The Matrix

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Welcome to The Matrix
Plot Summary

Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a secret hacker known by the alias Neo. He seeks the answer to the question “What is the Matrix?” Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) take Neo to a secret meeting. In the meeting, they offer Neo two different pills. He is offered a blue pill, which will simply put him to sleep and make him forget that he ever met Morpheus, or a red pill, which will allow him to
"see how deep the rabbit hole goes". Because Neo wants to learn all the answers, he swallows the red pill and so the story begins.

Neo was brought to the future during the war between humans and AIs. The world Neo grew up was the actually the Matrix, developed by the machines in order to keep the human captive docile. Morpheus and Trinity belong to a group of free humans who bring other humans back and recruit them against the machines. Morpheus believes Neo is the man who can end the war through his limitless control over the Matrix.

After betrayal by Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), all of crew members get killed except Trinity, Tank and Neo with Morpheus get held in a government building. Neo and Trinity successfully rescue Morpheus. Morpheus and Trinity exit the Matrix using a payphone, but Neo is chased by Agent and get “killed” by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). After kissed by Trinity in the real world, Neo wakes up and kills Agent Smith.

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Thomas A. Anderson/Neo by Keanu Reeves: A computer programmer in Metacortex corporation who moonlights as the hacker Neo, later to realize he is the One when trying to rescue Morpheus from the Agents. Morpheus by Laurence Fishburne: A human freed from the Matrix, captain of the Nebuchadnezzar. He finds Neo and helps him learn the truth. Trinity by Carrie-Anne Moss: Freed by Morpheus, crewmember of the Nebuchadnezzar and Neo's romantic interest. Agent Smith by Hugo Weaving: A sentient "Agent" program of the Matrix whose purpose is to destroy Zion and stop humans from getting out of the Matrix. Unlike other agents, he has ambitions to free himself from his duties.
Cypher by Joe Pantoliano: Another human freed by Morpheus, who betrays Morpheus to the Agents to ensure his return to the Matrix. Oracle by Gloria Foster: Exiled sentient computer program who still resides in the Matrix, helping the freed humans with her foresight and wisdom. Apoc by Julian Arahanga: A freed human and crew member on the Nebuchadnezzar. Tank by Marcus Chong: the "operator" of the Nebuchadnezzar, he is Dozer's brother, and like him was born outside of the Matrix.
Related to Class

Neuromancer The novel Neuromancer by William Gibson depicts several very powerful artificial intelligences, just as the artificial intelligences in the Matrix are powerful. However, the manner in which their power manifests is different. In the Matrix, the AIs in the virtual world ("agents") manifest as extremely powerful humans. In Neuromancer, the AI manifests its power by controlling robots and otherwise influencing reality itself.

One way in which Neuromancer and The Matrix are similar is that they both depict a cyberspace that seems as real to its inhabitants as the world does to us. The protagonist in Neuromancer prefers the cyber world to the real world, to the point that he starts to not care about the real world. Similarly, some Matrix inhabitants who have broken through into the real world long to return back to the cyber world to forget that the real world actually exists.

An interesting dissimilarity between the Neuromancer and The Matrix is the theme of choice. Being able to choose is something that is highly important to both the freed humans and the Machines, as seen in the final movie of the trilogy. Morpheus gives Neo the choice to leave the matrix and later presents him with other choices. The machine's entire control over the matrix seems predicated on Neo choosing to keep humanity in the matrix, rather than risk the destruction of the humanity. In Neuromancer, there is Case has only one true choice, whether to help Wintermute or die. He is driven on an essentially predetermined path and eventually follows through and finishes the journey he was set on. This seems to be an interesting point which seems to talk to the strength of the characters. It shows how Neo and the other freed humans have a resolve, while Case just goes along for the ride.

The Precession of Simulacra One of the inspirations for The Matrix was Jean Baudrillard's work, Simulation and Simulacra, of which The Precession of Simulacra was a part. Ideas from this work are apparent in The Matrix, where reality has been completely replaced by a simulation. Baudrillard, however, was critical of the Wachowski brothers claiming that The Matrix was inspired by his work, saying that they missed the point. The Matrix depicts a world where humans have been planted into a virtual reality, but reality itself still exists. Baudrillard, on the other hand, argues that reality itself has been replaced by a simulation of itself, a subtle but important difference.

Previous Discussion

The Matrix is the result of a world where Machine Labor has undermined the human race. The movie features highly advanced killer robots (similar to The Killer Cyborg), a computer network that disconnects the body from the mind (as in The Girl Who Was Plugged In), and the use of self-interest (as discussed in Wealth of Nations) and Pleasure to enslave the majority of humanity.

Dependence: On one hand, many people in The Matrix have accepted life in the matrix as reality and depend on it to survive. On the other hand, the main characters of the film, those free from The Matrix, cannot survive in the false reality that is The Matrix and rely on the truth for survival.

Artificial Intelligence: Like other works (such as the Terminator trilogy), The Matrix deals with a proposed future of mankind's subjugation by a race of hyperintelligent machines. Also like other works, artificial intelligence is seen as an example of uncontrollable arrogance and hubris, something that mankind cannot coexist with and which will lead to mankind's eventual downfall.

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