The Matrix (1999)


At the beginning, no one could have guessed what impact the film would have on cinematography itself, as well as on pop culture and the creation of new standards for the world’s population. Brothers / siblings Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, as screenwriters of the film, went through a double-digit number of drafts – copies of scripts that are changed in order to improve the material. This painstaking work of constant change, what is called “waterfall model” in software engineering, is definitely noticeable in the film as a complete whole, and in the most positive way possible. However, the painstaking work has only just begun, because the Wachowski brothers, as original creators who do not refer to previously published materials, intended to direct this film, where funding problems arise. Somehow, they managed to secure a full ten million dollars, which they somewhat suicidal listed in less than ten minutes of the beginning of the film in which Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, runs away from Agent Smith when he plays Hugo Weaving. This high-risk move paid off in the end, because the financiers liked the material, and in the coming years it will be shown that they did not make a mistake. And everything could have been different; the Wachowski brothers could not be up to the task and the financier would not like the material, and then everyone would be in trouble. An additional fifty million has been provided for the rest of the film and everything else is history.

This introductory scene comes intertwined with strings of green codes, what we will later identify as the code representing the Matrix, and it will take some more time to understand what the Matrix really is. The action itself set at the beginning of the film has a rather tumultuous start; the first act in which the characters are presented usually goes uphill, but now it started from a high level, and then abruptly descends and lowers the rhythm, introducing us to the film in the best possible way, because it gathered the viewer’s attention and prepared the ground for all the action that follows, that is, created the environment and the desire for more moments like this. This adrenaline start of the film is completely in balance with nature, because in order to put anything into action, it is necessary to make an initial effort; in order for the engine to start, it is necessary to supply it with a larger amount of electricity than it usually uses, or for any moving body to be thrown out of balance. The stormy start of the film is only a part of the mechanics that this world exudes.

We meet Neo when he plays Keanu Reeves, who has fallen asleep at a computer with unidentified instructions to “follow the white rabbit”. This instruction is one in a series of those that are directly correlated with the work “Alice in Wonderland”, which is actually a reference to the work of the same name by Louis Carroll, which in a way we know suggests what the Matrix could be – a wonderland in which Neo Alice, but by following the white rabbit, he does not go to the land of miracles, but comes out of it. It will be explained later how precise instructions were given to Neo, such as knocking on the door and instructions to follow the white rabbit. The arrival of his friends was not arranged, but the conversation with Trinity was, and it was up to Neo to decide whether to follow the white rabbit or not. Nea’s real name is Thomas Anderson, and Neo is his hacker name, which is an anagram of the word “The One”, which Morphy (Laurence Fishburne) later called him. It is Morphius who gives Neo navigation instructions for escaping from the software company in which he is being chased by agents, the same ones from the beginning of the film who chased Trinity. We know who the bad guys in the movie are, but Neo has no idea. The only thing Neo knows is that he didn’t do anything wrong, and instead of risking his life with Spider-Man’s hangings on the building, he turns around and surrenders to the agents. By the way, these stunt scenes were performed by Keanu Reeves personally.

In the examination room, Neo loses the ability to speak and gets a robo-parasite that enters his body through the navel. This surreal act smoothly fits into the next scene in which Neo wakes up in bed. Was it all just a dream or did it all really happen? We will find out soon, but it seems that Neo already knows, because he is able to estimate what day it is and where he spent it. In the car in which they pull out that same robo-parasite, we find out that it was all true, which definitely shatters the slightest glimmer of hope that it was all just a dream. In those moments, Neo doubts whether he wants to continue or return to his home, but he was always looking for what he has now, and that is an opportunity to meet Morphius. All this seems too rough to him, but that’s what he wanted. At that moment, the co-driver uttered the sentence “My way or highway”, which is a direct reference to the film “Reservoir Dogs” by Quentin Tarantino and Joe Cabot, the man who organized the robbery.

We meet Morphius in the most theatrical way, when we move from close-up to close-up with a classic Griffith montage. In the conversation, Morphius convinces Nea to choose the red pill, which leads him to the real reality, while the blue pill is a return to the false reality. The choice of colors perfectly suggests the choice, because blue and red are two complementary colors in which blue indicates stability, calmness, innocence, while red indicates danger, but also attraction and attraction. These two colors are deeply etched in our subconscious and it is no coincidence that these colors are an integral part of ambulances and police vehicles, in combination with the third color or without it on flags, but also in combination with yellow part of the white light spectrum obtained after refraction through a prism. The new reference concerns the matter “The Wizard of Oz”, because Neo is no longer in Kansas, although Dorothy’s Kansas is a far more beautiful place, but not more colorful than Neo’s false real.

Neo wakes up from his false reality, wakes up from his lucid dream that he believed to be reality. We as viewers are completely shocked, but Morphius soon gives us an explanation that we have been waiting for for almost half an hour. The Matrix is ​​a false reality, it is a world created in another world in which machines have taken precedence from humans and use the human ability to generate energy for their own existential needs. The matrix is ​​a dream created to directly mimic real life, and humans are energy-generating plants. Real life is more than a century ahead of the Matrix and is not as beautiful as Oz. The impact of reality that Neo received is somewhat stronger than the one that we felt as spectators, although we could have expected that after approaching the beginning of the film. The benefits that Neo gained by living in the real world are far more attractive and help him accept what he has gained.

Although it is still scientifically unfeasible, scientists have announced that by 2050, it would be possible to download and upload memories, thoughts, as well as all knowledge from the brain to the brain. My guess is that scientists have overestimated themselves as much as they did before, assuming that flying cars will come in 2015, and the truth is that this is a period in which the world is struggling with the innovation of electric cars. Neo gains additional marshal arts knowledge by uploading and is able to learn what it takes years of learning and practice, maybe even lives. However, the upload itself and the ability for the body to perform all the instructions directly are correct, because apart from the classic memory, there is a memory of muscles or movements, and that is exactly what is needed to perform complex martial arts, where the exercise takes place.

The world of the Matrix as a simulation of reality for the benefit of human energy is not well grounded, because the energy that people would produce in the vegetative state is equal to the energy that they would expend for that same state. The following answers this illogicality in the form that machines use human brains for their complex calculations. The human body is specific in terms of energy production because it is very economical in relation to the operations it performs. Scientists tried to simulate the human brain with technology, but all they got was a hall full of elements that were equivalent to a mouse brain, and consumed huge amounts of energy. It is still a mystery how so much cognitive power comes from the mix of water and fat, with the consumption of minimal amounts of energy. This world in which we live is definitely not what it seems to us, and it is not a mystery at all. If our eyes were just a little more sophisticated, 24 frames per second would be too slow to create the illusion of a film. Maybe the whole world we see is just a display of 24 frames per second? If our brain as a receiver could receive information without processing, as it really is, the perception of the world would be a chaotic place of frequency levels. The voice that our ears catch is nothing but the frequency between 3100 and 3400 hertz that our brain processes and then we get the voice. The voice in the ether does not exist, it is deciphered in the brain. The same voice is produced in the vocal cords, and it is nothing but the orchestrated vibration of those same strings with the assistance of the jaw, teeth, tongue, and air. If the brain was able to accept a few tens of megahertz, we could hear radio stations without radios, directly inside our brains.

The bizarreness does not stop there, it continues further through visual perception. The images on the monitor screen with a cathode ray tube are just nicely organized electrons, which oscillate with their frequency, and the eyes are an apparatus that needs to accept this type of frequency. Transistor-based screen monitors are just a different approach to technology to provide the same enjoyment. Nikola Tesla spent time in Colorado Springs to study frequencies. At first glance, it seems harmless, but it is the frequencies that make up our reality, the kind we are not capable of receiving with our biological devices. Things of lower frequency are tangible and slow, and things of higher frequency are fast and elusive. The atoms that make up our eye, our monitors, they all oscillate at some frequency. The atomic clock records these oscillations and as such has become the most accurate clock used to measure time. The colors that our eye classifies are nothing but different values ​​of wavelengths. It is clear that we are not able to experience this world in its right way, we are like a receiver that is specially designed to receive a certain signal in a certain way. What is happening around that receiver, and it is beyond its capabilities, should not interest him at all. The radio is not interested in frequencies of three kilohertz, but they are interested in the telephone handset.

After all this, the question arises whether someone wants to be aware of this reality, such as the Matrix, or is it better to live in ignorance. It is quite understandable that Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) wants to return to the Matrix and continue to live in ignorance. He is a villain, but he represents that part of ourselves that we do not want to be aware of the true order of things. We can blame him for his Machiavellian approach to the problem. It becomes absolutely clear how the Matrix is ​​entered and exited. The initial story in which Neo received a message on the screen of his monitor is a consequence of the ability of the real reality monitor to read the future in those green strings, because reality comes with a small delay compared to the code. The executable matrix is ​​pure code, programmed to coexist with people who are also just programs. An important part of the film is the jersey code that contributes to the cult of the film – leather jackets or black suits without too many markings with glasses as a mandatory prop, classify all awakened in one fraternity, a fraternity similar to that owned by yappies or FBI employees.

While visiting the prophetess, Neo meets a boy who bends a spoon with his mind, which is quite expected because it is not the object that changes, but the perception of the mind. The prophetess herself is not able to predict the future. Nostradamus could not do that, nor could anyone else, because such a thing is theoretically impossible. It is possible to predict the future in short terms, just as it is possible to predict what the weather will be like in a period of a few days, but it is impossible to say what it will be like all year round, for the simple reason that it is not possible to have insight into all factors. Neo would never have come out of the Matrix if he hadn’t taken the red pill, and then everything would have been completely different. One small move would change the course of the situation. The prophetess Neo talks to is not omniscient, but she has access to knowledge and can process the future based on current data. She is a program, an interpreter of the data that takes place through the Matrix, and the only thing she sees is the delay of reality that has already taken place, as well as the assessment of what could happen next. The fact that Neo knocked down the vase may be a consequence of the fact that she warned him, because then Neo would not move to the side to see which vase was in question, maybe she made him break the vase to make her story sound more convincing? The real answer comes later in the film when Neo proves that he is the “right one”, “The One” when Morphius expected, despite the prophetess’s answer that he is not.

In the field of visual effects, the film introduced an innovation such as rotating positions in time, regardless of time, which was done with a set of cameras that were arranged next to each other. The magic lies in the fact that the images from each of these cameras are combined and it seems as if one and the same camera is moving regardless of the weather. The effect is impressive and brings refreshment in this, as well as in action movies. A film with a theme like this just cries for sequels, and in the years that followed, we got two sequels, video games and animated series. The saga continued with films of far lower film quality, but enriched with certain parts of the story. More attention was paid to the visual effects, and Keanu Reeves gave up his fifty million dollars in favor of animators in the third film. As a work, the film became a cyber-punk cult, part of a rare society of films dealing with the topic of hacking, cyber world and programming languages, as well as artificial intelligence machines. As a philosophical work, the successor of Baudrillard’s philosophy “Simulcar and Simulation” reminds us that the world we live in is not what it seems and inspires us to develop theories in which the life we ​​live can be a simulation or a dream of us as a baby or even a pure fabrication of us as hospitalized, sedative-drugged mental patients, such as Hugo’s character in the “Lost” series.

Whatever this world is, the film has a huge role in it, and the film “Matrix” itself is an important part of such a mosaic.