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35 escape from the perceived “real world.” When he awakens in his pod, the cords that provide life support break away, representing the casting away of physical and societal shackles. The religious themes (gratuitously borrowed from Christianity, but also from Buddhism and Taoism) are also not subtle but are tastefully presented in a way that does not patronize the audience. During a particularly well-known scene (for die-hard Matrix fans anyway), a character even refers to Thomas Anderson as his “savior” and “his own personal Jesus Christ.” Some of my personal favorite allusions are that a main villain in the first film is named “Cypher” (similar to “Lucifer”), and “Trinity” is a direct reference to the Holy Trinity. I could go on and on and on for days about all the brilliant, timely, and outright genius ways the story incorporates narratives and concepts central to the human experience, but the main takeaway here is that the rich tapestry of intellectual and religious ideas woven into the story is like nothing else before or after it. At this point, it behooves me to address some of the controversy surrounding the sequels to the original Matrix film. Criticisms of The Matrix sequels are unfounded nonsense. In fact, it is my strong personal contention that they should be considered as a single movie that just happened to be broken up into three parts. What is hilarious is that while everyone loved the first movie because of the punch-kick kung fu and bullet- time explosions, the second and third ones came out and ▲ Downtown Gwangju on Christmas Day: Millions of people just suddenly everyone was Siskel and Ebert, complaining living out their lives. that they were not as good as the first. Well, guess what? Nothing under the clear blue sky could ever have been as PART ONE - THE MATRIX: PERFECTION IN good as the original Matrix. What these ridiculous claims MOVIE-MAKING about the second and third movies really make me think Note: Spoilers ahead, but seriously, if you have not seen of is, just like the love between Neo and Trinity, when you this movie by February, you are blowing it anyway. love something, you have to love all of it, not just the parts you happen to enjoy the most. While it would be extremely difficult to elucidate in a single article why The Matrix is the epitome of the Before even seeing the new movie, I can say with absolute motion picture industry, if Thomas Anderson (aka confidence that any attempt to extend this storyline is a Neo, aka Keanu Reeves) has taught me anything, it is gargantuan intellectual effort worthy of abundant and that anything is possible, so try I must. More than just sincere praise. That the screenwriters of The Matrix did a movie, The Matrix is a focal point of philosophical not receive a Nobel Prize for literature has Alfred Nobel concepts, religious narratives, crucial societal themes, turning over in his grave. kung fu, ground-breaking special effects, and a love story far greater and more impactful than Romeo and Juliet PART TWO – THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS and The Titanic combined. The only way to approach an On a cold and clear Saturday afternoon that just happened even scanty appreciation of the beautiful amalgam that to be Christmas Day, my wife and I strolled down to the F is The Matrix is to understand it as more than the sum lovely Geumnam-ro CGV. Walking downtown, seeing the ebruar of its parts. streets filled with people, I could not help but think it was just like old times, or at least pre-pandemic times. Even It is no secret that The Matrix is built around major the theater, which has been virtually empty during every y 20 philosophical and religious concepts. Pluto’s cave movie I have been to over the last two years, had a good allegory, as an obvious example, is mirrored by Neo’s number of people in it – at least half full. Maybe it would 2 2 202202.indd 35202202.indd 35 2022-01-24  1:25:282022-01-24  1:25:28

Gwangju News February 2022 #240 - Page 37 Gwangju News February 2022 #240 Page 36 Page 38