GeekNights Thursday - The Matrix (1999)

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the 1999 film The Matrix. In the news, nobody wins the Pokémon T-Shirt Contest we discussed on Tuesday, a bill to ban games that abuse children with loot boxes or pay-to-win has bipartisan support in the senate, and I'm Gonna Have Me Some Fun is one of our favorite movies. Also PAX West 4-day badges return, and you should be on HIGH ALERT starting Tuesday.

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The stinger is something special this time. And no, before anyone asks, I did not make it. I found it. A long time ago.

I’m going to provide my raw thoughts before listening to the episode.

The Matrix aged pretty poorly, IMO. It’s fine as a standalone film (the sequels suck), and in the years since its popularity died down, my thoughts on the movie dropped from “awesome” to “just okay.”

Reloaded has pretty good action scenes, but a shoddy story, and Revolutions was just boring. The Animatrix is a mixed bag.

Also, I’d recommend checking out Dan Olson’s alternate story for these movies.

Er. So once again my senator that supported this, it’s weird. Too late for me to fully respond, yet, but hopefully soon.

Also, never seen Matrix 3.

Matrix 3 had someone in my high school tech class miss perfect attendence to go see the first showing dressed up as Mr. Anderson. Needless to say he regretted it once he came back the next day.

You mean dressed as Agent Smith?


You are indeed correct, he said that so much that in my head I’d just call him that.

Nah, Mr. Anderson. He went with his friends dressed as Zelda and Metroid.

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There was one satellite radioing pictures back to Earth, almost exactly when we started dropping film canisters. Only it was taking pictures of the far side of the moon.

It’s a pretty wild technique - it all had to be done automatically, no radio contact on the far side.

The spacecraft oriented itself with a photocell, film cameras shot away, developed the film on board in a miniature automated darkroom, used a vacuum tube to scan them, and radioed the results back to Earth.

It’s low low resolution - not what you want for a spy satellite. But the first ever pictures of the far side!

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Regarding representation in the movie:

First, the trans subtext of the movie is almost glaringly blatant with the hindsight of twenty years of social progress on that front and the Wachowskis coming out and transitioning. I cant say for sure it’s intentional since I’ve never read anything by the Wachowski sisters saying so but I’d have to suspect it was, especially since I have read Switch was intended to be waaay more androgynous and iirc in early drafts was trans in that they were male inside the Matrix before they were freed but their biological body IRL was female. I seem to remember that casting Keanu was a compromise with the studio who wanted a white male actor, and Keanu is mixed Chinese, Hawaiian and Caucasian but white passing. I’m guessing there was a lot of stuff cut or changed to fit the mass market sensibilities of the late 90s.

That said, while they were shitty movies the sequels did introduce a few cool concepts about the Matrix like the rogue AIs like The Merovingian.

Speaking of cool concepts from the sequels, was The Matrix Reloaded the first piece of media to use that form of Skeleton Key? The only other media I can think of using a Skeleton key to make portals to other doorways happened after that film.

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Wait wait. How are they skipping Matrix 2 and 3 and going straight to 4?

In all seriousness, yes I’ll fucking go see it in the theater. Fuck me, right?


I just saw a random Reddit comment that claimed that the original idea was that the machines kept humans in order to use their brains for processing power but that the Wachowski’s didn’t think the audience would understand the concept as well as saying humans were being used as batteries. I have no idea if this is true, but I actually love the idea. It is a simple and minor change but it makes the existence and preservation of humans inside the Matrix so much more meaningful, especially for movies 2 & 3. Otherwise the Matrix is just a form of subjugation rather than actually having a meaningful purpose that serves the machines’ existence. Maybe this is old news, but I had never heard this theory before.

This has been my understanding of the Matrix from the first time I watched it. The entire change list of my “Matrix Fan Exit” would be to re-record the words “batteries” with “processors” and an updated image. I didn’t know it was the original idea of the creators.

I’ve heard it a few times over the years and whenever it’s brought up I’m always reminded about how that would make such a better excuse than the batteries thing.