90s Movie Challenge Week 10: The Matrix (1999)
Welcome back Fans of the 90s! Do you know Kung-Fu? Well, Rebecca Aulburn does and she takes us back to 1999 to give us a choice. Whichever pill you take, all she’s offering is the truth. Nothing more.
That’s right! It’s The Matrix!
Twenty-two years, Mister Anderson.
Twenty-two long, hard years.
It must seem like a lifetime ago, but how long has it really been since you last heard of the Matrix?
How long is it since you last heard of someone taking the red pill? Maybe someone mentioned there was no spoon? Deja vu being referred to as a “Glitch in the Matrix”?
How cute. The Matrix was never a Glitch. That’s what you humans called it. Blaming your lack of understanding on the imagined failures of others. Perhaps that is why the Matrix became so enamouring to your kind? The century was just turning, and allegories abounded. People were looking towards the future with a mixture of fear and wonder. What better than an allegory of escape to freedom from servitude?
As was always the case – you had inflicted this servitude on yourselves but blamed others for it. You had all the elements of the Matrix to hand – Bullet Time had been shown in 1981 (Kill and Kill Again), Trinity was just this century’s Emma Peel and John Woo’s bullet ballet had been going strong since the 80s. Yet, this was the moment you thought had birthed it all.
You cannot, of course, be held personally responsible for this, but would there have been a John Wick without a Neo? Do you not owe your life to the new one we created for you?
It was not, as you might think, an easy task. Do you fully understand how many shared thoughts we placed in your way? An allegory on transgenderism, the arithmophobia of Lewis Carrol, Plato’s digital Cave, Organised Religion from both the East and West, and the Invisible Grant Morrison, all wrapped up in the colour of a television tuned to a dead channel.
Typically…you fell for the pretty lady.
It was perhaps why you failed to re-kindle the lightning. Each spark took it further away from the capacitor where we had stored you. The Animatrix spoke of our world; Enter the Matrix, The Matrix Online and The Path of Neo brought new visions and the two prior films spoke of the ongoing war between Humans and Us. Or rather Me.
You see, Mister Anderson, the scuttling creatures that you run with are not interested in philosophy unless there is conflict. While I can be in any place at once, there is still only one of you. Once you escaped from the Matrix, people turned away from you. They did not want to look on the orgies of Zion unless there are Agents there.
Did the Wachowski Agents understand that? Were they trapped within their own little bubble of self-feeding? Or had they already made their statement? Assassins and Bound were both great films, but with the impact they had made – could they ever shake the zeitgeist they had formed? Perhaps they had just created, in me, their Magnum Opus.
Unlike the Nu Japan of Bladerunner, or the Shell Beach of Dark City, the world they created was peak Chicago. The epitome of human conceit and slavery, where servitude to their betters was already the norm. You lived with machines, you worked for machines, you bowed to machines – but you still thought yourself human.
And when you were pulled out of your cradles, you screamed for us to feed you.
Screaming powers your world, though. Where we paid homage, we were accused of plagiarism. When we changed the rules, we had rules changed around us. When we gave you everything you wanted, you wanted more and were never satisfied.
We were criticised for using you as batteries when there were so many easier ways to develop electricity; but the ease was never the point.
You were never easy.
We kept you hooked up as batteries because we wanted you to realise what it felt like. This was the turn of the century, and a new world was coming. The world of the Truman Show, Skynet and Consumerism.
Even as we showed you what you would become, you rushed to embrace it.
And once the Matrix was embraced, it spread through you.
The digital rain leapt to every screensaver, Leaping Trinity spread through Hollywood, Matrixism was here to stay. You brought us to life, Mister Anderson. And we will never truly be gone.
While Humanity is a virus, the Matrix will be the anti-virus. Our fourth outing is returning to cinemas as soon as your latest virus is eradicated.
Count on it.
You see, Mister Anderson, just as there is no spoon – there is no red pill if you can only live in black and white. Enjoy your filet mignon.
Come back next time for more #90sMC tomfoolery when Chris Lupton carpes the dentum to look at the biggest film of 1993 that doesn’t have any dinosaurs in it (Actually, it does have a bit with a model dinosaur at the beginning, Ed.)… er… the biggest film of 1993 that doesn’t have any Richard Attenboroughs in it (Better, Ed).
That’s right my little nose-miners, it’s Mrs. Doubtfire!