Most helpful critical review
Like Most Anthologies,
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.