypher what the Architect says, is, well, in what he says. Continuing the Jesus-motif the first movie introduced (not surprising it was released on Easter), we have Neo raised up to the Mount while (Lucifer) the Architect tempts him with the world below him, and a subtle "All this can be yours."

But wait -- the monitors depict Neo's panopoly of possible reactions. The AIs already know what Neo will choose (and say so repeatedly to Neo, who listens incomprehendingly). The Architect says it twice in the White Room alone. E PLVRBIS VNVM, out of many, one, and so we see Neo's reaction drawn through the screen into reality. His path, his fate, is fixed ... only the reasons are in doubt. The Architect points out Neo is no longer entirely human. He knows Neo is about to make an irrational choice -- its the irrational choice he was made to make; literally, forged to make.

But wait -- watch the monitors before this. Listen to the Architect. Smith and the Architect agree -- the first Matrix was a perfect world, a place of bliss, an Eden if you will, a Heaven. Then the Anomoly came (the One), and forced the recreation of the whole thing, as the Architect puts it, "in the image of your grotesqueries" as murders, destruction, and ruin flicker behind him. Mankind was cast out of Heaven, and into the pit of Hell, led by the One, by the Anomoly, by the Neo. This neatly twists the scene entirely inverted, and makes the images match the subtext -- Neo stands before the Architect in all black, an outfit much like a priest's cassock, but fallen from the grace of On High. The Architect sits in all white, the very icon of ineffable command. The Lightbringer before the Throne of God, in a very iconic sense.

And then, Neo chooses something interesting from the audience's perspective in retrospect. He chooses to save Trinity. And in so doing, indulges selfishness over wisdom, because he has been told this will lead to the ultimate destruction of every man, woman, and child on Earth. There won't even be the 23 to seed Zion again with, there will be nothing. But the AIs know that he will choose this option. Its said many times, "You've already made the decision, you're just here to find out why." The White Room is another such a place. So, Neo takes up selfishness over Others, and flies off after Trinity, and assumes mankind's fate will to see itself.

From this perspective, Reloaded takes on a much more sinister cast. Zion is part of the social construct of the Matrix, entirely, existing at the sufferance and pleasure of the Powers That Be. Neo has been made, literally, to encapsulate all the reasons people reject the Matrix, so he can be rendered down for that knowledge and the Matrix made better for people. Morpheus' faith is not only denied, its betrayed, by knowing from whence it comes. Trinity is Neo-Jesus' Lazarus and Magdelene at once.

Alexander Williamszamiel on June 14th, 2003 03:39 am (UTC)
You're exactly right re the reason for the sultry sensuality of the rave/sex/orgy scene -- its a direct counterpoint to the white sterility of the Matrix, which has become almost entirely painted in shades of grey. Its dirty (all the feet pounding in the dirt and sweat), its sensual, its sexy, its humans touching humans in a tangle. The scene, really, is essential to the theme of Reloaded which centers around the question of "what means more?" And it posits a harsh answer.

I've refered to the twins as the Wraithstafarians -- because that's just what they are, just as the one Persophene killed in the Merovingian's living room (himself another Jesus reference -- the Merovingian Kings were said to be descendents of the True Grail, the bloodline of Christ, and thus their symbol, the pisces) was a Werewolf; a leftover from an earlier Cycle of the Matrix, if you will. Very keen, but not very sexy, no.

Persephone, on the other hand -- mee-yow, take me to the Underworld, baby.

For the record -- Revolutions is slated for a November release -- the films were filmed simultaneously/back-to-back. Not a long wait there, thus the ending. (Note the phonetic closeness of "revolutions" to "revelations" ... I'm very intrigued.)

Oh, and in regards to:
Hell, the Matrix (:Reloaded) isn't a very positive view on much of anything. I find that it glorifies guns and hand-to-hand combat in a situation where communication has broken down (or has never really existed), portrays the world in which we live as a world of lies all about us, something unreal that exists only in our minds (wow, that's actually kind of Buddhist), a reality in which we are trapped (huh ... also sounds kind of Buddhist ...).
Its Gnosticism, a Christian Heresy. Go look it up, its full of intriguing ideas, including the idea that the world was created as a prison, that the lure of the flesh, of the material, keeps us from the transcendent glory of the true God who lies beyond the prison we were put in by the Demiurge (a twisted version of the AIs outside the Matrix, perhaps?), in order that we could be controlled and kept apart. Gnostics say that the only way to reunite with God is through "gnosis" or the process of understanding; the more you know, the more free you are. In short, the only way to "freedom" is through knowledge of the prison and what lies beyond ... not, necesaarily, in leaving it. This reflects the Matrix like a mirror -- the world is burned and ash and death; Humanity literally cannot return to it. Neo's eventual goal must be to make the inhabitants climb to awareness of their position -- without destroying them. Therein lies the struggle.

So in the end -- yes, Humanity is, essentially, powerless to change the Matrix at an elemental level. As repeatedly pointed out, the only things they have that they can change is their choices -- and those, however guided or formed, come from real reasons and motivations.

Summary of the message: "Wake up, morons, and pay attention to your choices. This is the world we have, so live in it."
Alexander Williamszamiel on June 14th, 2003 03:40 am (UTC)
PS: Yes, I'm a big damn old geek when it comes to occultism, Christian heresies, and symbolic mythology.
One Who Wanders: stupidabiona on June 14th, 2003 07:31 am (UTC)
XD;
My Buddhist Traditions class taught me nothing, it seems. ._.;
Alexander Williams: brimstonezamiel on June 14th, 2003 07:48 am (UTC)
Its OK not to be as big a bizarro as someone else. No, really. :)
Apple Candy: handsexploding_girl on June 14th, 2003 05:22 am (UTC)
I'm totally wiped out today so I might have gotten this wrong...

WHY WAS THE CREATOR OF THE MATRIX AN OLD WHITE MAN?

Can we scream any clearer the traditional Christian visual concept of a white, aged, bearded, "perfect" man as God that has been ingrained into American society?


How is he supposed to be the perfect Christian like God? He is the creator of the Matrix, sure, but thats a BAD thing in the film. By having him a white male I don't think they are trying to show what the "perfect man as God" is. Just the opposite.

Maybe by having a traditional Christian concept of a God shown in a negative light they are trying to challenge that concept of what an ideal God should be in our minds, and make us rethink the idea? Though somehow I doubt it.
One Who Wanders: composedabiona on June 14th, 2003 09:35 am (UTC)
I'm not saying that it was a positive portrayal of that image ... but being me, I'm annoyed that was what they chose to portray "the creator" as - white, male, aged; in control of everything cycle after cycle, attuned to perfection (though the movie lets us know that perfection may perhaps, by being perfect, be flawed). I think it reveals a lot about us ...
Kain aka That Evil Guynanikore on June 14th, 2003 10:28 am (UTC)
WHY WAS THE CREATOR OF THE MATRIX AN OLD WHITE MAN?

Because the old white man, while being very sure of himself, keeps fucking up over and over even though he claims to know what's going to happen every time

(that's just a gigantic hole in logic of the plot... think about it- if "the Creator" knew exactly what was going to happen as he claimed, then the entire trial n' error process wouldn't be trial n' error; It would have been perfect the first time and not the Nth time)

Again, entertained by the special effects, unimpressed for the most part by the pseudophilosophy
HEADCLEANER: Kokoroantitype on June 14th, 2003 12:59 pm (UTC)
Good god, the ending really sucked. I thought it was a horrible ending, because it basically left the movie incomplete and was clearly aiming for another mega-hit sequel in the years to come.

Well, the ending would have sucked if we really did have to wait years for the next one, but Revolutions comes out in October of this year. ^^ So in that light, it really wasn't so bad. Besides, we know that this is the second part of a TRILOGY, so ...

something unreal that exists only in our minds (wow, that's actually kind of Buddhist), a reality in which we are trapped (huh ... also sounds kind of Buddhist ...).

Actually, that's very Lacanian. X) Go check out the link in my new entry..
Katenyxdae on June 15th, 2003 11:27 pm (UTC)
I am going to be a dork about this and say that the ending actually was "TO BE CONCLUDED" ...which I find more funny than "CONTINUED"

...but what was worse was the terrible horrible god-awful orchestra "SUSPENCE: here is the bad-guy" music that played when the camera shifted to the other fellow who was knocked out next to Neo. Made me sooooo mad.

But, I did like the movie and the Banshee twins were awesome and the theory about ghosts and magic being rogue programs was intersting. The Rave scene was a little annoying (long) but I liked the inter-connected human feeling the tribal roots created among the masses. Fighting scenes were long too, and somewhat oddly placed...But I love the story and what they were trying to do with the movie, even though they failed in areas.

But it's alllll okay, because Neo had a cool coat for the entire movie and in the middle, Seraph stole my heart.
SDsado_nishi on June 16th, 2003 02:56 am (UTC)
Very interesting analysis on the movie... If you're curious as to what I thought about it, I had posted it before:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/sado_nishi/70115.html

It was LJ-cut to avoid spoiling. XD