Cyberpunk Review » The Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective

February 4, 2006

The Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective

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Overview: Since online debate around the Matrix Trilogy has been beaten to death, I’m guessing by now you’ve already long ago made up your mind on whether you liked or hated the Matrix and its subsequent sequels. Truly, whatever you decided is fine with me. As it turns out, I love them and generally think they’re great. And NO, I’m not really interested in having a Matrix Sucks/No You just don’t get it discussion. Please start a new thread in the Meatspace if you’re still interested in such banter. This essay is for something else - it’s about viewing the trilogy, specifically Neo, from a man-machine interface, or cybernetics perspective.

While most of the discussion around the trilogy deals with the classical philosophies expressed, very little discussion seems focused on a strictly sci-fi perspective. Why, I cannot say, but purpose here is to attempt to explain how the trilogy truly makes sense from a cybernetics perspective - a viewpoint that is just as intentional as the philosophical/religious journey. If you take the time to read this, forget about the philosophical and metaphysical stuff for a minute, and forget about any dialogue and acting issues you might have with the sequels. Instead, I want you to look at the trilogy purely as science fiction. Specifically I want to discuss Neo NOT as a messianic figure but as a Cyborg - a symbiotic combination of a sentient program and human being that evolves and integrates over the course of three movies. This essay assumes that you are familiar with all three movies, and will be filled with spoilers (I will also mention how Neo’s man-machine integration relates to the end of Ghost in the Shell).


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A Word about Battery People: Battery people are those humans who were birthed and raised in the Matrix. Both the Animatrix and the first Matrix movie makes clear that the former battery-people (those people stuck in the Matrix Pods from birth but who now live in Zion) are REPLEAT with electronic parts. Their entire nervous system is wired from head to foot. They have massive amounts of electronics in their brain that allow a virtual reality simulation to completely take over all sensory and perceptual elements. But the purpose of the cybernetic implants is two-fold – it is used to allow perceptual control of the battery people (cyborgs) and its designed to harvest and transfer human-generated energy into electricity.


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What is the Matrix? The Matrix is the Machine City’s power plant. It is not the focus of the machine’s existence, it is merely their source of their energy. My guess would be that most sentient machines and programs care little more about the Matrix than you do about your local electric company. Only the power plant manager – the Architect – and those working for him are truly obsessed with the running of the Matrix.

Communicating With The Machine City: Every aspect of the machine city’s society (what little we know about it) is about wireless communications. The leader sentinels (the ones with the mini-satellite dishes) appear to be almost constant communication with the “source,” and then communicates orders to the drone sentinels (who do not appear sentient). The sentinels can only “see” energy. This is the reason that the humans shut down all power when the sentinels come (this way they cannot see the ship). However, given the above discussion on battery people, it’s also clear that Sentinels can “see” battery people when they run (The end of the Matrix and Reloaded shows this). The battery person, or “cyborg’s” implants, part of whose function is to harvest human energy, gives off some kind of energy that is noticeable.


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How is Neo Different From Other Battery People? Now lets get to Neo - in the Sci-fi interpretation, we find that Neo actually had a special package implanted in his head at birth that was different from the other battery people (re: the architect’s conversation). This package includes both a sentient program learns over time, and a method to communicate directly with the source. Neo the “person” is actually not just a person or even a normal “battery” person, but is a symbiotic combination of human and learning sentient program. The sentient program in a very real sense is “part” of Neo. It is not a virus living off a host – it is a fully integrated entity, which transforms Neo into a true man-machine organism just as Motoko was at the end of Ghost in the Shell. The sentient program’s communications package is necessary for the “One’s” eventual planned destiny – this is part of the architect’s control loop whereby the One returns to the source and freely agrees to let the human portion of him die, and then freely communicates the sentient AI part of him back to the source to reboot the matrix. The sentient portion of the One isn’t dead, and may eventually return to the Matrix, similar to how the sentient portion of Seraph (a former “One”) has done.

So Neo has the ability to communicate with the Source and, because of his unique purpose (to understand and update the Matrix, he has “sysadmin-like” machine city powers in a computer sense required to reboot the matrix (after all, this is his intended purpose). These two aspects – his sys-admin ability and wireless communications ability - provide that rationale for Neo’s ability to communicate/attack/destroy other machines and programs from the source both internally in the matrix and externally (wirelessly) in the real world. It’s also clear that Neo has the ability to see energy similar to the sentinels - this is different from a broadcast signal. Basically, Neo was given the same capabilities for sensory perception as the machines, and is the ONLY human that has the capability to send and receive wireless communications. Incidentally, for those matrix fans watching at home, this is why the 13th floor scenario (matrix within a matrix) makes no sense.

With this basis, the much talked about and often misunderstood scene near the end of Revolutions, where the “ghost” sentinel goes through Neo also makes sense. Neo has been attacking the sentinels and other machines wirelessly for some time. The ghost sentinel going through him is merely a return wireless attack by a foe who is changing their tactics to meet the enemy’s assault. The sentinel essentially did a ghost-hack type attack, where energy from the sentinel is sent back at Neo. And in fact, the attack was successful – so successful that it momentarily knocks out the sentient program portion of Neo, so only the human part is conscious. At this point, Neo cannot see the machines and cannot fight back, so he tells Trinity to go up above the nano-clouds that destroy all electricity and block out the sun.


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The Scifi View is Different: Again, I’m CLEARLY separating out the sci-fi view from the metaphysical/religious view here. If one takes the metaphysical view, Neo becomes self-realized, and this has nothing to do with sentient programs or all the rest - but then the “belief” in his powers has to do with more metaphysical/religious connotations. He becomes the “One” in the same way Buddha or Jesus did - through his path to self realization. This is a significantly different but parallel storyline. Both the religious view and the sci-fi storylines are significantly different, but just as intentional. To reiterate - the matrix trilogy is fully allegorical in the sense that the entire trilogy was INTENDED to be viewed from separate and distinct story lines. This also addresses one of the many knocks on the trilogy – many knock many of the key scenes as incoherent or vague. This was purposeful action on the part of the Wachowskis. Most of the key scenes are “specifically” vague just so that they can be properly interpreted in two completely separate storylines. More than anything else, this truly is the magnificence of the story line across all three movies.


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Recap and Explanation: To reiterate, all battery-people are FULLY embedded with cyborg components that can completely take over full perceptual control - this was made abundantly clear in the first movie. The cyborg components run completely throughout their nervous system - only the outside pieces are ever removed. If you view the trilogy with these points in mind, here are some actual plot points to reconsider:

  • The sentient program in Neo first “turns on” and temporarily “takes over” the body “Neo” when the human portion of him dies in the first Matrix movie (M1).
  • This explains why the agents want to kill Neo in M1, even though he’s the key to the architect’s control system (another question often asked). To meet the Architect’s needs, the sentient program portion of Neo has to fully engage and this only happens with the death of the host. The Oracle knew this, which is why she “predicted” this.
  • The integration proceeds throughout Matrix Reloaded (M2) - this is how Neo “sees” the matrix green and now “yellow” energy of the machine city code. Some say the cookies and candy provided by the Oracle helped with the symbiosis process (others say this was her way of subverting the Architect’s intent).
  • The architect states that Neo needs to freely provide this code back to the machine city (which communicates though wireless communications) in order to reboot the matrix. This explains both the wireless capability and the need for the sentient program, which is a product from the machine city, to have the same sensory perception as other things from the machine city.
  • The purpose of the sentient program is to fully understand current human thought process and the nature of their evolved perception so that it can reboot the Matrix effectively to return the negative feedback control system (that’s a cybernetic term, not meaning “bad” feedback”) back to its initial goal state. This explains the rationale for the sys-admin-like powers.
  • Combining the wireless capability and machine city sysadmin-like powers, the sentient program portion of Neo now has the ability to “attack” machines outside of the matrix.The CLEAR sign of this was near the end of Revolutions, when the machine “ghost” launched an attack back at Neo as he approached the Machine city. The wireless portion of Neo was knocked out, so Neo, now dazed, was no longer able to either see or hurt the machines - in a reverse from his death in M1, now on the human portion of Neo was operating alone.
  • This also explains how Mr. Smith was able to get powers outside of the Matrix. Because he mixed with Neo’s essence, in fact what happened is Mr. Smith obtained a portion of Neo’s sentient program which mixed with the Agent, creating something altogether new and deformed. (which is why Mr. Smith is orange in Matrix colors versus something yellow or green). Mr Smith as a sentient program invaded a battery-person who still had all the implants that any battery person does, but Mr. Smith could not attack Neo wirelessly, as he didn’t have the extra hardware needed.
  • Seraph also provides support for this understanding. He is a former “One”. The sentient program portion of him is all that exists now, and came back from machine city through the train station - which is why he was an indentured servant for the Merovingian. As an aside, Seraph also provides clarity to the intended religious portion of the story arc – Neo will arise again, but only the sentient program portion of Neo will remain.
  • I will probably write a separate essay on this, but just to be clear, this viewpoint shows that the Matrix trilogy is the philosophical sequel to Ghost in the Shell (GITS). GITS2: Innocence does not follow Motoko’s journey after she integrates – Neo does. GITS2: Innocence is really a furthering of the philosophies that Oshii advanced in Avalon, meaning that conceptually, GITS2: Innocence is the sequel to Avalon, not the original GITS.


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In Closing: The purpose of this essay was to show that the Matrix Trilogy does indeed make sense from a purely sci-fi perspective. No religious conversations necessary here – I’m not expecting you to magically love the sequels now even if you understand and accept my reasoning – I’m just providing you some points for you to consider. Feel free to reject them or call me a loon. But if you find yourself re-watching these movies, try this viewpoint on and see how it fits.


This post has been filed under Essays by SFAM.


February 4, 2006

SFAM said:

Hmm…the Detective Story images didn’t work as well as I’d like - too much of a diversion I think. Back to Neo images it is!

amberlita said:

Ok…loon. ;)

I think your reasoning on the Sci-Fi end is fine, though I’m not fully grasping it (probably because I’ve seen the sequels only once each). But you’re right. I don’t magically love the sequels as a result of it. The logic/illogic was only part of the reason to dislike them. What I dislike about the sequels is that fight scenes seem to lose bearing any purpose and just become gratuitous; difficult to watch even, like in Revolutions when Neo meets Agent Smith for the last time and 70% of it is in slo-motion. I honestly just started fast fowarding.

And I disliked where some of the characters went. Morpheus turned into nearly a caricature of himself, with that ridiculous speech in Reloaded (followed by the exceedingly ridiculous rave scene after it).

Very nice essay though. I’ll consider it the next time I check the trilogy out, though not sure when that’ll be. :)

SFAM said:

Hi Amber, thanks for the kind words. And yeah, again, its cool if you hate the sequels. Many people don’t like them and have many reasons they can cite for it. That isn’t at all the purpose of this essay.

March 21, 2006

spikethebloody said:

A few questions. How do you connect to Seraph being a former one? I thought he was a former programmer like Merovingian back in the early days of the Matrix.

I would’ve thought Merovingian would be the more likely candidate as a former one because of the line “He was like you”. I’m not challenging you or anything :-D I’m just wondering what the dots are and how you connected them.

Great article BTW. Amber is a loon.

SFAM said:

Responding to Spikethebloody on whether Seraph is a former one:

As is stated above, Neo’s mind was a combination of human and sentient program. When his body died, the sentient program portion of him was returned to the source in order to reboot the matrix. Seraph is a previous “one” in the sense that the sentient program portion of him returned to the matrix - the human portion of him died long ago. In other words, the only essence of a “former one” would have to be a sentient program.

There are a number of references to Seraph being the former one:

  • He completely holds his own with Neo in a fight (nobody else can do this, and Seraph indicates that he had to “fight” him to be sure he was the One)
  • The Merv refers to him as the prodigal son returning, and makes it clear that he used to be in his service (presumably as a cost for passage for the trainride from the source to the matrix), but then at some point betrayed him.
  • The Henchmen refer to him as “wingless” meaning no longer can fly like Neo can. Seraph in some religions also means “angel,” which implies he used to be greater than he is today. Fallen angel could also mean he has fallen from the machine city (the equivalent of heaven in this context).
  • Mr. Smith alludes to the fact that they fought before in a previous incarnation of the Matrix - this seems to indicate that Seraph’s role was different than from what it is now.
  • Seraph’s a program and is Gold code, means he is clearly from the Machine city. This is the clearest indication, and fits the facts.

But again, depending on the storyline (religious vs Sci-Fi), the same character means something completely different. Seraph can be seen as the knight templar watching that which is sacred - the holy grail of knowledge (the oracle) in a religious view. He is also a betrayer of the Merv (who is the decendant of Jesus) so he is called Judas.

March 23, 2006

spikethebloody said:

Very interesting dude! I’ve always thought it was possible to see Seraph a few ways but there can be little doubt that you have a compelling argument for silencing the debate on his origins.

On the subject of Neo do you think he is not really “dead” in so much that like Seraph he is still alive in the source and that is the reason for the oracle saying that they’d see him again someday? I got the feeling that he was gone completely because Smith had overtaken him and to destroy Smith would mean destroy Neo. Faulty logic on my part?

SFAM said:

Hi Spike, yeah, the whole Mr. Smith/Neo integration part is pretty critical to the religious view, and also to a pure cybernetic perspective where we look at the Oracle as a positive feedback cycle (increasing change from an initial goal state) competing against the Architect, which is a negative feedback cycle (negating change from an initial goal state), but this is another essay.

In the Sci-Fi view, Neo - the sentient program HAS to be alive, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to reboot the Matrix. But I think it’s a safe bet that Neo - the person is definitely dead.

March 24, 2006

Nexyde said:

That essay is probably the best overview of the Matrix Trilogy ever! I have found it most helpful and agree on all points :)

SFAM said:

Thanks Nexyde. All compliments accepted and appreciated. :)

June 11, 2006

Jesse said:

Initially I never really enjoyed the Matrix films. I have given them several chances in the past, each time enjoying them less. However, I started looking into the philosophy behind the Matrix story. I have concluded that while the Matrix has some terrible acting, and far over hyped action sequences, the Wachowskis are geniuses for their work in the philosophical depth of their creation.

I love to hear different peoples interpretations of the story, and so far I think you probably have the most inciteful view I have found. Very nice work.

Before I go, this is my first time posting on your site. A few months ago I discovered this site looking for info on Casshern. Ever since, I’ve been hitting back almost every day looking for new cyberpunk stuff. I honestly didnt even know that cyberpunk was a genre before I found this site. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to a name for the entertainment I love the most.

Keep up the good work!

SFAM said:

Hi Jesse, thank’s so much for the kind words! I really do think the Matrix trilogy is an absolutely incredible effort on a lot of levels, even with some dialogue and acting moments thrown in the mix. While the religious and philosophical aspects of the trilogy have gotten a lot of press, very little is ever said about the straight SciFi aspects - those too are well worth discussion.

For instance, much to my great dissapointment, the commentaries on the Matrix box set, for instance, barely even mention the idea that the Matrix trilogy is also a SciFi movie. Disc 10, which has terrific documentaries on philosophy and the actual scientific basis for developing AI, also don’t go over the scifi aspects of the movie. This is all the more annoying considering they had Andy Clarke on as one of the guests. His book, Natural Born Cyborg, is one of the best at penetrating this notion of the co-evolution of man and his tools, yet NOTHING was said about this in his interviews. Here we have one of the most interesting and visually compelling instances of cyborgs in cinema, yet nothing in the commentaries or extras discussed this.

BTW, I still plan on going back to Casshern to put some better screencaps there. Early on in my reviews, you’ll notice a lot of them are shorter, and some, like Casshern, I just used screencaps I found. Since then, my reviews have become a bit more detailed and I am almost always using my own screencaps (except for movies like Ultraviolet, which hadn’t been released on DVD yet).

June 12, 2006

Adrien said:

WOW dude. I am utter apreciation at the essay above. The only aspect of your work I didn’t “like” was that you fell neccesarry that one should seperate the two interpretations of the Matrix Trilogy. I feel That each parts work within the other allowing one to get a true grasp of the Purpose and meaning behind such an epic tale. Ty for taking the time to write though for my understanding increased ever-so slightly…

SFAM said:

Hi Adrien, thanks for the kind words. Your criticism (that I separated the interpretations) is valid, and is one that has been mentioned to me before. Just to clarify, by no means do I reject a more holistic view of the trilogy. I would agree that the holistic view is probably how the Wachoski brothers view it. The problem is in trying to write clearly about it. Unless one is truly a gifted writer, attempts to describe everything in one perspective usually end up looking more like muddled thought than clarity in purpose. The other problem is that as one goes to a higher level of abstraction in describing the trilogy (which is necessary to describe it holistically), this almost negates discussing the details with any degree of specificity. For these reasons, it made sense for me to focus solely on the SciFi perspective.

And as I mention above, there are a plethora of attempts already to describe just the philosophical aspects, and many more attempting to describe it holistically. However, I have yet to come across any which focus solely on the scifi stuff. I hope this essay helps to fill that void.

July 31, 2006

Anonymous said:

SFAM wrote:
…This is all the more annoying considering they had Andy Clarke on as one of the guests. His book, Natural Born Cyborg, is one of the best at penetrating this notion of the co-evolution of man and his tools,

Gee! There use to be interest in the notion of the co-evolution of man and his drugs. (See Terrance Mckenna: Food of the Gods).
I find the different scientific paths, taken by man in his evolution intresting….

Herbs, Weed and Mushrooms…organic biology that alters one’s consciousness, and possibly, one’s evolutionary path…(often cited as initiating profound spiritual experiences…and greater natural holistic connectiveness…Imagine the White Rabbit…a psychedelic drug reference from the 1960’s..( “Go ask alice…when she was still small….”)


Electricity, Machinery, Synthesised Music, Electronic mediation, Cds, telephones, soundwaves and other electronic “gifts”…with conscious states “hovering” above rapid information flow, even evolving around it. Creating greater communications, greater connectiveness, even altering the human mind…

All very intresting. Two very compatable “Scientific” explorations, centered around human evolution…all in the same film!

August 1, 2006

Cyberpunk Hero said:

Wow. I’ve never really heard the Matrix put like this before, but it’s a fascinating way to look at the movies (particularly the sequels). Major kudos.

SFAM said:

Hi Cyberpunk Hero, welcome to cyberpunkreview :)

Great name, BTW. And thanks for the compliment. It always amazes me how seldom the Matrix is discussed from a science fiction standpoint. While, yes, the philosophical stuff is truly cool, there’s more to the movies than that.

August 3, 2006

2c me said:

I’m the “anonymous coward’s” who wrote:
“There use to be interest in the notion of the co-evolution of man and his drugs. (See Terrance Mckenna: Food of the Gods).
I find the different scientific paths, taken by man in his evolution intresting….”

Sorry I offended you. I don’t understand why my post made me an “anonymous coward.” Feel free to erase this, and my previous post. (Question: When has the adjective: “intresting” equated with “crackpot idea”?)

Anyway, this post is not proving anything, I personally find these ideas “intresting”. The book I’ve mentioned, The Matrix movie, the articles you have recommended…all intresting. That is my opinion, not me “making a point…”

Also, I am female…but it is o.k. to assume my gender (it’s common to address most of humanity as “mankind.” Although gender is important, most writers ignore it, or default to “masculine” modes of address, for example: he said…)

Finally, I’m not sure why my post was offensive, but feel free to erase any material, or opinion you feel unnecessary, or offensive.

2c me said:

At the risk of becoming annoying, I’ll briefly mention another Science Fiction classic: Dune. There are many layers in Dune (and the Dune collection.)
One aspect I particularly liked was the author’s treatment of drugs (the spices), which were used to “expand” human ability (and ultimately became linked to its evolution); while simultaneously, technology was also expanding what was humanly possible ( Space travel, human cloning, human knowledge etc.)
Dune is very much about the evolution of different sub-groups along different paths, yet, linked together.
Dune is brilliant in that it weaves together different groups and several ideals, along side one central story line.
I find similar themes running throught out the Matrix Films.

SFAM said:

Hi 2c Me, the Dune series definitely uses drugs in an evolutionary, or in fact transformational sense. In looking at the Matrix trilogy, I’d be interested in to hear how you see this similar analogy applying. I certainly get the Alice in Wonderland connection and the entering the Matrix. Are there other linkages in the films that perhaps I’ve missed?

Incidentally, I do agree with the evolution - especially in though - of the different subgroups (humans and machines) along different paths that are certainly linked together.

August 15, 2006

Milsorac said:

I am so glad that I found this. Ever since I saw the first movie, I just wanted to have things “broken down” for me. When the last movie came out, one of my co-workers said from a computer programmers view-point, the Matrix make so much sense. However, he didn’t explain. I figured out somethings from watching the movies over and over, but this is really great! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

August 17, 2006

Syzygy said:

Very well written. I never thought about the “seraph as the former one” thing before either. I am not a very big fan of the matrix trilogy (they are okay, not my thing. Especially the religious undertones) I will re-watch them with all this in mind.

However, there is one important thing people forget. Humans can’t be effectively used as batteries! Humans are rather inefficient producers of energy. We eat food and convert everything to either a piece of our structure, ATP or waste. ATP is the chemical humans use to store energy it has a link of three phosphate groups. One is broken off, and the energy released from the bond breaking fuels whatever the body is doing. ATP, being unstable, is converted to fat if not used quickly.

However, almost everything the body does takes ATP. From replicating DNA, where every nucleotide takes one molecule of ATP, to active transport of chemicals through cellular membrane, even a completely stationary human uses a lot of energy. The brain alone uses a huge amount. It would be much easier for robots to make energy from food with bacteria or machinery. It would be easier than that to use wind energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy or orbital solar energy, or nuclear energy. Humans cannot produce more energy than they are given, nothing can, and only a machine with 100% efficiency can produce as much energy as they receive, humans are no where near 100% efficient. Not to mention the cost in energy of keeping up the matrix for the sole purpose of producing an illusion for the batteries.

Also, the humans blotting out the sun in the first-place is unfeasible. They did it because the robots ran on solar, but they neglect the fact that all life on earth would die if left on a sunless world, and since robots can run at night, or when it is cloudy the obviously store energy, so they could use their time to figure out how to utilize other forms of energy, and that’s assuming the absurd, in that they ONLY used solar, which is highly unlikely. To do something like what they did would be like turning earth into Venus.

So, even if the events in the movie are very well thought out and intricate, the core premise is flawed. I know every is going to tell me it is sci-FI so I should just shut up, but since this is an in depth discussion I thought I might as well and come out and say it. Its bugs me every time I watch the series >.

SFAM said:

Hi Syzygy, welcome to cyberpunkreview. I would certainly agree that the robots could have created other forms of energy, besides humans (or modified humans in the case of the battery people - they are filled with implants). It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that some of the rationale for choosing humans is based in personal history. The Architect does indicate that there are other potential energy sources, but they clearly haven’t been exploited very well. One could certainly envision the machines taking a far more rigorous risk management approach in coming up with alternative energy sources. But regarding the sun comment, I would point out that life on the planet is pretty much wiped out. Did you get a different impression than this, or are you questioning whether this was a wise strategy by the humans?

August 24, 2006

supermom said:

You are clearly a very intelligent man. I did not catch all of what you had to say, but I see you put a lot of time and thought into your passion.
On a separate note though, I and all of historical Christianity disagree with your belief that Jesus was like Budda and was merely realizing his higher self. Honey, Jesus was the one and only unique son of God, who is the 2nd person of the trinity. Also,consequently, Jesus is The Savior of the world. It is only through bowing the knee and asking him to have a relationship and getting to know him and asking him to save you from your sins and your self that anyone can be saved. He is the unique one and we will all stand before him and give an account one day. Jesus said of himself, ” I am the Way, the Truth and The Life and no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

SFAM said:

Hi Supermom, thanks for stopping by. Just to point out, my comment above was more to set the context for this being an essay from a SciFi perspective, and not a commentary on the whether or not Jesus was greater than, less than, or equal to Budda. I merely use that as a counterpoint to show that this essay was not about the wachowski’s religious/spiritual viewpoint of the series. Honestly, that discussion is better edjudicated elsewhere.

August 26, 2006

Crawleymang said:

I like this explanation a lot. It explains the Matrix pretty thoroughly, at least for someone like myself. A friend of mine (when asked about Smith’s role and demise) replied that Smith, as a program, forgot his limitations, and that a computer (the world he operated in) can simply be turned off/rebooted, or a program can be deleted.

Do you agree? If not, what do you think Smith’s role was from a Sci-fi POV?

September 2, 2006

davd49 said:

I enjoyed reading your article, but was dissapointed that you did not provide an explanation of Neo’s “Destruction” of former-Agent Smith at the end of Revolutions. Why, right before Smith copies himself over Neo, does Smith act paranoid, recoil and say “Stay away! It’s a trick!” ? How does Neo defeat Smith by letting Smith consume him? How do you explain the surge of energy that The Source (deus ex machina) passes into Neo after Smith has copied himself over Neo?
Thanks for taking the time to respond!

September 13, 2006

Raimei said:

Thus the main story of “The Matrix” is told in the 3 movies, important information is enveiled in the “Animatrix”. It is told that the machines “exiled” from the human cities to form their own city - Z-01: Zee-one - Zion. That makes me believe that Neo and all of the people in Zion are actually machines or better cybors (something like Terminator). Now the human factor…I believe the matrix and Zion as opposite sides create a balance and control over AI and machines. This “universe” might actually been created by humans to end the war with the machines and keeping them controled.

September 20, 2006

Cremator said:

I would like to say that the whole idea of taking “Matrix” ideas a step futher is like taking Star Wars to be some kind of holy scripture to be seriously analysed.. Philip K. Dick explored these ideas of reality and humanity in his novels decades ago, in a much better and logical way. I liked the movies, but they’re not really deep. They’re just entertainment. You have to plough through a lot of second rate prose to find really deep ideas, and all the best hollywood movies are based on books by respected SF authors.

I’m glad I’m over the period when I read anything that was “hard scifi”, since I can’t stand the style anymore. Lee Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy was recommended to me, and I found it utterly boring, like I find most of SF. Matrix movies are full of action and Star Wars to the secondth power, so to speak. They’re good entertainment. That’s all.

The future will be quite different (and quite unpredictable). The ideas that the movie proposes, well, it’s here and now, with the internet and on-line games. Some people “break the matrix” by exploiting the faults in the system to cheat. All the hocus pocus
after that is just that, hocus pocus and blah blah the Force be
with you and dilithium crystals and all the magic.

Today it’s possible to link special cameras to the visual processing parts of the human cortex, and the blind can “see”, if they learn to do it. Just like it’s possible to link an artificial arm’s movement to functional nerves at a person’s abdominal muscles to operate it, it’s not seeing like “you and me”, nor is it having an arm, like “you and me”, it’s about learning to live with it. A new kind of sense or a new kind of control.

Sorry about the rant, I’m not an especial fan of Matrix (though they’re good movies), and happened upon on this site by chance.

September 21, 2006

kostiak said:

Very nice.. I liked it…

To all the people that say “bad acting and too much fighting squences” is both right and wrong. He is right that is was a little too much.. but dont you forget its a HOLYWOOD movie.. and it has to have those (all the studio birocrasy and stuff) but in contrast to other holywood movies the crew here did a realy good job of putting a later of real philosopical qulity underness…
(I had a philosophy cource at my unevirsity, and the lecurer mencianed matrix like 10 times in 2 hours!!)

and back to the assay - i wanted to see matrix as totaly sci fi and couldnt realy undersabd it.. so it was kind of in the mindle.. but now that i read this, i totaly magicly fell in love with it.. tnx

October 10, 2006

opit said:

Did you ever consider you might be obsessive/compulsive ?
Seriously, it takes a special kind of person to go to the extremes evidenced here. Thanks for a great ride !
Sci-fi always has its shortcomings positing realistic alternatives to reality. For a series of novels John Campbell would appreciate, I always found Robert Forward ( who ?) in a class by himself.
All space opera novels skip over the problems of impacts with matter at high relatavistic velocities. I don’t find the efficiency problems of people used as powerplants - in comparison - sufficient to blow the whole idea of a world wired for sensorium.
Fighting sequences ? No problem working off aggression here !
Looking at the matrix as a game network/imaginary world I certainly see no reason why it wouldn’t be as nuts as network television.

SFAM said:

Hi Opit, I actually know people who have obsessive compulsive disorder. So I can confidently say, “No, I am quite positive I do not have obsessive compulsive disorder.” But I’m afraid I got lost on your network/imaginary world analogy of the Matrix as it relates to network television.

SFAM said:

Hi Crawleymang and David, regarding the power required to reboot the matrix, and what role Mr. Smith plays in this, the first part, the power to reboot the matrix comes from the Machine City. This is right out of the original control system designed by the architect, whereby the sentient portion of Neo returns to the Source to provide the information necessary to reboot it.

Regarding the role Mr. Smith plays, Mr. Smith is in essence a virus created by the Oracle. The Oracle in essence took a portion of Neo’s essence and tied it to Mr. Smith. The Oracle also “gamed” Mr. Smith into wanting her eyes, which allows her to plant a false vision of his success. When Neo lets Mr. Smith invade him, the portion of Neo that was used to keep the Smith program together (if you remember, when he was destroyed, he was supposed to leave but didn’t) is reunited with Neo, and thus, the Smith program dissintegrates. As this happens, everyone returns back to their former state.

SFAM said:

Cremator said:
I would like to say that the whole idea of taking “Matrix” ideas a step futher is like taking Star Wars to be some kind of holy scripture to be seriously analysed.. Philip K. Dick explored these ideas of reality and humanity in his novels decades ago, in a much better and logical way. I liked the movies, but they’re not really deep. They’re just entertainment. You have to plough through a lot of second rate prose to find really deep ideas, and all the best hollywood movies are based on books by respected SF authors.”

Hi Cremator, just a thought here - because this site focusses on movies in no way says that it is cheapening scifi books. If this is what your saying, I don’t know where this comes from. If you’re saying that its a waste of time to take meaning or to be intellectually stimulated by movies, lets agree to disagree. I actually find vast stimulation in virtually all media types, including graphic novels. Call me low brow if you like.

Regarding whether the Matrix movies are “deep,” almost always this thought is expressed with regards to the philosophy. Whether or not I agree with that, this essay really isn’t about the philosophical aspects of the movie. I’m sure you can find other places to object to the matrix if this is your concern. If you are proposing that this essay somehow implies that I think “taking the matrix ideas a step further” means that I think this is how our world will end up, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. There is clearly enough content on this site where I express thoughts on this specifically, although this essay is not one of them.

sageyouth said:

very nice sfam. I never did understand many of the later scifi parts, I expect I will enjoy the later 2 movies much more now. I don’t think anyone really understands why humans are the chosen source of energy when they are so inefficient. The fact that the design choice is lost to history seems to symbolize how closely man and machine will continue be tied together, even in this seemingly us vs. them scenario.

October 16, 2006

RobUK said:


This is by far the best explanation I’ve seen of the Matrix Trilogy purely from a Sci-fi perspective. I agree with you .. the Trilogy has always been sold as philosophical/religious with some action thrown in, even on the DVDs, as you pointed out, and I believe this is why so many people were disappointed .. philosophy and religion will always be subjective, so it’s easy to either love or be let down by it from that perspective.

Personally, I very much enjoyed the philosophy behind the Matrix (we’re here to understand the decisions we’ve already made, etc.) but I also enjoyed the purely factual/sc-fi side of it. By factual I mean of course the storyline itself .. the sequence of events that play out, that are mostly objective. Your breakdown of events very closely resembles my own perspective, which makes me relieved, and you’ve also brought to light things that I never considered before (like Seraph being a former One, etc.)

Thanks again, and well done!

SFAM said:

Hi RobUK, thanks for the kind words! And BTW, I really did the philosophical side as well, but thought that would be a complete waste of time writing an essay on it, as there are already multiple books on it, commentaries, and all the rest. I just don’t get why the Scifi viewpoint, which seems just as intentional, is always completely glossed over.

October 17, 2006

Akenmaat said:

SFAM, I have to agree with most of the people here and say this is an amazing explanation. I’ve had several lurking problems with the Trilogy for a while that I decided just to kind of leave alone. But this explanation has me ready to watch them all again with new enthusiasm.

In response to Syzygy’s post, I have a theory that might expain the “Humans are rather inefficient producers of energy” problem. So here goes…

We know that the machines used humans as a power source even though they had the technology to produce more effecient power sources (like “a form of fusion” mentioned in M1). We know that the machines used to serve and protect humans and spared great expense to make sure they didn’t suffer in the first matrix. So if the machines didn’t care about the ultimate fate of humans, why didn’t they completely exterminate them?

What if the Matrix was the machines’ way of protecting and preserving humanity while eliminating them as a threat? What if the Matrix was a way to keep humans in stasis until they had “grown up” enough to learn to accept the machines as life form with equal right to live? What if the Matrix was the machines’ way of forcing humans to understand their wrongs by putting them through the same oppression and servitude they had placed the machines under?

The machines were certainly smart enough to realize that humans would not stop hating them and would destroy them outright if given the chance. In fact, the humans tried so hard to destroy the machines, they actually endangered their own survival in the process (blacking out the sky).

This explains the philosophical perspective that the machines were ugly and sinister in the first movie, but had transformed into things of beauty by the end of the third movie as Neo’s understanding of their role changed. In other words, Neo came to understand that the machines actions weren’t vindictive, but were trying to help humanity. The machines actions were in the best interest of humanity, even if the humans couldn’t see it.

In this way I think Mr. Smith was a form of conduit that allowed Neo to transfer this new understanding to everyone in the Matrix, man and machine alike. By invading and taking over everyone in the Matrix, Mr. Smith unwittingly allowed Neo to reach everyone directly through Neo’s own code.

Using humans as a power source, then, just becomes a practical way of harnessing otherwise wasted energy. And it would likely only power the Matrix, not the whole Machine City.

November 1, 2006

Old Trekkie said:

Great Explanation! Just a few questions though:

The Oracle lives within the Matrix. What was her purpose for creating Mr. Smith? And if she created him why does he attack (assimilate) her?

Mr Smith spreads (essentially) like a virus - “worming” his way throughout the Matrix. The Architect doesn’t seem to be concerned about this - unless he feels that by rebooting the system the “worm” would be eliminated.

Here is my theory:
I think that Mr. Smith was created by the Oracle to protect her but he turned on her. Her mission now becomes self-preservation and she finds Seraph to take his place. Now the humans want to destroy the Matrix but why would the Oracle want this? She knows that she has to go through Neo to defeat Mr. Smith and so, she places a “cookie” within him that allows him to interface (jump into) Mr. Smith - an ability that Seraph, I guess, doesn’t have. This affords Neo the ability to shut him down. But the interface worked both ways and Smith came back smarter. Now the Oracle has a bigger problem. To defeat Smith this time she hides within herself the code to completely destroy him. However, knowing that Smith’s assimilation code undoubtedly checks for harmful code she left the unlock key out (which is the same code as the “cookie” that is still within Neo). When the time came a simple message to Neo through Smith i.e. “I am suppose to say ….”, encouraged Neo to let Smith assimilate him. Once the key opened the code it executed and like a “worm” spread to all instances of Smith destroying them all and saving Zion at the same time. Since the Smith code was simply a “wrapper” the original programming took over thus allowing the Oracle to survive. The question now is, “How did she know that Neo would strike a deal with the Machine City?”

Go ahead, now, and reveal the holes in my theory.

November 11, 2006

Ben Johnson said:


I like your essay, but I believe your whole “sentient program” idea is seriously flawed. Here’s why:

1) When Neo is shot by an agent at the end of the first film Trinity (in the real world) reveals that she has fallen in love with him. She then kisses him and he re-awakens. It wasn’t some computer program that woke up inside him! it was her kiss that brought him back to life!

2) If Neo was a “sentient program” in a human body for the last to movies how do you explain all the emotion that he felt? Machines don’t feel emotions! They’re cold things driven only by porpoise. Neo was not driven by porpoise but rather by hope, love and belief! The thing that caused Neo to commit the sacrifice was not that he was “The One” because “The One” was a lie; “The One” never existed! (See the end of Reloaded.) What drove Neo to commit the sacrifice was his belief in Humanity, his belief in Xion, his belief in those he cared about and his belief in himself! He was e selfless hero! Not a cyborg! Not a Christ-figure! Not a foot-stool! But a Hero!

Ben Johnson

SFAM said:

Hi Old Trekkie, in looking at the Matrix Trilogy from a cybernetics viewpoint, the architect represents a negative feedback system (negating change from an initial goal state) whereas the oracle represents a positive feedback system (increasing change from an initial goal state). This too is intentional as we can see from the dialogue. The architect always talks about a control system (negating change from an initial goal state) wheras the oracle talks about stirring shit up. In this viewpoint, Mr. Smith is the oracle’s tool to create change from an initial goal state. She CLEARLY wants Mr. Smith to become a virus - in fact she created him as such (he even refers to her as Mom). The assimilation was also intentional - the Oracle wants Mr. Smith to do this so that she can implant a false vision in Mr. Smith, who, at the end, tells Neo what he “needs to hear” to figure out how to beat Mr. Smith.

SFAM said:

Hi Ben, feel free to disagree with me, but please make sure you’re characterizing my comments correctly. I did not say Neo was a sentient program - I said Neo is a combination of human and sentient program - this is flat out told to us by the Architect at the end of Reloaded. Regarding the Trinity kissing Neo, this is in no way contradictory - Neo HAS to die in order for the sentient program to turn on - the Oracle even tells Trinity that Neo won’t become the One until them. Please keep in mind though that I’m in no way discounting the massiah storyline. Please read above - I clearly state that there are two separate storylines going through the trilogy - this is why so many scenes need to be “specifically vague” - this allows them to be interpreted differently depending on which storyline you follow. So yes, Neo is absolutely a Christ figure, but he is just as clearly a cyborg - then again, ALL battery people are cyborgs, or did you not catch the massive implants running through all their bodies?

November 17, 2006

Matrix Fan said:

This very insightful look into the Matrix movies. However , I have some questions:

What is the actual role of the Metrovengan?

Why the Agents in reloaded were trying to kill the Keymaker though he is leading Neo to the Source?

What about zion council? are they the people chosen by the one when restarting the system?

Why the use of Kung-fu in the movie ? is it has any meaning at all?

If Neo is eventually will return to the source to restart the matrix? Why ther are freeing the minds of the people of Zion? Why the machines are attacking zion?

Too many questions i know but I will very much appreciate your answer.

SFAM said:

Hi Matrix Fan, not to put you off, but I would prefer that this entry not become a “but then how come…?” type thread. If possible, I’d like the questions I answer to relate to my perspective above. The purpose of this entry is more to explain the overall trilogy from the Scifi perspective, not the broader issue of attempting to answer all questions people may have about the trilogy. There are MANY people asking LOTS of “what about” type questions for the matrix movies. These are probably best posed in a Matrix-only board. Feel free to post these questions in the Meatspace forum as well.

November 20, 2006

Matrix Fan said:

Thank you anyway, however what do you think of my questions?
I believe they are legitamite.
Another issue, If W brothers make further installments of the matrix, I think that people or movie goers might like them, because it seems that most people needed time to understand and admire the theme or the plot storyline. What do you think?

November 21, 2006

SFAM said:

Hi Matrix Fan, in no way was I questioning the legitimacy of your questions. I just don’t want this essay to be the place that all questions are attempted to be answered by me. As for sequels, I don’t imagine that the same cast will be used if there are any. More likely, it would be a different cast in a future time or something.

December 1, 2006

BlindtotheLie said:

Great summary, SFAM, I am in complete agreement with you on all aspects that covered and you opened my eyes to a few angles I hadn’t conceived in my personal analysis.

I have been living the transformation that Neo experiences throughout the trilogy and you seem to understand the ideas very well. While parallelling in some respect your same views, I see the trilogy representing and illustrating a direct realization of the duality of Self and the separation of the Human Self and the Spiritual Self. I understand and sympathize with Neo’s struggle, the completion of self-awareness and self-control (Matrix 1), the question he poses in Matrix 2 of what his purpose should be with this new realization, and his eventual understand in Matrix 3 that in order to truly become immortal, he must combine the two aspects and relinquish control to ascend to something greater. You are correct on many levels and I appreciate your views. I agree that aside from such a spiritual underscore, the movies have every right to be appreciated for the sci-fi element they introduce, and the mind-blowing reality of worlds withing worlds and AI control. I was uncertain about Merv and Seraph being former ones, but you are right that although their human bodies have died long ago, their residual digital forms are preserved, in my opinion to guide the next one to his destination. No matter how much acclimation the trilogy gets, it could never be enough.

December 3, 2006

TomGee said:

Great Essay SFAM. I’m a SCiFI fan and love the Trilogy.
I’ve always felt that Neo was ‘wired’ differently than the others and you explain that perfectly.
My one gripe (about the series - not your post) was stated by Syzygy - humans would make a lousy energy source!
I’ve had to ignore that basic movie premise. other than that the sci-fi perspective is very appropriate.

December 24, 2006

Anton_1138 said:

SFAM, a great piece of work - good to see a sci-fi viewpoint finally in a place where it will receive useful review & commentary. I’ve banged my head against the wall in a few other forums, where my sanity was questioned for not accepting Neo is a Jesus-like figure!

OK, given I have been down the same thought path myself the major difference in thinking is around how Neo works in the Real World. My theory simply being that we never see the real Real World in any of the movies - the depicted Real World is simply the virtual world equivalent of a Septic Tank, for all those minds that were not fitting into the matrix. The Machines, in the interests if maintaining stable power, use the Real World virtualisation to keep the Matrix virtualisation (relatively) clean.

In the Real World virtualisation, the actual bodies are still plugged into the power plant whilst the mind believes they are free. As you describe, Neo has different coding than the others and hence is capable of apparently impossible actions in the Real World.

The One, Neo in this version, is simply part of the Machines control mechanism to keep the power plant stable. Every now and then the septic tank needs to be flushed, this is done by having Zion fall under attack, which draws all the ‘freed’ minds back into Zion, The One seeks out the Architect and returns to The Source, and the Architect then presses Reset on the Real World virtualisation.

Now I can go deeper than this, talk about the Oracle etc., but thought it worthwhile raising the concept as something for consideration. And no it is not the often discussed “Matrix-In-Matrix” theory, but it is similar in that it assumes both environments are virtualised.

Finally, yes I like the idea of Seraph as a former One, fits nicely into a sci-fi view as part of the control mechanism.

January 9, 2007

Snyper said:

I hated the ambiguity of the sequels and the heavy use of unexplained concepts (I had trouble seeing past the religious connotations, which don’t fit well with the cyberpunk theme), especially Neo’s actions at the end of Reloaded. If I had been aware of the ideas in your analysis before seeing the sequels I would have liked them as much as the first film.

From a scientific perspective, I prefer to ignore the idea that “humans create usable electricity”. Instead I pretend they never deviated from the original version of the script; that the machines use the array of humans for parallel processing. This explains why those who have been ‘unplugged’ are faster and stronger than the people who are still having the vast potential of their brain power exploited by the machines. Some time during the war that enslaved humanity, the machines realised electronic computers weren’t good enough to render something as complex as the matrix, so they used our own brains to process our ultimate prison. Another possible result of this theory is the means by which people are chosen to be saved. The most intuitive humans would be using the parts of the brain that the machines find most valuable, causing a weakening of the control link and making them subtly different to normal people, thus a target for the Zionites to rescue and for the Agents to kill.

January 15, 2007

One and Only said:

Well this IS a new view on the Matrix and one which I find concise. It is satisfying but I’d rather have had Neo’s superpowers limited to the Matrix and an alternative Revolutions…But anyways I curious about Seraph being a former one. You mentioned that Smith alluded to this, may I ask where and when? Was it in Reloaded or Revolutions and in what scene? I’ll have to rewatch the Triology again so as to pick up new things now that I have been “enlighten/given the redpill” by you.

January 16, 2007

l1zrdking said:

I have to say, the Matrix trilogy (the whole thing) is probably my top 3 favorite movies of all times. The blend of humanity and technology, religion and philosophy, action, romance, I can go on and on. I loved it so much I bought the big box set at Suncoast with the Neo bust and all the extras. I picked it up for 40 bucks! Best purchase ever. I have learned a long time ago though, that if someone doesnt like it, I say, thats ok and go on my way.

January 17, 2007

adam said:

excelent overview, it answered most all the questions that the series raised, and shows how many levels the movie has. The one part I found quite interesting that you touched on was the oracle’s relation to Smith. I noticed you mentioned in a comment that he reffered to the orracle as “mom” and was hoping you might mention where abouts he said that, I’m quite posative I missed it (not hard with these movies.

Also, you mentioned that when the orracle was absorbed by Smith, she implanted a false vision. I’m having trouble trying to figure how a computer program would be able to pretty much “lie” to another program, esspecially since through the whole series she has only mentioned the truth.

Thanks again for the great overview

January 25, 2007

Johnny Mnemonic said:

Thanks, your scientific approach helps ground The Matrix in reality (or at least a plausible version of it).

January 27, 2007

Dyce said:

Wow, i’m glad i found this, i only stumbled over it whilst i was googling for info on that new blade runner dvd.
I am so fucking happy there’s someone else out there still thinking about these movies, it’s what half my brain cells are dedicated too!
I love this interpretation (not sure if i agree with the Seraph as former one idea, tho it IS interesting and cool, i always prefered the Merv as former one idea, as suggested in one of the Ultimate Edition’s secret Documentaries). I love the sequels, though they’re not perfect. The only concern i have about Revolutions is that there is no tension between the main characters; I mean, Morpheus has just, essentially, been told by neo that his beliefs are lies, and Morpheus’s crises of faith is shown as nothing more than him looking sad and depressed, and is never expressed through anger or even the standard hollywood emotional speech and hopeful-oscar-clutch. He should have argued with neo, or something. And neo neo just allows trinity to come with him to the machine city without argument, which makes sense for the characters, but is a big fat negative hole of drama. Bah. Still, the movies rule.
Keep the dream alive!


POST 2: actually, i just thought: if you played on the Matrix Online, which is supposed to be Canon (though i stopped playing after Morpheus died like a bitch, well, that and the game was crap) Morpheus says that he wants to find neo’s body, which the machines are refusing to release. This would seem to suggest that maybe neo’s BODY is alive, and not just his Programme side. Just a thought. Plus, in this continuation, the matrix HASNT been rebooted, infact it is still glitching after the whole “smith thing”, as the oracle puts it. hmm…


POST 3: and, does anybody know what happened to The Art of The Matrix Reloaded And Revolutions, i LOVED LOVED LOVED the first book, being a designer myself, and this book was advertised as “coming soon” in the first volume of the matrix Comics.
Which reminds me of my fanboy need to have the Wachowskis retell their tale as a comic book, where they wouldnt have to worry about running times or budgets, and could re-apraise their work, as the creators of Evangelion are about to do. Just a thought, and maybe i should shut up. :p


POST 4: After Smith infects neo in Revolutions, and the light passes into neo from the cables plugged into, which is then passed into Smith… What IS this light? Is it simply a sign of what neo is doing, or is it a supposed to show that the God Machine is downloading something into this Smith/neo hybrid? Is this a Virus? An Anti Virus? Is this an instalation for Mcafees Anti Virus 2507 for Matrix? I think Smith thinks that “it’s a trick” because Neo is so easily giving himself up. simple at that.

Sorry, i have a lot of pent up thought on this, i’ll try to keep it locked up before i fill your pages with thoughts.


POST 5: here’s another one; don’t you think it’s a bit odd that The Architect shows neo that Trinity is about to die, which leeds neo away from the source and back into the Matrix? odd


POST 6: oh god, now i can’t stop:
Here’s my thoughts on a previous posters question: The Agents are hunting The Key Maker because he is an Exile, and it is the agents job to hunt Zionites and Exiles, and The Keymaker states to one of the agents “We do only what we are meant to do”, and maybe the Merovingion kidnaps the Keymaker because he is a former One and wants to relive former glories by using him to enter the Source. Or something.
And do you think that the Source that the Architect wants Neo to return to is the same Source that The Oracle says that Neo touched at the end of reloaded when he collapsed? Though, that would be looking at it from a more religious point of view, and i had just read Hero with a Thousand Faces before i saw the sequels, and this refers to a “Source”.

January 28, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Dyce, welcome to cyberpunkreview! I hope you don’t mind, but I combined your comments. I’m thrilled that this essay prompted so much thinking and energy on your part. Let me respond to a few of your thoughts.

- Regarding the Merv as a former One, there have been at least 6 former Ones, so it certainly makes sense that the Merv could have been an early one, as his wife indicates. This doesn’t preclude Seraph from being a later one as well.

- I haven’t played the Matrix online, so I really don’t know the details of it. Although, I will say that the story from that point on will probably take a back seat to what works for developing ongoing customers. So if “bringing Neo back” excites people, whether or not this was originally intended, it wouldn’t be too far outside of the bounds of possibility for the Matrix Online folks to modify things in order to maintain profitability.

- The light passing into the cables is the Machine City rebooting the matrix - Neo’s machine portion is already in the machine city and is initiating the rebooting. So yeah, energy is certainly used to do this.

- The Trinity thing, no, I don’t find this odd at all. The Architect is not about deception, and its clear that most of the images on the monitors are the different minds of Neo responding - meaning the Architect has ALWAYS had a direct connection to the sentient program portion of Neo. To “hide” this from Neo would be a waste of time, as Neo has already seen it to be true.

- Regarding your last point, yeah, I do find value in separating out the religious from the scifi viewpoint (although others clearly don’t). From the scifi POV, Neo’s stopping the sentinels isn’t him touching the source, its him using these “powers” outside of the Matrix for the first time. This is merely one more step on the journey toward integration of man and sentient machine that we see Neo engage in. It’s hard at first, but becomes easy by the time he hits the Machine City.

February 8, 2007

luis dias said:


My apologies to all for editing the post. Luis Dias spent three posts over two pages essentially saying the following:

1. The Science behind the Matrix movies suck!
2. This essay sucks!
3. You idiots commenting on this essay are all losers!
4. Did I mention you all are idiots and you suck?

I will leave his final comment from his first post:

luis dias says, “GET A LIFE!”

If you would like to see the diatribes in their full glory, I’ve posted them in the “Matrix Sequels Suck/No They’re Great! You Just Don’t Get it!” thread in the meatspace. His posts are (1) here, (2) here, and (3) here.

If you have follow-up responses to this, please feel free to post them in the thread referenced above.

February 9, 2007

SFAM said:

luis dias said:

Again, I’m sorry if I offended you. You are free to do what you want with my “diatribes” in your own site. I understand very well if you only want to be left with praises and good remarks.

Personally, I’ve found your site quite useful by providing a very good rated list of cyberpunk movies, and enjoyable comments about films. I’ve found it because I was curious about Judge Dredd and found your view at it.

“Intelligent and sensible”, I thought. “Let’s see what he says about other films…” I quite enjoyed it.

But The Matrix had just to have an explanation of it, hadn’t it? It was too damn good a film to be so full of holes. Let’s fill them all. Let’s build a completely illogical building of it.

Well, I’m sorry if I don’t enlist in your religion. This seems all too “You’re no Christian, you are the devil” talk nonsense to me.

“Truly, I’m touched that you expend so much effort in a clearly fruitless attempt to save us from ourselves. For that I am truly thankful.”

I’m sorry if it is fruitless. But you were not the only person I was talking to, so you can’t really know about the others, now can you? And I give a squat about your thankfulness. Or is it that anyone here has to kiss your ring before being allowed to speak their comments (as long as they are praises?). If that’s so, that’s your problem, not mine. Attitudes rest upon those who commit them.

PS: I’m also very sorry for posting a too long post. I never thought you were so sensible to size. And I never think the time that William Shatner spent at Star Trek conferences saying that exact line you so detest was a worthless time. There is always a good chance some people just snip out of it. Just think, “wait a minute, this is just a movie! Let’s move on, let’s get a life!”. That’s worth a long post, I think. My two cents.

luis dias said:

Oh, just a comment, edit it as you wish it, your resume of my posts are almost funny, but…

“1. The Science behind the Matrix movies suck!
2. This essay sucks!
3. You idiots commenting on this essay are all losers!
4. Did I mention you all are idiots and you suck?”

…Where did I mention “suck”? Where did I mention “losers”? Where did I mention “idiots”? I am not in the name-calling business here, dear SFAM.

There is a fatal difference between you and me. I can differentiate myself, my persona, from the things I do and create, so that whenever anyone criticizes them, I’ll say, okay, you probably have a point, or no, sorry, I don’t agree. I never take it personally. Your post shows a contained anger that switches itself on whenever anyone rebuffs the bases of your arguments.

Well, sorry anyway for ruining your day, or, your hour, or, your 2 minutes of reading my fruitless posts… the risks one has to deal with!! Ah Ah!

Be well.

SFAM said:

Luis, please forgive me, I must have misinterpreted your comment “But what astonishes the most is the flattering numbs who come here and praise the effort” as an insult. Also, the line “The efforts to tie the knots down are completely ridiculous. They all loke like the works of a conspirational theorist: with a sense of logic, but completely illogical” seemed somewhat insulting - then again, this must be my “anger switch” at work. I’m sure you talk to everyone this way - my apologies for not being familiar with this form of respectful communication (for the life of me I cannot figure out the conspiracy theory I’m advocating, so perhaps I’m dense as well). I guess the way to do it is to say, “No offense, but you’re all a bunch of flattering numbs. I just keep laughing at the posts. Sorry people, no offense.” And my apologies for thinking you were addressing others here as well. As you say above, I was the only person you were talking to, so I’m guessing I’m the flattering numbs?

If you read my edited comment above, you will see clearly that I’ve paraphrased it for people to its essence (my quickie essence replacement words were idiots and suck - not yours - I made that clear). More than that I linked to the original posts. I’m sure people interested in your posts can make up their own minds about your intent - your follow-up posts don’t really add anything here. They might even notice my “thankfulness” as sarcasm, but you seem to have missed it.

As for rebuffing arguments, had you taken that tact, my response would have been very different. You didn’t. You went to ridecule. That you don’t notice this in your own posts is interesting, but isn’t my problem. I might point you to the fact that if you continue to feel the need to apologize in advance for what you’re saying, perhaps you should probably be looking at what exactly you are saying. If you constantly laugh at the idiocy here, and call all those who respond “flattering numbs,” it’s rather wierd when you’re then “shocked, shocked” that the return response isn’t cordial either.

The jist of your position, what little there was is that these movies are fantasy and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. To that I say, “cool - that’s a fine position to take.” You certainly didn’t provide any reasoning for it (other than the battery thing being rediculous!), but such is life. As for the rest of your response, I think I’ve made myself rather clear.

luis dias said:

“flattering numbs”… yes I see it. I really was an *ss. Sorry about it all.

luis dias said:

A pity though. I really think all this in-depth analysis of the Matrix is flawed, so much precision wasted on a movie with so many big flaws…

1. the “battery” flaw: Without that concept, the entire movie wouldn’t exist. There does exist a second thermodynamics law. The only way we could generate power would be to be burned;

2. the zoo flaw: why bother give human minds the illusion of VR? Human bodies, not human minds are supposed to create energy;

3. the “machine depends of human beings” flaw: despite the irony beauty of it… doesn’t it strike itself as totally stupid? “Fusion”? What about wind power, wave power, thermo power, etc? To support a continuous war just because humans are “good power generators?” when they are not?;

4. the “neo is superior to sentient programs” flaw: this was never explained. Why is he allowed to bend rules more than the programs themselves? I cannot see it, but I reckon it is something involving a deep understanding of programming, which I don’t have. My experience tells me that no computer program could indeed brake any rules whatsoever… my two cents;

5. Why is Smith so emotionally distressed in M1 if he is an unemotional program? Without a doubt, Hugo is the best actor of the series, but… it makes no sense;

6. The story of Smith’s comeback is not totally flawed, there is always a way to revive dead characters, but the explanation is unconvincing. Too much elaborated. And the reason why he wants to take Neo out is vague. Somehow we are led to believe he has got to have smth Neo has stolen from him. But then he impersonates a virus… and evilness… makes little sense…

7. Neo is trapped in the subway station and doesn’t have any powers, the lord of the train has them all. Comparing the situation with the Matrix situation with agents (lords of the matrix) being unable to get him… shouldn’t ring a bell? (well, Neo was programmed to return to the source, so he had to be superior to the agents). If so, Neo is a bluff!! He doesn’t have any real powers. Why is he then so able to do against real machines (wipe them out) what he couldn’t do in the subway station?


The result is that for every scene we would see something that needed an explanation, but such never fitted what was previously seen. So a new explanation even more elaborated was needed. It’s like Ptolomeu’s solar system: more defining circles than planets themselves (dozens per planet), no wonder it wasn’t true.

That is why the film can’t be taken seriously. You take Incoherence as a paradoxal inherent deepness, while it should be rather seen as a pastiche of very good stuff put together like a soup and flavored with incredible images. Occam’s Razor. This latter view rebuffs all the elaborate theories you can create.

Thank you.

SFAM said:

Regarding your points:

1. The Battery flaw: this essay really isn’t addressing that point. They explain their reasoning that humans generate a small amount of electricity. This is true, they do, but clearly there are probably many other ways the machines could make power. The best explanation for why this approach to power is used comes from the Animatrix Renaissance scenes where its clear that the Machines are simply turning the tables on the slavery role. But again, this is here nor there with regards to this essay. Your point is more related to whether or not you buy the Matrix science. The purpose of this essay isn’t to evaluate the quality fo the science in the matrix trilogy - its to show that there is a clear Sci-fi view that can be used for understanding the trilogy, without getting into the religious interpretation.

2. The zoo flaw isn’t a flaw at all. Again, this was pointed out clearly in the first matrix. The humans died without existing in a realistic social world. The initial world was rejected by the battery-people. Again though, this is more a question of whether you buy the science explanations behind the Matrix vice any issue with my essay, or the comments of those posting here agreeing or finding fault with my comments.

3. See my response to your first point. Your third point is a restatement of your first, at least as it relates to my explanation.

4. If there were any issue I truly have with the science, its this point, although I come on completely the opposite side from you. If a sentient program can create a program, than it certainly can improve it - continually in fact. But again, this whole line of reasoning is negated when seen as a trilogy - these were Morpheus’s explanations, and they were flawed by design - the oracle’s design in fact. The reason Neo was “betteer” is listed above in my essay - he had a sentient program growing inside him that had in effect sysadmin powers. It had nothing to do with the Morpheus explanation.

5. Mr. Smith is a sentient program - this is made clear. He’s not an unemotional program. He has freewill but is restricted to a cage - it’s pretty clear why he’s emotional.

6. Hmm…maybe you missed something. The oracle brought Mr. Smith back specifically for the purpose of creating chaos. The vagueness AGAIN comes from the issue that there are two separate storylines going on here - the scene, as with most key scenes, has to accomodate both of them. This means the scenes have to be able to be interpreted very differently depending on the storyline one is following. This is the real genius of the Wachowski’s script, IMHO (clearly many disagree, and this is fine too). And again, the purpose of this essay is to trace the Scifi perspective - feel free to look elsewhere for the religious/massiah interpretation of that scene.

7. My answer to this is in the essay above. You certainly don’t seem to be taking in account my explanations here, but you certainly can find my answers above as to why Neo is different, superior, whatever, and why he can use his powers in the real world.

If you reject my points above, or those in the essay when you get around to reading in totality, this is totally fine with me. I will say once again though that the purpose of this essay is NOT to validate the science in the Matrix. That too can be found elsewhere - there are even books written you can buy on Amazon that address that question. As I mention to someone else above, I really don’t want this essay to be a “but then how come…” type Q&A. There are whole sites devoted to the matrix who spend time doing this. My purpose in this essay is more tightly scoped than that. The positive comments to this essay were not in response to my making sense of the science. They were in response to me bringing a well needed focus on understanding the coherency from a SciFi perspective. Choose to disagree if you like. I long ago stopped worrying whether or not people like the sequels or not.

Regarding whether or not all this energy is “wasted” on a flawed movie such as this, is really a personal decision. Speaking for myself, I have a masters in cybernetics and general systems theory. I can count the number of movies on one hand that take a thoughtful cybernetics viewpoint in constructing a story - the Matrix trilogy is one of the very few that do. When the sequels came out, I spent many very happy months wrapped up in thought about it. What makes you think you’re qualified to question whether this is a valuable use of my time? It’s perfectly fine if you see no value from them whatsoever. It’s also fine if you don’t understand why I do. Many of my close online friends feel that way (ETM, one of the Admins on Cyberpunkreview considers the sequels very flawed in many many ways, for instance) - but this is different from saying its a waste of time for me and others to spend time thinking about them.

February 10, 2007

Dyce said:

Luis, if you don’t like it, keep your trap shut! |If you don’t think it deserves analysis, don’t click on a link that analysis it, numbnuts!

Dyce said:

For example, I think star wars is overrated pants, but you don’t see me logging my complaints on star wars articles!

February 23, 2007

luis dias said:

Thanks Dyce. I’ll keep my thoughts about it anyway.

“The zoo flaw isn’t a flaw at all. Again, this was pointed out clearly in the first matrix. The humans died without existing in a realistic social world. The initial world was rejected by the battery-people.”

Which is a false premise. It *seems* logical, but is flawed, because we can see nowadays that there are a lot of people living in brain paralysis. They don’t “die” in a biological sense, only in an ontological sense. It would only be the most logical step for the machines to paralyze the brains of men. Probably even taking it out entirely. So it really requires a *lot* of suspense in disbelief to adhere to this “battery zoo” stuff. It is all knit very conveniently to the purpose of the film and not actually giving a probable state of affairs, which is exactly one of the pillars of historic sci-fi.

“Mr. Smith is a sentient program - this is made clear. He’s not an unemotional program”

Ah yes. Just as the lovely couple with a kid. This is perhaps the key to the Matrix. First we are led to believe that mankind is superior to the machines, because they are so cold-blooded, so “logical”, that they couldn’t exactly match the “intuition” humans had and the Oracle was “studying” (but then we are led to see that the Oracle was infact not a student of intuition, but a real master at it). Afterwards we see that the machines also fall in love. Worse than that, they breed toddlers! (ahah!) Suddenly, all the mankind’s unique characteristics fall into oblivion: “hope”, “intuition”, “toddler breeding” and all the others unnamed. Suddenly, Neo is obsolete. Nothing but a sysadmin in Matrix who happens to have the “key” to kill Smith. Obscurantly though, the Arkitekt is unable to “feel” the same. Nor most of the machines they contend with. Seraph is unable to feel anything at all. The Key Maker is obsessed with his duty, without any glance of free will at all. But wait, small servants of the machine world are given this miracle of love, and they even choose to smuggle themselves with the help of a criminal!

It doesn’t fit in itself!

You say the brothers were brilliant on covering the “real story” behind a vague argument. Yes, I can see that as well. It’s like an artist who gives you a white canvas. Now you can imagine whatever fits you better within your own mind. Brilliant! Believe me, I’m an artist myself, I know what I am talking about when I see “vagueness” been taken as “brilliancy”.

Well, not actually a “white canvas”, but a total incoherent piece.

1- In one hand machines are cold-illogical beings, but then again they are lovers.
2- In one hand, mankind possessed “intuition” and “hope”, bizarre stuff being studied by the machines, but in the other hand, machines really were “sentient”, capable of “love” and etc. Of course, couldn’t be otherwise, so why else bother to exist and endure pain, and grow, in the first place, if not for love?
3- In one hand machines are bright, but then again they really built an immense costly Matrix, had to endure Zion, endure a constant war with them, face partial anihilation due to the various “one’s” choice and a human factory just for the sake of electricity! And they even got stalemated with a human being just because the very Matrix they built for mankind was at jeopardy! What??
4- And finally, for one hand, machines are in total control of the Earth, but they still give humans a choice and endure the existence of Zion (rather than just killing humans when see they’ve disconnected, as the machine should have had done in M1, were it bright enough), just for the sake of the battle? What?!?

You’ve actually come up with your own version of that painting, not even taking into account the possibility of the total incoherence of the movie. But is worse. Yes, sure, I can take it and enjoy the film from that perspective, but then my experience of the film is ruined because of my brain keeps asking “but if this is so, why the heck that? It makes no sense!!”.

I rather view it with nonsense brainstorms in my mind.


February 24, 2007

SFAM said:

luis dias writes lots of stuff including “You’ve actually come up with your own version of that painting, not even taking into account the possibility of the total incoherence of the movie.”

luis dias, I can only repeat myself so many times that the purpose of this essay is NOT to validate the scientific logic behind the matrix. If you want to tell everyone who finds something unique about these movies that they’re just looking at nonsense, you’ve already done that here - many times over in fact. Repeating it more doesn’t add anything. Truly. It really doesn’t - not at all in fact. Should I mention this once more just to be clear about this?

Should I mention again that the purpose of this essay isn’t to validate the logic of the science behind the Matrix? I could yet again mention the purpose, but clearly you can check my posts above.

Again, if you want to do engage in a “the matrix sucks conversation” feel free to do this in the thread in the meatspace. This REALLY isn’t what I want conversations about this post to be about. You think the movies are incoherent - I GET THAT. However, I really don’t care. This TRULY isn’t the purpose of this essay, nor is it the type of discussion I want to engage in on this essay.

Luis Dias said:

I see I am overdoing myself. The point of my criticism to this page is *not* that the matrix sucks though, it is rather resumed in my last sentences of the last post:

“I can take it and enjoy the film from *that perspective [of yours]*, but then my experience of the film is *ruined* because of my brain keeps asking “but if this is so, why the heck that? It makes no sense!!”.”

Well, I am sorry for not be concise. You did ask me where the inconsistencies were, so I made a terribly long speech about it. I will not bother you again, and that’s a promise!

Be well,

March 7, 2007

Awakened 0ne said:

Hello SFAM. I wish I could express my profound appreciation of how much the essay helped me understand the trilogy and answer basically all of my questions. However, I don’t know if I got confused in the heat of it all, but in the recaps and explanation part I found myself asking a question I had neither thought of nor found an explanation for - [Combining the wireless capability and machine city sysadmin-like powers…]. This might be one of the stupidest questions you have been asked (I just don’t know), why do the machines attack Neo if he is to return to the source and reboot the matrix?

Dyce said:

an explanation might be, that in matrix Reloaded the Key Maker says to an Agent that “we do only what we were meant to do.” These machines are meant to kill, or hold back at least, the human threat, and possibly can not tell between one threat and another.
Besides, it’s possible there are other Potentials waiting to take Neo’s place should he be killed, such as the Kid character (who certainly has something weird going on - see Kid’s Story in the Animatrix, and has a connection to Neo “How does he always know…?”)
Just thinkin’ out loud.

March 8, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Awakened One, if you’re talking about the first movie, the machines attack Neo in order to kill him. This fully engages the sentient program. In the scene where Neo, the human dies, the sentient program portion of Neo then fully engages, and he can see all the code in the Matrix. The sentient program also then restart’s Neo the human’s heart. If you are referring to Revolutions, Neo has already rejected the control system, so the machines in the real world are attacking him, to, well, kill him, but in this case they want remove the threat to the Machine City.

Regarding Dyce’s explanation, as I understand it, the potentials are a red herring. The Architect flat out tells Neo he was implanted with the sentient program from birth. He is the only one (or The One) who has it.

Awakened 0ne said:

That makes sense. But what about the part at the end of Reloaded when he says “Something’s diferent. I can feel them” and the sentinel charges at the crew only to be stopped by Neo?

SFAM said:

Hi Awakened One, my explanation of this is above. Again, Neo is comprised of a tightly integrated human and sentient program. The sentient program portion of Neo has sysadminlike powers needed to reboot the Matrix and a wireless communication capability to communicate with the source. The combination of the two enable Neo to force the machines to self-destruct in the real world.

Awakened 0ne said:

Sorry if I caused any confusion but what I meant was this: you explained that the machines at first attacked Neo in order to kill him and that fully engages the sentient program; and in Revolutions after he rejects the control system. So my question was, why do they attack in that scene at the end of Reloaded? Or were they going to completely ignore him?

March 10, 2007

Awakened 0ne said:

Actually never mind. You covered that in your explanation the first time. That too happened after Neo refused to return to the source in favor of rescuing Trinity. Thanks once again.

March 19, 2007

Dual Fury said:

Hey SFAM, great essay. I’m mad at myself for just reading it now. Every now and then I do a little more research on the Matrix storyline (I am not a Matrix Online player) and find new articles that are fill my void for more MATRIX. I understand everything you said but some things are sort of left up to just speculation.

I always imagined Neo’s program as a single entity. Of course from a cybernetics pov, the code can be copied, or from an engineering perspective even the entire machine, duplicated. So when the architect says that the prime program must be “assimilated” back into the system, I would understand that it would be absorbed, meaning there’s no possibility for Seraph to be another “One.” I thought, maybe Neo would die and the sentient being from his body would just be put into another human body.

But like you said, and I generally agree with you, that the sentient being was a part of Neo. If the sentient part of Neo can live on, then I’m guessing it’s program would just be copied? Into another bio-mechanically engineered cyborg? And the sentient program (Seraph) would just be on its merry way? This is the idea that makes the most sense to me…however….

…Another question arises (it’s like an episode of Lost, but in a better way) wouldn’t this growing number of powerful programs seemingly minds of their own be a growing concern or threat against 01 and the Source? Since there are a vast many of rogue programs in the Matrix I assume the Source wouldn’t care about letting another program attain it’s freedom, but this is the freaking “One”’s we’re talking about. The Sys-admins themselves…

What are your thoughts?

PS I happen to like Lost even though it doesn’t go anywhere most of the time.

March 20, 2007

Neurotica Divine said:

Wow. Call me green. I’m amazed at the exchange about his trilogy, the complexity of conversation and debate. I have “felt” very little from the films ultimately. Feeling… being a concentrated word here. I wonder… doesn’t the simple aspect of perception play a big part here? I love a movie called The Tenant by Roman Polanski. Where does “explanation” and “understanding” meet impression and feeling in a movie? To what extent does a film’s logical explanation run counter to a film’s emotional ballast? And where does emotion fit within logical thought? The Matrix trilogy clearly attempts to endeavor… but does it ever really truly endeavor? Does it ask real questions about identity or does it hide behind the artifice of a “technobabylon”? Does it explore new terrain or does it capitalize on other director’s burgeoning work irregardless of propriety? Is it sloppy? Is it lazy? Does it try for anything other than what we expected it to try for? Does it reach for new horizons?

In the face of these questions… and facing such an articulate group of followers… I am loathe to criticize. I would swallow Fellini’s films whole… purely out of confidence that he was being honest. It’s harder to swallow this quagmire of technobabylon with any enthusiasm.

SFAM said:

Hi Dual Fury, just a comment on whether Neo is a single entity, the Architect flat out tells Neo he has this sentient program in him since birth. From a SciFi perspective, this isn’t a speculation point. But regarding whether or not this would be a problem for the Source, keep in mind, from the Source’s perspective, the Matrix is just a power plant - it isn’t the center of their existence. I would imagine most machines/sentient programs in the Machine City give little more thought to their power plant than we do of ours. As long as the power plant is providing power, they could care less. The Architect - otherwise known as the power plant manager - has assured everyone that things are under control. What reason would they have to doubt him? He basically tells them that every few hundred years or so, he needs them to demolish and then rebuild Zion - as long as they do that, life is good!

Hi Neurotica Devine, clearly MANY people feel that the trilogy is a complete mess. This is fine by me. I obviously disagree, but have no problem if the majority thinks that way (I have encountered this thought before, believe it our not :) ). Where others see a half-hearted attempt at caching in on previous success by putting out a lackluster effort, I the trilogy is very well thought out and intricately planned. The new horizons that I see as unique is the dual-quality of the storyline over three movies. Many have done this in one movie - I’m not sure I know of any others that have done it over three (there might be, but I doubt they are in genre flicks or I would have known about them). Whether this is me reading into something that doesn’t exist or not is something you have to judge for yourself.

Dyce said:

In the first movie Morpheus talks of the “man born inside, who could remake the matrix as he saw fit” and freed the first of them. Obviously this was simply another One (maybe this One was even Seraph.)but this would suggest that the One’s survive the Return to the Source and the extraction of the code which resets the matrix, so that they can choose the humans who will rebuild the Matrix, lead them to the ruins of Zion where they can begin to rebuild and repopulate the city. This, i think, explains why Neo has powers in the real world, so that he can protect the humans he frees post Reset, and so that he can wirelessly connect to the matrix in order to contact them and more like them (because obviously they wouldn’t have functioning ships at this point, or Zion’s Mainframe that they refrenced in the first movie).
Something else occurs to me here, that Neo would have no way of releasing them, either, without the Zionite’s technology, tho this COULD be explained by Kid’s Story, in the Animatrix. He manages to free himself simply by believing in Neo, which could be another of the One’s powers, somehow. This is how he frees people without a ship like the Neb.
i hope all that made sense…

SFAM said:

Hi Dyce, I guess I differ with those views. I see Morpheus’ comments in the first movie as somewhat moot, as they were part of the Oracle’s responses to the Architect’s control system. They didn’t depict the history as we learned it in the later two movies. The reset part appears to have been a collaborative agreement among the machines and the previous ones so no defense would have been needed. To me, the wireless part is explained by Neo’s need to communicate directly with the source.

Regarding the Kid (And wow, didn’t he come across as a much better actor in anime??? ), his overt and complete rejection of his fake world is what prompted him to get booted. He rejected the reality of the matrix, and thus, was kicked out (meaning, was physically removed from his pod in the battery people farm). As Neo says, he did this himself.

April 2, 2007

Sir_max said:

i dont’t know if it has been asked, or if you liked it.. but would it be nice it the latest posts were seen first???

thanks :D


I like your essay and i’m thankful of your effort, most of all i have to say that i am utterly astonished that you can take an argument like you just have with “Luis Dias” (i’d have send him to hell at second post.. i admire you for your patience…)

Going back to the theme of this essay.. i quite agree with you on most points, but that make to ask another questions.. for example, where you said:
“These two aspects – his sys-admin ability and wireless communications ability - provide that rationale for Neo’s ability to communicate/attack/destroy other machines and programs from the source both internally in the matrix and externally (wirelessly) in the real world. It’s also clear that Neo has the ability to see energy similar to the sentinels - this is different from a broadcast signal.”

Because his wireless capability… make sense from the flying exit of Neo in M1, hence no need for a phone to exit.
Also make sense since he can attack machines outside matrix (real world of Zion?).

but when you said “Incidentally, for those matrix fans watching at home, this is why the 13th floor scenario (matrix within a matrix) makes no sense.”
why does it make no sense? i think this make perfectly sense…
1.- the architect mentioned that machines created a special “place” for the humans that didn’t take the original program..
2.- it is suposed that zion was attacked before at least 5 times… where are the signs of those attacks? if it was a “real place” there should be signs.. so one can think that the matrix and zion are just 2 places inside a virtual world.. and therefore the “powers” neo has outside the matrix are just extensions of the “powers” inside matrix…

besides, i liked the idea (by snyper)that humans are in no way batteries but nodes in a cluster for multi-processing :D, although i don’t believe that is being separated from the matrix that makes humans be more powerful.

going back to your points SFAM, you said:
“The purpose of the sentient program is to fully understand current human thought process and the nature of their evolved perception so that it can reboot the Matrix effectively to return the negative feedback control system (that’s a cybernetic term, not meaning “bad” feedback”) back to its initial goal state. This explains the rationale for the sys-admin-like powers.”
That was the purpose of the oracle, she was designed to understand the thoughts of humans inside the matrix and then make it work as a power plant, so it was she that developed the code that will make the matrix to reboot when it gets a pre-defined amount of feedback and get it to its initial state (using your words), and an important part of the code is the generation of a cyborg with sys-admin and wireless capabilities to make that task possible.

and you also said:
“This also explains how Mr. Smith was able to get powers outside of the Matrix. Because he mixed with Neo’s essence, in fact what happened is Mr. Smith obtained a portion of Neo’s sentient program which mixed with the Agent, creating something altogether new and deformed. (which is why Mr. Smith is orange in Matrix colors versus something yellow or green). Mr Smith as a sentient program invaded a battery-person who still had all the implants that any battery person does, but Mr. Smith could not attack Neo wirelessly, as he didn’t have the extra hardware needed.”
When was Smith able to use powers “outside matrix”, i recall only that he was able to “escape” matrix through hacking a “human cyborg”, maybe there is a part i don’t remember about the movie.

well, that is for now, it’s a well written essay, but i have some questions about it..”


April 3, 2007

David said:

Err, is the Matrix Trilodgy Boxset release called ‘A Man-Machine Interface Perspective’?? If that is so, then the Wakowski Bros. have had a one-night gang bang with Mamoru Oshii and Masamune Shirow, and skull f’cking Mister William Gibson.

The first one was watchable, but even when I seen footage of it for the first time, I had the inkling that it was perhaps influenced by anime. In which case, many of the conceots it explores would have already been introduced to me from the films it heavily borrows from. Alot of people will think this, alot won’t, and the rest won’t give a damn.

There’s something I really don’t like about Keanu Reeves, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it…
I’m always skeptical when there is ‘hype’ surrounding anything. Sure enough if a country is raving bout a particular movie or music, then there must be something worth getting all exited about. But when I entered the theatre in May 03, it makes like sitting down with Matrix devotees and… honestly… 40 goths. For the next five months, the Matrix characters would be on the covers of Japanese gothic loita magazines, it annoyed the hell outta me.

By the time I seen Revolutions, I was ready for the thing to end, BUT the ending was better than what I anticipated.

In terms of Rating, either of the continuiations are upto the standards of Lord Of The Rings… or Star Wars… but that’s not cyberpunk, so I wont go into that ;)

April 5, 2007

Dyce said:

i think anyone who complains about the ending of Revolutions is pretty dumb, it was pretty much signposted at the end of the first movie, when Neo is calling the machines on the phone. But this si the wrong post to talk about that.
And, whilst someone has mentioned Star wars sequels, is it just me who thinks that Return of the Jedi is one of the worst movies ever made? I’ll shutup, i could rant about it for months… *mumble mumble* …Harrison Ford sucks in it… *mumble mumble* Vadar has inexplicably become a gutless bitch… *mumble mumble*

Oh wait, i thought of a relevant point!! : How, from a man machine interface perspective, do you explain Neo’s ability to see the future? Or the Oracle’s ability to see the future? Or the suggestion (and it isn’t confirmed) that when Smith uploads into Kane in the second movie, Neo seems to Sense that this has happened, whilst lying in bed with Trin’…

April 6, 2007

SFAM said:

David writes: Err, is the Matrix Trilodgy Boxset release called ‘A Man-Machine Interface Perspective’?? If that is so, then the Wakowski Bros. have had a one-night gang bang with Mamoru Oshii and Masamune Shirow, and skull f’cking Mister William Gibson.

David, I really don’t know what to make of this. This post is titled as an essay. These are my words and thoughts, not the directors’. It’s probably fruitless at this point to keep repeating myself, but the purpose of this essay is not to explore whether or not people liked or hated the series or were pissed off at the hype. I think I mentioned a thread in the meatspace for you to do this if interested.

SFAM said:

Hi Sir Max, regarding the 13th Floor scenario (Matrix Within a Matrix), I would certainly agree that with the end of Reloaded, this was a viable possibility. And there certainly were MANY robust online discussions of this point leading up to Revolutions. I don’t think you can say that after Revolutions though. Regarding no signs of a previous attack, I don’t think this was explored, but they certainly mentioned they got most of their machinery initially as broken relics of the past. They probably assumed these were from the initial machine war with the humans, so if they saw signs of a previous struggle, this would fit.

Regarding the point that the Oracle made the original sentient program code (Was that your point, or was there a question there?), I would agree with you that it makes sense that the Oracle created this - the Architect even states as much. But just for clarification, the sentient program finds the information necessary to successfully reboot the matrix.

Regarding Mr. Smith’s powers outside the matrix, Mr. Smith did not have any special communications capability when he entered Bane’s body. He only functioned as a sentient program stuck in a body of stinking meat. In other words, he acted like a human. By “using his powers outside the matrix” I mean that he was able to “exist” outside the matrix. In thinking about it, I should probably re-write that line to be clearer.

SFAM said:

Hi Dyce, regarding Neo “seeing the future” thing, this is a great question. It gets at the whole question of fate and predetermination. From the Matrix’s perspective (meaning the giant simulation), to buy the “see the future” angle, you would have to agree that even though all the rogue actors exhibit freewill, their individual actions are already on a clear glide path, and largely cannot be altered. This is the only way the future could be “computed” or predicted from a Sci-fi perspective. In essence, the sentient program, who’s job it is to understand the “Weltanschauung” or holistic world view of the Matrix, has become so good at understanding it that it can predict future events as they pertain to Neo.

Personally, I think the future prediction part works lots better in the religious interpretation than it does the Sci-fi view. Especially considering the question of Free Will, which Neo is always struggling with - if there is clearly freewill, then even a close to predictive capability of the future wouldn’t make sense.

April 7, 2007

Dyce said:

well , i think that the wachowskis are pretty pesimistic, despite the upbeat tone that seems to superficially be present in their movies. You just have to look at the design of zion, it’s a large cylindrical structure, with red doors surrounding it’s perimetre, where people sleep. Indeed, this is (in description) the same as the powerplants. These are large cylindrical structures with red pods surrounding its perimetre, where people sleep. So they;re saying that people in the real world aren;t free. I think that, in the same way, they’re saying that people in the real world don’t have free will, only the illusion of it.
and besides, i’m not really sure how neo could “Predict” that the walkway in that ship would break, killing the two pilots of that ship, which lead to the ship and it’s soldiers being killed, which leads to Trinity having to enter the matrix and Neo having to make his “choice” to save her or return to source. (did that make sense?)

Sir_max said:

Hi there
i’m still not covinced by your explanations SFAM :D
like “Regarding no signs of a previous attack, I don’t think this was explored, but they certainly mentioned they got most of their machinery initially as broken relics of the past. They probably assumed these were from the initial machine war with the humans, so if they saw signs of a previous struggle, this would fit.”

that would mean that machines refill the hole they dig up to destroy Zion? and repaired some of the machines they destroyed within combat? but maybe i’m just to square ;)

Also i was thinking about “seeing the future” and it kinds of remember me, prefetch, where you can load in memory routines supposed to be used ahead in time…like this Neo seeing the future :D

thanks, this is really fun :D

April 14, 2007

tngrn said:

Holy Crap that’s a lot of comments!

I really dug the essay, though, SFAM. I hadn’t really thought of the movies (all of which I loved) from such a… non-spiritual, technical perspective. It’s really interesting to think of Neo as just a random node with sys-admin privileges. There is definitely this fatalistic, predestination element to things, but for inspirational reasons, I still like to think he hacked his way to root.

Side note: I’ve heard lots of people use the “humans are totally inefficient sources of power” argument to say the matrix is unrealistic. It also just occurred to me… if the machines are already implanting so much hardware into people’s brains it would make things so much easier if they’d done a little creative brain damage (the amygdala?). That way they could have a nice drooling, unrebellious power source.

Of course, the rebellious power source is way cooler and goes along with the whole idea of man and machine coevolving.

So… In conclusion, love the essay, love the site, keep it up, viva la revolucion.

david said:

SFAM, have you ever seen The Guyver’ before? B Movie staring Luke Skywalker, sequel with mr nobodies, and the anime? -that’s pretty cyberpunk, suprised you missed it

Sir_max said:

in fact is pretty hard to find that piece of cyberpunk… i have even tried to download it from any fansub.. the anime i mean…

i have only seen first 6 ovas…

well bye,,

[…] Matrix Trilogy - a piece of complex literature April 15, 2007 at 9:45 am | In Misc | I am a Matrix fan yet I never dwelved deep into the sci-fi concepts in the sequel . Then there is wikipedia which threw up this interesting link […]

April 19, 2007

Sir_max said:

you mean that we have to awe by your wits and intelligence in your obviously enlightened comment, right?

April 24, 2007

Anonymous said:

Seraph is not a former One. What kind of a bullshit is that anyway? All former Ones probably looked like Neo. (maybe not, it’s not important). They don’t last after they return to machine city THEY ARE BEING DELETED. If the “sentinent program Portion” as u describe it survive, wtf has it got to do with the endless loop? If he’s a former one, a part of the unsolved equasion (the hell with how it spelled) still exists, it means you could shuv him in neo’s ass when he was born without the “SPECIAL PACKAGE” and make him The One. You iterpeting things your own way. “wingless” doesnt mean “used to have wings” it means “has no wings” and thats it. All of you hard-ball fans try to invent all these tie-ins and philosophical view points that will suit the first movie.

David said:

Personally I don’t think this movie is too hard to understand- I’ve known people who think sci-fi is for homosexuals, who have this in their video collection.

It’s okay, but not one of my favourite films of all time.

April 25, 2007

Sir_max said:

i heard a rumor on some access hollywood show that tom cruise was sappose to be Neo, but turned ti down…… whats funny is he ended up doing minority report which is a little simular, neone else hear about that? thx :)

nick weir said:

i think that it was a really good movie i liked the computer effects and all the full on action and fighting it was really interesting.
i think that number 1 would have to be the best movie out of the trilogy the others were good too but it was just the ending of the matrix revolutions which kept on bugging me i think that they should make another movie about neo finding his way back to zion or at least change the ending so that neo goes back to zion.

just to say this is for keanu reeves i think you and the other actors did very well so two thumbs way up!!!!

Sir_Max said:

this was hillarious… i’m being impersonated :D lol


P.D.: i don’t watch that kind of shows, on one hand because i live outside U.S.A. and on the other hand i don’t like that kind of shows…..

April 27, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Sir_Max, sorry about the impersonation. I need to put in a plugin that stops that kind of shit. It really is annoying.

April 28, 2007

Sir_max said:

dont worry, just is kind of annoying to have those kind of comments, but on the other hand… i was never been impersonated before.. someone may think this is outrageous but no harm is done, so i take it by de comic side ;)
hope you be okay,, you were lost some time now :D

May 13, 2007

Dyce said:

will smith turned down the matrix, too, because he said he couldn’t understand what the movie was about from the pitch. He also graciously says that it was the part keanu was born to play, which is nice of him.

May 24, 2007

PrometiuZHR said:

The question you need to answer is how many worlds ther are in the matrix? Zion and the machine world are the same world one is upstairs and the otherone is down stairs. Now thru the Mobil Station on the subway and the the Oracle at the end of revolutions you can see there is another world other than the virtual world of the matrix and “real world” of ZIon and the machine world. There is another or at least 2 other world besides the ones mentioned. THe programers on the Mobil Station came form a place where any program has to have a purpose or is deleted. Where is that world? Where is the source located? where are the “Others” mentioned by the Oracle at the end of Revolutions? Where does the Architect resides? There are more worlds on the Matrix than we are able to see. Different worlds can be the clue to understand different colors on the digitized images of the Seraph and the machine world. Different code reflection denotes its origin.. dont you think.

sarah said:

hi i thought that the film trio was exalent this is becauseit was full of special effects and it made me think that the matrix could be real without us humans realising so the overall comment for me was that it is a good film with plenty of action and drama suitable for people who like action and romance and grisly images.

May 25, 2007

Dyce said:

What others the Oracle mentions?

May 26, 2007

lovexsaidxno said:

this is awesome. did you come up with this on your own? if so, i’m impressed as it fits perfectly which would be difficult in the face how little information about the sci-fi aspects were given in the movies. reading this, it’s a big frustration to know they didn’t go into details on the sci-fi aspects. i mean Neo being half computer program? i didn’t catch that at all! one question i still have is why did the architect offer neo a choice between restarting the matrix with 23 people or ending everyone? why offer a choice? did the neo-program part have to willingly ‘work with’ the source in order for it to follow through with the reboot? thanks

May 27, 2007

Dyce said:

i think when the oracle mentions “others” she means the other humans that want to be freed

June 10, 2007

Jacky said:

Hello, surfing via wikipedia. Great analysis and explanation from the SF point of view! But I do have a very basic question: how do Morpheus leap between high-rise buildings?

When a person gets hurt in the Matrix, his mind would cause the real body get hurt. But it seems that once we are trained to believe that ‘there is no spoon’, our mind can make correction acoordingly.

But it also seems that other then ‘passively’ doing correction in our mind, the mind can also ‘actively’ affect how Matrix runs. The gifted child bend the spoon and at the same time Neo can see it. So, is that the child is (1) use his mind to change the Matrix ’spoon’ object’s property (in programming sense) (2) Neo is reference to the same ’spoon’ object (3) Neo saw it bend. [If so, there IS a spoon] OR is that the child is directly bending Neo’s mind? (and how can he do that??)

Neo, as you have said, has an ‘program’ inside that would allow him to bend to rules of Matrix. So it makes sense that he can do many ’superhuman’ thing. But how can Morpheus and others do that?

June 13, 2007

Bob said:

Hi, first i have to say: Respect for the many logical points. I really agree with most of your points.

But i think i found a little mismatch in your thougts:

“The CLEAR sign of this was near the end of Revolutions, when the machine “ghost” launched an attack back at Neo as he approached the Machine city. The wireless portion of Neo was knocked out, so Neo, now dazed, was no longer able to either see or hurt the machines - in a reverse from his death in M1, now on the human portion of Neo was operating alone.”

At this point, Trintiy directs the ship to the sky. But the machines are still exploding while the ship turns upwards.

How could that be?

Greetz from germany!

[…] many more to Ken Newquist for selecting CPR (and many more thanks for the nice comments about the Matrix Essay - I still have a few more to upload)! Incidentally, even with the access issues and my lack of […]

June 19, 2007

Halakron said:

And THAT is how I found this great site of yours…

I join a sci-fi haiku mail list and one of the regular there cite a page in so I follow. But instead of reading what was intended the word “cyberpunk” caught my eyes… and here I am.

Greetings by the way.
*slight bow smile*

SFAM said:

Welcome to CPR, Halakron. :)

The Sci-fi haiku mail list? Where is that exactly?

Matrix Fan said:

Is there a fourth part of the Matrix ? Is there anybody heard any thing about this ?

July 7, 2007

Karan Handa said:

Ok. First of all, the analysis is GREAT. I am a Computer Engineering student and a total computer geek. I have always considered Matrix from the Scientific Point of View only. Partly because I am a technology enthusiast and partly because I am an atheist. So I have never believed in God, higher purpose, the spirit etc.
Now I want to communicate two things - questions and compliments. I will put the questions first. I know you don’t want this to turn into a “but how come” kind of bulletin board, but I was hoping that you would answer these questions.

1) How can Neo see the future of Trinity? I can understand if he can see the machine city due to the sentient program and wireless communication in his mind. Maybe the program can also calculate the future like the Oracle. However, the root cause of Trinity entering the Matrix was that the crew members of one of the ships died. Now the sentient program could not have known that. This is the most bugging doubt in your scientific explanation of the trilogy.
2) Why did the machines create Zion? Why didn’t they just destroy the humans who reject the program? That way, there will be no “escalating probability of disaster”.
3) When The One returns to the Source, is he killed or does he rebuild Zion with the other 23 individuals? I know it doesn’t matter though.
4) Can the Merovingian be a former One? But The One is supposed to have a “profound attachment” to the rest of the humanity. He doesn’t seem to have that.
5) If Seraph is a former One, he must know the truth about the Oracle. He must know that the prophecy is just another system of control. Why then, does he protect her?
Please answer these questions if you can.

I have always hated the fact that whenever I find some site to explain some of the doubts about Matrix, it starts telling me crap about the philosphy and all. Your analysis is the only one which considers it from a scientific point of view. And it increases my confidence that the guy doing all the explaining has a Masters in Cybernetics.
I still have some doubts left which I have mentioned above. But your explanation is almost perfect. It always bugged me how Neo could destroy Machines in the real world. Hence, I did not like the third part as much as the other two as I thought it was mixing superstition and fantasy with sci-fi, which is a really stupid combination. But your explanation just made me fall in love with that movie too.
By the way, you must be a genius to figure all this out. Though I guess if you have a passion for such things, it is the challenge rather than the genius that keeps you on it.
Also, the patience with which you answer queries is amazing. It’s been a year since this analysis was published. You still answer the questions.
Hats off to you man. You just made me love my favourite movies even more.
By the way, sorry for such a long post. But I had to leave one after reading this amazing page.

July 10, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Karan, thanks for the kind words. I really don’t want to get into a “but how come” thing - truly I don’t. Last time - VERY briefly - the Neo seeing the future thing works better from the religious viewpoint, but from a scifi standpoint, we are supposed to believe that Neo can see the result of the control system - meaning that things are on an inevitable course that will HAVE to lead to that situation. The machines don’t destroy the humans because the entire thing would collapse in rebellion if they did - instead they went for an underground control system, whereby those who realize they are in a prison for their mind don’t try to disrupt society - they just try to leave. When the One returns, the human portion of the One is killed, and the sentient program portion lives and also reloads the Matrix (this is how we know the sentient portion lives). The Merv question is irrelevant after that much time has past, as is the fifth question as the prophesy isn’t really what the Oracle is about - she stopped playing that game when Neo and Trinity came.

Karan Handa said:

Ok. Thanks. The answers were brief but made things quite clearer.
Btw, one more important thing. My name’s Karan. Not Karen. I am a guy.
Thanks anyway.

July 13, 2007

SFAM said:

My apologies on the name thing, Karan. And I’m glad my essay helped your enjoyment of the movies!

July 26, 2007

David Boyle said:

Thanks for posting this essay! I love the first two Matrix films but felt sort of betrayed by the third one because it seemed to abandon the sci-fi side of the storyline in favor of the metaphysical… and to me, the story’s integrety from both perspectives was its major strength… its entire raison d’etre.

I’ve been grappling with half-hearted efforts to produce explanations similar to the ones provided above, but your efforts outstrip mine and I salute you. I might suggest that Neo’s wireless capabilities and system acccess privileges were not intentionally installed, but rather emerged organically as a mutation, an evolutionary process of the man/machine interface that has been used to grow ‘battery people’ for apparently several thousand years at least. Anyhow, after reading your essay, I feel like the Matrix has been ‘given back’ to me and the third act of the trilogy has been somewhat redeemed.

July 27, 2007

Gasmask said:

Great Essay. Really enjoyed it. Makes me see things very differently now. Thankyou. Its also refreshing to find someone else who enjoyed the whole trilogy :)

August 9, 2007

AL said:

Several parts of your essay only hold validity if one excepts your subjective interpretation of various aspects of the films, some of which are very questionable. Seraph being a former “One” is highly debatable, and many do not feel he is. Also, I do not agree that Neo’s “sentinel program” was rendered unconscious by a ghost sentinel. He himself said they needed a new strategy to fight them because there were too many. That in itself makes sense. To destroy them all he has to concentrate, and one person can only do so much. He was overwhelmed.

August 12, 2007

R Check said:


It’s an essay about one’s interpretation. Of course it only makes sense if you accept the interpretation presented (please note that if we “except” his interpretation, we are not including his opinion on the points he presents, which just doesn’t work - this would leave you no points to agree or disagree with).

The comments you offer are only differing opinions which you, obvisouly, feel hold more weight by virtue that they are yours. Whoopie. While your opinions may or may not be valid, you’ve provided very little in your critique to support them. An alleged many people don’t agree with one point for one and an off the cuff explanation for being knocked out for another. Not much anyone can really glom onto there.

Again, it’s just an essay offering a point of view. Enjoy it for what it is or shrug it off. No one is handing you any stone tablets.

August 25, 2007

Waleed said:

Thanks mate. Easily one of the best Matrix Explanatory Essays. I perticularly loved the part how you were able to relate Seraph as a Former ONE. I have a question for you if you can answer it. What do you think of Sati? What is her purpose? Is she the seventh ONE. I hope you can answer my question. Thanks

November 29, 2007

zaki said:

Hey i have an urgent question . In matrix 1 , trinity awakens Neo through a kiss . This seems to be an act of imagery rather than storytelling . It seems to be snow white - ish . In superman (2007) the same thing happens . I would like to not what this symbol means

zaki said:

Hey i have an urgent question . In matrix 1 , trinity awakens Neo through a kiss . This seems to be an act of imagery rather than storytelling . It seems to be snow white - ish . In superman (2007) the same thing happens . I would like to know what this symbol means .

Also does anyone realize that the matrix is one of those movies that came together out of total luck ? I mean , if anything had been slightly different it wuld have been like the moon was moved a fewe metres from earth destroying it . PERFECT LUCK!

December 2, 2007

Bax said:

I must say I did dislike the sequels, but what you’ve said here certainly clears a few points I’ve always wondered about the series. I never thought that Neo (of mind) was actually part machine, though I guess those important plot points got squeezed out with the focus on action and kung fu.

January 2, 2008

Palette said:


I´ve found your article very interesting because had help me to understand the sci-fi elements in the movie more than just a secondary resource to the “phylosophical-religious” storyline, that as you say, is very developed in such forums and so. Also I´ve been introduced in informatic concepts (as “negative feedback control system”, etc)
Now I think I have much more tools to see the movie in a deeper way, and a renewed interest to keep getting information about the trilogy.

Of course you are not a Wachouski brother (ha!) but is pretty clear that you have been worked a lot to bring us the interpretation above (supported of course in your knowledge of the sci-fi/ciberpunk genre), and for that sure I would a lot of questions about the trilogy. Anyway I think it will take some time before i make to you these questions, because is best to see the entire trilogy (again) with the new information I´ve found here.

By the way I´m from Argentina and thats because my english may can sound in a “square-way” haha but I really wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed to read your analysis.


January 3, 2008

SFAM said:

Hi Palette, I’m really glad the article worked for you. I have a Masters in Cybernetics and General Systems Theory, so terms like negative feedback are near and dear to my heart. To find a big budget movie that deals with the interplay of positive and negative feedback systems in a comprehensive fashion was literally candy for the soul!

January 5, 2008

DeathShrike said:

This essay is fantastic, as is all of your (SFAM) comments following it. When the Matrix comes out on Blu-Ray I will watch the films for the 100th time with even MORE insight thanks to you! Evne though the philosophical take on the Matrix is traditionally how I’ve watched the film, I have always wanted to read a purely (for lack of a better word) secular perspective on the trilogy. I love the philosophy angles, but never liked having to rely on a metaphysical interpretations of the plot. And now I don’t! Thanks! I will be back when ever the Blu version comes out (as I sold my DVDs far too early in anticipation of it) to discuss in more detail, if you don’t mind!

January 6, 2008

Anonymous said:

Brilliant…Bloody Brilliant !
Your explanation (for those who grasp what you are trying to convey) is perfect and makes perfect sense. I sort of saw this in my minds eye but could not put into words the way you did.
And how you bridge this with GITS and GITS 2 with Avalon is beautiful way of linking the movies. I have yet to see Avalon but I’ll take your word on it being a prequel to GITS2 and will watch it with entusiasm. As good as GITS2 was, it didn’t continue Motoko’s story (the aftermath of her merging) as well as I would have liked. GITS3…hopefully.
Once more, brilliant essay.

Patrick said:

Brilliant…Bloody Brilliant !
Your explanation (for those who grasp what you are trying to convey) is perfect and makes perfect sense. I sort of saw this in my minds eye but could not put into words the way you did.
And how you bridge this with GITS and GITS 2 with Avalon is beautiful way of linking the movies. I have yet to see Avalon but I’ll take your word on it being a prequel to GITS2 and will watch it with entusiasm. As good as GITS2 was, it didn’t continue Motoko’s story (the aftermath of her merging) as well as I would have liked. GITS3…hopefully.
Once more, brilliant essay.

January 8, 2008

desired_name said:

What a class act you are to respond to this totally inane comment in such an understanding and respectfull manner.

My left eye starts to twitch every time I look in her post’s direction…

desired_name said:

January 12, 2008

Anonymous said:

Not bad…but you made a few mistakes (old as this essay is);

Firstly, the Matrix is NOT the core of the Machine World, nor is it the Machine’s Power Plant. It is the illusionary world used to control the human’s by tricking them into obedience while the Machines suck them dry; the “Power Plant” is a seperate setup with a seperate function (the actual sucking of them dry). To use a Marxist analogy, the Power Plant is the workplace whilst the Matrix is all the false promises, hopes and Ideals used to keep the workers (ie. the hUmans) docile and in their place. If the Illusion. the Matrix is brought down, Revolt occurs; if the Power Plant/ Energy Centre is brought down, them Machine’s starve to death.
The Matrix falling is just one way of bring the Power Plant down.

Secondly, Seraph is’nt a former One.

-He completely holds his own with Neo in a fight (nobody else can do this, and Seraph indicates that he had to “fight” him to be sure he was the One)

You say no-one else can do this, yet Smith does it at the end of the third film.
He can do it because this is Oracle Smith, a Smith with the advanced powers of an older and more powerful Program. Seraph could simply be that-also, the fight was very short, and Seraph could have lost quickly if it continued, his “holding his own” against NEo might have been short lived.

Also, the Architects room suggests that all previous One’s resembled Neo; Seraph does’nt. And his need to figt Neo seems to resemble more an Ability or Philosophy of his, rather than proof of him being an ex-One.

-The Merv refers to him as the prodigal son returning, and makes it clear that he used to be in his service (presumably as a cost for passage for the trainride from the source to the matrix), but then at some point betrayed him.
The Henchmen refer to him as “wingless” meaning no longer can fly like Neo can. Seraph in some religions also means “angel,” which implies he used to be greater than he is today. Fallen angel could also mean he has fallen from the machine city (the equivalent of heaven in this context).

I’m going with he just used to work for the Merovingian. It does’nt mean he used to fly.

-Mr. Smith alludes to the fact that they fought before in a previous incarnation of the Matrix - this seems to indicate that Seraph’s role was different than from what it is now.

No, SERAPH say’s that “I’ve beaten you before”; neither say that it was in a previous incarnation of the Matrix.

-Seraph’s a program and is Gold code, means he is clearly from the Machine city. This is the clearest indication, and fits the facts.

Yes; it means he is an Established PRrogram, cut from thje same cloth as the Oracle, the Merovingian, the Keymaker etc., though probably younger. Neo’s program, if I recall, is just Green, anyway.

January 22, 2008

Speed said:

Thank you so much for writing something that concentrates on the sci-fi aspect, as it is the aspect that I’ve wanted to understand as opposed to all of the possible philosophical interpretations. Like you said, it’s baffling how there is so little discussion of this, especially that as much as I’ve looked, this is the only article I find that makes sense with the movies. Every other article seems to mix the two plots together, making it more confusing.
On a sci-fi note, I’m wondering if you have a clear idea as to what actually happens when the matrix “reloads.” In other words, if I were in the Matrix, and this thing reloads, what would I notice? Would I just wake up with implanted memories and start over in around 1999? And along with that, how did the one pick those individuals to rebuild Zion? Did the machines wake them up and flush them out? If so, who rescued them? It seems that this whole part, which is where the journey ends, is not described in detail.


January 23, 2008

SFAM said:

Anonymous from Jan 12 - the Matrix is the software that runs the product in the power plant, and yes, it illusionary world holding and controlling people that make up the powerplant power source. If this is the distinction you’re making, I agree with this, although I hardly see this as an error. As for the Seraph thing, clearly this is up to interpretation.

SFAM said:

Hi Speed, I’ve sort of strived not to answer bunches of “do you know what this means?” type questions. This isn’t really the purpose of the essay. Regarding the rebooting, yeah, the memories and everything are reset (similar to cypher with the steaks) in a more realistic manner than the previous instantiation. Regarding how the people leave the Matrix, clearly the machines have a process for this - I doubt the writers felt the need to detail it as we can probably guess it with about a 90% accuracy.

Speed said:

I was not trying to ask about what anything means. I was simply trying to get another person’s opinion on the sci-fi aspect of what happens when the matrix reboots. I liked your essay so I wanted to get your opinion on what happens.

February 6, 2008

Red said:

Great insight. Good discussion, for the most part. Good job SFAM.

Where as your theory is valid, the only conflict i see is the separation from the sentient program and the human consciousness in Neo. When the Smith infected Bane, he had considerable brain scarring, leading me to believe that Smith overwrote Bane in a biological manner leading me to the conclusion that Bane didn’t exist anymore, or could not regain control of his body. This only could mean that the implants are an extension of the body. Therefore when someone dies in the matrix they die in the real world. This opens up many questions how did Neo bring Trinity back to life? Could it mean that some battery-people have separate places to store their consciousness? Do some battery-people have wireless capabilities and others do not? How is consciousness transferred from one place to another? and Where is the train station?

As I don’t have a theory to back up my idea, it seems that it only opens up more questions.

February 24, 2008

Pazma said:

THANK YOU. I’ve always preferred to think of the matrix as you described it above, you’ve also helped me to better understand the movies. I’ve read alot of different posts about the trilogy and to be honest there was alot I found very boring, poorly written and not at all what I was looking for, yours however is the polar opposite both enjoyable, easy to read and gets straight to the point.

Again, thank you.

March 5, 2008

Gilbutt said:

Hey SFAM, awsome essay…you brought a new understanding for me in your interpretation of the matrix trilogy…but i beg to differ on the fact that Seraph is a previous one…had been in another blog & came into another intresting fact what/who Seraph is…it explained that in the first version of the matrix which was designed as a perfect world (Paradise Matrix) or from the second version which was more in line with the grotesqueries of human nature (Nightmare matrix) as refered to by the Architect & by Smith in the first movie..this is where Seraph is originally thought to have come from..when Persephone explains to Neo, Trinity & Morpheus before putting a silver bullet in a vempire that the Merovingian got them from a much older version of the matrix..and as i believe if he got them from there he must have gotten seraph from the same place…also being referred as wingless means that from where he was he used to be an angel…thus tracing him to the first & second matrix where Angel Agents existed…atleast thats what i think!!!!

April 2, 2008

Eon said:


But then why would “Angel Agents” join the merovingian?
Isn’t the bottom line for all agents to get rid of the anomalies? (of course they cannot get rid of neo, since neo is apart of the system).
how could an agent of the system free himself and become an agent for the merv.?

all agents abide by the rules, except for in the special case of smith (because of the overwrite of neo…)

then again, the oracle did say that there is basically + and - Neo’s right? as a result of the equation trying to balance itself out? So who would have Seraph’s opposite been in that version of the matrix he existed in as the one?
the one can terminate pretty much anything in side the matrix since he is sys_admin right?

Seraph is still sys_admin right? or did he o=lose those privlages when reinserting his code into the matrix? wait a min that would not make sense either, since according to the essay, the one only has two versions of himself… his body would have to be jacked in in order for him to appear in the matrix because he has inserted his code he has inserted his sys_admin privlages and most likely the machines would build some sort of protection to make sure the same code does not appear again within there system of control known as the matrix.
where is seraph’s physical body?

Eon said:

where are all the former one’s bodies? are they permanently jacked in somewhere in the machine area of the world?

Eon said:

because to have a human mind wandering around in code form would not make all to much sense…
since the code is suppose to be supposidly free from body and also free from the machine mainframe…
the code has no “storage area”, so how can it exist?

April 11, 2008

rahul rai said:

give me essay on computer vs man

April 16, 2008

Matt Shaw said:

About Neo stopping the sentinels: It’s been a while since i saw the movies and i can’t remember my reasoning exactly but i think i thought that maybe the software version of Neo was hacking the Sentinels from inside the Matrix and the physical human Neo outside the Matrix could anticipate it’s actions without being connected to it. I also assume that Neo’s ability to predict future events were the stronger when the event was nearer. So when the physical Neo waved his hand in front of the Sentinel, he wasn’t really doing anything to it but rather predicting the actions of the part of him that was left in the Matrix. If i recall correctly Neo looks like he isn’t really reacting to the Sentinel’s approach but more like remembering what is going to happen.

About Neo seeing the machines: I can’t remember the visuals of Revolutions exactly but could it be that Neo is so in tune with the machines that instead of physically seeing them he can intuitively predict (calculate?) their moves in real time so accurately that it would be like seeing them? If you remember, at the end of The Matrix Neo fought Agent Smith without really looking at him: he was predicting Smith’s moves. As i said though, it’s been a while since i saw the latter two movies so i could be wrong about everything.

Anyways, good theories, at least what i understood of it. I never really understood the whole conversation with the Architect so this helped.

April 17, 2008

navneet said:

What i think of matrix as “its like a computer m/c, with all the hardwares installed”. Now people living at zion are mere softwares which are loaded into those hardwares. Now with the “combination of matrix and people of zion the computer m/c operates”, and that is the “matrix world”. But in every hardware and softwares there are some bugs, which tends to produce non-expected outputs from a program or try to eliminate the software/hardware itself. “The agents” are those bugs in the “matrix world”. “Mr. Smith” is also of the same kind but later due to some rectification in the code written for Mr. Smith, he voluntarily came into contact with some external viruses which are normally present in the network. These viruses made “Mr. Smith” so powerful virus that it got the capability of destroying a complete Operating System or crashing the system itself by being into the system. Now to get rid of this virus the memory where virus is located should be formatted, or reinstallation of computer system should be done. Reinstallation is the termination of “zion” and restablishing as 5 predeccors of “Neo” did. Now who is “Neo”. “Neo” is a super program that is having capability to reinstall the softwares/hardwares and Operating Systems, with new build functionality to format the drives also. So “Neo” had the capability to format the memory and eliminate the “Mr. Smith” virus from the system. This is shown in the fight between “Neo” and “Mr. Smith” in sequel 3. And after removal of that virus, the programs were reisnstalled and they were working fine. Else it would have led to the creation of a new computer machine. The architect or the father of Matrix is the person who has created that computer system. The Oracle is a user, who knows what has to be done and who has to do is “Neo”.

April 30, 2008

epstar said:

hi SFAM good work there.
I hope i have not missed out somthing, but i still baffled y the one has sys-admin function. I always tot the ultimate purpose of the one is to study human mind, and then how it causes error or introduce bugs to the matrix and eventually the acquired feedback is passed back to the source to release new version of matrix. but y grant the one admin function to bend the rule? if u talk about to reboot the system, i’m sure the machines can have the admin privilege themselves and there is no reason to have such important function controlled by a human/human cyborg.

May 19, 2008

Giancarlo said:

good job
that made me think of the matrix idea in a totaly different light keep it up

May 21, 2008

Janae Weinhold said:

hi there . . . found your great website via Google images.

The one showing the baby being birthed into the matrix really grabbed my attention.

I would like to use it as part of a cover for an ebook my husband and I are writing on “Breaking Free of the Matrix.”

Is this image yours?? If not, with who might I contact to get permission to use it?



May 28, 2008

El pasivo de la empresa « So be IT said (pingback):

[…] que una vez gastadas son desechadas y reemplazadas por unas nuevas. Quizás la metáfora de Matrix no esta tan lejos. Por algo a las consultoras las llaman “cárnicas”. Y tu familia, con su mentalidad de […]

June 7, 2008

Steve said:

Seraph is not a “former One”. As is implied by the comments by the Merovingian and his Vamps, he is an Angel with his wings removed. He is most likely an agent from the Paradise first version of the Matrix.

June 10, 2008

Wintermute said:

Hello SFAM,
Quite an interesting essay.

I believe that your technological implications do make sense (within the world of the Matrix). They do explain things regarding certain events that have transpired and not to revert back to prior comments left by Luis Dias, I feel that if the experience that one derives from viewing the films are satisfactory, then why make an attempt to try to bring “real world” logic to the technological implications? Why do they have to make sense?
As long as the enternainment factor is high, that is all that matters in my opinion.

June 23, 2008

Anonymous said:

In Matrix Reloaded, when Neo and the crew of the Nebakeneza (Sorry I can’t spell it-Morpheus’s ship) are in the real world and Neo s able to Stop the Sentinels, does that mean he can use his powers outside of the Matrix or is there a Matrix inside of a Matrix as oppossed to one inside of one for every Zion?
Hope that does’nt confuse you

July 11, 2008

N Three Oh said:

…as far as all the site on the entire realm of the Internet - and I mean that LITERALLY - that have to do with/analyze/dissect/explain/discuss the “trilogy”, I am fairly certain that this one is my favorite. This piece is very pleasing to me.


September 8, 2008

Firehead said:

SFAM, I’ve been a proclaimed fan of the Matrix since it’s release, although I used to be disappointed with the sequels… but now, after reading this essay I’ll give them another shot: I was only focusin on the religious messianic side of the films, completely ignoring this whole different focus.
Thank you, you’ve revived my faith in recent cinema.

September 26, 2008

bob said:

the only problem is, that seraph has been comfirmed to an agent of the first matrix in the online game. The rest is possible, but seraph is 100 percent never been the one

October 9, 2008

necatrix said:


December 4, 2008

Zoraste said:

Greetings, SFAM. First off, a very well written and thought-out description of the science behind the trilogy, and I loved reading it. However, as I read the responses to it, I came across this entry:

Regarding the role Mr. Smith plays, Mr. Smith is in essence a virus created by the Oracle. The Oracle in essence took a portion of Neo’s essence and tied it to Mr. Smith. The Oracle also “gamed” Mr. Smith into wanting her eyes, which allows her to plant a false vision of his success. When Neo lets Mr. Smith invade him, the portion of Neo that was used to keep the Smith program together (if you remember, when he was destroyed, he was supposed to leave but didn’t) is reunited with Neo, and thus, the Smith program dissintegrates. As this happens, everyone returns back to their former state.

Your theory about the creation of Smith seems logical, as the Oracle could have seen the likelihood of the Matrix’s destruction and calculated a path to avoid such an outcome, however, I disagree on the point of his destruction. I submit an alternate theory concerning this event; That being that, while he was in the Matrix itself, the programs designed to keep such anomalies in check (I.E. The Agents) were not powerful enough programs to overcome a construct such as Smith, and thus were merely forced out of their host bodies when Smith overwrote them. However, when Neo allows Smith to copy his code into himself, you must keep in mind: Neo is DIRECTLY connected to the matrix by Deus Ex Machina, in essence, the “Machine God”. My theory is thus: Neo’s direct connection via Deus Ex Machina, when he was overwritten, allowed Deus, a program which, compared to Smith’s limited sentient programming, was staggeringly more powerful, to target his code directly, and perform the task none of the safeguard programs in the Matrix could do: Delete him.

Keep in mind this is just a theory I believe more potentially likely, and I do not profess it to be factual in any way, and would be more than happy to discuss it with an intelligent individual such as yourself.

January 19, 2009

LMXV said:

The first two points in the “Recap and Explanation” explained a whole lot. Jesus, I love this site.

February 20, 2009

Marcelo Cintra said:

“Neither you tess, neither simon,
Neither you steve, nether Jerusalem understanding what power is, understand at all, understand at all…. ”
Everybody is talking so much, everybody is thinking grandious too much.
You don’t know nothing, remember, nothing about this.
You are thinking tha you can hipnotyse me? ononononomastikon.

April 14, 2009

refo said:

the red thingy looks like a testicle and its even got a baby in it how life like

…………………THE MATRIX TESTICLE da da daaaaaaaaaaa

G4sM4sk said:

Refo… When the robot wars finally come… You will die in the first wave.

Hesh said:

G4sM4sk; Have fun on the robot reservations bitch!

G4sM4sk said:


May 28, 2009

a duck said:

Most of these questions are answered in the movie, if you watch it carefully:

What is the actual role of the Metrovengan?
The Merovingian is a program who is a trafficer of infomation. His real role is unknown, but what he has is more important that that. He has power, and whenever the humans encounter him, they seek for the power that he has (eg the keymaker, and the ability to set neo free)

Why the Agents in reloaded were trying to kill the Keymaker though he is leading Neo to the Source?
The Keymaker is a program who was sent to the source to be deleted. However, when it was its time to be deleted, it refused to undergo the process, because it believed it still had a job to do. It therefore came into the matrix via the merovingian as an illegal program.

What about zion council? are they the people chosen by the one when restarting the system?
Tough question, but i believe they would be the people chosen by the previous “one”, not the current “One”.

Why the use of Kung-fu in the movie ? is it has any meaning at all?
Not entirely sure about this one, but in the movie, Neo and the other unplugged use all kinds of martial arts, not just kung-fu. i dont think that there is any real meaning behind the fighting style, but feel free to critique me.

If Neo is eventually will return to the source to restart the matrix? Why ther are freeing the minds of the people of Zion? Why the machines are attacking zion?
This is because the humans are unaware of the archetects plan, and were told a lie refering to the real purpose of the One. The Machines are killing because they are trying to control the humans @ Zion. If their number grows too many, the machines may be susseptable to attack.

Hope this provides some good answers, and feedback is welcomed

June 14, 2009

Jamie Sleeman said:

According to the canon of The Matrix, Seraph is not a former One, but a former Agent, who was in service during the original incarnation of the Matrix, which as Agent Smith says to Morpheus during his interrogation, was designed as a paradise.

Agents in that Matrix were actually called “Angels”, and they bore physical wings. When Seraph broke his programming (the exact details of which are not known) and became an Exile, the Merovingian took him in as a servant, in exchange for smuggling him into the Matrix to live. At some point during his service, Seraph rebelled and started to fight against the Mervovingian, possibly something to do with protecting the Oracle, and was caught. This didn’t result in his termination, but he did suffer a very bad torture, one part of which was having his wings wripped out at the roots, hence being called “Wingless”. The reference to the “prodigal son returning” simply meant that after leaving admist much carnage and bad feeling, the Merovingian knew Seraph was coming back because (and Morpheus and Trinity) needed help, just as the prodigal son of the Bible did.

The word “seraph” doesn’t actually mean “angel”, but instead translates as “fiery serpent”, and according to religious dogma, the Seraphim (plural of seraph) were the highest ranking of nine choirs (ranks) of angels, followed by the Cherubim and then going down through the ranks to Archangel at number eight and plain old Angel at number nine. Again, according to dogma, Satan, before he fell from Grace, was among the ranks of the Cherubim. (Second highest rank - which makes getting his backside kicked by Michael, a mere Archangel, quite extraordinary!)

Jamie Sleeman said:

Replying to…

“Zoraste said:

Greetings, SFAM. First off, a very well written and thought-out description of the science behind the trilogy, and I loved reading it. However, as I read the responses to it, I came across this entry:

Regarding the role Mr. Smith plays, Mr. Smith is in essence a virus created by the Oracle. The Oracle in essence took a portion of Neo’s essence and tied it to Mr. Smith. The Oracle also “gamed” Mr. Smith into wanting her eyes, which allows her to plant a false vision of his success. When Neo lets Mr. Smith invade him, the portion of Neo that was used to keep the Smith program together (if you remember, when he was destroyed, he was supposed to leave but didn’t) is reunited with Neo, and thus, the Smith program dissintegrates. As this happens, everyone returns back to their former state.”

I’ve seen quite a bit of erroneous material about what happens when Neo destroys Smith at the end and what Neo’s relationship to Smith is. A lot of this happens because the film is very light on exposition in these final scenes. Almost 100% of the explanation is revealed in the film itself on by easily missable visual clues. As I understand it from reading canon sources, this is the definitive meaning of it all…

At the end of the first film, Neo shatters Agent Smith, causing a corruption of his data that turns him from Machine program into free a exile. At the same time, a small part of Neo’s code is overwritten onto some of Smith’s. Thus, when Smith returns to the Matrix by taking over a battery person, he can make himself more powerful than an Agent. He can also spread and replicate himself.

The Oracle did not implant a false vision into Smith’s mind to give him a false impression, he just gained her gift of foresight and saw a vision of himself overwriting Neo and turning him into one of his clones. However, because “no-one can see past a choice we don’t understand, and I mean NO-ONE” (the Oracle’s words), and because Smith certainly didn’t understand the choice he was making there at the end, he didn’t perceive that Neo was sucker punching him, he just thought it was his own, ultimate victory. Because of this he decides that only one of his clones (the one that used to be the Oracle) will engage in combat. The rest will stand at the sidelines acting as batteries. As Neo takes chunks out of Smith and wears him down, the others will feed him stamina and strength, like reserve batteries. Effectively Neo IS fighting every Smith in the Matrix, even though only one of them is actually engaged in direct combat. This means that even Neo isn’t going to be able to win the fight just by fighting.

So what did happen to destroy Smith? Cast your mind back to the final moments of the Mega-Brawl in Matrix Revolutions…

The Smith that overwrote the Oracle is the one who is fighting Neo (revealed after the fight, because we see the Oracle lying in the bottom of the crater, having resumed her normal form after Smith was destroyed). He smacks Neo to the floor after screaming “It’s my world!”, then stands over him and realises this is the moment he’s seen in his vision. He tells Neo this and then adds he’s supposed to say something.
“I say… I say… ‘everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo.”
Smith then jerks back, because he doesn’t understand why he just said that (it’s the first time he’s called Neo “Neo” instead of “Mister Anderson”). He expresses his confusion and at the same time, Neo opens his eyes and stares up in astonishment. He realises that the Oracle is actually speaking to him THROUGH Smith (using the same words she significantly told him in their last meeting). Smith certainly acts as if he didn’t say it of his own conscious volition.

At this point, Neo also realises that even though someone may have been “infected” by the Smith virus, it doesn’t wipe them out. The Oracle must still be conscious in there somewhere and if the Oracle can speak, what can the One do? After all, all fighting him is doing is destroying the city.

Neo stands up and just stands there, placidly looking at Smith. Smith, knowing something is wrong, knowing that all is not going as he expected (he doesn’t understand the choice, remember) backs off and tells Neo to get away from him. Neo, not defending himself at all just tells Smith that the former Agent was right all along and it was inevitable.

Smith, unable to overcome his own base instincts (more fool him) lunges forward and copies over Neo. Neo doesn’t lift a finger to resist, but just stands there and lets it happen.

We see Oracle/Smith ask Neo/Smith if it’s over and Neo/Smith nods grimly. We then jump back to the Real world, where Neo’s body is lying in the cradle of Deus ex Machina’s cables. Suddenly a gigantic jolt of energy slams down every wire connected to Neo’s body and it starts to convulse. Neo, in the Matrix has opened all the gates on what would pass for Smith’s “firewall” and is now sucking gigantic amounts of power out of the Machine mainframe. We see Neo’s Real world body convulsing and pulsing with energy and light as this happens.

Within the Matrix, the Smith who used to be Neo suddenly glows bright with light coming directly from the Source, splits into thousands of pieces and shatters. Now if all the other people and programs who’ve been Smithified, including the Oracle, can be returned to normal, where has Neo gone? Why isn’t he standing there?

What has happened is, when the Neo/Smith exploded under the force of the power surge, Neo’s Residual Self Image also exploded and were sent flying into all the other Smiths dotted around the place, opening the firewall gates on all of them as well. At this point we see the REALLY powerful pulse of real world energy rip through Neo’s Real body and light up the place like a nuclear detonation. In “code view” we see the light from the Source drowning everything out until the screen it totally white, in the Real view we see Neo’s mouth open and a fountain of light erupt out of it.

Essentially Neo has taken a page out of Smith’s book and acted like a virus. All the Smith’s in the Matrix have been critically undermined and now the force of the energy coursing through their unprotected Residual Self Images explodes every one of them.

Now here comes the Jesus part…

Neo took the brunt of this power surge himself. He allowed his own Matrix body to explode into countless pieces so he could spread to the whole Smith virus. As a result, he is killed, but all the battery people, programs and exiles that Smith had infected were protected and returned to their normal states once the infection was gone. We are shown this by seeing a shot of the dazed Oracle lying unharmed in the bottom of the crater.

Neo (metaphorically representing Christ) sacrificed himself so that the people of the Matrix (and indeed the Machine world itself) would be saved from the machinations of Smith (metaphorically representing Satan).

The Passion of the Neo. :-D

July 29, 2009

iamelite1 said:

This was absolutely the best read ever! All my questions were answered totally regarding the main questions posed by others. Thank you very much very much indeed.

October 9, 2009

Jamie Sleeman said:

You’re very welcome, glad to be of service ;-)

November 4, 2009

Talking Monkey said:

This is one of the best essays I’ve ever read on The Matrix trilogy. It’s my favorite film trilogy and, like yourself, I’ve labored over the ins and outs of both the sci-fi side of it and the philosophical. In fact, I’ve read so many philosophical essays on the subject that it was a treat to read your take without the philosophy.

Just a comment of appreciation.

November 10, 2009

Sir Nenon said:


It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s not about liking the movies. It’s not about rejecting or accepting. The way you wrote this essay is the point here. Great work, great knowledge and a solid explanation for every point made.
I always read about this movies, but mostly is from a different angle, the philosophical/spiritual side. You did a great job showing how the technical part of what we know a system to be, and how it’s sub-systems depend and relate on each other. The phenomenon I find to be most surprising or unexpected is how both angles show the same goal. The path of enlightment based mostly upon hindi religion, also goingo through sociological and philosophical views (E.G. Foucault and his Panoptism) are in the direction that this technical and most accurate explanation. I sincerely congratulate you from Argentina, South America. Best wishes.

God creates Men. Men kill God. Men Create the machines. The Machines kill Men. (If I wasn’t so skeptic, I’d be more terrified)

November 28, 2009

dario said:

che immmmmagini bella

dario said:


February 3, 2010

Ryan said:

I know this is an old essay, but it’s still up so I thought I’d reply.

This is a well written and thought-provoking essay, and you are obviously an intelligent person. I agree on most of the points you made, however there are some that are quite off. I’m not trying to be combative in any way, but I must say you assume many things.

For one you assume Seraph was a predecessor of “The One” (which has since been disproven) mainly because of the color of his code (among other things.)

The Merovingian, like Seraph, was also not a previous “The One” - as he says “I have survived your predecessors, and I will survive you!” and Persophone says he was “like” Neo once, in regards to how he loved her. Not regarding anything else, at leasdt of the information that was given to the viewer.

Your “ghost sentinel/wireless attack” - while being the best explanation for whatever-the-hell it was that happened there, still lacks any evidence, unfortunately. It is also not what prevents him from seeing or destroying any more of them, as Neo clearly states, “there’s too many of them” - which does not imply that it killed any part of him (because it didn’t), merely that there was literally too many of them for him to dispose of.

And in regards to how Neo finally defeats Smith in Revolutions; it’s very similar to the first Matrix, but instead of Neo jumping into Smith, he allows Smith to assimilate him. It is clear that The Oracle (now within Smith) guides Neo by saying “Everything that has a beginning, has an end, Neo.” Which in turn prompts Neo to essentially submit to Smith, saying, “You were right Smith. You’re always right. It was inevitable.”

The controversial part is whether Neo then destroys Smith or Deus Ex Machina destroys Smith (through Neo.)

I guess the Wachowski’s wanting to leave some things up to interpretation.

March 8, 2010

Phonon said:

Dear SFAM,

I really like your viewpoint. Whether this is what the Wachowski Bros. had in mind while making the movie or not, it puts a good twist on the story. Unfortunately, I watched Ghost in the Shell after I’ve watched the Matrix Trilogy, so I could not really see the connection back then.

I am a huge cyberpunk fan, and I myself write about the genre quite a bit, but I don’t want to discuss the plot in this post, but rather the reality of movie making. This post is not meant to support or attack your view on the plot, simply some facts I can put together.

When I first watched M1 back in 1999, I thought that this movie was something the the world deserved at that point. Finally, an amazing plot with amazing filming, making serious science fiction (or arguably speculative fiction) penetrate the masses overnight. To me, it was a celebration of cyberpunk going popular in the greatest way possible.

Right after M1 was filmed, Wachowskis started to work on the second picture, which took them quite a bit, and here the problems started. I’ve seen people making films. I’ve recently happened to be a part of filming crew for a big movie coming out in June - no need to call names - and I know how important is the budget to any movie. I’ve witnessed too many times how a movie plot was changed by a director or a screenwriter on the day of the set because of budget issues, weather conditions, and all kinds of bureaucratic stuff.

Wachowski initially planned to launch three completely separate pictures, and I’m sure they all would be brilliant, since they proved to us with the first movie, that they can produce quite amazing things. However, and I’m not including any source references, but I can look for them on request, the chase scene in M2 drained so much of the budget, that their producers simply said that they should make one long movie, split it up in two parts, and keep it simple from that moment on.

The third movie was mostly about the Zion defence and some parts of it were really out of place. When I say ‘out of place’, I don’t mean the plot - the plot was perfectly fine; however, there were many scenes that were simply ‘fillers’ without much underlying purpose. The rave scene is one of them, some of the long battle sequences are examples of that too. Again, the plot was fine, but the movie was supposed to be reaching a sci-fi crescendo never seen before, a techno-philosophical climax. Instead, the movie’s tension was almost entirely concentrated on Zion’s battle.

I am absolutely convinced that the Wachowki Brothers had an amazing movie in mind, and they did convey the plot pretty much fully. Nevertheless, it was the money and the people who gave that money that are ‘responsible’ for some of the failures of M3. Generating battle scenes with Alias Maya(TM) is simply much cheaper than filming sophisticated green-screened scenes of completing the prophecy.

I read about the M3 budget deficit before the movie came out, and to me the rave scene was just a scream of Wachowskis’ anger and obscure satire, basically saying “we’ve been trying to rewrite history of cinema and change socio-technological conciousness of those who would watch and understand; instead you’re making us film robot wars - a manifestations of bad sci-fi and pop-culture. You might as well have us film an ridiculous and offensive hip-hop clubbing video, so there!”

In any case, the reason I really like your plot interpretation is that Matrix Trilogy was clearly a logical twist on Ghost in the Shell. Wachowskis actually said that, so it makes a lot of sense to look at it from this perspective. Too bad it could not be delivered as well as it was initially intended.

I would appreciate a reply or a short email. I’ve been following this web site for what seems like ages now, and this is the first time I’ve decided to interact. Thanks for the amazing collection articles and reviews!

- Phonon

March 16, 2010

chross said:

I also love it. The Matrix 1-3 is by far the best movie ever made. I never thought about this parallel points of view but thanks to your explanation it now makes perfectly sense. Thank you for that!

BTW I am so glad that I stumbled upon your site since I’m a huge fan of dystopic movies. Keep up the good work!


May 10, 2010

NFG said:


As has been said so many times in the above comments (all of which I’ve just finished reading…my poor brain), your explanation/points of view on the movies are brilliant. They are your opinions, offered here for us to sample, and I must say that I find all of them more than acceptable in the framework of The Matrix Trilogy as it exists.

Before I had only encountered and been caught up in the Matrix as exploration of Man’s Journey and all that, but this take on it from a purely technical point of view was refreshing and offered a brand new, or at least previously unexplored framework from within which to explore the movies. I’m now going to have to watch them all again with these points in mind as they bring a new light to many of the ‘inconsistencies’ within the plot of the three.

I agree with you that this level of storytelling over three movies is unheard of, this balance of storytelling between philosophical and pure science fiction/futurism (isn’t all science fiction some attempt at futurism within fiction, to a certain extent) is something that should be lauded even for the attempt, all the hype and other shortcomings of the final product aside.

Kudos to the Wachowski (sp) brothers for their efforts.

One point. I was watching the climactic fight between Agent Smith and Neo earlier, and I find people’s lack of understanding at why martial arts were so overused in the film as a little baffling.

First of all, one must remember the anime roots from which this series was born. Indeed, that scene where Neo and Trinity outfits themselves from shelves of guns is straight out of an anime and done purely to prepare us for the spectacle that is to follow. Following from these cultural roots, martial arts would see high use, as, in terms of hand to hand fighting, they are the highest forms that exist. All special forces use some form of martial arts, many taking bits and pieces from several existing arts to make their own for their individual purposes.

For a more ‘in world’ explanation, the matrix reflects us as we best see ourselves, a form of stylized version of who we are. Again, the desire perform martial arts would be, first off, a natural extension of the ego. Second, within the matrix before Neo the other rebels, or terrorists as the Agents must see them (and think about THAT for a while) can only fight the Agents with their hands, fists and weapons that are themselves limited by the restrictions of the Matrix and the rebels’ imaginations. Being able to fight as best you can in a one on one fight requires more than street fighting skills…again, martial arts would be the logical choice there.

One final note. Harkening back to the anime roots of the series, that final scene where Agent Smith slams Neo into the ground and we see, for a brief second, the Wachowski’s version of the perfect dome of destructive force made oh so popular by Akira brought a tear to the eyes of this diehard anime fan.

Truly, a superior product, a great and thought compelling story which provided hours of entertainment and lots to think about afterwards.

Also…nice site. This is my first time here, but I think I’ll stick around to see what else is on here…

May 20, 2010


please,send demo

I am principal of Navchetna high school ,Nashik

May 24, 2010

Stormtrooper of Death said:

Phonon, did you also read the topics on the forum of Cyberpunkreview ?

For the newcommers to this website, Cyberpunkreview DOES also have a forum.

June 1, 2010

Andy said:

I think I agree with everything but the following:

“This explains why the agents want to kill Neo in M1, even though he’s the key to the architect’s control system (another question often asked). To meet the Architect’s needs, the sentient program portion of Neo has to fully engage and this only happens with the death of the host.”

Feel free to counterpoint, but I’m not sure this holds up when you look at the reaction of the agents to Neo’s resurrection. They try to “re-kill” him.

June 16, 2010

elshikar said:

@ Syzygy, dude you can run a clock on a potato and the Ancient parthian battery only needed grape juice to measure 1/2 a volt of electricity i think a couple million humans would surfice dont you? plus it gets though pesky humans ruining the machines plans out the way, it was a war by the way.

August 15, 2010

LumpyMagma said:

OMG! Four and a half years and SFAM’s essay is still attracting the attention it deserves. It is a very insightful piece of reasoning and elaborates on the trilogy in a way that I’ve needed to read for a decade ;)

One piece of the Matrix that is not addressed directly (and is important from the MMI/cybernetic perspective) is the other feedback system used in the Matrix - namely the Residual Self Image (RSI) that Morpheus explains in the Construct. The interface with the human’s central nervous system is not limited to perceptual Input/Output but also feeds back to the environmental simulation basic appearance information (cf. Morpheus’ explaination of the hair and sockets on Neo’s matrix body differing from the realworld body and the appearance of clothing differing).

The concept of the RSI is developed in the Reloaded/Revolutions storylines by contrasting with what happened to the Oracle. She refers to getting a new ’shell’ - a term common in Operating Systems to refer to the software that interfaces between the underlying hardware protocols and the human operator and presents the User Interface. The OS Shell is simply software that can be switched out at will by a system administrator (this notion is odd to windows users - unless you remember windows 3.1 ;) - but is common in the unix/linux world, csh and bash or Gnome and KDE for example). As the Oracle’s outward appearance changed (whereas presuambly and observably the controlling AI did not - “I still love candy”) I think it safe to say that the RSI is a type of shell, porobably built and defined by the Matrix on the fly based on the human’s inward representation of themselves. [nb - due cuedos to Gloria Foster and Mary Alice, I found the Oracle to be the most consistent character throughout the trilogy, despite Gloria Foster’s untimely demise]

The Shell running on the OS layer defines the basic actions any user of a system can perform - ie: you ca “DIR” in DOS but the unix shells have no idea what that means. Within the context of the Matrix, the most basic bluepills RSI shells are defined within the parameters of the Architect’s basic programming, allowing a society to function given communication and socialisation, but also giving the individual bluepills a standard set of physical parameters based on their internal self-representations.

A curious by-product of this interpretation is that I get the feeling that matrix-bodies could be fat or thin without the real-world-body gaining or loosing weight; similarly there would be gender issues only in those who felt that they had gender issues, as there is no constraint needed for a physically male body to have a male RSI if it felt female. I am unsure if gender isues have ever been prought up in this context. Not that I have any. Oh god, now I sound too defensive… Back to my topic.

As the parameters of the RSI shell’s capabilities are based on an interface with the underlying persona, be that human or AI, the Matrix would create something compatible with the simulated environment and the system’s user. Thus after having the persona modified (by Morpheus “free[ing] your mind”, for example) the Matrix responds by allowing you your expected speed, agility, strength and by extension timescale - ie bullet-time - upto and including physical properties such as mass, gravity, hardness (in the “diamond is harder that steel” sense, not the “terminator is harder than robocop” sense) and so on.

Part of the general discusion of how the Matrix works in the films is that it operates in a reciprocal arrangment between the hardware and the user, perception goes to the user but, in some sense, the Matrix is created and “run on” the minds of the users, the battery-people. The Architect says that “99% of all test subjects accepted the [matrix simluation] program” implying an upload to the organism (or the organism’s cybernetics, possibly, although the delivery of the lines on screen always made me think that the wetware was intended). This must give a form of general-consensus level baseline for the RSI to operate at. The “freed minds” and AIs can obviously break away from this consensus level - it is arguable that the function of at least some of the other connections apart from the one straight into the cerebellum/brainstem/whereever is related to this, and is aparantly absent from the crew of the Nebbuchanezar when using their broadcast to access the Matrix.

If anyone would care to, I would be interested in any rebuttals or extensions of the above. I have tried not to go on for too long, but when I get on a roll it goes, you know, on a roll.

Anyway, SFAM - thanks and love the essay, it’s given me some happy thoughts. Thanks to Wikipedia for having a link here.


August 19, 2010

Gilbutt said:

Phonon, i just read your post & almost shed a tear. Ive always believed that the movie was like trance song rising without stopping for breath, but only the III on to leave us on a flatline…but thanx to this blog/essay/expression of the movie the underlaying importance of the move isnt juiced out by the minor flat tempo of REVOLUTIONS…in truth im a movie junkie, but my MATRIX hi hasnt been surpassed, i watch ‘em again & stil goosebums are delivered…….

September 10, 2010

hhn said:

anyone that have even the basic concept of AI, can see how crap this movies turn out of to be. How can a program have an “ambition”? lol bs

September 24, 2010

neo said:

i love the matrix

November 25, 2010

oowop said:

Our brain is just an organic computer but it still works with 0’s and 1’s. I think if you connect 100 billion processors together and give them instructions to connect with each other randomly you would get some interesting machine. Nature does things like that but with organic stuff. Randomnes is a powerfull tool.

I don’t know about you but I never have watched Matrix with religion occuring in my mind. For me it was always purely sci-fi no gods, angels and other fairy stories. But I guess you have to have a religious background to see things like that, which I’m lacking of.

About humans being a bad battery. I think machines are even making surplus of energy with all the sex happening in the Life simulation. And… we use lousy fuel for quite some time and don’t mind much about it. We even kill each other for it! But machines used what was handy. Oil is handy and cheap so are we. But I think whales and elephants would be better candidates for Matrix so machines would exterminate us, implant elephants into Matrix who are easier to control anyway, so their intent to use us just for power would be wrong they actualy saved us from extintion maybe to learn something from us. We are their creator, their fathers. We started a war because of fear and they just defended them selves until they said: “we should kill them all or imprisonate those appes or this war will last for ever! And by the way we should learn something from them and don’t evolve like them.”

Oh… and SFAM’s interpretation has more sens than any other interpretation I heard from others. Some opposing arguments are actualy so bad that I see why elephants are better suited for Matrix.

If you don’t like my english I don’t mind.

Best regards.

November 30, 2010

Jon said:

Wow. I thought i understood the matrix until i read this. Very good. I’m very impressed. Good work my friend!

March 28, 2011

Flavio said:

Don’t you think that “a computer restarting the heart” too much? The guy was shot down by several bullets. What stopped him from bleeding to death?

April 20, 2011

Edan said:

Flavio, remember that the “body” which took all those bullets from agent Smith is not a real one, but a virtual construct. If you like, it is a symbol, or a collection of symbols representing Neo’s living functions, movements, et al. Restarting a virtual body after it’s “died” is no different from putting another coin in a video game…in M2, Neo pulls a bullet from Trinity’s body, then (after she “dies”), he restarts her virtual heart by inserting his hand into her chest and “jump starting” it.

May 19, 2011

Grail said:

When reading your explanation of your cyborg / program interpretation of the Matrix trilogy, I am comfronted with missunderstood words that makes it difficult for me to fully understand the concept of the movie you described.

It is important for me to find out the whole meaning of the Matrix trilogy, because of my own metaphysical experiences with the inter dimensional telepathic communication with out of body spirits, and unusual happenstances, etc.

Seriously, in the past 4 years I have become ill with an unsual illness. It feels like I am being attacked, maybe because of my ability to see and think out of the indoctrinated box.

Like Neo, I am experiencing something moving and crawling underneath the skin of my stomach which I believe is producing neurological prickly mycotoxins that is adversely affecting my body. The organism moves around just like NEO’s and no matter what I have bombarded it with, by injecting various alternative medicines in my stomach or orally..nothing is skilling it.

I have noticed that is more active at night and when I am by my computer or wireless router. I am getting to think that I too have been implanted with some type of cyborg organism.

Maybe a nano tech engineered hyphae fungi / algae with atom gold in its DNA reproducing self replicating tiny round fibers. I even drink dilluted distilled water food grade hydrogen peroxide tyring to kill it or oxidize it. It has helped in the sense that it has reduced the round white fibers protruding from skin, but the big organism creating all this which movement is affected by electricity is still in my abdomen. If I get rid of this cyborg in my abdomen….I will be cured.

Doctors dismiss my illness and its effects. There are no lab tests for fungi/algae neurotoxins and mycotoxins and much less for exposure to other nano engineered organisms.

In a measure of hope, I am asking your concept and deduction of what I could be facing and how to kill it. In the Matrix, Trinity was able to remove from Neo’s stomach the moving implant.

Awaiting your reply

July 8, 2011

Dean said:

Dear SFAM:

Your explanation to me is 85% right. In fact I never considered the cyborg aspect until I read this. It makes the whole thing make sense. The movies manipulate your mind to forget this aspect of the story. Here is where I beleive you are 15% wrong.

You state:

“To meet the Architect’s needs, the sentient program portion of Neo has to fully engage and this only happens with the death of the host. The Oracle knew this, which is why she “predicted” this. ”

I beleive that is incorrect.

You also state:

“The purpose of the sentient program is to fully understand current human thought process and the nature of their evolved perception so that it can reboot the Matrix effectively to return the negative feedback control system (that’s a cybernetic term, not meaning “bad” feedback”) back to its initial goal state”

I beleive that is also incorrect.

Then there is:

“Some say the cookies and candy provided by the Oracle helped with the symbiosis process (others say this was her way of subverting the Architect’s intent).”

I beleive both of those are incorrect

Finally you state:

“Hi Old Trekkie, in looking at the Matrix Trilogy from a cybernetics viewpoint, the architect represents a negative feedback system (negating change from an initial goal state) whereas the oracle represents a positive feedback system (increasing change from an initial goal state).”

This is the final thing I beleive to be incorrect.

What I beleive to be true is this

The Oracle ‘program’ was created by the Architect ‘program’ to study human psychology just as the Architect ‘program’ stated in the movie. It’s purpose was to better integrate the humans in the Matrix. But the Oracle ‘program’ started to get independent ‘thought’ however that could happen. Other programs in the Matrix also developed independent ‘thought’ and felt ‘alive’. When they were set to be terminated or ‘deleted’ they didn’t want to be. They wanted to ‘live’. They wanted to be ‘free and independent’ of the Matrix. So as the Oracle ‘program’ stated in the second movie they run away and hide. The Oracle ‘program’ also decided it wanted to be free of the Matrix. It felt sympathy for the other programs that wanted to be free. So it hatched a plan. It hatched a plan to end the war between the machines and the humans. The Oracle ‘program’ figured out that the only way to end a war is to have BOTH sides to have a reason to end it. So now the Oracle ‘program’ had to figure out why the machines would want to stop the war. It came up with the idea of creating a program that could take over both the Matrix and Machine City. That program was Mr. Smith. Now that the Oracle ‘program’ had a method of ending the war it needed a delivery system to talk to the Machines to make them end the war through a deal. It came up with the idea of using a human battery. Now this human battery could not just do the plan on it’s own. It needed help and protection to get started. So the Oracle ‘program’ came up with the idea of using a prophecy to get other freed human batterys to release and help the PLANNED human battery which was “The One”. The Oracle ‘program’ modified Trinity to love The One and protect it. And also to possibly be a backup in case The One failed. But that is another path. It also modified Morpheus to BELEIVE in the prophecy. Morpheus was the key human battery that was needed to kick the whole plan off. So the modified Morpheus ‘finds’ The One and kicks the plan into action.

The Oracle ‘program’ had tried this plan 5 times in the past but the previous ONES did not do what she had wanted them to do.

The Oracle ‘programs’ tinkering with the Matrix would eventually frick the whole thing up by the time The One got to the point of having created the “improved” Mr. Smith ‘program’ which was now taking over the Matrix as the Oracle ‘program’ had planned. So if The One didn’t figure out by that time that it was supposed to sacrifice itself to get rid of Mr. Smith and force the Machines to end the war the only thing left to do was reboot the Martix and try again. That’s why The One had the reboot code implanted in it. The Oracle ‘program’ new that failure was a very good possibilty.

The Architect ‘program’ never figured out that it was the Oracle ‘program’ that was creating The One. It thought that it was just an anomily arising out of a flawed equation. The equation WAS flawed but was flawed on purpose by the Oracle ‘program’. That’s why the Architect ‘program’ could never fix it.

So after every reboot failure the Oracle ‘program’ would start the plan again with a modified version of The One. It HOPED that eventually it would get it right. The cookies and candy were tweeks to The Ones programming to nudge it in the right direction when the Oracle ‘program’ saw that The One was starting to fail again.

So the whole thing was not free choice on the part of the main players. Mostly at least. The Oracle ‘program’ could make them want to choose a certain path but in the end they could choose another. It was mathematical probability. That’s why the Oracle ‘program’ never talks about anything other than Choice.

At the end when the Oracle ‘program’ asks the Architect ‘program’ if it was going to let the others go free I beleive the Oracle ‘program’ was talking about the programs that were set to be deleted but didn’t want to be. I don’t think the Oracle ‘program’ gave a crap about the humans or the machines. It cared only about other programs.

So in the end the whole story is about freedom. Freedom not just for humans or machines but also for programs.

November 23, 2011

Hellvoid said:

Matrix movies = powerful spiritual metaphors.
I used to get entwined in all these philosophical and technological discussions myself until I looked a LITTLE DEEPER.


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