Saw The Matrix Reloaded last night with Gwen. I very much enjoyed it. Some people have criticized it for what it isn’t. I don’t care. What it is is visually interesting and imaginative, fast moving and audacious. It’s also a little pretentious in spots, but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously (nice gag: a cop radio calling “one-adam-twelve”).
Terminator 3 is coming soon. They really should have a mechanical-dystopia double feature of Matrix and Terminator. Gwen asked if there have been any SF movies over the past ten or so years that were utopian rather than dystopian. Apart from the Star Trek movies, I couldn’t think of any. Curious that distopian visions would be more popular.
If you aren’t completely sick of Matrix-mania, check out The Animatrix, which has some very well done animated shorts that give some back-story to the movie.
2 thoughts on “Obligatory Matrix Reloaded review”
In general, sci-fi (especially the film world) has always been fascinated by dystopic futures, generally of the Progress Destroyed Humanity or Something Is Out There variety. I would say that there have been a couple of films where, although the focus of the movie was an unpleasant conflict, the backdrop of the film was, if not utopic, at least not complete dystopia. Most of these feature futures that are not too different from the way we live today. The lives of people in Minority Report seem fairly pleasant, and only D.C. is using the “future cops”. Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers and Total Recall have futures where most of the populace seem to live lives of convenience and affluence. The Fifth Element had some sinister elements in the cities, but again general lifestyle seems fine. Films like eXistenZ and Solaris are focused on future-related struggles of a minority, but don’t paint a very dystopian vision of life in the future.
Maybe my qualifications for dystopia are different from yours; I am looking for a world where the human population is living in constant oppression or very poor conditions, such as the classical autocratic nightmares of Metropolis/1984/Brave New World, post-apocalyptic worlds like Quiet Earth/Omega Man/Terminator/Matrix, or various foreign/hidden menace worlds like War of the Worlds/Alien/Dark City/Sixth Day.
On the other hand, I think we’ll always see more dystopian future sci-fi movies come out. I find them generally more compelling anyway, especially post-apocalypse films which are some of my favorite.
I think we could agree there’s a big gray area between utopia and dystopia (just realized I had been misspelling it–will correct), or movies that aren’t specifically one or the other.
Total Recall and Minority Report are both based on PKD stories–which are more about the interiors of people rather than the world at large, but tend to be pretty negative about both. Starship Troopers didn’t give us much of a taste of civilian life, but was clearly playing up the Orwellian aspects found in Heinein’s novel.
But J Robert Oppenheimer pretty much ended optimistic visions of the future for us. Back in the 30s, technological progress was equated with social progress. Things haven’t been the same since the Bomb.
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