• Tag Archives thinkers-film
  • The Matrix Revolutions – beyond the Matrix

    The systemic anomaly of the one has now been revealed, a paradox found in an otherwise perfect system, the parallels between Agent Smith and Neo clash to form both beginning and end. Neo remains in a state of apparent coma. [continuation from previous review] His brain patterns read as one who is still connected to the Matrix, despite not appearing within its coding. He is connected to a peripheral system outside the Matrix, a limbo proxy system between the matrix and the machines – or as the Oracle puts it “…he is trapped in a place between this world and the machine world.

    On a slight tangent, what the hell is the significance of the bulls head symbol in the Matrix Revolutions opening title digital rain sequence? – Would like to know more.

    Back to the anomaly then. Once Neo finds his way back to the Matrix it becomes apparent that he no longer reads as one connected to the system, his presence in the Matrix code becomes unrecognisable, similar to the way Agent Smith is encoded.

    And then we come to it, perhaps the most pivotal point in the entire Matrix franchise, the purpose of The One, Neo’s path. The revelation kindled between Neo’s last meeting with The Oracle, and the narration for one of the best film trailers and to my knowledge first end-credit teasers of all time. Neo learns that the power of the one extends beyond the Matrix and that there is a greater threat than that of system (Matrix). And in this revelation the true purpose of Agent Smith unplugged, the other anomaly, is revealed. Neo and Smith are opposites, two half’s of the equation trying to balance itself out (as foretold by The Oracle who is revealed as the ghost in the machine – the chaos and imperfection of the system).

    “ Everything that has a beginning has an end. I see the end coming, I see the darkness spanning, I see death….” – The Oracle.

    Agent Smith proceeds to infect the entire Matrix executing his viral anomaly, spreading to all connected humans and all system programs and entities including The Oracle herself. The effects of the infection on the system can be seen in the code itself (as viewed from the Osiris.  [ Agent Smith is initialising his very undoing, he is simply progressing towards the singularity of inevitability the same way Neo is heading to his. ] The anomaly then spreads beyond the Matrix to the side of the Machine world through the neural connections of Bane.

    bane

    Matrix Revolutions then proceeds to raise another interesting concept, one I have spoken of in other AI related posts: the question of reality, how do we know what is real? This is mentioned on Bane’s awakening when he describes the cuts on his arms as being self-inflicted. “…but why would I do that to myself, unless I wasn’t myself, but if I am not me then who am I?” This refers to Bane’s self-awareness as both himself and his neural patterns (as Agent Smith). – To a machine everything is virtual. (Also highlighted in The Animatrix: Kid’s Story and The Animatrix: Matriculated.)

    Agent Smith is Control and Neo is Freedom, Simulacra and Simulation, Good and Bad, Strength and Weakness (in all applications).

    Smith’s integration outside the Matrix becomes ever more virulent as Bane displays further distorted projections of his inherent hardwired behaviour. Evident through inherited memory recollection of pursuits within the Matrix – mentioned in the first encounter between Bane and Trinity aboard the Logos.

    The blind Messiah: Neo was almost killed during the fight with Bane. Losing his sight in the real world strengthens the power of the one, making his control over the Machines and subsequently the connection with the Matrix itself stronger. Revealed when Neo is able to see Bane’s neural patterns as Smith (Smith’s code). [the paradox here is how would Neo visually recognise the code outside of the system if the rendering (interpreters) work for the Matrix – this would only be possible if the real world was itself another system of the Machines]


    As the film enters its second hour the Machines begin their major assault on Zion to destroy the free humans and so preventing them from unplugging which is ultimately destroying their source of free energy. The machines remain unable to recognised or stop the true threat, the system anomaly of Smith.

    And so the inevitable ending where the anomaly becomes both beginning and end. There is no life without death. Agent Smith infects Neo and by doing so crashes the Matrix forcing an unhandled exception in the system, a paradox that destroys Agent Smith and the Matrix. Neo fulfils his purpose and the prophecy comes true – in exchange for defeating Smith, the only entity the Machines cannot control, and one that ultimately threatens their survival, the Machines grant the humans peace and so ends the war.  However whether this results in the freeing of those still connected to the Matrix is unclear (and artistically so). As further emphasised during the final scene where The Oracle and the Architect can be seen talking. Is this a new Matrix, or is this another system? And if so are there any human slaves to the system?

    The finale is orchestrated by perhaps the most recognised end fight scenes of all time – Neo and Agent Smith in the Super Burley Brawl. Which brings me finally to the music score, a perfect successor to the original 1999 Matrix Score – with particular reference to the final fight scene music.

    Speculation and theory:

    Matrix 4

    The Matrix Reloaded concludes with the revelation that Neo is able to feel the machines, later (beginning of Revolutions) his physical self becomes disconnected from the Matrix but paradoxically his mental self remains within the Matrix. On this basis when merging with Agent Smith during the final fight Neo (or more accurately Mr Anderson) finally dies, his project mental avatar becomes erased, and in the process destroys Smith. However – Neo’s physical self appears lifeless as it is carried away by the machines, but his mind, in theory, should simply be in a state of temporary coma. Will he wake up and if he does will he be reintegrated into another incarnation of the Matrix?

    Neo was the sixth iteration of the One, are we to conclude his system lifecycle is now complete?

    — Related Links —

    Keanu Reeves sees Matrix 4 and 5 on horizon?

    Matrix 4: Reborn – Official Trailer #1 (2017)

    The Matrix / Nature of Reality blog by David Icke

    The Animatrix review / discussion (coming soon)


  • The Matrix Reloaded – Choice is an illusion.

    In The Matrix we begin to see the code, what would be pages of code are revealed in the opening credits. For The Matrix Reloaded we see the code in everything, unlike the slow digital rain from the first film we are now exposed to the vast intricacies of the illusion of reality. The code is everywhere and is everything. The code itself is portrayed as brighter, faster and deeper than the 1999 original, and this is reflected in the music score. Background themes that were slow and progressive are now faster and more elaborate while still conveying the dark artificial reality that is the Matrix.

    Visually the film is noise free, shot using new cameras the picture quality is pin sharp. The world of the Matrix is further explored with scenes showing the wider CITY. Colour tones remain faithful (for the most part) to the original film but are projected more sharply and with greater colour dynamics.

    Neo has embraced his powers over the Matrix, the Machines continue to prevent humans escaping the program, and a new anomaly surfaces from the events of the original film. Human resistance is growing as more minds are set free.

    We are introduced in the second film to that desperate race of men either born outside the matrix or set free by it. We see Zion, the last free city of the human race.

    Agent Smith returns from a backup inadvertently made by Neo himself. However the new Agent Smith is no longer bound to the syntax of the Matrix. The very act of destroying Agent Smith triggered an anomaly the Matrix was not designed for. Agent Smith now has the uninhibited ability to copy himself to a human plugged into the matrix, including the human resistance willingly jacked in. This provides the very paradox Agent Smith needs to escape the Matrix. He succeeds through Bane.

    We are also introduced to other varieties of sentient program based around similar programming to the Agents of the Matrix, these are in the form of Serif, the Merovingian and the Keymaker.

    I think I understand why followers of the original may not be pleased with Reloaded. Here we are exposed to new features of the Matrix, we see more of the CITY, its people and places, and during the film we become too complacent, too familiar with this virtual world. In the original film we get fleeting glimpses inside the Matrix, mostly of night scenes and rain veiled streets, but in Reloaded we are presented with daytime shots and busy outdoor fight scenes. That minor aspect, in my opinion, produces insufficient potency to degrade the film.

    The boundaries between simulation and reality become blurred when Neo begins to feel the machines in his world. Neo’s path leads him to the Machine Mainframe – The Source but one compiled by the Matrix; however the power of the one extends beyond The Matrix, Neo begins to understand his connection with the machine world, and his inevitable journey to the real world machine mainframe.

    The film concludes by Neo establishing his connection with the machines, he realises now he can manipulate the machines as he can their simulated reality – the Matrix. However, like Agent Smith, this creates another anomaly. See The Matrix Revolutions review for a continuation.


  • The Matrix Realised

    What follows are some realisations I achieved through a recent viewing of The Matrix (1999). I also highlight some interesting parallels between this movie and the world of Tron.

    Don’t think you are know you are: our knowledge comes from the mind. A mind born in our consciousness; the same space that occupies our concerns, sadness, joy and emotions. Within this space comes our inner chatter, our thoughts. “Am I saying the right things” “What do others think of me” “Am I attractive?” These are things we may think about, they come from the same place as the one Morpheus suggests when saying to Neo, “Don’t think you are, know you are”. So the latter “know you are” part of the dialog belongs to true self, that which is beyond the story of you, beyond the self to the inner-self. It is outside our thinking mind.

    Neo and Smith: Mr T Anderson born in the matrix and Agent Smith a sentient program within the matrix, are opposites. Neo is a prisoner of the Matrix and Agent Smith is a prisoner of reality, Smith is an entity bound to a single real construct designed by the machines. Neo breaks free of Mr Anderson’s reality The Matrix and Agent Smith tries to escape his prison of the machine running the matrix – he wishes only to infect the wider machine network and consequently the entire physical and simulated reality, to change it to his version of perfection.

    Its all about not knowing who you are, but being who you are.

    This serves as a lesson for the difference between knowing who you are and being who you are, as Morpheus himself puts it: “sooner or later you are going to realise… there is a difference knowing the path and walking the path”.

    Interconnection with Tron Legacy: An apparent analogy can be found in Tron Legacy. Kevin Flynn (The Creator – and also The Dude) is a human born in his reality the same as Agent Smith was created in his. Flynn then created his vision (at the time of Tron Legacy) of perfection and named it The Grid to which he later became prisoner. So by inference Kevin Flynn is similar to Agent Smith but was born rationale.

    In the same way the Master Control Program (MCP) relates closely to The Architect of the matrix. The MCP is the operating system or interface for the physical processing system of the machine, The Architect of the matrix is the program for the machine mainframe.

    The creators of the Matrix claim the look was inspired by the Korean language credits at the end of the movie Tron. – The Matrix Code wikia.


  • Cypher

    2002 was a good year for science fiction and fantasy, shortly after seeing Cube and Cube 2: Hypercube I was hungry for more, for something of similar ilk and strangeness, and so I turned to Cypher, also directed by Vincenzo Natali. However it was a good few years later that I actually managed to obtain a copy on DvD – again, like The Machine, this film simply vanished after being released.Cypher is an old friend to my movie collection, it has a wonderful abstract beauty and compliments my copy of Cold Souls to which it resides next to on my shelf. I won’t trouble to detail the exact plot synopsis suffice it to say that it revolves around a newly appointed spy (Morgan Sullivan) who, in order to conduct his duties, must change identities. He is required to attend conventions to collate and transmit intelligence back to the agency. These assignments are seemingly monotonous, mundane and extremely uneventful. Having established his new identity as Jack Thursb he begins to question his assignments and experiences painful headaches and disorientation. However identities become confused and he journeys down a trippy rabbit hole of secrecy and espionage to discover the truth about his ambiguous assignments, his true identity and his true purpose.

    Cypher is certainly a thinkers-film, its plot is intricately woven and deserves your full attention, indeed it took me at least two viewings to fully unravel the many double-agent twists and turns. Many of the scenes feature strong edges and flat planes (particularly the travel scenes) giving it a mundane surrealism, this is complimented with an almost monotone pallet broken with grey hues. Set design and costume continue this theme with very sharp blacks, greys and light canvas creams with few colours between, achieving a very abstract suburban style. Colours become more vibrant as the many woven lies and secrets begin to fall away, concluding with a wonderfully scored scene by Inara George. Lead actor Jeremy Northam has done a superb job at portraying the many conflicting personalities and delivers quality conviction, beginning the movie as a lifeless introverted office nobody who then endlessly switches between personalities.


  • The Machine

    “Apart from their flesh, what makes them any different from me?”
    A marriage of true artificial intelligence developed through semantic and syntactic analysis of conversation and the power of quantum computing technology. A joining of minds to create the perfect machine.What is it to be alive? What is it to be human? If a machine passes the Turing test does that make it real? What if you needed it to be real? What if you needed the machine to believe it was real, not as a means to pass the test, but to stop bad things happening?
    The movie was shot in around 5 weeks on a relatively low budget, it uses physical effects, very clever prosthetics and amazing special effects to deliver a gritty hard science fiction work of art. Director Caradog W James did his homework and extensive research on AI and advanced robotics used by the Ministry of Defence.
    A computer scientist finds consciousness and the meaning of the soul through a machine who has been modelled on its former developer. However when the machine starts to convey emotion, establish trust and develop a true connection with its master, the question of whether it is artificial becomes unclear.
    Killing is prohibited?
    Killing is prohibited?

    There is a truly beautiful moment in the movie when The Machine (Ava) breaks free from her restraints and begins to explore the power and beauty of her own body, of free movement – it was wonderfully shot and all movements (and indeed all stunts throughout the movie) were performed by an amazing upcoming actress (Caty Lotz – Ava)

    TheMachineConcept_FL01

    This is by far the best original “recent” science fiction film I have seen since Moon. Low budget and from a director who has never done a science fiction film before. The competition between free-will and psychic-driving (influence), the many questions relating to the field of AI, and its masterful delivery through superb casting and acting are a true pleasure to behold.

    The-Machine-Poster

    http://www.redandblackfilms.com/machine-movie-extra/

    The kind minds behind The Machine just added a nice high resolution bonus:

    High Resolution Poster

    The Machine has a very active Facebook page, featuring the chance to win some really cool merchandise, check out The Machine Facebook page here.


  • Tron Legacy

    20 Years away from the grid: Don’t get me wrong, I was a massive Tron fan in my younger 90s days but somewhere in the 20 year gap I forgot about The Grid. Then in late 2009 comic-con released a teaser trailer for a sequel – and suddenly I was revisiting the digital domain of Tron – one aged and much darker than before.

    Kevin Flynn

    The Creator – Flynn

    I was fascinated by Kevin Flynn’s return, the idea of an older, much wiser Flynn and one that is perceived as a deity on The Grid. And so I followed every development and every rumour (much thanks to ign.com) of the film up to its release. I have always believed in the spirit, discovered the art of meditation quite naturally as a very young child, but after seeing this film I have become passionate about Zazen and following my way of Zen.

    People have criticised this film on its slow build-up and story line, personally I believe its slow build-up is necessary – there is 20 years of retrospection to be covered, however when the true-action begins things really start to move. But this review is not about the action, visa vie its inaction what matters, the importance of waiting, being still, moving past wants and needs. Visually Legacy complements its 1982 predecessor perfectly while still maintaining a contemporary visual. The Grid has changed, its much larger, infinitely more possible, and much darker. I will not go into specifics regarding plot, there are plenty of well-read reviews for this already, suffice it to say Kevin Flynn became locked within the world of Tron and (as covered in Tron Uprising) there has been a rebellion by the Programs against its Creator. Tron who was once the architect’s assistant has been corrupted and reprogrammed by Clu who has now gained power over The Grid and forced Kevin Flynn into hiding. When the Son of Flynn enters The Grid the time of meditation is over – the resurrection is begun.

    However all is not what it seems as these actions are all the design of Clu, who’s agenda threatens both the digital domain and the physical world. The chemistry between Creator and Creation, between Flynn and The Grid, is a perfect analogy for the Christianity faith – as is succinctly explained in The Likeness of the Creator by  James F. McGrath:

    ” The creator, Flynn, does not simply condemn and punish his creation, Clu, made in his own image and likeness. He recognizes that the shortcomings of Clu are a reflection of himself as creator. In fact, Clu’s vision of “perfection” mirrored Flynn’s own at the time he created Clu. But what he came to realize later is that such ideals of perfection in fact pale in comparison with the reality of human life, with all its flaws and failures.”

    Naturally Tron Legacy lends itself effortlessly to blu-ray and a good clear HD screen, the visuals are stunning and the digital realm is rendered in flawless detail. Indeed this was one of my best blu-ray purchases and truly made me appreciate just how good my screen is. Contrasts are well defined and edges pin-sharp, and pleasingly these are achieved without losing texture definition.

    light-cycle-tron1

    At the heart of all this is a truly great music score by Daft Punk, the digital realm is brought to life with an amazing soundtrack – digital beats and contemplative ambience. It has been quite some time since I last purposely purchased an OST, but the Tron Legacy OST is a must have and I have been listening to it ever since its release. The remixed score – Reconfigured is an amazing compilation presenting Daft Punk’s electronic masterpiece in another totally awesome light.

    Tron Legacy and the days up to its release have sparked many revelations and followers, the Flynn Lives following (elaborated during the bonus footage potentially showing the origins of a further film Tron 3 – see Tron Legacy blu-ray bonus content), Flynn Frontier, some fascinating fan-made pages and projects including Life Beyond the Digital Frontier by  MAXIMILIAN MAJEWSKI, and the previously mentioned The Likeness of the Creator by  James F. McGrath.

    Tron Legacy is one of three favourite films, and one that is always viewed with the lights dimmed, the surround-sound enabled, and the screen freshly cleaned. Its definitely a thinker’s film, deep and spiritual, a great sci-fi who fans of a digital existence like The Matrix will love.

    -Flynn Lives!


  • The Fountain

    The Fountain 2006 – Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream).

    This is spirituality 101, life death and rebirth are told here in deep, evocative shades across three interwoven timelines that dance around the spirit. The film’s score (by Clint Mansell) is one of the finest pieces of music I have come across, its haunting meditative flavours are truly penetrating. I have often chosen the score prior to my meditation sessions, it massages the soul and quietens the mind.

    This is one of three favourite spiritual films (see also Tron Legacy, The Big Lebowsky and Winter Spring Summer Spring)

    The use of match-cuts and recurring visual motifs (merging separate scene time lines to tell the same story) is truly mesmerising. This film is intelligent and certainly needs (and deserves) several viewings. The way life, death, life and living, are told through the use of metaphor, metaphysics, meditation, and spirituality is truly humbling.

    The visuals and colours are rich and a treat when viewed in a darkened room with some candles, indeed many of the scenes are bathed in deep warm candle light. Like deep calm waters, the flow of this film is slow and offers no appeal for those seeking action – indeed what’s fundamental to this film is inaction – stopping and looking within, finding stillness and evoking deep contemplation.

    The acting in this is sublime, Hugh Jackman’s performance (as Dr Tom Creo) is the best I have seen – the emotions, despair, guilt, love and loss and ultimately enlightenment are real. The writing is beautifully told and delivered. It would be inappropriate to talk about character development because the very concept of this is what the film is about.

    As for what format makes best viewing I believe DVD gives the best experience, the Blu-Ray version seems overworked, the dynamic colour range is somewhat compressed to compensate for higher contract (the darks are too extreme), also the films score is dampened on Blu-Ray (in my opinion).

    My thinking-mans deep spiritual collection of films is now becoming quite extensive but this remains in my top three, and for the price of DvDs these days this is simply a bargain and something I believe everybody better for seeing sometime in their lives.

    Also reviewed by:

    unpacked thoughts – the ramblings of a grown boy