I know that today is the release of The Matrix Reloaded and that many people really, really like it, but I watched The Matrix this weekend and I didn’t care for it. Okay, ignore for a moment that I went four years without seeing the geek’s movie and that I am expressing a controversial opinion.
My dislike of the movie stems mainly from its flaccid rehashing of an age-old philosophical paradox: how do we know that we’re not just dreaming and that reality isn’t really like this dream. It’s a tired question posed in every PHI101 class in the world, but the principle that it ignores—the primacy of existence—is so compellingly self-evident that I am repulsed by anything that posits the contrary.
The other major issue I have with the movie is the notion of machines taking over. This is yet another tired cliché that should be stamped out. It’s been done so many times that it’s become trite. I’ll concede that the whole organic control of the human minds is an interesting take, but the banality remains. Advances in AI notwithstanding, I can’t believe that machines will ever acquire the sentience and cleverness to overwhelm humanity. What’s more, if machines could acquire intelligence—and I’m not conceding that possibility—why must they oppress man? I would think it more likely that they would assert their rights and that court cases would decide that they were citizens or something. That’s an original movie idea!
Finally, Keanu Reeves is on my short list of actors I can’t stand. Others include Nicholas Cage, Brad Pitt, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, and John Travolta. I liked Speed in spite of him. Mercifully, he has few lines in this movie but he just doesn’t exude action hero to me (or sophisticated computer hacker, for that matter). Laurence Fishburne, from this movie alone, is teetering on the brink of joining his co-star and would be there were it not for Boyz ‘N the Hood.
On a sidenote, there was one line in the movie that infuriated me entirely: “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.” The only good thing about it was the voice of Agent Smith; it had a cadence and tone that was haunting.