Dr. Margaux Poueymirou
ENGL101: The [un][faithful] Art of Adaption
PARADOX OF REALITY:
Baudrillard and The Matrix
“When there is nothing, everything comes out.” ——Zhuangzi
In the beginning of The Matrix, when Neo, the main character of the movie who is supposed to be “the one” and save the human race, opens a hollowed book and takes out a CD-ROM from it, few audiences (including me when I watched it before reading the book) would notice that the book is Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra And Simulation. Nevertheless, it is kind of ironic that in the book there is nothing but cash, his important computer files and drugs. Since the movie is an adaptation of the theory of this book, one can treat it as a joke made by the directors, or, to another extent, a metaphor. A metaphor poses a point that once a work, a theory is adapted, its originality “dies”, just like a hollowed book without pages, and the inside is full of other things.
The Matrix depicts a future world ruled by machines, where most of humans have been caged within an artificial virtual reality known as the matrix, which simulates everyday reality in order to exploit human bodies’ heat and electrochemical energy at the matrix’s advantage. While the real world is a ravage post-apocalyptic wasteland (also referred to as “desert of the real” by Morpheus, the captain of the ship Nebuchadnezzar, which is a hovercraft of the human forces of the last human city, Zion), the whole world in the matrix is fake, a hyperreal world, a simulation of the reality. It seems that the Wachowski brothers, as the directors, planned to build this movie based on the theory raised by Jean Baudrillard in his book Simulacra and simulation, and to some degree, they succeeded. There are several scenes from which we can see the movie’s fidelity...