The movie “The Matrix”, forecast in 1999, depicts a dystopian future (the opposite to the concept of utopia) where humans perceive a simulated reality with the name “the Matrix”. This reality was created by special machines aiming at controlling totally the population with their bodies emitting the needed energy for this cyberspace to exist. The movie is very well-known for spreading the idea of “bullet time”, a visual effect which permits a shot to be performed in a very slow motion, whereas the camera seems to move through the film with the real speed. Interestingly, but due to its cyberpunk science fiction genre, “The Matrix” is full of religious and philosophical ideas, particularly referring to such works as “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard, as well as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol.
Jean Baudrillard, however, was not pleased with the depiction of his ideas in the movie, as he considered that they were misunderstood and only distorted his book. When Morpheus quoted the phrase “desert of the real”, the movie and the book had in mind different things. The reference of the movie to the book was undertaken in order to demonstrate the allegory for up-to-date experience in an extremely commercialized drive by media ideals society, particularly in well-developed countries (Poole 2007).
A special attention is drawn to the mythology of the Ancient Greeks: the Oracle quotes a well-known aphorism, “know thyself”, as well as the Allegory of Plato’s Cave can be found in “The Matrix”. The doctrine of the Trinity, which is so important for the Christians, also has a place in the movie which reminds a compilation of world’s famous and meaningful theories on human life.
The “evil genius” of Rene Descartes, ideas from “Life Is a Dream” by Calderon de la Barca, and “noumenon” of Immanuel Kant are also here. The latter presupposed some event or object being perceived without the application of senses, a so-called world of ideas that a philosophical mind can understand, and which was contrastive to the realm of phenomena that can be interpreted by means of senses and, therefore, even uneducated people can conceive it (Noumenon n.d.).
The name of the movie is also a given to a work of science fiction: William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” was a source for the similar cyberpunk genre of the movie. Gibson has appreciated the close relation of “The Matrix” with the real ideas of this genre, however, he also added that the movie is thematically closer to the book by Phillip K. Dick. This thought was shared by many other movie critics (McCaffery n.d.).
The philosophy of “The Matrix” is not solely taken from science fiction works, however, is also drawn upon from the Japanese animation which brought up to the movie a special attention of the progressive youth of the time which lasts still up to today. Akira and Ninja Scroll inspired the director to use them as a “promotional tool” for the “Ghost in the Shell”, directed by Mamoru Oshii. Furthermore, “The Fist of Legend” inspired a great development in the martial arts which were choreographed by Woo-ping (Galis-Menendez 2006).
“The Matrix” shows the importance of freedom. Philosophers have been talking about it for ages, referring to its various aspects. In the movie, the spiritual, political, and psychological challenges are well-outlined stating that the human being is able to obtain only individual freedom, whereas all others would always be out of reach. However, to obtain this freedom, the individual should trespass all possible limits and leave her comfort zone in order to receive a completely different state of mind. Philosophically, the movie starts with the ideas of Plato and Aristotle, slowly proceeding to Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Karl Marx, Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, and our contemporaries Foucault and Jean Baudrillard (Galis-Menendez 2006). “The Matrix” reminds a guidebook of the most prominent philosophical ideas of all times.