Sunday 5 January 2020

Family film night: the Matrix

Overall: good. Might even watch again. Wiki.

M suggested we watch this and all concurred; none had seen it before. It's decent: high production values, fast-paced, interesting, decent effects, and not too absurd a storyline.

There are problems: for example, harvesting people for energy is just dumb; it doesn't make sense on any level, and if it did make sense, it would make more sense to do it with cows or rats. But they don't dwell on it, so it's kinda fine. That exit from TM is via phone booths is never really explained, but it's the sort of thing other films have prepared us for so it doesn't grate; but that you can only leave this way does force on you the mysterious conclusion that their "souls" have somehow "entered" TM, whereas it would be more natural for it to be a souped-up 3D VR show, that you can leave any time. But that wouldn't suit the plot at all. Also, The Oracle makes no sense.

In almost all respects the humans and the agents respect the normal rules of reality as portrayed within TM. True, the agents can move instantaneously, but only by taking over people. Otherwise, they run, at perfectly normal speeds. There's never any discussion of "well it's just a software construct, so we ought to be able to break the rules of physics", except in stylised ways: being thrown into concrete walls and breaking them. But never just vanishing (you're a SW construct: why do you have to look like a human being? Why do you have to "reflect" light at all?). This is a thing that pretty well all similar movies and books also feel obliged to accept. Phoenix Cafe makes some attempt to deal with this, not entirely successfully if I recall correctly, and isn't nearly as good as White Queen / Northwind (Goodreads).

Most of the fight scenes kinda work; the one that doesn't really is them in the lobby with dozens of guards against them. What saves that one is that it degenerates into enough dust and rubble flying around. But it doesn't look like them moving quickly enough to avoid the bullets.

Afterwards, we all had a vigorous and interesting discussion of the nature of reality and consciousness. This is all good fun, but doesn't actually matter. See-also Zombies, the movie.