Monday, January 26, 2009

The Matrix Trilogy: Good or Lame

So Jason and I were talking about the Matrix just the other day and I made it my goal to convince him that the second and third Matrix movies were, in fact, good and have philosophical depth.

Jason's contention (correct me if I'm wrong) is that while the first movie did in fact explore some deep philosophical issues, the second and third movies only had the appearance of depth without the actual substance.

I refered to this site where there are several philosophical essays which the Wachowski brothers released alongside the second and third movies.  I feel that this is the best evidence that I can show that they considered more than just the surface of the philosophy that appeared in their movies.  Other than that all I can offer is my opinion, for what that is worth.

I think that the Matrix trilogy moves us from grey to black-and-white to a multi-colored world.  The grey is the meaningless fog in which Neo lived as a software developer.  Then Morpheus and the gang (jinkies) led him on a journey of discovery where he saw that there is a conflict going on that is much greater than what he had known.  Finally, Neo continues on this journey to learn that in this battle there is not a clear distinction between good and evil due to "race" or "religion" as there are evil humans and good machines.  The world is full of color, the fog has been lifted and the details are becoming more clear.  Smith wants to keep the world in the grey/black area, thus they must fight.

What do you think?  Good or lame?


Mark said...

The first one introduced the whole concept, and undoubtedly made the strongest impression. The other two were not as deep, but I wouldn't say they were completely devoid of depth. I loved some of the ways they approached familiar phenomena, such as vampires, as glitches in the Matrix.

In the end, we enjoy things the most that require our imagination. We love the original Star Wars trilogy because it leaves us wondering, "What were things like before this happened?" and "What will happen from here?" But the newer trilogy left a lot to be desired, and filled in a lot of information that we otherwise had to imagine, therefore taking some of the wonder out of it. This is why books are almost always better than movies. We have pretty good imaginations, when allowed to use them. Knowing exactly what Neo did and what happened to him in the end sucks some of the wonder out of the whole ordeal, in my opinion. But great movies, no doubt, and I think few people could come up with something so original, with such groundbreaking visuals like those 3d swoop around camera tricks. I've been disappointed not to see that technique being used in movies since the Matrix.

Jason Campbell said...

I'm pretty sure this is the first time this has happened. Maybe ever--Two people have a disagreement about something, then one goes to his own forum and then accurately characterizes the natur of the disagreement? Isn't this one of the signs of the apocalypse?

James Wood said...

Mark, I agree. I think that the first movie stunned people into using their imaginations, but that effect wore off so they were unwilling to be as imaginative for the second and third flicks.

Jason, yes, the world will end in 2012. Sorry.

rich jandt said...

Can't it be both?