Welcome, to the desert of the real
The Matrix : William Gibson is known to be the originator of the word "cyberspace", and he is the genuine creator of the Matrix, in his first novel Neuromancer (1984); and the followings, included within the Sprawl trilogy, Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988):
A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he'd cut in Night City, and still he'd see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void....Authoring as well the short story Johnny Mnemonic (1981) -whose film was also featured by Keanu Reeves in 1995-, and scripts for The X-Files, Gibson outlined the characters of Neo (Bobby Newmark in Count Zero) and Trinity (Molly, in Johnny Mnemonic and Neuromancer), and aroused such ideas like direct downloading precise instructions into their minds on how to fly an helicopter or mastering Kung-fu.
The Matrix plays with the concept of Technological Singularity, expression that was spreaded by the mathematician Vernor Vinge to describe the turning point in which social and technological development are due to:
- creation of a computer that surpasses human capacity,
- neural network aware of own consciousness,
- interaction between man and machine that allows to develop its skills,
- or through biological manipulation of human beings
The Matrix also have similarities to Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) and GITS (Ghost in the Shell, by Masanori Ota, under pseudonym Masamune Shirow, hit the screen in 1995), what was actually admited by the Wachowski Bros in The Animatrix. Indeed there are several "borrowed" scenes and story lines. Likewise Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) has too many resemblances to The Matrix (even used same sets), as well as The Thirteenth Floor (Josef Rusnak, 1999), that was also premiered before. Both are great movies, despite they have not gotten the same acknowledgment as The Matrix did.
But if there do exists a source from where obvious parallelisms with The Matrix come up, are the comic series The Invisibles, from Grant Morrison: the look of Morpheus and the character King Mob; the famous jump of Neo's training with Morpheus, or Dane Jack Frost and Tom O'Bedlan in the comic; or the interrogation scene between Agent Smith and Morpheus, or Sir Miles and King Mob in The Invisibles, to mention a few. There are even some back references, from Morrison to The Matrix, in retaliation, like the "born" (or awakening) scene of Neo, after deciding to fall into the rabbit hole. In fact, King Mob (Morpheus) bears great resemblance to Morrison.
When Morpheus depicts Matrix to Neo, he sentences "Welcome, to the desert of the real". This same sentence misreads the one in sociologist Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation, concerned about how technology influences social relations, hyperreality denying reality.
Outstanding visual effects, specially John Gaeta's "Bullet Time" technique (even its real owner is Michel Gondry, in a Rolling Stones video), The Matrix has been the film that branded the new science-fiction aesthetics.