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Does Matrix Revolutions have a message? Can it be better?

 
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Rick
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Joined: 11 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: 11.11.2003 3:14 pm    Post subject: Does Matrix Revolutions have a message? Can it be better? Reply with quote

Are you guys following the critics' opinions or are you following your own? Everyone says they are disappointed with the ending, that it didn't meet their expectations. Well, let me hear your thoughts. How could this movie end? How can it be better, storywise?

I think we have missed the whole point of the Matrix Trilogy. If Revolutions turned out to be another war epic in which humans win over the machines or another mind-trip about Zion being another matrix, it would be a meaningless ride going nowhere except to toy with our over-indulgent brains. This trilogy is about love, faith and peace. This have been expressed in all three movies. Obviously, very few people are able to picked this up or even cared to since everyone is so drawn to the mind-trip of the first movie.

In the first movie, Agent Smith referred to man as a virus, a plague on this planet. It is clear in the final chapter of the trilogy that machines can produce virus as well, such as Agent Smith himself. In Reloaded, the counselor and Neo (during the insomina episode) spoke of the necessity of man and machine living together, to co-exist. In the beginning of Revolutions (in the train station), it was also revealed to us that programs within the matrix are capable of love and have a desire to live. Neo realized this. How can Neo mindlessly destroy the matrix with all these programs that refused to die (Merovingian and his wife, Sati and all the other exiles from the mainframe)? These artificial intelligences deserved to live as much as humans.

The real enemy of this trilogy was agent Smith. He was the virus, the terrorist out to destroy both man and machine. He was the OPPOSITE of Neo. Neo was love and peace. Smith was hate and destruction.

I like the fact the Neo used his mind rather than his special powers to stop the machines from destroying Zion. It shows that the human mind is still more powerful than any machines. Also, brute force of war against the machines is a no-win situation. There is no way humans can beat the machines. This was carefully expressed in the Animatrix.

Neo knew that humans cannot exist without machines, and machines cannot live without humans. We have to co-exist. Neo sacrificed himself to make this possible. He understood that this was the best solution. Neo did it for love, for the world, and for Trinity.

Many critics complained of the movie's weak, anti-climatic ending. Must we, the audience, be war-hungry all the time? Must there be bloodlust to turn this into a grand movie?

The message of this movie is about love, which has always been the message since the very beginning of the trilogy. It is a message we need in our time of war.

Please don't make it more complex than it already is. It isn't to begin with. The Wachowski Brothers has given us many obvious clues to the finale. For example, Neo as the savior, neo as the Christ figure, and several religious implications all point to a planned storyline. Christ didn't die by bringing down the Roman Empire, he sacrified himself to save mankind.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.11.2003 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, let me say that I think your analysis of the Matrix trilogy is right on target. But also I think that the parallels between Neo and Christ are probably where my interest in the subtext of the movies wanes. I realize a lot of people find meaning and significance in the biblical crucifixion story, but I don't. Furthermore, you complain that if "Revolutions turned out to be [...] another mind-trip about Zion being another matrix, it would be a meaningless ride going nowhere except to toy with our over-indulgent brains." I disagree. I find more meaning and significance in a broader, truer understanding of the world, than I do
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.11.2003 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, got booted off the computer.

To finish my last thought, I find more meaning and significance in a broader, truer understanding of the world, than I do in reflections of faith.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.11.2003 10:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Does Matrix Revolutions have a message? Can it be better Reply with quote

Back again.

I also find your rhetorical questions -- "Must we, the audience, be war-hungry all the time? Must there be bloodlust to turn this into a grand movie?" -- a little ironic, considering an entire third of Revolutions is a pretty enthusiastic war movie.

I would have liked to have seen the trilogy go in the direction of reason and logic, instead of stacking the deck in favor of "belief." I would have liked to have seen a critique of Morpheus's over-reliance on the prophecies. As it is, the movies are harmless fluff, spectacular eye-candy.
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Rick
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 3:49 pm    Post subject: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

To The Night Watchman, thanks for your replies. I understand your reasons for not enjoying this movie a little more. However, I am only pointing out what the Wachowski Brothers had in mind all along and we just didn't see it. I believe that this spiritual journey is their vision of what the trilogy is all about. Sure, "more meaning and significance in a broader, truer understanding of the world' will certainly give us an impressive cerebral experience, but this is WHAT WE WANT. The directors were fearlessly defiant about giving us what we want. And what we want may be completely meaningless...

Yes, the second half of Revolutions was an all-out battle with the sentinels. And yes, it did seemed to be on the gun-ho side. But that was the whole point. This had to be included to illustrate the vanity of war. Brute force begets brute force. It was a vain task on the humans. Only Neo was able to use his brain to end this catastrophe.

Perhaps Revolutions was too simple, adding little to the imagination at the end. There were no alternatives, no new levels of reality. We all wanted that, this ultra-reality. This was what made the first movie so great. But to stack another reality onto another reality can turn the idea into a frustrating, endless trap (like time travel). I think two is sufficient. Like yin and yang, night and day, wake and dream, matrix and real world.

I have to admit that the acting was sub-par. To see Trinity die with no expression of utter pain is unbelievable. It is sad, and if the acting was just a little better, perhaps we the audience may be a little more forgiving.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 4:07 pm    Post subject: Re: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

Rick wrote:
I am only pointing out what the Wachowski Brothers had in mind all along and we just didn't see it. I believe that this spiritual journey is their vision of what the trilogy is all about. Sure, "more meaning and significance in a broader, truer understanding of the world' will certainly give us an impressive cerebral experience, but this is WHAT WE WANT. The directors were fearlessly defiant about giving us what we want. And what we want may be completely meaningless...


Yes, I totally agree this is what the Wachowski Bros. had in mind from the first movie. And I also liked how (SPOILER)Neo used his mind instead of brawn to defeat Agent Smith. But what I'm saying is that I, personally, find a broader understanding of the world more spiritual, in the broadest sense of that word, than the canned and recycled spirituality the Matrix trilogy offered. And actually, in all honesty, I think the Wachowskis were more interested in eye-candy than anything else. This "you gotta just believe" theme is pretty common in mainstream movies, especially since 9/11. I think the filmmakers thought they were giving the audience exactly what it wanted, and expected. I think they misread the potentials of the cliffhanger they left at the end of Reloaded.
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Rick
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 5:08 pm    Post subject: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

To The Night Watchman: Perhaps the spirituality in Revolutions seemed recycled because it borrowed ideas from Christianity and Buddhism. But this idea of the "one" and reaching enlightenment through sacrifice and knowledge are already deeply spiritual. Unfortunately, Catholicism has dulled the "spirituality" of Christ through hierarchy of rules and political corruption. I don't want to sound like a Jesus freak or anything, but I do find Jesus and Buddha to be both very spiritual teachers and their teachings very deep. It is hard to get any deeper. If the directors were to create layers and layers of reality, it would not be spiritual anymore, it would be fantastic sci-fi nonsense. And I think the directors did not want the trilogy to fall into this soul-less sci-fi abyss. I think they want to give spirituality to the movie since this is what divide us from humans and machines.

Of course one of the messages in Revolutions is about CHOICE. We can choose to believe or not to believe. Humans see choices, machines see cause and effect. And I find this topic in Revolutions and Reloaded fascinating.

A movie or book with a deep spiritual message is always open to endless interpretations. I can certainly see how the spirituality in Revolutions turned so jaded. And personally, I have to agree. But I want to see beyond that. I want to see that a peaceful solution to end the war has a very spiritual significance. Peace is a spiritual foundation.

I would really recommend seeing Reloaded and Revolutions as one big EPIC movie. It will be a very long movie, but so was The Ten Commandments, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship, Lawrence of Arabia and many more great movies.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

Rick wrote:
If the directors were to create layers and layers of reality, it would not be spiritual anymore, it would be fantastic sci-fi nonsense. And I think the directors did not want the trilogy to fall into this soul-less sci-fi abyss.


Well, a movie like The Matrix is "nonsense" from the get-go. But it can contain metaphorical value. If the metaphor is "faith is beneficial," which it seems to be, then I can't connect with it. "Faith" and "knowledge" are not synonymous for me, any more than "spirituality" and "mysticism" are. I don't want to get into a religious or philisophical debate (or, rather, any deeper into one), but I do find a lot of practical wisdom in Buddhism, and one of the concerns of Buddhism is setting aside your preconceived notions of reality -- setting aside your whims -- and discovering what the world is really about. On a metaphoric level, Revolutions certainly could have gone this way, and I probably would have gotten more out of the movie if it had. I don't think Buddhism and Christianity complement one another, or are even compatable, and I find the Wachowskis attempt to combine Western and Eastern thought more than a little trite and superficial.

Rick wrote:
Of course one of the messages in Revolutions is about CHOICE. We can choose to believe or not to believe. Humans see choices, machines see cause and effect. And I find this topic in Revolutions and Reloaded fascinating.


Humans don't make choices based on perceived notions of cause-and-effect?
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Rick
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 9:22 pm    Post subject: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

To The Night Watchman. You are right on target about this. The only thing I need to point out is I think the Wachowski brothers was much more interested in the Gnostic Gospels, the gospels that were excluded from the canonized bible. In the Gnostic Gospels, jesus tell us that salvation is from within, that self-knowledge leads to truth and enlightenment. Gnosticism also tells us that the god from the old testament is not the real god, but a false one and that we have been blinded by this lie since the very beginning. Only through self-awareness of oneself will one truly see. Elaine Pagels' book, the Gnostic Gospels, is very interesting and I suggest you read it. One of the Gnostic Gospels (perhaps the most famous), the Gospel According to Thomas, is very eastern in philosophy. More interesting, Gnosticism predates Christianity!

Gnosticism were branded heretical by the church because it taught that salvation is from within rather than through the church. The Gnostics were persecuted and it eventually died out until a couple of decades ago when a large amount of Gnostic writings were discovered in Egypt dating back 100-200 AD. This is called the Nag Hammadi Library.

Also, the Wachowski brothers actually expressed interests in Gnosticism as well as Buddhism and Christianity in one of their very rare interviews.

I think the movie was trying to suggest that faith and knowledge go in hand in hand in this respect. Neo may have knowledge of his abilities, but he needed faith to complete his mission. Morpheus' faith may had waned in the end, but he was certain of Neo's determination. Morpheus said that Neo will not stop until he finds a way to stop the war.

Of course, no one is supposed to carry all these information with him/her to understand a movie. A movie is supposed to be self-explanatory and not be propped up by other sources. So, how can we truly appreciate this movie? I guess it is a matter of choice.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.12.2003 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gnosticism does seem a better fit than Christianity. I know only a little about the Gnostic Gospels (my knowledge is pretty much encapsulated in your first paragraph), but I can go along a little bit better with it, especially taking into consideration (SPOILER) the image of a cross appearing as light from within Neo as he makes his "sacrifice".(END SPOILER) Gnosticism's axiom of self-knowledge seems much more in line with Eastern philosophy.
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Rick
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PostPosted: 11.13.2003 2:38 pm    Post subject: To The Night Watchman Reply with quote

To The Night Watchman, it has been a pleasure talking to you. I am currently doing some research on Gnosticism and I fear that it will draw more questions than answers.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.13.2003 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice talking to you, Rick. Welcome to the forum.
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