Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why “The Matrix” Sucked

Probably the primary reason why I am a half-nerd is because I found The Matrix to be incredibly stupid and insulting.  The measure of any good movie is the ability to allow its audience to suspend their disbelief.  There are exceptions, such with the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 where the show’s opening song told us that the premise is that it is a show and we should all just relax and enjoy the riffing.

The Matrix was a movie that required you to suspend your disbelief enough to enjoy it.  Unfortunately, common sense forces me to not believe it and point the plot holes I found throughout the movie:

  1. The first major plot hole, the one that first bothered me and ruined my first watching of the movie, involved the very concept of the Matrix.  Morpheus said that when the robots lost their primary source of energy, the sun, they turned to using humans as a power supply.  So let me get this straight.  The robots were using solar power, but were vulnerable to clouds as a result.  So instead of turning to nuclear, coal, hydro-electric, wind, natural gas, oil, or exercise bikes they instead decided to put their sworn enemy in a bunch of tanks and use their excess body heat.  They could have used cows, pigs, sheep, horses, or any other warm-blooded animal for this task and they probably would not have had to go through the trouble of creating a virtual reality that could easily be hacked by other sentient beings.  Now, I never saw The Animatrix and I think that one has an origin story of the robots in it, so maybe that one explains why the sentient robots decided to go through a lot of trouble for a power supply.
  2. Given the faulty premise, that all humans were stuck in a gooey pod and hooked in to a complex virtual reality simulation to pass the time, why would the robots make us all think we were living the 1990s?  Would it not be better to have us all think we are living in a less technologically advanced age where no one could conceive of a computer and thus be unable to hack any system?  Better yet, why base their virtual simulation on reality in the first place?  They had complete control and influence over our development where they could have built an entire society around obedience to the robots.  Instead they put in a century where cynicism and science fiction are pretty normal concepts and human beings were able to grasp all the technological advances of the time.  Or better yet, they could have made a better world where human beings would, by and large, not want to leave and instead be content to live out their days in a world where all their dreams come true.
  3. If someone escaped the Matrix, why were they not immediately killed?  I know this is sort of explained in the second movie, but instead of humoring the fluke in the programming, they should have just simply eliminated it.  It would have allowed them to avoid all the problems they faced from various inconsistencies in the programming.
  4. Would not the robots have worked on a plan to reinvigorate the Earth’s ecosystem, much like in the Japanese Neo-Human Casshern series?  If solar power was a preferred source of energy and human beings were merely a fall back, then why were they not able to clean things up?  They apparently had hundreds of years to do so, if you watch the sequels.  Instead they play this stupid game with the ones who escape and assume that in the end everything will turn out right.

These are the plot inconsistencies that were never answered in the first movie and never really clarified in the sequels or the animated prequels, as far as I know.  It seems to me that the whole premise was created by a 13-year-old boy and not a good story writer.  They could have easily said that the humans were locked up in pods because the robots have a few fundamental commands in their code that disallow them from killing humans directly.  Isaac Asimov came up with that concept and it served many of his books well.  At least that way we would have better explanation as to why the Matrix existed.

The fact that there was so much awesome action in the movie does not cover up the fact that it was just an overall bad premise to begin with.  I find the whole movie to be insulting to those of us who have enough sense to understand the lack of believability of the story.  Yes it was fiction, but it was bad fiction.