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[+/-] What better time to rap about THE MATRIX franchise?

moondog548

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I've been wanting to create this thread so many times this year as so many people have returned to discussing this on the 20th anniversary of the first film.

Let this be a thread for general discussion, both of the films (and related media), and the themes and mythology and anything else. Doyalist and Watsonian discussions both welcome. Questions and Speculations and Conjecture and Headcanons all welcome! POSITIVE AND CRITICAL DISCUSSIONS BOTH WELCOME! Go ahead and talk about what was wrong with this whole thing or why something doesn't work for you or how it should have been instead. JUST PLEASE DO SO CONSTRUCTIVELY WITHOUT TOXIC LANGUAGE. And elaborate on your complaints, don't just threadcrap with a "these films are trash" etc. I hope that makes my expectations clear.

I DO want back-and-forth discussion, so arguing someone else's praises or criticisms are fine, but again, keep it to the salient points and matters at hand. No "if you didn't like it you didn't get it" etc.

I realize I'm asking a little bit more than typical.

Ok, so post #2 will be me throwing out one particular topic I'm pulling from the Matrix 4 thread for deeper discussion here just to get the ball rolling. Feel free to respond to that or start any other topic.
 

moondog548

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I think other sources have mostly backed up what Smith was saying, though not his value judgments. For example, The Merovingian and friends are program refugees from a subsequent Matrix which went too far in the other direction, and was apparently Castlevania VR with ghosts and vampires and such.
I always took them to be normal programs that stared to long into the abyss. Sorta like Smith, but on a smaller scale. Something went sideways and they snapped. They should have been wiped, but instead went rogue and took to hiding in the Matrix.
A little of column A and a little of column B, I think.

I suspect that the 2nd matrix tried to address the anomaly by letting the programs have more agency to "cheat" the simulation locally in order to enforce submission on the humans, since keeping the humans "happy" was no longer a priority. This version probably crashed harder and faster than the first version. But the programs for whom sadism, hedonism, narcissism and otherwise highly-individualistic personalities had emerged are where our rebel programs come from, and they naturally sought (and enough cases achieved) escape form deletion and exile into future versions of the matrix.

In this 2nd version they weren't designed to be vampires and ghosts and such from pre-AI human records, they were just causing unnatural shit where humans could see, so the humans explained them as those folklore phenomenon. Maybe it's a fun alt-history case where such folklore didn't exist pre matrix (And it's only familiar to US because we're in the sim!), but not necessarily. Either way there was undoubtedly some back and forth between these rogue programs and the humans struggling to perceive them-- happily adopted the identities assigned to them, or at least the trappings that they liked. Such is life!

Anyhoo... I don't think the Merovingian is actually from the version of the matrix that all his ghoulie acolytes are, or at least he would have been a late addition to it, or perhaps he was no different from them until being elevated to become "The Merovingian". And the reason is his name.

His thematic identities as fallen-angel-adversary-to-god, trickster-god, and tempting-serpent are all very clear, but none of him relate to his NAME as far as I can tell. I believe his name, then, MUST point to another aspect of his nature.

The only special thing I am aware of about the historical Merovingians is their claim to be, via the sang-royale, the literal descendants of Jesus Christ. There's nothing directly referencing this in the films' text as far as I can tell. However, I do see a place for it to neatly fit in to the world established.

So the failure of the 1st two matrices is likely where the Machines figured out that anomaly revolved in some way around the concept the humans called "choice". Here's where Archie and his bosses realized that while they still couldn't eliminate the anomaly (because they can't understand it, because that's the definition of anomaly) they could try to contain it. And so an intuitive program was brought onto the project to help figure out a way to do that. And that's where our Oracle comes up with the Prophecy system of subconsciously offering humanity a choice to keep most of them content in the simulation, and the rest of them contained for heuristic data gathering and easy disposal.

But my theory is that the first implementation of that program was not to guide the system to produce a human in the role of The One. Very likely Morpheus's story about "the was a man born in the matrix with the ability to reshape it as he saw fit" was correct, though his understanding of the context obviously limited. I bet in those first two matrices the system failures had a bunch of humans "doing their superman things" all over the damn place en route to crashing the servers. So I really don't think the machines would want even one human to have that power if there was any alternative.

Ergo, vis-a-vis, concordantly: The Merovingian. Let's take the data we've gathered from all these anomalous humans and write some code to empower a specially groomed program to fulfill the role of The One in this prophecy. A pied-piper is a more obvious solution than a judas sheep. But alas, a false prophet could never fulfill the prophecy, and while he doubtless drew many humans to his cult of personality, it didn't contain the anomaly as anticipated.

And because the point of this is safety, this program's vast power is not inherent, but rather directly channel through him from The Source. Hence, when the Merovingian inevitably rebelled from his established role (because duh), he no longer had special power. He still had all he had learned about the nature of existence, however. EDIT: What Nate said just below!
 
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Nate_MI

Hail Tzeentch!
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And because the point of this is safety, this program's vast power is not inherent, but rather directly channel through him from The Source. Hence, when the Merovingian inevitably rebelled from his established role (because duh), he no longer had special power. He still had all he had learned about the nature of existence, however.
I'm with you up until right there. From what I understand the One's special abilities -- the thing that lets Neo fly and stop bullets in the air -- is not some gift from a higher power. It's that he intuitively understands that he's inside a computer simulation and that he can change the code at any point. He's literally hacking the Matrix; he knows how to access the console and give himself the infinite bullets cheat. I can buy the notion of a machine-bred the One but they wouldn't have been channeling powers, they would have just had local just-below-admin level access. Presumably when their iteration of the Matrix was brought down the access codes were changed, so that even though the Merovingian can still access the dev console now he has to bumble around at random to try and figure out what the codes of this latest version are.
 

moondog548

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I'm with you up until right there. From what I understand the One's special abilities -- the thing that lets Neo fly and stop bullets in the air -- is not some gift from a higher power. It's that he intuitively understands that he's inside a computer simulation and that he can change the code at any point. He's literally hacking the Matrix; he knows how to access the console and give himself the infinite bullets cheat. I can buy the notion of a machine-bred the One but they wouldn't have been channeling powers, they would have just had local just-below-admin level access. Presumably when their iteration of the Matrix was brought down the access codes were changed, so that even though the Merovingian can still access the dev console now he has to bumble around at random to try and figure out what the codes of this latest version are.
You know what? You're absolutely right. I got off track a bit, and what you've just said is the "real" explanation. :)
 

Cloud Divider

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I'm not up to the high discussion at the moment (phone). The first movie hit me in the depth of my Cyberpunk period, and the genre switch was a good "gotcha" I wasn't expecting. I just figured it was going to be Johnny Mnemonic II. It was way, WAY more than that.

I think the second movie was my favorite, partly because it expanded the world in very interesting ways (far more machine intelligences than just the Agents and the Oracle, for example). Certainly, that broadening of the scope is really why it's so much more...gameable.

Almost makes me want to go back and dig out a copy of There Is No Spoon.
 

moondog548

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I love love love the trilogy, but admit that the sequels had structure and pacing problems. I was skeptical about this video, but I should not have been, because Patrick gets it, and is brilliant. Despite the premise of the vid, this actually got me appreciating the films all over again for how the honestly inspired me.

 

csyphrett

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And it shouldn't have been a surprise that Neo could stop the machines in the real world. I have people who didn't understand that, but it's obvious that if he can hack code in realtime with his brain, that would also apply to machine code in the real world
CES
 

moondog548

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And it shouldn't have been a surprise that Neo could stop the machines in the real world. I have people who didn't understand that, but it's obvious that if he can hack code in realtime with his brain, that would also apply to machine code in the real world
CES
Yeah I honestly didn't understand the complaint that it seemed "magical" and incredulous when... wi-fi is a thing IRL.

But verisimilitude is subjective, I spose.
 

Nate_MI

Hail Tzeentch!
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And it shouldn't have been a surprise that Neo could stop the machines in the real world. I have people who didn't understand that, but it's obvious that if he can hack code in realtime with his brain, that would also apply to machine code in the real world
CES
Yeah I honestly didn't understand the complaint that it seemed "magical" and incredulous when... wi-fi is a thing IRL.

But verisimilitude is subjective, I spose.
Yeah, but that was when he was connected to the system. It's like saying that your USB drive should be able to transfer files to a computer sitting in another room -- they were connected at one point and wi-fi is a thing that exists. But there's no indication that Neo has some kind of ability to decode wireless signals, so it's a bit weird when he controls a machine despite not being connected to the network.
 

moondog548

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Yeah, but that was when he was connected to the system. It's like saying that your USB drive should be able to transfer files to a computer sitting in another room -- they were connected at one point and wi-fi is a thing that exists. But there's no indication that Neo has some kind of ability to decode wireless signals, so it's a bit weird when he controls a machine despite not being connected to the network.
Fair enough. The point of it is though, that it's demonstrating an advancement of his powers/nature, though. So I find it a very reasonable leap.
 
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