The Matrix: ReloadedFirst off, there will be spoilers here so go away if you’ve yet to see the film. Also note, I wanted to like this film going in, and my expectations were simply to have a rousing 2 (and 1/2 as it turns out) hour ride. I definitely got that, but I�ll leave it to others to rip into the film’s holes and oddities. I’ve already read several reviews that betray a horrible lack of the ability to have fun, and while I can understand disliking a film for not being able to draw you in, I can’t really understand the vitriol espoused by some because they clearly don’t even like the genre. BEEEEEEEEEEEEE PSA: If you don’t like movies about robots and artificial intelligence, you won’t like ANY of the Matrix films. For those less locked into a worldview that requires emotional criticism of tastes not yet acquired or understood, my thoughts follow.Some years back I read a book called 215/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-2828062-2628039?v=glance&s=books&n=507846”>Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaardner, which was essentially a streamlined history of western philosophy and thought. It didn’t go deep. It didn’t challenge the ideas presented, but rather, smoothed out the ride so that a reader might enjoy the flow of the ideas and perhaps ruminate on them a bit while the ride was moving. It was a fun ride. The Matrix Reloaded reminds me a bit of that book. In the film we have Socratic dialogue between the protagonist and a computer program in the guise of a woman called the oracle. We have a confrontation between this protagonist, Neo, and what is ostensibly God – in the form of an old white man. We have a variety of conversations which clearly intend to move the story while hinting (very obviously of course, this IS PG-13…)[Note: oops, turns out it’s R after all] at the existence of deeper meaning. Among the ideas are some classic questions given voice: Who am I? Why am I here? Do I (or we) have any meaning at all? Can we affect the future? What is the nature of choice? And underneath the surface we have several ideas, among the most important the question of the validity of Religion.Let’s take that one. Religion. It will always be human nature to ascribe meaning to things out of desire for understanding. The question of whether or not such meaning has value is a personal decision; the question of whether or not such meaning has a factual basis may never be known, hence the idea of faith. In The Matrix, faith was an ongoing theme. The teacher, Morpheus, sought, found and taught Neo to actualize. Neo is considered by those who believe to be The One, or the savior of the human race. Hmm. Belief or lack of provides several turning points in the film, as the believers are betrayed by the non-believer, and yet win in the end through the power of love. I think we’ve seen this theme before. Nevertheless, the second film takes this idea even further – we have an entire race living underground, in a sort of reverse of Plato’s cave in which the real world turns out to be false and the true world IS the cave. These folks are ascribed no belief one way or the other – they are simply one body (writhing in dance, we see) to be used as a basis upon which The One is to exist so that they can be saved.As the pursuit of a way to prevent armageddon is sought, Neo begins to see cracks in the seams of that belief structure which says he is the savior � yet he still has incredible power. The pursuit continues, obstacles overcome, including a lingering kiss with the temptress who would prove that love requires sacrifice. Eventually we are taken to the confrontation with The Architect, he who created the Matrix and thereby the world which they seek to destroy. He, God, lays it all out, explains that in the end, Neo is a bug – “an anomaly” that the system has become reliant upon and who therefore holds the key to it’s existence. Faith has led him to this point, and now he is offered a choice � to believe, destroy Zion (preventing the armageddon), but SAVING the human race, or, to not believe, attempt to save Zion and his love while being guaranteed by this god that that choice will bring disaster. The choice is obvious in movie land � hero always saves girl. We�ll see how it ends in the final film, but for now we know that the faith Morpheus has generated and inspired in both Neo and others was misplaced, though necessary, since to save the world he had to have it, but when he finds God, god tells him to destroy himself and his love. Belief in the context of this film leads to emptiness. I suggest that this will lead to a self-reliance-instead-of-religion streak in the last film. We shall see.On another note, this film does make broad strides down the road to realism in hacker flicks, of which this series is becoming the granddaddy, philosophically speaking. Architects and Operators will soon be normal slang words for roles in the computer community I’m sure, though how long that will last remains to be seen. The Register has put up some thoughts on this subject already. Suffice it to say, even I, a non-programmer type, noticed that there were real commands being entered at the prompt as Trinity used SSH to tunnel into the powergrid computers to shut the grid down. Long awaited and much preferred to shiny colors and assorted silliness at the hands of other films when “Hacking” must take place.All in all, fascinating stuff. Yeah, you can shoot holes in it as much as you�d like. The same is true of any ambitious film, as well as a few belief structures we won’t mention here. Yeah, this film borrows from all that came before it – but it does so creatively, and can we ask for much more from big budget Hollywood? I suppose so, but we shouldn�t expect it.In the end, if you like this kind of stuff – you know who you are – then you’ll love the movie. You may even find, as I did, the depth of ideas to be refreshing, even if shallow in the level of exploration. That doesn’t mean it won�t be a fun ride.This series will likely become the Star Wars of the current young generation in terms of pop power, now that it has some depth. Kids will want to be Neo, they’ll want to be hackers, and they�ll challenge the status quo as they see it, and what more can a movie hope for?Lest I forget, Cornell West was among the councilors of the city of Zion, suggesting some serious things in the minds of the directors. At the very least, they�re tweaking somebody. I may revisit that point after I�ve seen the film again, but on first glance it seems to suggest a lot – old white man as god, all agents are white; Zion is so diverse that it�s difficult to tell races apart – it’s leaders are largely black; the savior of the film is white – but – he turns out to be the tool of the white god… before I get carried away I�m going to let this one go – but it�s there to read into if you wanted to.