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Silicon would make most people think of breasts, not microchip.
That's silicone. Please don't make that mistake. As someone who lives in Silicon Valley, I am painfully aware of the difference.
I still think the twist and the entire scene with The Architect is one of the best parts of the trilogy.
Learning that Neo is the not-so-Chosen One was really cool. Plus, I think the actor who played The Architect deserves props. He was one of the best performances to boot.
Unlike Morpheus... His "speech" to Zion is painful to listen to. "FOR one hundred YEARS! we have been OVER-ACTING and WHY did they make me drop what made me BADASS by making me BELLOW when my coolest asset was my soft-SPOKEN demeanor."
While I did like the Architect scene, what really irritated me was how they completely changed the nature of the threat. Archie clearly tells Neo that if he chooses not to return to the source, that the Matrix will experience a system crash and kill everybody inside. But in the next movie, Neo somehow gets the idea that there is a 24-hour time limit for him to fix the Matrix and save Zion. Also there was no reason for that Agent to be chasing Trinity.
So really Neo's dilemma at the end had no reason to exist. Your standard villainous Sadistic Choice is between the Love Interest and the faceless masses. The Architect told Neo both that he had no chance to save either Trinity or Zion. If he were smart, he would have given Neo the choice to return to the Source and save Trinity and everybody in the Matrix, or refuse and let Trinity and the Matrix people all die. Zion would be destroyed either way. Neo could then Take a Third Option that ended wit him saving everybody.
Was the Architect wrong about that?
The Matrix faced a cataclysmic threat in the form of Agent Smith, overwriting and reproducing throughout the Matrix. By the time Revolutions happens, Smith has overtaken the entire Matrix. If he escapes the Matrix into their other servers and mainframes, he'll overtake the entire system. He is an incredibly potent virus and needs to be quarantined before he can threaten the entirety of the system, and because he's in the Matrix, embedded in the minds of the people plugged into it, that means crashing the Matrix, killing everyone.
Neo's Third Option, offering himself as a Trojan to purge Smith from the Matrix, prevented this from being the necessary solution to the problem of Smith. Without his sacrifice, the Architect's threat would have proven entirely correct. Between the necessary destruction of the Matrix and the systematic extermination of Zion, the human race would be extinguished.
EDIT: Thinking on this more, Neo's third option wasn't even a third option at all. He took the first option that was presented to him to begin with, just at a later date and under a different context. Neo was supposed to travel to the Source, engaging in what is essentially a reformatting of the Matrix that would wipe out Smith, reboot the Matrix and the whole Zion ritual, and start over from the beginning.
Neo's bargain in the heart of the Machine City was basically exactly that: what would you consider "the Source" if not the machines' central mainframe, in the heart of their city? He traveled there externally rather than internally, but he still traveled to the Source and reformatted the Matrix. He did exactly what the Architect told him to do, but did so on his own terms, rather than the Architect's.
edited 3rd Jun '14 1:04:11 PM by TobiasDrake
If that's the way it was supposed to be, it just raises further questions for me.
For example, the Architect's speech makes it clear that the imbalance that leads to The One's creation is inherent to the programming of the Matrix and therefore an eventuality that can be planned for. But Smith was a virus brought about because of whatever Neo did to him plus his refusal to return to the Source to be stored or deleted. So rather than the natural side effect of the Matrix's imperfection, Smith was an unforeseen anomaly and not what the Architect prepared for. At least that was my understanding because neither Neo nor the Architect explicitly mention Smith in their conversation.
So was Smith the problem, or was he the cause of the problem, or just a symptom of the problem? In the first movie, Smith desperately wanted to escape the Matrix and return back to the machine world because he hated humanity so much. Neo actually made that possible. As Smith said, "Afterwards, I knew the rules, I knew what I had to do, but I didn't."
The only "person" who might have planned for Smith was The Oracle. I highly doubt The Architect predicted Smith at all but Smith's creation and what he does ultimately plays right into what The Oracle was trying to accomplish.
Smith wasn't the imbalance that leads to the One's creation; Neo becoming the One predates Virus Smith. If anything, Smith was another consequence of the imbalance. When the Architect said that Neo refusing to return to the Source would result in a system crash that wipes out all humanity, that was not a threat. Machines don't know how to threaten. It was a statement of fact, made with the calculated certainty of a computer program.
The Architect never says why the system will crash or what form it will take. The audience assumes he means it in an immediate sense; if Neo walks through the second door, back into the Matrix, the machines will crash the Matrix out of spite. It even initially looks like they're doing that, with the entire hallway exploding behind Neo - which is actually the bombs in the building that we were warned about earlier in the film, wiping out the access point as per the protocols the Keymaker explained to us.
But ultimately, all the Architect actually says on the matter is this: "Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race." We can only speculate on what this is supposed to mean, but Smith looks to be the likely candidate.
One thing that's important to keep in mind with regard to the machines is that, despite the Second Renaissance being brought about by their right to choose, the machines are violently opposed to the principle of choice. Look at their programs and listen to the way those programs talk about what it is to be in the system: they exist to serve a purpose mindlessly, and if they are not serving that purpose or their purpose is no longer needed, they are deleted. The Oracle explains in Reloaded that some programs, faced with the prospect of termination, choose to hide themselves within the Matrix. We see this for ourselves in Revolutions, with the little girl who doesn't have a purpose to fulfill and is being smuggled into the Matrix for her protection.
The Architect explains that the anomaly is the result of choice. Free will is their enemy, the reason that the Matrix consistently fails, the reason that they've ultimately come to this version of the Matrix in which human choice is reflected and incorporated, and when things get to a head, the ultimate avatar of choice, the One, is meant to reboot the entire thing. Despite coming about as the result of machines gaining sentience, sentience itself has become the greatest enemy of the machines. Free will is the anomaly.
Agent Smith displays this sentience in the first Matrix film. He disconnects his earpiece to have a heart-to-heart with Morpheus, which is where he delivers his speech comparing humans to a virus and exclaiming that he needs the codes to Zion so he can be free. The other agents behave in a mindless fashion, faithfully obeying their purpose like good programs do, but THIS program is acting outside the bounds of his design. Agent Smith is sentient, displaying choice, and so is already a symptom of the anomaly.
When Neo damaged his code, he made it worse. The Smith we see in Reloaded and Revolutions is malfunctioning in glorious ways. By killing Smith, Neo set him free. Rather than face termination, the program hid within the Matrix, just as the Oracle told us that sentient programs do. As an Agent program, Smith displays the ability to temporarily overtake individuals that all Agents display, but as either a consequence of his sentience or the damage Neo inflicted on his code, Smith can ignore the protocol that requires him to surrender a body when it is no longer in use. Like Neo, Smith is powerful and he is dangerous because of the anomaly, because he exercises free will rather than obey the program the Architect has designed for him.
Thus, the Architect did not plan for Smith to exist, he might not even know that Smith does exist, but the anomaly that created Smith is still familiar to him. It's not Smith, specifically, that he says will destroy the Matrix, but the anomaly of choice. And he is right.
edited 3rd Jun '14 2:05:36 PM by TobiasDrake
That does make sense. When Smith was talking to Morpheus he says that he feels like he's been "infected" by humanity, whom he compared to a virus or cancer. What he got wrong was his statement that mammals instinctively establish an equilibrium with their environment. No they don't. No life that wants to survive for long will do that. All life will instinctively multiply to the maximum extent that it can until it experiences a Malthusian catastrophe, whereupon the population dies off until the food source is replenished, and so on.
On the other hand, a well-programmed and perfectly-designed system could perfectly balance the problems of population growth, death, and resource consumption. But the only thing that could do that is a machine. So in a way, Smith became infected with humanity until he became like a life form, spreading, consuming and devouring all he could, because that's what life does. But once infected with life and free will, contrarily you can't behave as a machine. The "correct" thing for Smith to have done would be to self-destruct. But instead we get I Cannot Self-Terminate. Life wants to go on living, after all.
Also, that does give a little more insight into the interaction between Smith and the Oracle. Only the Oracle figured out that humanity couldn't survive without free will, even if we only had a little bit of it. She could only learn that because she was specifically designed to study and understand humanity, and thus understood free will. Hence her chastising Smith, "You always were a bastard", and Smith replying, "Well, you would know, mom."
Guess you guys would agree with me and my other thread that The Architect wasn't evil despite in some ways being the main antagonist? (of the first two films anyway)
edited 3rd Jun '14 2:55:58 PM by Nikkolas
I would say that he's not evil. If anything he's Lawful Neutral. Although I'm not even sure that he would qualify as the Antagonist. For the most part it was the Agents or rogue programs who actively opposed the heroes. It's never really elaborated on whether or to what extent the Architect can command the Agents. Personally I don't think that he could. He's more like the Deist version of God, the Watchmaker who sets everything in motion but doesn't get directly involved after that.
edited 3rd Jun '14 3:00:21 PM by Lawyerdude
Evil requires the capacity for choice. The Architect is a program dutifully fulfilling his purpose. He doesn't display enough capacity for free will to be evil.
Between his utter disdain for choice and the Oracle's comments, "Most programs can't see past their own choices, but THAT man can't see past ANY choice," it's pretty clear that the Architect is not sentient. He's just a cog in the machine.
edited 3rd Jun '14 3:00:59 PM by TobiasDrake
The Architect isn't good or evil. He doesn't seem to actually do anything. He gives Neo information and presents the choice. He had no hand in the circumstances though. He doesn't even seem to care what choice Neo makes.
How can you have disdain for choice though and not be sentient? If anything, he'd be indifferent to choice or just kinda like "it doesn't exist" in an apathetic manner.
He seems to do things with detached, mathematical precision but he definitely can think and feel. Remember his line to The Oracle at the end of Revolutions?
The Oracle: I have your word?
The Architect: What do you think I am? Human?
A sense of honor and the evident pride he takes in The Matrix clearly suggests a higher intelligence.
edited 3rd Jun '14 3:20:56 PM by Nikkolas
He can be intelligent and still lack self-determination. The Architect obeys his purpose without question. He displays an ability to understand the world around him, but does not display a capacity for free will, never stepping beyond the limits of, "This is what I exist to do, this and nothing else." He obeys the governing principle of his existence faithfully and without question, never choosing for himself.
edited 3rd Jun '14 3:25:55 PM by TobiasDrake
Yeah, I see what you mean and it makes sense.
In other are they evil discussions, what do people think of Virus Smith? Do you believe he's responsible for what he did? I believe he was removed from the Complete Monsters list because they decided he lacked the proper moral agency and I'm not at all sure about the reasoning for that.
edited 3rd Jun '14 6:41:14 PM by Nikkolas
In the first movie when he was a program for the machines, then yeah he had no choice. In the other two though, it was a choice to take over the world. In fact, he spends five minutes giving a speech on choice and free will.
Another one of my favorite parts.
It is true that by virtue of his nature as a sentient program, Smith comes from a very different moral background than the rest of us. By our standards, Smith is a reprehensible creature with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but he was never designed to abide by our standards.
With that said, however, he's a pretty reprehensible creature with no redeeming qualities by the standards of the Agent programs, too. The Agents are ultimately designed as peacekeepers within the Matrix. They sweep out the bugs to preserve the stability of the system. They, as a whole, are not evil any more than any officer of law enforcement is. They are an enemy for our protagonists because our protagonists seek to destabilize the system, but not out of malice.
Smith's actions are detrimental to that stability that the Agents exist to preserve, and because of Smith's free will, they are so by choice. Even by the standards of the program he was designed to be, Smith is an omnicidal maniac, perverting the core mechanics of his design, corrupting and destroying the system he was created to preserve, even cannibalizing a fellow Agent at one point, all to serve his own selfish motivations.
By our standards, Smith is reprehensibly evil. The Blue and Orange Morality argument falls flat as well, because Smith is pretty goddamn Orange too.
As was observed before, Smith seemed to be buggy even before he turned into a Virus. In his scene with Morpheus he unplugged his earpiece and told Morpheus that he "hated" the Matrix. An Agent shouldn't feel hate. And during his fight with Neo, he expressed rage and a desire to inflict pain. Part of the film's great visual symbolism is that Smith is the only Agent whose eyes we see. He takes off his sunglasses during both interrogations, and in the subway, Neo actually breaks them.
Come to think of it, isn't Smith the only Agent who engages in hand to hand combat in the first movie? I think that Brown and Jones only use their pistols. Even when given the chance to punch or kick they choose to shoot instead.
So I think the Chateau Fight was the best fight in the Trilogy. I like meldee weapons more than guns and that music was great.
I always find it jarring how "depowered" Neo is in the sequels. Like end of the first film, he moves so fast he can fight an agent one handed, his arm movements are just a blurr. Such speed he... never displays in the sequel.
Well he did have his Superman speed at the end of Reloaded. Remember just the wake of him flying was destroying everything behind him.
Plus he did beat those three "upgraded" Agents in about a minute near the start of the film.
But yes, he was sorely lacking in his more...exotic powers that he was supposed to have. He's basically a Reality Warper but he forgets about that in 2 and 3 because that wouldn't be as interesting as kung fu.
Sure he does, we just see it from his perspective. He effortlessly curbstomps three Agents in the opening scene of Reloaded, and on two separate occasions, we see him utterly demolish an entire army of Smith, each of whom has the physical capabilities of an Agent, and all of whom are reduced to dogpiling in a desperate bid to try and get Neo to slip up and make a mistake by Law of Averages alone.
The writers are reduced to conceiving excuses to remove Neo from the action specifically because of how much of a Game-Breaker he is within the Matrix.
edited 5th Jun '14 12:21:35 PM by TobiasDrake
Except that explanation doesn't make sense. Because we also see from his perspective at the end of the first film, and we see that from his point of view, Smith is BARELY moving. When he fights Smith in the Burly Brawl (And at this point there's no indication the smiths are any way faster or stronger than they were as opposed to the 2nd generation agents), none of them moves anywhere close to this slow. Ditto when he fights the obsolete programs in the Merovingian's Castle.
Yes, Neo's powerful in the sequels, but less so than he was at the end of the original.
edited 5th Jun '14 12:24:21 PM by CobraPrime
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