A while back, internet blog contributor-for-hire Camiele White got in touch with us about writing an article, which we accepted and which turned into a thoughtful meditation on Hitchcock’s Vertigo. When the time came to pull in some favors to write for this weeks Matrix Week, I send an email to Camiele and she graciously accepted my invitation. Here, for your delectation, are her words….
Before we go any further I’m going to do something completely cheesy, but I have to do it. “You take the blue pill. The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill. You stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Red Pill: Truth be told, when propositioned to write this blog I got an irrational feeling of elation and fear. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for The Matrix. However, with this urge to write my heart out, I found myself at a loss as to what I could focus on.
Obviously, there’s the incomparable film style of the Wachowski brothers, the fight sequences that have yet to be rivaled (though, most films following The Matrix would argue that they’ve gotten close). I could start a topic about the cerebral experience of the series, how you were forced to understand the significance of your own humanity, try to answer the question to the mysteries that bind and animate all things. I could get into the obvious religious references of the film, lines and sequences that point towards an overt dogmatic message.
At this point, if you’re craving that blue pill, I advise you to scroll towards the bottom.
After weighing my options I’ve decided the best course of action would be to forgo the main series and talk about a relatively glossed over topic –the space in between. The time that lapses between the first and second films leaves so much open to interpretation. Obviously, you dig Neo’s relationship with Trinity, understand his coming to terms with his inevitability as the savior of an entire existence of humanity. However, the moments that bind this story lay between the realities, expands far beyond just Neo’s existential plight as the sacrificial lamb to the survival of the human race. With that, the Wachowski brothers, as well as a cavalcade of the most prolific and respected anime artists in the world, created a vortex, if you will, of time in which we could better understand the nature of the sinewy ropes that link the Matrix and the Desert of the Real —The Animatrix.
Each story in The Animatrix is a deeper look into the untold dimensions that govern humanity. What many people would likely miss, though, is the focus and attention paid to showing exactly what it is that gives humans their humanity. Through each of these tales, nine in all, you get the sense that there’s something that weighs heavily on every character’s mind –where am I? It’s this question, as we found out in the first installment, which propels the awoken to their final destination. What underlies the heart of the films is the delicate dichotomy between red and blue, right and left, reality and dream-life. In such stories as “Kid’s Story”, you understand that the balance is very tenuous, leaving room for you to question your place in the thick of reality. In the end, you find yourself falling from a cliff, off a roof, or into the sea in order to come to grips with the realization that you may be living your life according to a program that’s been written for you, an extended piece of code that has a definite start command and end command. Once ENTER has been pressed at certain points in your life, you’ve no other choice but to follow the command…unless, of course, you’ve peeked around the corner, through the crack in the door, under the rug to see the binary code constructing your very existence.
At this point, as in the short story “Beyond”, you’ve been stripped of your sense of self and given two options –hide (the blue pill) or seek (the red pill). If you’ve lived your life running blindly trying to attain something reserved for the enlightened, (as in “World Record”) then you’ll end up crashing into a wall without an acquired direction. But, if you’ve allowed yourself to sit still long enough to open your mind to those things that would otherwise leave you mesmerized (as in “Matriculated”), you may find yourself discovering a part of you that’s as foreign as it is natural, a place of peace that waits for you around corners and through corridors until you take the step forward.
These moments between discovery and acceptance are really what make The Matrix such an intoxicating film. Not only are you forced to break yourself open and find a new level of depth in bullet time, you’re also confronted with your ultimate power –choice. The one thing that ultimately separates us the machines that would overtake us is choice. While theirs is all logic, ours is in-tune with the ebb and flow of life as it shifts and changes. Within this ever changing circus of life, we can either stand still or allow inertia and nature to take its due course. How we manage to reach our next apex is up to us. That’s exactly what The Matrix series has given us to ponder.
Blue Pill: EXPLOSIONS! KARATE! ROBOTS! THIS FILM IS FOOKING AWESOME!!!