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The Matrix

The Matrix is a film first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, written and directed by the Wachowski brothers (Andy and Larry) and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving. The Matrix received Oscars for film editing, sound effects editing, visual effects and sound. An important development, heavily used in the film, is the slowing down of real-time to show effects, a concept called bullet-time.

The story is about a young computer hacker who learns about the true nature of his reality and gets involved with a band of rebels fighting against the masters of it, sentient computer programs called agents.

The movie's unexpected success spawned its expansion into a series of three films (The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions), a computer game (Enter the Matrix), and a collection of nine animated shorts (the Animatrix). All of the ideas were written by the Wachowski brothers, although five of the nine animated shorts count among their authors other noted people. Also, the movie's official website provides free comics, set in the world of The Matrix. Some of these comics are now available in printed form (on 120 pages), although the creators claim that free comics will be available on the site in the future.

Table of contents
1 Awards and nominations
2 Plot Summary
3 Historical Background
4 Principal Cast
5 Related articles
6 External links

Awards and nominations

Plot Summary

A computer software programmer named Thomas A. Anderson, who prefers his hacker name "Neo", is contacted by a group of humans who resist the Matrix. Morpheus, their leader, explains to Neo that the Matrix is a false reality and invites him to enter the "real world." There Neo discovers that the year is not 1999, but about 2199 and that humankind is fighting a war against intelligent machines. Morpheus has rescued Neo from the Matrix because he believes that Neo is "The One", who will destroy the Matrix and save humankind. It turns out that the world which Neo has inhabited since birth, the Matrix, is an illusory simulated reality construct of the world of 1999, developed by the machines to keep the human population docile whilst they are used as power plants to keep the computers running.

Morpheus believes that Neo is "The One", with the power to free humankind from its enslavement through complete mastery over the Matrix. Neo is initially skeptical, but learns how he can "bend the rules" of the Matrix. He also forms a close personal relationship with a female member of the group, Trinity. Inside the Matrix, the humans are pursued by a group of self-aware programs, called Agents, capable of punching through walls and dodging bullets, as well as having incredible martial arts skills. Their most powerful skill is their ability to "jump" between bodies, enabling them to take over any person who has not been disconnected from the Matrix.

When one member of the resistance (code named Cypher) betrays them, allowing Agents to capture Morpheus, Neo goes back into The Matrix with Trinity to save their leader. After Morpheus and Trinity exit the Matrix, Agent Smith, the most devious of the agents, destroys the phone booth from which the escape signal was being broadcasted. Subsequently, Neo engages in a final duel with the program, killing the agent's current body. He then flees as a new Agent Smith arrives, having just taken over a new person.

Upon reaching the second location of a hard line (a hijacked phoneline which carries the escape sequence necessary for exit from the Matrix), Neo is shot in the chest by Agent Smith. Neo slumps over, apparently dead. However, in the real world, Trinity refuses to accept Neo's death, and whispers into his ear that she now believes what the prophecy has fortold. Neo, who is awakened by an unknown force, realizes the fabricated nature of the Matrix, and it is only then that he is able to transcend the world around him. Empowered by this newfound notion of disbelief, Neo effortlessly defeats Agent Smith, thereby "deleting" him from the Matrix. He returns to the real world and is greeted by Trinity and Morpheus.

Historical Background

The story makes numerous references to historical and literary myths, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Judeo-Christian imagery and the novels of William Gibson, especially Neuromancer. Gibson popularized the concept of a world wide computer network with a virtual reality interface, which was named "the matrix" in his Sprawl Trilogy. However the concept and name originated (apparently( even earlier in the 1976 story The Deadly Assasin on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who.

The concept of artificial intelligence overthrowing or enslaving mankind had previously been touched on by hundreds of science fiction stories, cinematically most notably in James Cameron's 1984 film, The Terminator.

Elements of theology and philosophy are heavily present in The Matrix. Also, students of Gnosticism will notice many of its themes touched upon. Other motifs include the free will vs. fate debate and the nature of reality, perception, enlightenment, and existence. In many ways The Matrix is about a kind of reality enforcement. There are also vague references to Buddhism and Daoism, with concepts of Enlightenment/Nirvana and rebirth.

The Matrix has many cinematic influences, ranging from explicit homage to stylistic nuances. Its action scenes, with a physics-defying style also drawn directly from martial arts films, are notable. They integrate Hong Kong style kung fu hand-to-hand combat (under the skilled guidance of Yuen Wo Ping) and wire work, the hyper-active gun fights of directors such as John Woo and Ringo Lam, and classic American action movie tropes, including a rooftop chase.

Additionally, there are notable influences from Japanese animation (anime). Both a scene almost at the end of the movie, where Neo's breathing seems to buckle the fabric of reality in a corridor he is standing in, as well as the "psychic children" scene in the Oracle's waiting room are evocative of similar scenes from the 1980s anime classic Akira. The title sequence, the rooftop chase scene where an agent breaks a concrete tile on the roof when landing after a jump, the scene late in the movie where a character hides behind a column while pieces of it are blown away by bullets, and a chase scene in a fruit market where shots hit watermelons, are practically identical to shots in another anime science fiction classic, Ghost in the Shell.

There have been several books and websites written about the philosophy of The Matrix. One of the major issues in the film is the question of the validity of the world around us, i.e. what is reality, or whether what is happening is merely sensory information fed to us, is also raised in other science fiction films including EXistenZ, and Total Recall and periperhally in the film Vanilla Sky.

It should be noted that the reason given in the movie for computers enslaving humans is implausible from a thermodynamic point of view. The chemical energy required to keep a human being alive is vastly greater than the bio-electric energy that could be harvested. It would be vastly more effective to burn the organic matter and power a conventional electrical generator. (Physics-savvy fans have speculated that the machines were actually using the humans' brains as components in a massively parallel neural network computer, and that the characters were simply mistaken about the purpose. In fact, this was very close to the original explanation. Because they felt that non-technical viewers would have trouble understanding it, the writers abandoned it in favor of the "human power source" explanation.)

Trivia buffs should also be interested to learn that Carrie-Anne Moss also appeared in a short-lived science fiction television series called Matrix[1] in 1993.

Principal Cast

Related articles

External links

The Matrix is also a virtual reality created by Time Lords in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who.

The Matrix is also a group of music producers, and have worked with singers such as Avril Lavigne.