And here is where you get to discover the depth to which I want to write for movies/TV. If you want out, blue pill yourself and hit the back button. If you want a dive down the rabbit hole, red pill up and hang on for the ride.
Let’s get one thing clear: AS OF RIGHT NOW THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO OFFICIAL PLANS FOR A 4TH OR 5TH MOVIE IN THE MATRIX FRANCHISE. THERE ARE ONLY RUMORS.
So let’s get this thing rolling.
The biggest complaint regarding the Matrix trilogy was largely aimed at the franchise’s final movie: The Matrix: Revolutions. It capped off a series that had started with a heavily sci fi/cyberpunk story about an individual discovering himself and his true identity and was followed up with an action packed prelude to war (with lots and lots of leather and spandex) and while attempting to resolve both of those first two movies AND offer something new to the franchise. It is entirely possible that that is just way too much to cram into two hours cohesively all while offering up the promised all out WAR. BUT… this is not to point out everything that SHOULD have been Revolutions but rather suggest what could be done with the Revolutions we got.
As a franchise, the movie sought to address philosophical questions of reality, the limits and boundaries of the human mind, and of course the nerdboy/girl boner bait of latex and wire work kungfu. It accomplished all of those goals and for the most part, it did so admirably. The problems arose when Revolutions bit off more than it could chew and attempted to make a large sweeping religious statement and a statement about humanity’s fight for survival, however steep the odds. There were a ton of questions left open at the end of that movie and a few very awesome opportunities left to grab hold of and RUN with.
So this is where my post-midnight spewing forth of ideas at one of my friends via facebook chat comes into play. Stick with me… it’s going to come fast and unrelenting from here on out (giggity). The story in the first movie was about Neo – “The One.” It was later explained in Reloaded that he was a statistical anomaly who was able to control different aspects of the computer program his consciousness was hooked into. It is sort of like lucid dreaming… or Inception (if you want to connect it to another movie).
So he can manipulate the computer program. Then there’s the startling, “WHAT THE FUCK MOMENT” when he destroys the sentinels in the real world by simply thinking it (and bland-faced overacting a la Keanu Reeves standard). This is a relatively awesome cliffhanger as it allows us to ask what reality truly is and where the Matrix is actually located. Since Neo was able to destroy machines with his mind (and “feel” them/read their “minds”), it isn’t too much of a leap to infer that the machines are also connected to the Matrix. It is possible, especially with the proliferation of WiFi and 3g/4g tech that this far in the future, each machine actually houses part of the Matrix and the Matrix is a giant computer program spread across and connected with every single existing “machine.” So think of the Matrix like the internet. In that scenario, Neo has become the ultimate User. He is able to manipulate the Matrix without physically interacting with it and therefore sees the effects of said manipulation embodied in the real world.
TANGENT ALERT! It is also interesting to look at this from the angle of our current fears about creating AI and having said AI take over our world and our reality. There are copious amounts of devices created in fiction to keep AI consciousness separate from Human consciousness, even when the two are occupying the same space (a brain or a computer bank). If each machine housed a part of the Matrix in it’s “mind” and human consciousness was wired into it (or wirelessly connected) then it is the exact mirror of that problem and that is FASCINATING. It’s tidbits like this that make up excellent term papers once you dive deeper, so take a note Professor-Man! I just made another BIG ISSUE out of a “menial” or “trite” small thing. Suck it. (Reference to my previous post).
So where were we? Ahh… Neo and the real world. All of this brings us to Revolutions. We discover that “the power of the one extends into the real world,” thus explaining how Neo was able to control and destroy the Sentinels. But upon unpacking that, one has to ask what they really mean. If Neo is merely manipulating the Matrix that exists within the machines, then his “power” is still rooted in the Matrix. If Neo is actually able to manipulate REALITY, then the entire franchise to this point is pointless from a story perspective as the true story and conflict for the central character exists in the real world and therefore the first movie was a prequel and the second movie was the first movie. BUT WHAT IF… what if we asked ourselves what the “Real World” is in the movie? We know that the Matrix is not real even though all of the characters’ senses are duped and even their subconsciousness does not register anything other than “real.” We also know that the “Real World” looks startlingly different from the Matrix and that all is not well. But, much like those in Plato’s Cave, we still do not know that this “Real World” is real. (Here is where the Wachowski brothers sit down and say “Valiant attempt, JP, but it is real and the series is done.”) Neo is a HUMAN. He is not immortal nor is he any different than any other human in the real world. That is a point the first movie makes clear by KILLING him (before resurrecting him) and the second film reminds us when he stops the sword blade with the edge of his hand and bleeds onto the floor. If this were a franchise set in a dystopian but possible future, then no human would be able to manipulate the physical nature of reality like they are suggesting Neo does.
This extends into the final movie when Neo is blinded. Suddenly, he is able to see… because he now sees reality in the code of the Matrix. REALITY TRANSLATED INTO THE CODE OF THE MATRIX.
So we can take this as Neo being a Cyberpunk Christ… or we can look at the broader picture and ideas that used Neo as an individual vehicle to address something MUCH LARGER. The films present a “Holy Trinity” in the three main players/entities: Humans (Father), Machines (Son), Holy Spirit (Programs). By virtue of having Smith escape into the “Real World” by taking over the mind of a Human, we have been shown that these three do interact with one another on some level and therefore, the spiritual metaphor is realized and fleshed out (haha punny). If one really wanted to go further into this story and further into The Matrix, I’ve laid out a relatively bitchin’ jumping off point.
So Neo’s “dead” and we believe that in death, life’s questions are answered – mainly: Is there a God/Heaven/Hell? Well take an Inception style approach to this. Have the Matrix be a subprogram that allows Humans and Machines to interact relatively peacefully (machines using the proxy of the programs while housing the human consciousness), have the “Real World” (where Humans and Machines are fighting a War) be either the true Real World or rather, metaphorically, the physical circuitry of the system… and TELL ME WHO THE TRUE USER IS! WHO IS GOD IN THIS STORY? WHY DOES THE MATRIX AND THE WAR WITH THE MACHINES EVEN EXIST? WHY MUST THE MACHINES KEEP A MINIMUM NUMBER OF HUMANS “UNPLUGGED?” ETC. ETC.
There is a character who would happen to know the answers to these questions already in this franchise. I’ll leave it at that. Stare into his relatively dead, emotionless, eyes (as shrouded by his unnecessary wearing of sunglasses both indoors and at night), and know that he could wire-work the living shit out of you.
Wasn’t that fun?
See ya, Space Cowboy.