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The Matrix

Question: How exactly does the blue and red pill work? How does Neo taking the pill trigger him to wake up?

Answer: The pills are the Matrix representations of computer programs. The red pill contains code designed to disrupt Neo's input/output signals, so that Morpheus' team can pinpoint his physical location in the real world. Once located, a signal of unspecified type is sent from their ship, which presumably serves to wake Neo up.

Tailkinker

Question: If none of the cops knew about Trinity's abilities, why did they send so many cops to smash her door and hold her at gunpoint like she was a terrorist? To them she was just a hacker, which doesn't put anyone in physical danger, so wouldn't just one officer have been enough?

Answer: Trinity was a known associate of Morpheus, considered "the most dangerous man alive", so the police would have taken some precautions - even a hacker could be armed in any case. At least four units would be sensible for any kind of raid, regardless of how harmless they assumed the suspect was. However, the lieutenant only sent two units into the hotel to detain her so he didn't think it was that big a deal, and there were two more outside.

Sierra1

Question: In the scene in which Morpheus offers Neo the blue or red pill, what is the music that starts playing as Morpheus takes the pills out of his metal container and continues after they get up?

Answer: There was a bootleg version of the complete Don Davis score for the film going around - chronologically I would say this piece of music was part of the track titled "Down the Rabbit Hole."

Sierra1

Question: I get that people in the matrix, who have not been freed, are not ready to be freed, and I know at one point when Morpheus is explaining the matrix to Neo (I believe during the woman in the red dress test) he says something along the lines of: The matrix is a system, that system is our enemy. The matrix is filled with minds we are trying to save, but until we do they are still part of that system and that makes them our enemies. Many of them are so dependent on that system they will fight to defend it.- I am paraphrasing, but it is something like that. As I'm sure everyone knows he also says "The body cannot live without the mind." And therefore if you die in the matrix you die in the 'real' world. My question is, do they ever address the ethical questions that could arise from the fact that they kill mind after mind of police officers, SWAT teams, security guards, innocent humans just doing their jobs? I understand that sometimes it may be necessary, and that Neo doesn't have much choice but to fight agents and kill their hosts at times. But things like Mouse, knowing he is going to die so he grabs machine guns and takes out as many people as he can. Or when Neo and Trinity, on their way to save Morpheus, cover them selves in guns and take out that whole building of guards and pretty much end up with one gun each. The guards were completely prepared to let them enter the building freely if they passed the metal detector, could they not have went empty handed and just taken out two guards later, and used their weapons? It just seems like a pretty bad way to go about a mission to save people. Unless perhaps I missed a speech about sacrificing some minds for the cause or the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few type deal. Just wondering if that is ever addressed.

Answer: No, they don't address it, other than Morpheus' speech during the test. It's not something that they have any realistic choice about, so they just have to accept it and do what they need to do. Mouse, yes, he chooses to defend himself when cornered, but who wouldn't? These may be innocent victims of the Matrix he's shooting at, but they're still there to kill him - he's hardly going to stand there and accept his fate meekly. There's also no indication that the guards were "completely prepared" to let Neo and Trinity into what's clearly a high security building, undoubtedly they would have been asked for identification, what their purpose was there and so forth and turned away if, as seems likely, their answers weren't satisfactory. Shooting their way in from the start is likely their only option. Yes, it's absolutely ethically unfortunate, but if they're going to resist the machines successfully, it's not something they have any choice about. A necessary evil.

Tailkinker

Question: If agents are programs that are actually embedded into the Matrix coding themselves, then in theory, shouldn't they never miss the targets they are shooting at? We have aimbots and other programs today that can be used in video games, I've never used one but my understanding is they don't miss. Why would this not be the case in the Matrix?

Answer: The Matrix works according to specific rules laid down in the system and thus the Agents, who are part of the Matrix, have to work within the confines of those rules. Obviously they're going to be coded to be exceptionally good shots, so, in situations where those rules are in force, they should, in theory, never miss their targets, just as you suggest. However, Neo, Trinity and their comrades exist outside the Matrix and thus are not bound by those rules - it's this that gives them the abilities that they display within the Matrix, because they can subvert the rules presented to them. As such, it's reasonable to suggest that the Agents, whose targeting functions are constrained by the rules of the system, would have more difficulty hitting an individual to whom those rules do not fully apply.

Tailkinker

Question: Everybody seems to believe that the machines are not able or at least not willing to make use of the energy from the sunlight above the darkened sky. But I have some problems with that. Morpheus tells us about this when he is with Neo in the construct for the first time. But is Morpheus really 100 % believable in that question? Isn't this just his version of the story? We can believe him that the humans darkened the sky (this is confirmed in Animatrix and visible on screen) and the machines created fields of humans as their source of power (he saw those fields himself). But maybe he's wrong? Could he really know for sure how much energy the machines need? Or that the machines don't use the energy from sunlight? Is there any point in the trilogy where the machines definitely do confirm this? For me it would make more sense for them to do so: using the humans would inevitably decimate the population with every generation. If we believe that the humans' "foods" are the liquidated dead this would hardly be enough for the whole lifespan of another human (and there's also energy drained from the machines). I don't say this wouldn't make sense for the machines, but sooner or later they will have to use another source of power if they want to live forever, so why not start with it now? They would have infinite energy and could control humanity at the same time. And as we see they are able to build any types of complex weaponry/flying guardians etc., it should be easy for them technically to get past the dust and use the energy somehow. Am I right with this or is there a better explanation?

Answer: Yes. As Morpheus says, "Combined with a form of fusion,". They are not solely dependent on energy harvested from humans.

Grumpy Scot

Question: Why don't the machines use geothermal energy? What do the humans in the real use to make their clothes? Where do the humans in the real get their food from? Why don't the machines just kill humans when they are unplugged instead of letting them become soldiers for Zion? Why don't the machines just attach a gadget to a hover craft, that when it returns to Zion will either blow up or spread a virus (al la 2nd renaissance part 2)? Why don't the humans in the real plug into the matrix and just carpet bomb the entire planet thereby destroying the machines energy source and they can just repopulate the earth naturally? How come Neo has superpowers in the real world? Without sunlight where do humans in the real get vitamin D?

Answer: 1: The machines have found an acceptable fuel source with the Matrix and haven't bothered to pursue geothermal energy (Converting to geothermal may be one of the "levels of survival we are willing to accept."). 2: Their clothing seems to be mainly natural fibers, so it could be that they have cotton, flax, or hemp crops under grow lights underground. 3: They eat either from the aforementioned crops or the synthetic protein that the ship crews eat. 4: The machines have accepted that some people will always reject the Matrix and have orchestrated the creation of Zion as a sort of Trash Folder to deposit and occasionally purge their rejects. 5: See 4. 6: Since Zion is set up by the machines each time, we can safely assume that they're not going to give the humans of Zion the technological means to destroy them. By the time they might develop such means on their own, the purge happens. 7: Neo is The Chosen One, sometimes miracles happen for people like that. 8: See 2 and 3.

Question: Okay, so help me out here. When someone still plugged into the Matrix dies from say, cancer or is hit by a car, does that mean the real world counterpart of that person has been completely drained of energy by the machines? When a human has served its purpose to the machines, do they alter the Matrix to make that person die? I'm very curious to know how how death works in the Matrix.

Answer: Insofar as can be told from what little we know, the human body will continue to produce energy indefinitely, at least until it dies of old age or from some other cause - there appears to be no precedent for an individual to be fully drained by the machines. If an individual dies in some abnormal manner within the Matrix, such as a car crash, their body will die on the outside and will have to be disposed of. Otherwise, their body will presumably age normally until they expire of natural causes. As for how cancer might operate, we have no information. To theorise, as the digital body represents the actual body with reasonable accuracy, should an individual plugged into the Matrix develop cancer in their real body, then it's a plausible hypothesis that their digital self will demonstrate the same symptoms - the real and virtual afflictions will proceed at the same rate and the digital self will expire when the real body passes away.

Tailkinker

Question: Morpheus says the "one" was born inside the matrix in film 1. What happens if you're born there? This seems like a flaw in the matrix. How can millions of people live in it for hundreds of years and not reproduce? The matrix is their mind world; if they reproduce there, does the mother get pregnant and have her baby in the real world even though she has no idea she's there? How can you be born inside the matrix? I don't understand.

Answer: None of the people jacked into the Matrix actually get pregnant. It's likely their bodies experience some of the "symptoms" of pregnancy. That's a real world phenomenon: a woman who sincerely thinks she is pregnant, or very strongly wishes to be pregnant, will start producing the same hormones and undergo the physical changes involved with pregnancy, up to a point. When someone becomes pregnant within the Matrix, another artifically grown human baby is jacked in and "assigned" to be their baby. The original "One" who was born inside the Matrix was like Sati in Matrix: Revolutions. The result of two programs, which were written outside the Matrix and then inserted into it, using bits of their own code to create an entirely new program within the Matrix. This individual had unique powers, having been "born" inside the Matrix rather than inserted into it, and woke up the first humans. The cycle perpetuated from there.

Phixius

Question: In order for Cypher to speak to Agent Smith he must first, for want of a better word, 'plug' into the Matrix in order to accomplish this. My question is, how was he able to achieve this without his crew members finding out or seeing him 'plug' in to the Matrix?

Answer: In the scene when Neo can't sleep and talks to Cypher, Cypher appears startled and quickly switches off the monitors. This seems to imply he is setting up some kind of "automatic" Matrix connection that will allow him to jack into the Matrix without an operator while the rest of the crew sleep.

Sierra1

Question: Is there a reason the machines use humans for energy? Why not nuclear power or maybe even animals?

Answer: Nuclear power would eventually run out, the impression is that the Machines occupy almost all of the planet's surface, so a LOT of power is needed. Animals are probably not used as their minds are a lot more instinctual and so it would be a lot harder to create a Matrix that their minds could accept, plus most animal and plant life probably died off when the sun was blocked off.

Sanguis

Question: Why does the Oracle ask Neo to open his mouth and say ahh? What was she hoping to gain from this?

Answer: Nothing, it is simply the character's sense of humour. She knows Neo will become the One but also knows that Neo won't believe her so she puts on an act and tells Neo what he wants to hear.

Sanguis

Question: How does the Oracle get her powers of foresight? How does she know the things she knows?

Answer: The oracle is a program, inside the matrix which is an even bigger program. The oracle is simply able to "read" the Matrix and make predictions based on the balance of probabilities.

Sanguis

Question: What exactly is the Matrix for? Was it designed solely to keep the human mind sane? Or does it have other uses?

Answer: Without it, the human race would effectively be locked in sensory deprivation tanks, their minds active, but with no stimuli, which would have a derogatory effect on their well-being. The Matrix is designed to keep them busy and, yes, sane, ensuring a good survival rate and decent longevity to stop the machines having to deal with a high turnover in their power plants.

Tailkinker

Question: Exactly how do humans provide energy for the machines?

Answer: The human body generates heat and a small degree of electricity. EKG and EEG machines for instance measure the electric activity in the heart and brain. It is thought that the energy generated by the human body could be harnessed to create power, obviously The Matrix is an evolution of that idea.

GalahadFairlight

Question: It's been stated in the movie (and in The Animatrix) that humans used nanomachines to intentionally blacken the sky in order to cut the machines off from their main energy source, the sun. Firstly, why did the humans resort to such a drastic and desperate plan? They must have known it would be risky? Secondly, once the plan was implemented, why couldn't they halt or shut down the nanomachines when it grew out of control? Thirdly, why were the machines dependent on the sun in the first place? Couldn't they use or invent an alternate energy source? And fourthly, why couldn't the machines use their combined artificial intelligence to somehow find a way of eradicating the nanomachines in the atmosphere?

Answer: Blocking out the sun was an act of desperation, the humans weren't thinking about long-term consequences like unblocking it again. As for the machines, once they had adapted and created the Matrix, there was no need to unblock the sun because their problem had been solved.

Question: I understand most of The Matrix and I get the whole "there is no spoon concept," too. However I don't get why Morpheus could not apply the same principles when he was captured by Smith and the agents. Why could he not break free from the handcuffs then because "there simply are no handcuffs"? Is it because he had serum and had his sunglasses taken off of him? Please explain. It's driving us nuts.

Answer: He has been beaten and drugged. He can't focus enough to break the cuffs while the agents were there. If he tried, he would be beaten again and/or probably killed.

Question: How is it that the heroes are able to "broadcast their pirate signal and hack into the matrix", but the machines are unable to hack the "codes to Zion's mainframe computer"?

Answer: It's a range issue. It's specifically mentioned that, in order to tap into the Matrix, the ships have to rise to "broadcast depth". Zion's too far down for signals to reach it, so the machines can't hack their systems.

Tailkinker

Question: When Cypher is in the restaurant with Smith, is this before he was set free from the Matrix? I'm not too sure if it was the same for him, but I know they try and get them when they are young rather than older, so if it was during him being free, would he have been caught?

Answer: Cypher was out of the matrix when he met Smith at the restaurant. Like those on the ship, he had to plug into the system anytime he wanted to go into the Matrix. Cypher was being used as a mole by Smith to get to Morpheus. There would be no reason to take him out as he was working with them.

Lummie

Question: I could never understand this in any of the Matrix movies. They need to go to a phone that is ringing in order to leave the Matrix and go to the real world. The guy in their command center tells them where they can find that phone. Why can they not use any phone in the Matrix? Why do they have to go so far to get to a ringing phone? And why can't they just use their cell phone they have on them in order to get back to the real world?

Answer: It has to be a hard line phone, one that is part of the matrix code, that's been previously hacked by the rebels. There's a network of them throughout the city, and the operator directs them to the nearest one after activating it. Their cell phones won't work because they aren't part of the matrix; they're loaded in just like the guns and clothes. It's possible the "hard" aspect of the phone also translates to a literal physical connection in the real world which the rebels can connect to.

Phixius

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Quotes

Agent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we...are the cure.

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Mistakes

When Agent Smith is interrogating Neo, after Smith has sealed Neo's mouth shut and he is backed into the corner, when the camera cuts back to Smith you can clearly see a reflection in his glasses of Neo still sitting down in the chair.

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Trivia

In the entire film, there are only two "homegrown", real humans - Tank and Dozer. They both have names of machines.

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