‘The Matrix,’ released in April 1999 directed by the Wachowski Brothers, was a great success. The magnificent effort in making the film was rewarded as it won four awards for the British Academy Awards. These were for best sound, best film editing, best sound effects editing and best visual effects. “The Matrix,” was also nominated for three awards. These were for best cinematography, best production design and best editing.
The opening sequence of “The Matrix” immediately introduces us to a computer with a bright green flashing cursor, the camera remains still as if to be a computer screen, and then lots of numbers, letters and symbols scroll down the screen, which could be computer language this shows the audience that computers are part of the narrative, and then a female and male begin to speak. We are given the impression that they are speaking via phone by a ringing sound before the conversation starts.
Whilst the conversation is on the topic of how the female is watching someone the female then gets the impression that her conversation is being tapped as she says “are you sure this line is clean? ” to the male, the camera begins to zoom in on the symbols to an extreme close up. The camera then goes inside the symbol (0, which could resemble later on as neo, (“The one”) and shows all the dimensions of this one symbol. Through the symbol there appears to be a tunnel with a light at the end, this has reference to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ this reference comes up through-out the film.
Thomas A Anderson his alias Neo, is played by Keanu Reeves, a computer hacker who has discovered the matrix which is a computer simulation. Neo is belived to be “The one” by Morpheus who is played by Laurence Fishburne, he has been in search for “The chosen one” all his life, and for it to destroy the matrix. The film is very clever and can be unfolded in many ways, one is in the names. ‘Neo’ = ‘The one’ is a prefix, derived from Greek that connotes a “new” or recent form of something, or a revival in a modern form.
Also Morpheus = The Roman god of sleep and dreams. These meanings show relevant reference through out the film. The teacher in the film is Morpheus, whose function is to provide guidance for Neo and show him `The Matrix. ‘ There is also the `helper’ who has the job to aid the hero in some way, which is what Morpheus and Trinity do in the film. They guide Neo and help him against the agents. The donor will provide super natural or magical help through a gift. In `The Matrix,’ the oracle provides help by telling Neo the future and gives him advice.
The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ reference crops up in many different places during the film and plays a big part in telling the story its starts in the beginning, by coming up on Neo’s computer screen, “Follow the white rabbit” it now starts to bring in intertexts when a few second later a group of people knock on the door asking him if he wants to go to a nightclub, he notices a tattoo on one of the groups shoulder, it’s a white rabbit which links to “follow the white rabbit” that appeared on Neo’s computer where he follows the group which leads him to a night club, where he meets ‘Trinity’ (a character from the real world).
When Neo’s friends are at the door Neo exchanges some sort of computer device and his friends use words like “You’re my own personal Jesus! ” In a Christian intertext Jesus is the only son who is perfect seen as “The Ore” this can be related to the Neo as the `one` the intertexts carry on. Neo goes to the club and straight away Trinity starts speaking to Neo and she tells him that he is in danger because he wants to know about the matrix. Trinity means Father Son and the Holy Spirit this follows the Christianity link.
One of the reasons that the film would be difficult to understand is that it has an alternative religious meaning to it and the life of Neo is parallel to that of Jesus. There are various elements of the film, which tells the viewer that it has an alternative meaning. Firstly, this can be seen as the film was released the weekend of Easter 1999, which evidently is the resurrection of Jesus. The next major element of the film, which proves this, is Neo’s `virgin birth’ and Christ’s virgin birth. The scene in the film shows that Neo is reborn. When Morpheus sends Neo to see the ‘Oracle’ (‘The oracle of Delphi’).
Neo Is amazed at how one of the Oracles sons can bend things. The boy says, “It is not the spoon that bends, its yourself. ” The Oracle is a future telling Greek god from Greek mythology who when neo went to her would tell him his future. The Oracle plays an important part in the films as she tells Neo he is not that special and that he is not the ‘one’ and that he would at some stage in his life have to choose between saving his life or saving Morpheus’s life. However as we discover later on in the film, the Oracle told Neo what he needed to hear and that he actually is the ‘One’.
To this extent Neo tried to save Morpheus from the agents and succeeded, but also he believed again that he is the ‘one’. “He’s beginning to believe he’s the one” quotes Morpheus. In this regard to neo fought agent smith in an important fight scene where cowboy/western theme was used with a scrap of paper acting as tumbleweed across the bottom of the screen. At the end of that fight Neo escaped and was running for a telephone. (Telephones are used as the transportation from the matrix back to safety in the real world. A Neo approached the ringing telephone he was shot and killed by agent Smith.
As an audience this was shocking to see because we as an audience believed that Neo was the One and that the ‘One’ could not and should not die. However, just like Jesus Christ Neo died and came back (reborn) as a stronger person to eventually believe he is the one. He blocked bullets from the shooting agents guns and finally overcomes smith. This maybe an intertext taken from the many typical villain – hero cartoons. This is in the prophesising in the betrayal and coming back of Jesus (Neo). This is being interpreted in to the matrix by being based around Morpheus and Neo, John the Baptist, Jesus and the story of the Son of God.
The end shot of the film is where Neo shoots up into the sky from a phone box with his fist above his head. This again is another intertext taken from ‘Superman’. The matrix brings a blend of genres that brings all kinds of different layers of interpretation that ranges from Christian culture to children’s game console (mortal combat). It all gels together to make a deep and excellent film. When watching it raises questions- is life real? Do we actually ‘get out’ at the end of the game or is that it ‘Game over’?