Sunday, November 9, 2003

What am I 'posed to take away from The Matrix? (Part 1 of 2)

OK, let's assume you've seen Matrix Revolutions. Or, at least, seen enough reviews of it so that the whole damn plot is spoiled for you. Or, barring that, the you never plan to see it, but want to read discussions about it anyway. 'Cause I'm gonna talk about it is if we've all already been, OK?

I've read a few reviews of the picture comparing it to lots of other movies (not surprisingly -- it's hard to make a work that isn't completely derivative anymore).  But what this one totally reminded me of was Return of the Jedi.  Not itself a particularly original piece, mind you -- I wouldn't want to imply any philosophical originality in the concepts of: the power of the individual; the small primitive society taking out the greater technological one; and the basic idea that doing evil (even in the name of good) is a teeny step down a really bad path.  But, hey, wrap all that up with some spiffy light saber dueling and hand it to my then 17-year-old self, and I'll think it's Plato's Republic.

Now, Matrix Revolutions plays, in a lot of ways, like Return of the Jedi.  I mean, really -- Neo's sitting there with a cloth tied over his eyes trying to wave off sentinels with the power of his mind alone and I'm the only person that thinks, "Use the Force, Luke"?  And what about the whole blindness thing anyway?  Feels almost like Luke getting his hand chopped off by Vader -- loss of a body part not deterring our heroes as it shows the lengths to which they will go and heightens their resolve.  Not to mention how it ultimately makes them more like their enemies -- Luke's mechanical hand is all Vaderesque, while Neo picks up a second sight which seems rather more like how the programs see the world. 

And of course, the heart each movie is a classic three-front battle going on -- where the most important of the three battles is a duel to the death between your representatives of good and evil.

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