Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / The Matrix

Go To

Fridge Brilliance

  • After my first viewing of The Matrix, I was wondering why the Oracle lied and told Neo he wasn't The One. I eventually hypothesized that she needed to lie to him so that the proper sequence of events could be set into motion. It was only upon a later viewing that I realized that her actual words, "Your next life, maybe. Who knows." were completely correct, since Neo had to die first before becoming The One. —Onigame
    The Oracle: Now I'm supposed to say, "hmm, that's interesting, but...", then you say...
    Neo: But what?
    The Oracle: ...but you already know what I'm going to tell you.
    Neo: I'm not the One.
    The Oracle: Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you're waiting for something.
    Neo: What?
    The Oracle: Your next life, maybe. Who knows.
    • It also explores the theme of belief. Morpheus believes Neo is the one. Neo doesn't believe he's the one. Trinity comes to believe Neo is the one. It doesn't matter what Morpheus or Trinity believed, it matters what Neo believed. Trinity confessing her love and the Oracle's prediction finally allowed Neo to believe as he came back to life. Remember the Jump program? "Free your mind" indeed.
    • Advertisement:
    • The Oracle told Neo that he isn't The One so that he would not set his own life over Morpheus' during a situation later in the movie where Morpheus is in danger. She needed Morpheus to live on, and knows Neo will only save him if he knows he is not the One: "Fuck it, might as well risk my life for this guy, The Oracle said I wasn't The One anyway". — Merzer
    • The Oracle doesn't tell Neo to choose either way, she lets Neo answer. If she had said either way, then she is telling Neo what he is and not letting Neo find out on his own, thus the whole reason for showing his "know thyself" in latin above the door. This is also the better way as it frames the choice Neo has to make for Morpheus (as the parent comment states).

  • It took me years to understand the scene in The Matrix where Neo has a breakthrough and decides to go rescue Morpheus. The obvious reason is that he sees The Oracle's prophecies come true and thinks that since he is not The One as Tank and Trinity believe, then Morpheus is more important than him and must be rescued at whatever cost. But if you look closely to her words, The Oracle said that "One of you is going to die...", which means that since her words are true, there are two possibilities for Neo: he can either go and save Morpheus at the cost of his life, or he will fail and Morpheus will die, but that means Neo will survive the attempt. Whatever the case, it either won't be suicide as Tank says, or his sacrifice will not be meaningless. That is also why he doesn't want Trinity to go, because she is the wild card and can end up dead in either case.
    • Which comes right back around to one of the series' main themes. The Oracle wasn't telling him to go or not to go. She was opening the doors and letting him decide which to walk through. Choice. The problem is choice.
  • Advertisement:
  • OMG! Infinite Ammo is usually the most common and most frequently-used cheat in video games, which would mean that anyone in the matrix who had the slightest understanding of how it worked would know of that cheat and be using it! Which is why everyone's got infinite ammo!
  • You know, Smith's Hannibal Lecture about how humans are so destructive compared to other animals is aggravating because real animals don't act that way. But considering that Smith has never actually studied animals in the wild, nor has likely had any interaction with them beyond the programs found in the Matrix, he may be speaking from genuine ignorance. You know that paradise world that was the first Matrix? Probably not nearly as awesome as the programs think it was.
    • Smith thinks he's describing humankind in comparing them to viruses, but he actually is foreshadowing himself in the very next movie. All he does is spread through the Matrix viruslike until every person has become a facsimile of himself. He becomes the "disease" he bragged about being the cure for.
  • Neo means 'new' and Anderson, Neo's name in the Matrix, is derived from the greek Ander, meaning 'man'. So he's basically "the new son of man".
  • While we're on the subject of characters having a Meaningful Name: Morpheus is the Greek god of dreams. Need I say more?
  • When Morpheus and Neo are seemingly walking down the street together in what appears to be the Matrix, Neo is being jostled by everyone who passes, while Morpheus is not. Makes sense when you learn a minute later that they are in a training program; Morpheus has been in this simulation before, and knows exactly where to step.
    • It also shows how uneasy Neo is now that he sees through The Masquerade. He was more or less at ease when he just felt something was wrong, but now that he knows, he doesn't feel like part of the system anymore.
  • Early on in the first movie, when Neo is being chewed out by his boss, the boss says something that seems like standard angry boss lines, but in hindsight after the reality of the Matrix is revealed, is actually foreshadowing.
    Rinehart: "You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You believe that you're special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously you are mistaken. This company is one of the top software companies in the world because every single employee understands that they are part of a whole. Thus, if an employee has a problem, the company has a problem. The time has come to make a choice, Mr. Anderson: Either you choose to be at your desk on time, from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job."
  • The Oracle is pretty much the embodiment of this trope. Everything from the first movie onwards keeps coming back to her.

  • Switch calls Neo "copper-top" early on, before being ejected out of the Matrix. Copper-top used to be the Catchphrase for Duracell batteries, which Morpheus shows when he explains the Matrix.
    • If it's your first time seeing the movie, or you just don't get the Duracell reference, you could be forgiven for assuming that Switch was just hurling random insults at the naive civvie for being a pain in the ass. Actually, it goes deeper than that: it's Switch's way of saying that she thinks rumors about the One are just bullshit, and that the errand to recruit Neo into the Resistance is a waste of time. To her, he's just another one of the Machines' batteries, and that's all he'll ever be.
  • In the first movie, Agent Smith curb-stomps Morpheus. In the second movie, despite being unable to last two minutes against Smith, Morpheus takes on one of the upgraded Agents and does much better. So does Trinity, for that matter. This makes no sense...until you remember that Agent Smith was already losing his shit in the first movie. While he was doing a better job of hiding it then, his anger at his situation was already driving him, giving him an edge over both the old and new Agents, who have no motivation of their own.

  • In the subway fight in the first movie, Neo managed to execute a specific trick, which resulted in him hitting Agent Smith right in the neck. But when he attempts the same on Agent Johnson, he performs a block, indicating that this particular flaw has been fixed.
  • You remember thinking how people as energy source does go against everything you learned about Physics? Well, where do you get your Physics from? Rule one of Science: How do you know what you know? Because you learned it in school, in the Matrix. Everyone thinks it is so, in the Matrix. Also you can test it, in the Matrix. Well people, Computer Simulations run on mathematics,can't say the same about the universe.

  • The whole "humans as batteries" thing left me perplexed at first, and I was quick to dismiss it as a goof or the result of Executive Meddling. Then I realized that the fact that it does not follow the laws of thermodynamics may have been intentional! The laws of thermodynamics we know are valid within the Matrix; in the real world, they may be entirely different! This would also explain how the entire Neb crew does not freeze to death, nor does the vapor they breathe out condense into fog, when they are forced to abandon the ship before it blows up and they walk around an environment that has not received any heat for centuries: because thermodynamics works differently in the real world than it does in the Matrix.
    • The Earth receives heat from the Sun, even during "nuclear winter" conditions; even a largely opaque atmosphere can only reflect so much. Between that, waste heat from the gigantic machines girdling the planet, any functioning leftovers of human infrastructure, and the planet's quite ample geothermal heat, it's plausible that deeply buried tunnels would be warm enough for breath not to condense. (Also, where was it suggested that the movie's audience was made up of Matrix inhabitants?)

  • In the first film, I wondered why the Sentinels didn't kill off the remaining crew of the Neb right away, instead dilly-dallying around as they did long enough for the humans to set off the EMP. I watched the entire trilogy the other day and it just now hit me: The Machines had set up Neo to be The Chosen One and repopulate the Matrix, so they were unable to kill off everyone on the Nebuchadnezzar; they were maybe even becoming confused and unable to act due to a lack of instructions/instructions against action when they got inside the ship.
    • That, and the whole point of their operation was not to kill Morpheus (lest the whole codes extracting interrogation plan is SNAFU), so they couldn't just hurl a bomb at the ship from distance like they did with Osiris.

  • All the scenes filmed inside the Matrix have a green-ish hue. Just like the green Matrix Raining Code.
    • This tint also makes the rain during the scene under the bridge look like falling code.

  • When still inside the Matrix, Neo is contacted through his computer by Morpheus who tells him to "Follow the White Rabbit." When Choi and Dujour (and friends) visit Neo soon after that, we find out that the "White Rabbit" is represented by a tattoo on Dujour's shoulder. When Neo tells Choi that he's late, Choi says "I know. It's her fault," blaming it on Dujour ... the White Rabbit ... As in "I'm late! I'm late for a very important date!"
    • Choi / Dujour is choix du jour in French, as in, the special of the day. Given that a large part of the conflict between Humans and Machines is about choice, it's apt.
    • Morpheus also uses Alice in Wonderland references during his first meeting with Neo. "I expect you feel a bit like Alice... tumbling down the rabbit hole?"

  • It's a measure of how good the Wachowskis are at establishing a visual metaphor that when Agent Smith casually removes his earpiece to talk to Morpheus off-the-record without Agents Brown and Jones knowing, This Troper sat bolt upright and whispered, "wait, can he do that?" A seemingly mundane action has vast implications for what this particular program is capable of.

  • The exact time period inside the Matrix (i.e. Is it always 1999?) has been a subject of debate among fans for a while, with many people raising the question of why the Machines specifically chose the year 1999 for their simulation. Agent Smith seems to think that it's because the end of the 20th century was "the peak of human civilization" (which is debatable), but it was also the last period before the internet took off and became a major presence in human life. The internet would make it much harder to safeguard the truth about the Matrix, since people all around the world could openly discuss the world's apparent artificiality.

  • The old question of "Where do babies in the Matrix come from?" is utterly trivial. Humans are known to interact directly through the medium of the Matrix. Humans are also known to have physical bodies outside the Matrix. When two humans conceive, their gametes are combined in vitro and the resulting zygote implanted in the female of the pair, by means of techniques developed by trivial extension of those known to modern medical science as in-vitro fertilization. From there, gestation and parturition proceed as they ordinarily would, and the pregnant woman's sensorium is extended to include whatever information is necessary for verisimilitude; a woman pregnant in the Matrix is also pregnant outside the Matrix, and her mediated sensorium feels pregnant either because the sensations of her physical body are being piped to her mind, or the Matrix is synthesizing a suitable equivalent accurate to her physical situation. Once birthed, the newborn is removed from its mother's pod and installed in a vacant one, and the relationship proceeds again as it would outside the Matrix, subject to the Matrix's usual mediation of all parties' sensoria. (For example, if the newborn is surplus to the machines' requirements, perhaps it's euthanized and reprocessed as feedstock, while the parents observe their infant dying by accident or illness.)
    • Oh, well, I mean, sure, you could take at face value all that nonsense about robot baby farms, if you're untroubled by the trivially obvious implication that the machines are blatantly stupid — there is no other adequate adjective to describe the choice of such an incredibly wasteful and failure-prone technique as that depicted over Morpheus' narration, when there's a much cheaper and more reliable alternative available, one which has stood the test of millions upon millions of years worth of time, and which also offers the not inconsiderable benefit of greatly enhanced verisimilitude. The only evidence of robot baby farms is Morpheus, early in the first movie, saying that they exist; I don't assume he was wrong, or lying, but it's quite possible that the robot baby farms, like the "Garden of Eden" initial design for the Matrix's user interface, were merely one of possibly very many failed experiments which informed the Matrix's evolution.
    • Or perhaps the machines are just cloning the dead bodies over and over again. A cloning plant seems far more likely to me than such a convoluted method of replenishing their batteries.

  • The two cities are never directly mentioned together in the same sentence at any point in the series, but at some point you realize that the Humans and the Machines both live in single cities called "Zion" and "Zero One". When written out, the two names actually look surprisingly similar: both begin with a "Z" sound and end with an "N" sound, and the middle two letters of the word "Zion" ("I" and "O") actually look like "1" and "0". This subtly hints at the recurring idea that Humans and Machines are really Not So Different.

  • Tank suffering from Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome was a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, but consider his situation at the end of the first movie: sure he managed to have a Heroic Second Wind and take down Cypher, but he was still leagues away from any sort of proper medical attention for the copious burns he suffered and the adrenaline rush he's going through thanks to the multiple dangers to his life would only make things worse (adrenaline increases blood flow, meaning his wounds would also be bleeding a lot more than normal). Most likely, after Neo woke back up and they began the trek to Zion, Tank died on the way back.

  • The Agents look a lot like The Men in Black. Now, imagine how their job must look to anyone in the Matrix: they cover up unusual events (vampires, werewolves, aliens, freaking super humans) to keep you from learning the truth. They are The Men in Black.

  • I could never fully understand why Neo says "There is no spoon" when he shoots the elevator cords. All he does is shooting the cords, right? Wrong! Elevators have emergency brakes that prevent them from falling even if the cords are destroyed. Neo bends the the emergency brakes in the same way as he bent the spoon before.

  • Trinity places a hand against the glass of a phone booth; when Neo stops bullets just by raising his hand, we realize what she's trying to do.

  • The main characters speak in monotone voices, and their dialogue sounds stilted. This is actually justified by their origins, since they grew up in a fake world that the machines designed for them. Monkey sees, monkey do.

  • The environment of the Matrix is immaculate, urban, symmetrical and monochrome. It's deliberately styled that you can tell the artificiality of it and know that it's a simulation.
    • Additionally, there is no sign of natural environments - blue sky, green grass, sunlight - until the end of the trilogy, when the computers allow a less controlling and more natural, harmonious stance on their relationship with the humans.

  • Cypher nearly jumps out of his skin when Neo walks up behind him during night duty. He says that Neo scared him, but he looks around as he says it, like he's seeing if anyone else is around. Why? Because he was getting things ready for his meeting with Smith, and anyone besides Neo (who can't "read" the scrolling code on the screen) would have noticed what he was doing and started asking uncomfortable questions.
  • At the beginning of the movie, Neo opens up the book to give the Mini Disc that was inside of it to the man behind the door. The book was titled: "Simulcra and Simulation. He probably brought it because he was paranoid that he wasn't real from the very beginning!

  • While Morpheus described humanity's ironic fate - imprisoned and used as a power source by the very machines they created - the irony goes both ways. Humanity's final attempt at stopping them was Operation Dark Storm, a near-suicidal move to deprive the machines of sunlight by releasing a cloud of self-replicating nanobots into the atmosphere, ones that have no killswitch and disable anything that gets too close. The machines imprisoned us because we imprisoned them using machines of our own.

  • One would probably expect the Matrix to not allow bringing in anything that was not "authorized" there, such as weapons. However, since technically the rebels create their digital avatar "bodies" from scratch every time they "log in", nothing really prevents them from creating additional stuff and take it with them. Which is probably why the loading interface is called Construct: it allows building things to be taken into the Matrix with the avatar. After all, if you can hack into the net to install something as complex as a human body, modelling a piece of iron will be trivial. The only limit seems to be what your mind can hold together via the sheer force of will.
    • This also explains why Agents, for all their power, are not omnipotent: sure, they can be as smart and on peak performance level as the Matrix limits allow, but they still have to obey the laws of physics, which even ordinary humans can exploit and find loopholes in them. Moreover, they seem to be dependent on the computing power of their human host: that is, an Agent cannot use more resources than their current body allows them to (enter Smith trying to take the two most powerful beings in the Matrix, the Oracle and Neo, for himself for that purpose).

Fridge Horror

  • Cypher asks to be returned to the Matrix as "someone important, maybe an actor" and doesn't want to remember anything. Smith assures "Mr. Reagan" that this will happen. This seems like just a throwaway joke until you remember that, by 1999 (the year being observed in the Matrix), Ronald Reagan was in the throes of Alzheimer's disease.
    • What makes it worse is that Agent Smith called him "Mr. Reagan" BEFORE Cypher told him he wanted to be famous and important; therefore, upon striking the deal, the Machines must have altered the records of their "1999"'s past, giving everyone (except for Redpills and Exiles, who wouldn't care anyway) false memories of Cypher having been a Hollywood actor and a president - and all he really received for his betrayal was the "remember nothing" part.
    • This really does not seem likely. Smith was calling him Mr Reagan in the same way that he calls Neo Mr Anderson - its a refusal to acknowledge their red pill names and thus still as slaves of the machines. It is worth noting as well that Cypher really does not seem to have put much thought into the logistics of this whole thing: how is he actually going to reach a pod in order to be put back into the Matrix in the first place? Does he even know the way to get there? This whole thing sounds like a lie issued by someone who later admits to hating humans.

  • Here's some Fridge Horror: what happens to people taken over by Agents that don't get killed by the protagonists? Which, after all, was unheard of before the events of the trilogy. Since Agents revert upon death to the people they took over, they really are hijacking their simulated bodies rather than just replacing them, and they would presumably leave when they're done. So imagine you get bodysnatched by an Agent who either loses their prey or succeeds in killing them; you come to in a strange place, possibly in the company of a dead body (and forensic evidence might support the conclusion that you killed them, but then again it might not), and you have no idea how you got there or what you've been doing in the missing time. You might have nonfatal injuries as well if the rebel managed to hurt the Agent before escaping/dying. For the ones who don't wake up at the scene of a crime, this could explain alien abductions.
    • This was actually portrayed in the official Matrix comics in Ted McKeever's story Day In...Day Out. [1]

  • Imagine if two people were having sex, when suddenly the female morphs into an Agent.
    • And it's not all that likely, either. Agents possess Matrix inhabitants' avatars when they need a body for tactical reasons; having to disentangle a body in the midst of coitus imposes a certain degree of encumbrance, and probably wouldn't be worth it unless there's really no one else around.
    • Imagine they BOTH morphed into Agents'. Imagine blacking out in the middle of getting some then waking up naked with either, your' partner, also naked, in the middle of a strange place or your partners' Corpse!

  • There are no cats, maybe even no animals in the matrix. Like the scene A Glitch in the Matrix shows, the cat is just part of the background program. When that program was reset, so was the cat.

  • One of the original ideas for Switch is for her to have a very unique form of gender dysphoria: she was a man in the real world and a woman in the Matrix after accidentally being put in someone else's pod by the machines. In the wake of the revelations regarding the Wachowski siblings it is obvious why they both wanted to include this and why they didn't feel comfortable including this plot point back before they came out - meaning that this is still potentially a canon thing that can happen, just not for Switch. If it is, just imagine how horrific that would be to either be in the right body in the Matrix only to be freed to find yourself in the wrong one, or being in the right body in the real world only to find yourself in the wrong body in the Matrix. And taken to its logical conclusion, it's not just physical sex that could be affected by this.
  • The robots in this film have been stated to be "Sentient" A.I., which actually makes sense if you consider he possibility that either (a: the robots run on the "Smith" program, or (b: the robots have the minds of humans who have been raised to be perfect drones.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: