Monday, December 10, 2007

Non-archaeological post A couple of channels on cable have been running The Matrix lately:


It was made in 1999 at the height of the boom so it was very timely. And it was sort of apocalyptic so it also captured some of the pre-millennium hysteria, especially since its major theme had to do with computers; at the time there was also a lot of hysteria about the Y2k bug.

Side note: Several months before 2000 I had firmly decided that the whole Y2k panic was overhype and never going to amount to much. I was correct, and I would like to attribute that to prescience on my part, recognizing that there never was a problem to start with. OTOH, a lot of work was done beforehand to insure that it wouldn't be a problem, so that may have mitigated much that would have happened. A fried of mine spent a couple of years rewriting legacy mainframe COBOL code at a major financial institution and his company required them all to be on-hand before and after midnight at the turnover; no alcoholic partying, but they put on a might nice spread of food. Me, I was planning on being fast asleep that midnight, but I couldn't sleep and spent that fateful hour sitting in a chair in the dark trying to bore myself to sleep. I admit to some mild apprehension immediately beforehand, but when all of the street lights and electricity remained on I felt vindicated.

Anyway, back to movie: How cool was that movie? (spoilers ahead) I remember the first time I saw Neo waking up in his pod I just gaped at the screen and thought "WTF???!!!!" It was so full of excellent scenes. In the room, when Morpheus is handing Neo the pill:
Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Neo: Yes.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

And then at the end, just when you think Neo failed and died, he stands up and just says "No." softly and calmly when the Agents start shooting at him.

Too bad the other two movies were made. That's one of those that should have been a one-off. It ended so perfectly: the hero had come, but there was still some ambiguity as to what would happen next.

Of course, it inaugurated the era of wire fighting. I realize that other films had been using it for years, but The Matrix brought it to the fore. Nowadays you can't see a fight scene without someone utterly betraying the laws of physics by leaping 8 feet in the air and repeatedly kicking their opponent as if just the simple act of kicking multiple times somehow manages to act as an anti-gravity effect.

Oh, and Carrie-Ann Moss in latex. How hot was that?