Few things get me as excited as the idea of discussing the Matrix movies. Sure, the movies are entertaining, but the idea — that our reality isn't really real — is so fascinating that I spent a massive chunk of my teen years on IRC channels with other people wanting to discuss the Matrix.
The final part comes out in December this year, and it looks okay. But something more interesting than the movie has me excited — the buzz is coming back at a time when:
- mainstream people, namely Elon Musk, have floated the idea of a "simulation"
- Neuralink is in the works
- VR exists
- AI exists
- Boston Dynamics exists
- Global warming exists
- a pandemic exists — and the "architect" seems a whole lot less benevolent than theological claims
The Architect is a highly specialized, humorless program of the Machine world as well as the creator of the Matrix.
I'm bracing for this movie to be a cash-grab with less sci-fi or philosophy than it's former versions and more VFX fight scenes. But the discussions people begin in the larger zeitgeist transcend the scope of a mere movie.
The last time I saw a tech CEO get on stage and say AI is helping solve complex medical problems for humanity, likely Sundar Pichai at Google I/O, it really got me thinking. Only a handful of tech companies are actually using "AI" when they say they're using AI — Google being one of the scarier ones.
Imagine the "machine world" in The Matrix in which humans are used as a source of energy, as batteries. Keeping the humans occupied and engaged in a VR-esque simulation seems even more plausible today than it was in the year 2000. While they're powering this simulation, might as well have the humans develop an AI for — [drumroll] — figuring out how to prolong human life expectancy. Longer lasting batteries. Go ask Alice, when she's 10 feet tall.
I think all the cool VFX in the Matrix movies takes so much away from a deeper discussion about humanity and the nature of reality. Nevertheless, because the GFX opens the movie to larger audiences that care more about the VFX or the producer-friendly Neo/Trinity love story, it actually makes it okay and even cool for the zeitgeist or smaller sub-cultures to discuss the philosophical aspects of the movie.
Without the draw of big-bucks commercial coolness, the Matrix would've remanded itself to the fringe, where underrated movies like The Fountain or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind exist. I've watched those movies at different ages, different phases in my life, and they've always left a different but lasting impression, as if the movie were ageing and maturing with me.
Dune is another epic piece of art to me, and it's yet another commercial cash-grab I'm bracing for, although I suspect they're going to be careful not to destroy it with an overly sappy take on Paul/Chani or a simplistic take on Lady Jessica. Love what they've done with Baron Harkonnen. I have extremely high regard for the "Dune" and "Children of Dune" miniseries. The miniseries score is par excellence. Even the VFX still passes in my books, especially the worm design.
Overall, these movies are a breath of fresh air over the Marvel/DC superhero nonsense that has been going on for a while now. More Deadpool, yes of course, but everything else can take a hike.