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The Matrix, a science fiction film directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski received positive reviews from most critics and the public liked it. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. Entertainment Weekly called The Matrix “the most influential action movie of the generation”.

We were told that the humans built some machines –robots- with Artificial Intelligence to work for them, especially doing the tiring tasks that no human wanted to do. The people treated these machines for what they were to them: mechanical helpers that they owned and that they could dispose off at will. The machines, becoming more and more intelligent, wanted to be treated with respect but the humans were not ready for this. Wars between them became inevitable, the humans winning the first ones but soon it was obvious, even to them, that the machines were becoming too strong and defeat was laying ahead.

As a last attempt to subdue the machines the humans covered the sky with a blanket of viscous liquid preventing the sun rays to reach the earth, the main source of energy of the machines. Soon war stated again but this time the machines won leaving the world in ruins.

Most of the humans were taken prisoners by the machines that used them as energy source instead. Moreover, due to the fact that the sky was now covered, the temperature on the earth was too low for the humans to live on it and they had to build an underground city to survive. Except for the loss of the sun energy the machines were not affected.

The world was now made of three communities:

  • The machines that are becoming more and more sophisticated.
  • The human prisoner, their bodies hibernating in vats. They are kept alive because the machines needed their thermal energies to replace that provided before by the sun. Their brains were connected to a computer that controls them, giving these people the impression that they are living a normal life whereas they were sleeping-like in the vats. Moreover the computer programme kept the time still, and the prisoners were induced to think that they were still living in 1999 when they lost the war whereas now the year is 2199. As the machines need new generations of humans they are now grown in fields like vegetables.
  • The few remaining free humans are now living mainly underground where the temperature was still high enough for them to survive. They are always battling the machines and they have flying machines –known as Hovercraft- with which they raid the machine world.

There is in fact a fourth minor community: the community of the Sentient Programmes. The Machine World is sustained by computer programs based on Advanced Artificial Intelligence. These programmes have a life of their own and, in some ways, behave like if they were people too.

The free humans living outside the Matrix have still each their own personality. They are not a homogenous group; they have different opinions and keep arguing between them as before. These free humans are, in principle, living the same life as before except that they have to live under ground and defend themselves with hovercrafts. On the contrary the prisoners in the Matrix who are living in vats have their brains plugged into a computer that controls their whole life and behaviour.

The free humans are superstitious, they have problematic human relationship and the organisation of the wars against the machines is not problems-free. In other words, the free humans are not a band of brothers but they are not a brood of vipers either. However outside the Matrix, every person live in their own world, every person is normally limited.

It is not clear who thought first of the Matrix theme. Screenplay writer Sophia Stewart said that she was the author and that her work was stolen from her. She has been suing Warner Brothers, Joel Silver, Andy and Larry Wachowski in a Los Angeles Court in what was the biggest suit for damages in the history of the film industry. However she lost her Court battle.

In her lawsuit Sophia Stewart claimed that The Matrix franchise was based on her ideas and that, in answer to an advertisement by the Wachowski Brothers, she sent them a copy of a comic book, “The Third Eyes”, she had written and copywritted in 1981. She never received any answer and her manuscript was not sent back. When she saw The Matrix in 1999 she realized that it was very similar to her story. She filled a suit against the makers asking $1 billion in damages. The case was dismissed in 2005 when she failed to show up in the Court for a preliminary hearing. The Court said that Stewart and her attorneys had not presented evidences to bolster her claims or demonstrated a similarity between her story and the Matrix film. As far as it is known the case is now dead as Mrs Sophia Stewart did not go on with her suit.

As a result it can be said the Matrix films are the intellectual property of the Wachowski Brothers. The Matrix was an immediate box-office success when it was released in March 1999. It grossed more than $2.5 billions.