My name is Spencer (formerly known as Dr. Paleo Ph.D.).
I am many things. I'm a 22-year-old, Bible-believing Christian. I trust my savior Jesus Christ above all else, and strive to follow Him unceasingly. My soul is that of the warrior's, and I seek to fulfill my duties as such. I am science-minded, and am pursuing a career in dinosaur paleontology.
I am for my God, and His Word, the Holy Bible. I am for the literal six-day interpretation of the Creation account as found in the book of Genesis. I am for my country and its military, and I will give my support to those who defend this nation and its people, even if it means that we are forced to wage war. I am for homeschooling, the rights of parents and the unborn, the Biblical family, and courtship. I am for the rights of gun owners, and believe in carrying. I am for martial arts, and advocate the study of those means necessary to protect the family, the faithful, and the defenseless. I am for the dying ways of chivalry; "Women and Children First!" is a creed well worth dying for. I am for conservatism, and did I mention that I'm also a states' rights Confederate flag-waving Rebel?
This is me.
Welcome to my blog.
"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." --Robert E. Lee
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” --Martin Luther
"Never give in—-never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." --Winston S. Churchill
"Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer! Rally behind the Virginians!" --Gen. Bernard E. Bee
You might say this this philosophical sci-fi film is one of the most famous movies of all time. I assume that most of my readers have seen it, but will also assume that some haven't. I should also say that I will not be reviewing the two other sequels as I am aware of some sexual content in them. Perhaps this limits my understanding of the philosophical implications of this first installment, but sorry peeps, I'm not going for it.
Note: if you are at all interested in this film and have not yet seen it, then you might not want to read my review, as it is filled with spoilers.
And now to begin....
Basic premise: Humans vs. machines. Simple, right? Well....
I'm going to have to spoil the whole plot like I warned, right off the bat. Okay. We are told that humanity created artificial intelligence in a race of robotic machines. In a reference that reminds one of the Tower of Babel, apparently it was then that humanity reveled despicably in its own marvelousness, and around this time the machines apparently further evolved of their own ability. War commenced, and the humans lost the war. During that war we somehow blocked the sun's rays from coming to earth (something atmospheric?) as the machines' were solar powered. Apparently extremely resourceful, they soon found another power source: us. Humanity soon became nothing less than batteries, grown and kept in large "crops", and to occupy our minds, the machines create a computer program, called the Matrix. Fashioning it after the world circa 1999, they plugged each and every human in to it. That is all that the humans know--they see it as real, but it is not.
Evntually, one man somehow became free, frees more humans, and starts a civilization. This man prophesied his return. This returning savior, "The One" that the characters of the film are looking for, particularly the mentor Morpheus, may be the one they call Neo (Keanu Reeves). As the freed humans possess the ability to re-enter the Matrix, they do so to rescue Neo. And the rest is movie history....
First of all, the film is well-made. The good production quality even extends to the fact that an entirely new method of studio filming was created for this picture (one that creates really "cool" scenes in slow-mo). I have no objections on this score. And as the whole story line is nothing short of humans vs. robots, we get plenty of action as well. It is possible to appropriately categorize The Matrix as a martial arts film, and it was in this that I was most pleased. A traditional Kung Fu scene, another fight with Neo vs. Agent Smith (an AI program inside the Matrix that basically keeps any and all potential resistance under control), and the famous shoot 'em-up scene in the lobby are all extremely pleasing.
The lobby shoot-out is one of the best in any movie I've ever seen, and I can't really tell you much about it other than it is awesome. The final fight is also very impressive, with some amazing moves. Yes, many of the moves are a little far-fetched, but at least the film explains it in the way of it only being possible inside the Matrix program. (And for someone who's seen downright unbelievable martial arts techniques first-hand, it instantly becomes more plausible.) If you watch movies for the combat sequences, as I do (so long as I have no other major content to object to that I am aware of beforehand), then you should at least see this film once.
Another minor little thing I found nice (is "nice" too weak of a word?) was the style. A guy like me can't go wrong with Neo's style of apparel (must...have...trenchcoat), and this as well as much of the rest of the film was "cool."
So, you might think I liked this film. Well...not...really.
It does not contain gratuitous violence, however it does contain some harsh language. There is no blatant sexual content other than when one techie character, named Mouse, offers to plug Neo in for a some time spent with a computer-generated women in a red dress. He declares, "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
Another issue is that the freed humans, citizens of the (underground?) city of Zion, kill other humans still trapped inside the Matrix, coldly and without remorse. Morpheus tells Neo, "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."
It is true, they do not know "the truth" and are blinded and therefore the opposition, but we see this very same thing reflected in the spirtually lost people of the world. Do we as Christians have the license to kill any or all of them if they get in our way? This, in my opinion, seems to be nothing less than a license to kill.
The problems I had with this film are it's reality, shall we say. (Ironic, isn't it?) We are expected to believe in little besides infinite possibilities. For one, Neo has superhuman powers in the Matrix world. He can do what no other human can. He can move faster than any other human can, and he can dodge and even stop bullets, as well as fly, eventually. (This is all explained through the idea that computer rules can be bent or broken, and also with some spiritualistic ideas sprinkled in heavily.) And in one particularly blasphemous scene, Neo is even raised from the dead, without explanation (was Trinity's kiss really that amazing?). This "Christ allegory", much-touted by the Christian community, is, in my opinion, nothing more than cheap. Yeah, yeah, it has a paralell or two (Neo dies, rises again, there is a Judas character, etc.) but are the Wachowski brothers (who made the film) really trying to convey scriptural truths? Somehow, I doubt it.
Morpheus is Neo's mentor, and he constantly tries to "free your [Neo's] mind." He makes religious-esque statements such as "Don't think you are, know you are.", "Try not to think of it terms of right and wrong.", "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.", etc. One of the most compelling questions seems to be when Morpheus Socratically inquires, "What is 'real'? How do you define 'real'?"
You want to know how I define it? What I can see, hear, taste and touch. The computer I'm using right now, the electricity it takes to power it. The body I am using and manipulating, the air I am breathing. And...reality is what can touch me, as in my dear God.
To help understand the nature of this topic, let's hear it from Neo's arch-nemesis, the creepy Agent Smith: "Have you ever stood and stared at it? Marveled at its beauty, its genius? Billions of people just living out their lives, oblivious. Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world, where none suffered? Where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this, the peak of your civilization. I say your civilization because as soon as we started thinking for you, it really became our civilization, which is, of course, what this is all about: Evolution, Morpheus, evolution. Like the dinosaur. Look out that window. You had your time. The future is our world, Morpheus. The future is our time."
What I often bring up to people is, with Evolution, anything is possible. There is no reality, there is no basis for truth, there is nothing. Can humans really create a race of robots that can evolve to surpass us? Sure! Can we really act with superhuman powers, can we manipulate objects ("There is no spoon.") and possess psychic abilities? Why not?
I would wager a guess that many atheistic Evolutionists would scoff at that idea long with me, but here's the thing, that's where their philosophy leads them. There was a time when some Evolutionists feared that computers and AI would be the next dominating species, and that they would out-evolve us (I kid you not), as we see that in The Matrix. And with Evolution, I ask, why not? What is life? A bunch of strings of amino acids? Primordial sludge? A collection of cells, and cells are a collection of conveniently oriented chemicals? Without a firm basis in truth, in the Scriptures, without a belief in the Creator and Savior of the Bible, we have nothing to go by, nothing to build upon (remember, Evolutionary science stole the foundations of Creation-centered science that began hundreds of years ago with Christendom). Anything goes. If we came from nothing, and if the universe itself came from nothing, what is there?
And with the pile of religious references (including a prophetess called the Oracle, who has the unexplained power to predict the future, amongst other things--we see her reading Neo's palms), most of which sound akin to Eastern philosophies (I am not an expert and therefore will not even attempt to pin down what exact doctrine or concept each little statement in the movie may or may not have come from) but seem to be mixed and manipulated at the will of the almighty Hollywood directors, we don't get a very compelling picture. As a born-again believer and as a logical thinker I must reject what others apparently find convincing.
Sorry, but I simply do not buy it.
All quotes from IMDB, except Agent Smith, which was from Wikiquote.