Everything Is A Remix: The Matrix Edition

from the influence-and-culture dept

We’ve discussed, a few times now, Kirby Ferguson’s interesting Everything Is A Remix project. He’s now posted a new video… which isn’t technically a part of the series, but was made by Rob G. Wilson to highlight a variety of things in the movie The Matrix that appear quite similar to works in other movies:

What’s especially neat is that nearly all of these examples were apparently crowdsourced by fans of the project.

Of course, I’m sure some will point out that these are “inspirations” for The Matrix. And some may be accidental or aren’t really copies at all. But I believe that’s missing the larger point. Clearly The Matrix was inspired by a number of other works, whether or not all of these things were accurate. What the Wachowskis did with The Matrix was to take all those different influences and pull them together in a very compelling way with a very compelling storyline — something I believe the Wachowskis are quite happy to admit. This is the very nature of storytelling. You build on the works of others. Everyone does it all the time.

In fact (rather amusingly), comic artist Grant Morrison, whose comic The Invisibles has been mentioned as an inspiration for The Matrix was once asked about how he felt about the Wachowskis building off of his work, and his response was that “they should have kept on stealing from me” in making the sequels, so that the sequels wouldn’t have been so “incomprehensible.”

The fear here is about overaggressive laws that block out this ability to be inspired and to pay homage. As we’ve clearly seen, time and time again, there are lots of people who seem to think it’s infringement to pay homage to the works of someone else. It’s ridiculous and shortsighted, but some courts agree, and the problem may only become worse.

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Comments on “Everything Is A Remix: The Matrix Edition”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That article doesn’t mention IP.

and the whole occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t seem to have any objectives. It would be nice if they did have a reduce IP directive, and I think that will get them a lot of public support, but unfortunately they seem to be all over the place. Our IP laws do need to be fixed, they cost jobs and hinder innovation, and we need some protesting directed at correcting these laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Imagine a restaurant suing another because the other restaurant across the street copied a recipe from a meal.

Would anybody be able to produce American Pie without paying royalties?

How that would affect the economy of a region if nobody could produce American Pie’s?

Buskers on the street cannot play songs anymore they can’t make their pies to sell.

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

You know how the movie was invented? It started with a bet about whether a horse’s hooves all leave the ground at the same time during a gallop. (They do.) In 1878 Eadweard Muybridge put a bunch of cameras along a short course with strings to trip the shutters and captured stills of the galloping horse. Later he used the images to create a zoopraxiscope, which inspired further developments. The rest is history.

You know how Bullet Time was done? They put a metric buttload of cameras around a stage in various configurations and tripped them in various ways via computer. When I watched the “Bullet Time” special on the DVD I immediately saw it as Muybridge’s original experiment done with modern technology and delusions of grandeur. And so do we come full circle.

Surely nearly everything we do is derivative. What’s innovative is not what we start with, but what we do with it.

LDoBe says:

Ghost in the Shell => Matrix

Holy Crap! I have watched Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix at least a hundred times each (not simultaneously or back to back mind) and I did notice the philosophical parallels of living in artificial worlds.

But I never realized the matrix had shot for shot near copies of GITS in it. I was too busy being distracted by the green filter.

Watching the side by side gave me goosebumps. I knew that all art is derivative in one way or another, and that true originality is extremely rare to come by, but the copying is so blatant. I just thought motifs were appropriated, but I guess the shift of medium blinded me to the wholesale copies of GITS shots.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Ghost in the Shell => Matrix

I have to disagree with you there. Ghost in the Shell and Matrix did not have a philosophical parallel of living in artificial worlds.
GitS doesn’t have an artificial world. Sure, it has a super advanced internet you jack yourself into, just like Matrix, but its more of an information database than a real world simulation. Gits was all about whether Major Motoko, having a cybernetic body (shell), had a soul (ghost) (hence the title, Ghost in the Shell).
Matrix though is the opposite. The existence of the human soul is taken for granted in the movies, its the question of whether the environment you find yourself in is real or not.

LDoBe says:

Re: Re: Ghost in the Shell => Matrix

Yes, that’s absolutely true.

Perhaps I should have just said that the characters struggled with the nature of reality.

It’s the solipsist’s problem. If you take “I think, therefore I am” as your only first principle, then it is very hard to determine if your senses are of any value, and what’s more, your memories are possibly artificial as well.

In GitS, artificial memories can be implanted through ghost hacking, in The Matrix, your entire life is artificial by default.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ghost in the Shell => Matrix

The soul and the mind are the same thing. To have a human mind you need a working human brain. When you die, your brain stops working. Hence your mind ceases to exist. A soul is supposed to be a disembodied mind. The whole idea that you might have an immortal soul is a tragic misunderstanding of the necessity to have a working brain in order to have a mind. If you have no working brain, then you have no mind (since you cannot think without your brain hardware), therefore you cannot have a soul.

Sorry to offend all the religious people out there. It’s just logic.

Mojo says:

Entertaining video, but it proves nothing. You could do the same comparison using Star Wars (probably already been done) or a variety of other iconic pop culture movies and discover that there is a lot of “homage” going on in Hollywood.

It just comes down to the big picture. Zoom out past the individual shots, past the action sequences and look at the movie as a whole; did you enjoy it?

If so, then I honestly don’t care if every frame used to construct the film was a copy of frames used to make other movies – if the film maker managed to hold on to you and keep you entertained for two hours, then his job is done.

However, if a little behind-the-scenes knowledge leads to your over-analyzation of the film making process and the conclusion that all directors are thieves and their transgressions should be outed (GASP) then you, my friend, are going to be very busy.

PaulT (profile) says:

It’s no secet that The Matrix “copied” concepts and scenes from various movies and comic books. It’s also no secret that the Wachowskis’ production techniques involved a lot of revolutionary uses of pre-existing technologies from bullet time to Woo-Ping’s choreography. The fact that others had invented the technologies did not make them any less revolutionary – the usage was the major point.

Their achievements should be celebrated, even though many of their concepts were not “original”. A shame that so many idiots seek to kill this way of working so that others can make money on work they didn’t directly create.

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