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Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and the Religion in the Matrix
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on October 4, 2003
There are good essays, and there are bad essays.
The book also lacks focus. It seems to be just a bunch of essays that are by people who are famous and who slightly modified another essay that they had already written in order to make them apply to The Matrix as well. Only three or so of the essays directly applied, and one of them didn't mention the movie at all (although that essay was noted as having been written before the movie and was included as a prophetic statement). Of these essays, one focused entirely on whether the technology in The Matrix was possible, which wasn't entirely interesting to me.
Other essays, notably the religious ones, were quite amusing, as religion was never really intended to be a main theme of the movie, although philosophy was. The author (can't remember his name off hand, but I am sure you can look at the table of contents) who said that The Matrix was a Christian movie was quite entertaining, although a bit...inaccurate. He compared Neo to Jesus (of course) and cited Biblical scripture about the Messiah coming and being a military and spiritual leader, which is funny, since that isn't what Jesus did at all.
The author comparing it to Buddhism seemed similarly deluded, since The Matrix is an anthem of personal choice and individuality, which is not at all what Buddhism is all about. Granted, there are overtones of both in the movie, but they are both wrong that the movie instills their religious viewpoints. It is, however, interesting to note that such widely disparate religions could both think that the movie referred to their religion. Perhaps they are not as far apart as they think? Perhaps they simply fell into the trap of confirmation bias.
Either way, it is a fairly fun read, but not because it will give you any terribly new thoughts on the movie...rather, it will allow you to see why the movie was so popular. It meant many things to many people, and the creators did a great job of manufacturing a movie that allowed people to suspend disbelief, even if for only a moment.
The book is all right, but I would rent it from a library instead of purchasing it again. I will likely only read it once.
You may find it to be better. Good luck.
Harkius
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on August 26, 2003
I found this book interesting at certain points...and terribly tedious at others. I am definitely not a science person, so some of the hard-core technology and scientific language went over my head a bit. However, it is easy to pick and choose with this book, as it is divided into essays and you can either read all the way through (as I chose to do) or read one, wait a week, read another, etc.
The essay I found most interesting in the book was "Finding God in the Matrix." As I was raised in a Christian family, I found many parallels in my own mind with the story of Jesus Christ and Neo, but this guy definitely did his research. I was a little disappointed by the misquotes and flawed citations to the Bible that I found, but it was nothing significant enough to make the entire essay moot.
This is definitely not leisure reading, so I wouldn't recommend that you take it along to the beach. If you're not a scientific person, I wouldn't recommend that you read all the science essays, either, but that's the great thing about this book--it allows you to pick and choose what you want to read without having to drag yourself through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff. Anyone who likes to delve into the deeper meaning of what appears to be popular culture would easily appreciate this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2004
This is actually a hard book to review because of the essays beign written by many authors. Basically I give this a three because it does not go into great depth. If you have thought about the Matrix while watching you more than likely have an opinion and thoughts on the subjects they write about, for example - Was Cypher right in wanting to be plugged back in? The good part of this book though is that it is a great introduction to some philosophical concepts if one hasn't taken an intro to philosophy course. It does give the background on where the ideas for this movie came from. If you really like this one or don't like it for that matter read The Matrix and Philosophy. This is a good read that goes into a little more depth than this book seems to do. Although everything I have said is not positive I do not want to discourage you from reading this book.
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