This week has been Matrix week. I never saw the Matrix movies. I wanted to see them; it was just not the right time, I guess. But this week all three movies were on, one after the other, in the correct order, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night. Each of these nights I kept my appointment in front of the TV with my bowl of fresh fruit (I am trying to be good) and remained glued to my TV from 8 pm to 11 pm. I even gave up “So You Think You Can Dance”.
It was worth it, of course. The great love between Trinity and Neo is a classic romance which will be referenced in pop culture for many years and it was a really satisfying great love. They looked like they were created to be together and they looked after each other so nicely.
The Oracle, who lives like a 50’s mom is a wonderful touch. Niobe and Morpheus,” ouch a ma goucha”, I would feel safe with those two on my side. There are so many iconic characters.
The Smiths – what could be slimier than the Smiths – except for their creation, the sentinels, those horrible squid-like creatures. That crooked Smith smile under those sun glasses made you want to slap his/their face/s. It’s the idea of the faceless enemy, because although the enemy has a face, it is always the same face. He can replicate himself an infinite number of times. How can you fight that?
The part of these movies that I have the least patience with is the wars. They take up so much of the movie and they take us away from the interpersonal relationships between our characters. They are necessary though. A group of humans against a common foe always calls forth our best reactions; adrenaline, pride, involvement, love, patriotism, loyalty, heroism, excitement and celebration when the heroes win through. Movies have gotten very creative about wars and no movies are more creative in this regard than sci-fi movies.
I know this movie had nothing to do with space. It was, after all, about machines vs. humans. Humans had to go underground to live free of the Matrix which had taken over the earth’s surface. But the Smiths and their sentinels certainly seemed like aliens and it did seem fitting to watch this trilogy in the week of the last shuttle mission, not just the last mission of the Atlantis, but the last lift-off of a shuttle.
I always believe that we have to go to space, just for the resources we could find there and for economic reasons. But this rush toward our future is tempered by a fear of what we will find in space. If we are truly not alone in the universe, who will we encounter out there? We can’t assume they will be friendly and happy to share. How many monumental wars will we fight across space? We seem so small in the scope of the universe. We are not always good and heroic, although we can be. Will we prevail or will we bring about our doom? It brings to mind the old adage; “don’t ask for what you don’t want because you might get it.”
So it has been a week full of profound revelations for me, beginning with thoughts about freedom and ending with trepidation about our heroism. None of this is real. What is real are the more mundane dilemmas of our everyday lives, the decisions of our leaders, a shuttle lifting from a launch pad, and our fight to protect the needs of ourselves and our families.