The film uses narrative intertextuality in a few places, and also intertextuality in the characters. The most obvious case of this is the link with ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Morpheus says to Neo ‘time to jump down the rabbit hole’, and also the link when Neo gets sucked into the looking glass. Morpheus himself is one of the characters, which takes its name from another text. Morpheus is the Greek God of Sleep who shapes your dreams.
This is significant because Morpheus has the power to release people from The Matrix, or their dreams, into the real world. Intertextuality is usually used to enhance the film with subtle humour or to give the audience an insight into the film. Either way, if the audience understands the links to other texts, they feel more included in the film. Some other instances of intertextuality in the film are, the Oracle, an all seeing character taken from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Trinity referring to the Holy Trinity.The Matrix is a mystifying film with a mystifying plot until late in the story where it is all explained. It uses extensive enigma codes to create this effect right from the start of the film. For example the very first graphic after the Warner Brothers logo is the falling symbols, which are not recognisable to the average viewer.
It implies that it is a computer screen from both the classic colour of the symbols and the sound that is heard. The ensuing scenes continue to raise questions without giving answers.For instance Trinity’s arrest; What has she done? How can she run so fast and perform the jumps that she does? Who are the mysterious men in suits? We can make an educated guess that she was the person one end of the phone call previously and that is probable she is involved with computer related crime, but this is only implied. We do not even know who to ‘support’, a choice between a criminal and a team of sinister officials.All good sci-fi films have someone, or something for the hero to lead the fight against, and The Matrix is no different.
The Agents provide this enemy, though they are simply a personification of the computers which took over the world. Because of this, the Agents show few signs of humanity, they don’t panic, show emotion, and they can dodge bullets and can morph into other people’s bodies. For example the scene near the beginning of the film where Trinity is about to be arrested.The police show their nervousness by shouting frantically ‘do it, do it now!’ The agents however get out of their car in synchronisation, show no facial expression. They all have perfectly identical suits and sunglasses and are calm.
At this point, we do not actually know who is ‘good or bad’, but the Agents seem to be some sort of sinister government enforcement agency like the FBI which may imply that they are on the bad side. How you define good and bad is a tricky question, but usually it refers to whoever is morally correct in the situation of the film. The ‘good’ side are often the ones that the story follows.Neo is introduced as a relatively normal man. Though he is a hacker and has a double life, which may not seem particularly normal, he is confused about what is happening like the audience and unlike the other main characters has no superhuman powers like defying gravity.
This all means the audience can relate to him a lot more than any other character. The film is mainly set in Neo’s narrative perspective. As he learns about The Matrix and his role as the one, so do you. This induces empathy for him, which gets the audience much more involved in the film. To conclude, I think that all these points justify why Total Film described TheMatrix as ‘film of the millenium’.
The matrix not only conforms to, but stretches the genre of science fiction.