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Desert of the Real?

The world of The Matrix is wrong: Creation really is beautiful

If you can read this, you're probably not waiting in line at a movie theater. If you don't know why people might be waiting in line at a movie theater, you need to come out of that fallout shelter. Fans have been anxiously anticipating the release of The Matrix Reloaded ever since the house lights came up at the end of 1999's blockbuster, The Matrix.

The Matrix is surely the most overanalyzed movie since they invented Christian film critics. Type Matrix and Christian into a search engine and you'll come up with 13 pages of books and college seminars, youth group studies and evangelism strategies. The Christian themes in the film are so obvious that even nonbelievers can spot them across the room. A site that offers free essays to kids who cheat on their homework includes one with this title: "Christian Themes in the Matrix."

What are those themes? That this world is in the power of an evil force. It devours humans, while keeping them distracted with material pleasures. A small band of brave humans know the truth, and seek to free the race from destruction. Neo, "the One," is clearly the savior. (This role is a bit of heavy lifting for Reeves, who is not the most thoughtful of actors, but the first half of The Matrix is ideal for his talents. Reeves can be effortlessly convincing at portraying a confused person.) In the first film, Neo dies, rises from the dead, and rockets skyward making threats that sound more Terminator than Life-Giver. Neo is attended by Morpheus, who fills a John the Baptist role, and a brave young woman named Trinity. The underground camp of free humans is called Zion.

You get the picture. It's a mix of names and themes from many religious traditions, and hardly the screen equivalent of a Four Spiritual ...

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