Top positive review
Furthur Explorations of the Rabbit Hole
on August 28, 2003
"Taking the Red Pill" is, as its title implies, a collection of essays that explore the scientific, philosophical, and religious content of the groundbreaking science fiction film "The Matrix". There are fourteen essays, each by a different author, and a glossary of Matrix terms as well as short bios of the contributing authors in the back of the book. The essays address a wide range of topics as they relate directly to the film: the nature of reality, the evolution of artificial intelligence, postmodern theory, Judeo-Christian symbolism, Buddhist metaphors, and the science behind the Matrix' technology. The last three essays don't discuss the film itself, but express ideas about emerging technologies which may make a Matrix-like world of human-machine interdependence a reality in our future. Editor Glenn Yeffeth has given us contributors with opposing views in many cases, so many of the essays are grouped in pairs so that we can read them in a point-counterpoint style. The very fact that "The Matrix" can be interpreted as representing both Socialist and Capitalist, Monotheist and Pantheist, Postmodernist and Crass Commercial ideals may provide the greatest insight into the film's genius and staying power. My only criticism of the book is that, among its many interesting essays, there are none that analyze the film's meaning in and of itself, as opposed to discussing its relationship to various external religious and philosophical doctrines. "The Matrix" borrows from and alludes to numerous esteemed schools of thought, but it is the film's own fascinating, complex, and thought-provoking conditions that make "The Matrix" resonate so powerfully with its audience. "The Matrix" has a philosophical identity of its own. That said, the essays that are included in this collection are thoughtful and enlightening. I recommend "Taking the Red Pill" to fans of "The Matrix " who would like to delve further into the film's iconography and implications.