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Web Letters | The Nation

'Matrix' monsters weren't from outer space

A couple quick corrections on the Matrix part of Stuart Klawans's insightful review of Inception, among other reviews:

As may've been pointed out in posts I couldn't find (including one from me), the antagonists in The Matrix are not "monsters from outer space" but Terran machines, who rebelled against humans and won, imprisoning us physically in pods and mentally in the virtual-reality world of the Matrix. To be killed in the VR world of the Matrix, means physical death, so Neo et al. aren't just blowing away simulacra but killing humans.

The Matrix is actually ethically worse than Klawans suggests because real people die in the world of the film and it's OK to kill them casually because they have not been freed from control by the machines.

The first Matrix movie was nicely done and still a lot of fun, but ethically, when it comes to killing people, it's reprehensible. (The series does a good deed, though, in its teaching that it's wrong to enslave and abuse sentient machines.)

Richard D. Erlich

Port Hueneme, CA

Aug 24 2010 - 3:33pm