For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Back to the Future ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Matrix The Matrix
Written and directed by the Wachowskis
Released March 1, 1999


A young cyber-jockey called Neo is told by a mysterious group that he will become the savior of humankind from its long sleep in the Matrix.


Read the summary of the film at the Matrix Wiki


Didja Know?


The writer/director team of this film, the Wachowskis, was made up of brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski. Several years after they made this film, both brothers became transgender women, now going by the names Lana and Lilly Wachowski.


The unique sunglasses worn by the characters in the film were custom made by manufacturer Blinde Design.


The name of the character "Morpheus" is borrowed from that the Ancient Greek god of sleep and dreams.


The name of the character "Trinity" probably comes from the concept of the Trinity in Christianity. Also from Christianity, Neo dies near the end of the film but is resurrected as a Messianic figure.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this film


Cypher (dies in this movie)


Neo (Thomas A. Anderson)


Agent Smith

Agent Brown

Agent Jones

police lieutenant (unnamed)



Mr. Rhineheart

Apoc (dies in this movie)

Switch (dies in this movie)


Dozer (dies in this movie)

Mouse (dies in this movie)

Woman in Red




Spoon Boy 



Didja Notice?


All the scenes taking place inside the Matrix have a slight greenish tinge to them to suggest the digitally-constructed reality. The opening logos of the film for Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow Pictures also have a pronounced green tinge to queue in the audience.


The initial phone call between Trinity and Cypher shows a date of 2-19-98. That is the Matrix date (however, Morpheus later tells Neo it is 1999 in the Matrix). In the physical world it is a couple of centuries later.


The police cars seen at the beginning of the movie are 1989 Ford Falcons.


At 1:47 on the DVD, Room 303 of the Heart O' The City Hotel in Mega City is seen. The room is used several times in the movie as a transfer point through the hardline phone there between the Matrix and the physical world. The room number of 303 may be a reference to the HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) status code 303, which is a way to redirect web applications to a new URI (Uniform Resource Identifier); in Room 303, avatars in the Matrix are redirected to the physical world. The Heart O' The City Hotel is fictitious. Mega City is also fictitious, partly based on the Wachowskis' home town of Chicago, but shot mostly in Sydney, Australia.


The exterior sign of the Heart O' The City Hotel has an "HOURLY RATES" sign below it. A hotel with "hourly rates" is often considered be one that often has prostitute traffic moving through it.


The cops at the beginning of the film are armed with Glock 17 pistols. Trinity carries two Beretta 84FS Cheetah pistols throughout the film.


One of the walls in Room 303 has "City Boarding" stamped all over it, with the phone number 555-0156. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film.


The Agents' car at 2:14 on the DVD is a 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria with license plate 70858. The state name is not readable on it. All of the cars seen in the Matrix have the same 5-digit number pattern on black plates, with the state unreadable to the audience.


At 2:25 on the DVD, Agent Smith refers to the police captain as "lieutenant". The officer is a captain because he wears the twin bars of a captain on the points of his shirt collar. A lieutenant would have just one bar on each point.


Morpheus tells Trinity to go to the phone booth at Wells and Lake to escape. Wells and Lake is a street intersection in the Wachowskis' home town of Chicago. Later in the film, Morpheus instructs Neo to go to the Adams Street bridge, another Chicago location.


At 4:25 on the DVD, a guns and ammo business sign is seen as Trinity jumps between rooftops pursued by Agent Brown. The sign has a giant three-dimensional gun model emerging from it and a giant bullet and real puffs of smoke emerging from the barrel of the gun! gun sign


As they were in In "A Detective Story", the Agents are armed with Desert Eagle pistols.


The City Waste garbage truck that Agent Smith takes over from its driver is a White 9000. White was an American automobile manufacturer from 1900-1980. The tires on the truck are seen to SP 780 models; these are manufactured by Dunlop.


At 6:52 on the DVD, the search results on Neo's computer screen (a PanaSync Pro P70 model, a Panasonic brand) has the news headline, "Morpheus Eludes Police at Heathrow Airport". Heathrow Airport is a major world airport in London. Portions of the accompanying article are legible: As the search intensifies for the renown terrorist leader, 'Morpheus', a sighting has just been reported to this newspaper by British Intelligence. The (illegible) leader has been seen in (illegible) sightings in the (illegible)...present at Heathrow Airport for (illegible). "I have been working closely with intelligence in the pursuit of this terrorist. We (illegible) this person's physical and cultural (illegible) but we can say that (illegible)...behind the terrorist's identity and (illegible) military (illegible)..."


An An-Nahar article in Arabic is also seen on the screen in the scene above; An-Nahar is a daily newspaper published in Lebanon. Seconds later, an article about an international manhunt underway scrolls on the screen from the Press Courier; there have been a number of newspapers with this name in various locations and I am unable to determine which, if any of those, is the one referred to here.


At 7:07 on the DVD, Neo has music playing over Panasonic RP-HT202 headphones. The song that plays is "Dissolved Girl" (1998) by Massive Attack.


In her message, Trinity tells Neo to follow the white rabbit. The white rabbit is a reference to Lewis Carroll's 1865 book (and its various adaptations) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There are numerous references to the book throughout the movie.


Neo lives in Apartment 101, possibly an allusion to him being the One. It may also allude to the beginning of his education as the ultimate hacker (hacking the Matrix itself), such as Physics 101 is the beginning class in a continuing series of courses on the subject. Notice also that his hacker name of Neo is an anagram of One.


    Neo uses a book called Simulacra and Simulation has a secret box for storing CDs and micro-cassettes containing programs he's written for others. Simulacra and Simulation is a real world book published in 1981 by Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and cultural theorist. The book examines the relationship of symbols to reality and society. Neo opens the book to the chapter titled On Nihilism, where the following pages have been carved into a storage box. Nihilism is a viewpoint that refutes any meaningful aspects of life or even denying reality itself.

    The book appears again in "A Life Less Empty". 


The cash Choi gives to Neo for the program he's written looks like normal U.S. currency.


When Neo hands Choi the program, Choi tells him, "You're my savior. My own personal Jesus Christ." This is another foreshadowing to Neo being the One.


The song playing at the night club at 9:36 on the DVD is "Dragula" (1998) by Rob Zombie.


When Neo first meets Trinity at the night club, he remarks that she's the one who cracked the IRS d-base. "D-base" is shorthand for "database". The IRS is the Internal Revenue Service, the tax collecting agency of the U.S. government.


At 11:42 on the DVD, Neo's alarm clock/radio is a Panasonic.


Neo works at a software company called Metacortex. This is a fictitious company.


During the scene of Neo standing in Mr. Rhineheart's office as a they discuss his job, Neo's hands keep changing position from shot-to-shot, sometimes clasped in front of him, sometimes in back.


At 11:50 on the DVD, a FedEx envelope is seen in Mr. Rhineheart's office. Neo receives a FedEx package of a Nokia 8110 cell phone in his cubicle minutes later. The 8110 model phones are used by the resistance throughout the film, modified as a prop to have an automatic slide mechanism for the pop-out transmitter.


At 14:26 on the DVD a banner hanging in the Metacortex building reads "Meta Cortech" instead.


At 16:10 on the DVD, a Citibank building is seen.


At 16:37 on the DVD, a sign for a store called Amazing Book Bargains is seen in the background. This was a real world business in Sydney at the time.


The motorcycle Trinity rides after witnessing Neo's capture by the Agents is a Triumph Speed Triple.


    At 17:35 on the DVD, Agent Smith opens the file on Neo and it has a date of last amendment of July 22, 1998. This would seem to conflict with the date of the phone call between Trinity and Cypher of 2-19-98 at the beginning of the movie.

    The file indicates Neo was born Thomas A. Anderson on March 11, 1962 in Lower Downtown, Capital City. His father was John Anderson, mother Michelle McGahey. He attended Central West Junior High School and Owen Paterson High School (Owen Paterson was the production designer the Matrix films). He is single. His high school record indicates he excelled in the science, mathematics, and computer courses.

    The only partially-glimpsed second page of the file indicates that Neo has problems with authority and has moved from job to job in the technology industry.


The scene of the bug squirming its way into Neo's body through his navel while he writhes in fear and pain, with his mouth fused shut, may be an homage to the classic 1967 Harlan Ellison short story "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream", about a computer intelligence in a post-apocalyptic world that tortures a man who it has transformed into a blob with no mouth.


The car in which Trinity, Apoc, and Switch pick up Neo is a 1965 Lincoln Continental with license plate AA034. They use the same car to pay a visit to the Oracle later in the movie.


At 22:37 on the DVD, Switch holds a Browning Hi-Power pistol on Neo in the car. Later in the film, she carries it in defense during the SWAT attack on the Heart o' the City Hotel.


Switch calls Neo "coppertop" in the car. This is a reference to him acting as a battery, as his physical body is still in a pod acting as a power source for the machines. "The coppertop battery" is a nickname/slogan of the Duracell line of alkaline batteries. Later in the movie, Morpheus will show Neo a Duracell battery with the copper top.


In "A Detective Story", Trinity uses a relatively small, pistol-shaped device to remove a "bug" from Ash's eye. The bug is a cybernetic implant placed by the machines, allowing Agents to track him as he closes in on Trinity's location. Now in our current story, Neo has a bug removed, but his bug is larger and was implanted in his naval. The device Trinity uses to remove it is much larger than the one seen in "A Detective Story". So, why the differences? Does Neo's larger bug do more than Ash's did? It doesn't seem like it. And why would Trinity need to use such a large device to remove Neo's bug when smaller, more easily portable ones are available? Of course, it's probably just something we have to chalk up to artistic license.
bug remover pistol   bug remover
Bug remover pistol in "A Detective Story"   Bug removal device in The Matrix


As Neo is about to be "awoke" from the Matrix, Cypher warns him, "It means buckle your seat belt, Dorothy...'cause Kansas is going bye-bye." This is a reference to the Kansan character of Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, who finds herself and her dog, Toto, in the land of Oz. In that film, she remarks, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."


At 37:05 on the DVD, Morpheus informs Neo it's not 1999 like Neo thinks it is, it's closer to 2199. This despite two previous written instances that suggest it was 1998 in the Matrix.


Morpheus' hovercraft is the Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar II was the king of Babylon in the 7th-6th Centuries BC. In the Biblical Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of an image of God interpreted to foretell the fall of the world powers.


The name plaque of the Nebuchadnezzar refers to it as Mark III, No. 11, Made in the USA, Year 2069. How did the builders know it was constructed in 2069 if no one knows what year it is now (according to Morpheus minutes earlier). If the construction year is correct, the Nebuchadnezzar must have been built for/by someone other than Morpheus if he thinks it is closer to 2199 now. Possibly, the Nebuchadnezzar was constructed during an earlier cycle of the destruction/reconstruction of Zion (as told by the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded) and proper knowledge of the current year was lost to the inheritors and they found the Nebuchadnezzar amongst the remains of the previous city.


The old-style TV set seen in the Construct at 39:31 on the DVD is an Amalgamated Wireless Radiola Deep Image television circa the 1950s. An Amalgamated Wireless (AMA) building is seen in the background during the helicopter flight later in the film at 1:50:06.


Morpheus explains that the machines are raising and using humans as power batteries. This doesn't really make sense, as the law of conservation of energy shows that you can never get more energy out of something than is put into it, so just keeping the sleeping humans alive would cost the machines more energy than they get out of them. "Goliath" suggests that the machines use humans as computer processors, which makes more sense. The human brain can process much more random information than the fastest computer and scientists also estimate that the human brain is about 100,000 times more energy efficient than a computer; these could be the real reasons the machines continue to make use of humans.


Morpheus tells Neo that when the Matrix was first built, a man was born inside who had the ability to remake whatever he wanted in the Matrix and he freed the first humans who became the resistance. After he died, the Oracle prophesied his return and Morpheus believes Neo is that One. In The Matrix Reloaded, our heroes will learn that the One was programmed into the Matrix by the machines from the start in order to help control the humans. There have been six versions of the Matrix and the One, all part of the machines' plan to keep humanity under control.


Tank tells Neo the last human city, Zion, is underground, near the Earth's core where it's still warm.


After Neo receives the jujitsu training program in his head, Tank remarks, "Hey, Mikey, I think he likes it." This is a reference to an advertising campaign for Life cereal that ran in the 1970s-80s with the catch-phrase, "He likes it! Hey Mikey!"


Besides jujitsu, Neo is seen to receive training programs for other martial arts such as savate, kempo, taw kwon do, drunken boxing, and kung fu.


    When Morpheus and Neo walk through the crowd of pedestrians in the Construct at 57:23 on the DVD, notice that Morpheus passes through the throng easily, almost as if each person is subtly making way for him. Meanwhile, Neo keeps getting bumped and jostled as the pedestrians pass by. This may be because Morpheus knows how to bend the rules in the virtual world to make it subtly conform to what he wants. Neo has not learned that yet.

    There are duplicates of the simulated people in the crowd, presumably indicating that the resistance programmers did not have the time and resources to make huge numbers of distinct individuals for their simulations.


The resistance hovercraft use an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon to disable the electrical systems of Sentinels or other machines within their blast radius. This is an actual property of an EMP, to damage or destroy most types of unshielded electronic devices.


During their secret meeting, Agent Smith refers to Cypher as "Mr. Reagan", suggesting that is his real name.


    Tank gives Neo a bowl of porridge, the chief staple of the resistance members in the physical world, calling it, "The breakfast of champions." The phrase was the advertising slogan of Wheaties cereal. This is the second time Tank uses a slogan from a cereal commercial (see the Life cereal reference earlier in this study). Perhaps Tank is a an aficionado of cereal commercials found in the ruins of the old human civilization.

    Mouse remarks that the porridge tastes like the Tastee Wheat he used to eat in the Matrix. Tastee Wheat appears to be a fictitious cereal brand. Some advertising posters for Tastee Wheat are later seen in a train station in The Matrix Revolutions and is mentioned in The Matrix Online.


    As Neo and Morpheus are about to enter the Oracle's apartment at 1:10:57 on the DVD, the doorknob of her apartment door is installed in the wrong way, with the screws holding the knob in place facing the exterior, which would allow any prowler to remove the knob for access to the apartment. Perhaps one of the Oracle's child "potentials" was playing with the knob in the past and removed it with their mind, then replaced it in the wrong direction!

    What appears to be a camera lens can also be easily seen as a round black dot in the reflection of the knob. 


At 1:11:30 on the DVD, one of the potentials is levitating some alphabet blocks. One of the blocks has O and Z on adjoining sides, spelling OZ.


The TV set in the Oracle's living room is showing the 1972 science-fiction thriller film Night of the Lepus, about giant rabbits terrorizing a town.


During the scene between Neo and the Oracle in her kitchen, jazz music can be very lightly heard playing in the background. The music is "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Duke Ellington. The song is playing again when he visits her in The Matrix Revolutions.


The Latin phrase temet nosce posted above the Oracle's kitchen entrance means "know thyself", just as she says. The phrase "know thyself" (in Greek, gnōthi seautón) was carved into the entrance of the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi in Greek mythology.


The Oracle tells Neo he's not the One. Yet, later he clearly is the One. Why did she say he wasn't? Was it simply because he needed to find out for himself and not be told?


Before he leaves the Oracle's apartment, she gives Neo a cookie and tells him that by the time he finishes it, he'll feel right as rain. We see him take the first bite as he's about to leave but we don't see him finish it. Did he feel "right as rain" after finishing it? In the later movies, we see that program code can be transferred to an avatar in the Matrix through food. Did the Oracle transfer a code to him here? If so, what was it for? Was it to make him risk his life to save Morpheus near the end of the movie so he will become the One? Morpheus later says to Neo that the Oracle told him what he needed to hear, adding, "Sooner or later you'll realize, just as I did...there's a difference between knowing the path...and walking the path."


Trinity explains to Neo that déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix caused when the machines change something.


The SWAT members that storm the Heart o' the City Hotel are armed with Leader Dynamics T2 MK5 assault rifles. Leader Dynamics was an Australian arms manufacturer in the 1970s-80s.


Mouse has armed himself with a bizarre pair of automatic shotguns fed by electric shell feeders, custom-made for the film production.


At 1:20:57 on the DVD, Apoc hands Neo a Zastava CZ99 pistol during the SWAT attack on the Heart o' the City Hotel. Apoc himself is armed with a Cobray M11/9 submachine gun.


In a plan to escape the SWAT assault, Morpheus asks Tank over the phone to find the structural drawing of the hotel and find the main wet wall. "Wet wall" is a construction term for a wall that houses water pipes. Wet walls are usually designed to resist moisture and often have a larger gap between the exterior and interior walls in order to house pipes and leave a certain amount of maneuvering room for future maintenance.


After Trinity's team escapes from the hotel attack, Tank sends them and Cypher to an exit point at an old TV repair shop at Franklin and Erie. This is an actual intersection in Chicago.


The large electro-gun Cypher wields against Tank and Dozer is a custom made weapon for the film.


Inside the TV repair shop at 1:26:33 on the DVD, ironically there is what appears to be a child's Fisher Price Musical TV toy sitting on the counter!


The helicopter that brings Agent Jones to meet with Agent Smith at 1:30:59 on the DVD is a Bell 212 UH-1N Twin Huey. It is later stolen and used by Trinity and Neo to rescue Morpheus.


At 1:31:00 on the DVD, Mulpha, Norwich, and Westpac buildings are seen through the window of the room in which Agent Smith is interrogating Morpheus. Mulpha is an Australian investment company and Westpac is an Australian banking services company. As far as I can tell, Norwich is a fictitious business.


At 1:37:47 on the DVD, we can see that Tank's keyboard has a number of unusual symbols on many of the keys.

Tank's keyboard


Preparing for the mission to rescue Morpheus in the Construct, Neo asks Tank for "lots of guns". The Internet Movie Firearms Database lists all the guns visible in the virtual armory presented to him and Trinity.


The security guards in the lobby of the building where Morpheus is being held are armed with Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolvers. Neo mows them down with a pair of Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine guns while Trinity uses a Micro Uzi in this scene.


At 1:40:39 on the DVD, a security guard is reading a newspaper called The City Defender. This is, of course, a fictitious publication. Other newspapers seen in Mega City are Mega City Sentinel in Path of Neo and The Daily News in "A Life Less Empty".


After the security guards are mowed down, military guards charge into the fray armed with M16 rifles and Franchi SPAS-12 shotguns. During this phase of the shootout, Neo uses two Beretta 92FS pistols.


Neo soon empties the Berettas and pulls two Model 61 Skorpion submachine guns.


At 1:42:38 on the DVD, Neo grabs up a dropped M16 rifle as he cartwheels through the gunfire in the lobby. After using the M16, he discards it and pulls two Micro Uzis.


When the camera work goes into "bullet time" mode on Neo at 1:46:10 on the DVD, the pistols Neo had in his hands have disappeared. Apparently he dropped them while dodging the Agent's bullets, but the guns are not seen next to him. When the camera goes back to normal mode, the two pistols are suddenly seen on the ground to his left and right.


At 1:45:11 on the DVD, a KPMG building is seen in the background.


At 1:46:24 on the DVD, an Aon building is seen in the background. 


When Trinity calls Tank to upload a pilot program for the B212 helicopter to her brain, he calls up the program, but the image on his display is not a looks more like a Bell JetRanger model.
Bell 212 helicopter Bell JetRanger schematic
Bell 212 in the movie Schematic labeled as B-212, but is Bell JetRanger


At 1:47:33 on the DVD, Neo fires a GE M134 Minigun mounted on the helicopter.


When she is flying the helicopter, Trinity is wearing gloves she wasn't wearing before she boarded it. I suppose she could have had a pair in her size on her person and put them on to help keep a firm grip on the controls, but it seems unlikely she would have been carrying them.


An MMI Development building is seen in the background at 1:50:16 on the DVD.


A National Mutual building is seen in the glass reflection of the building the helicopter crashes into at 1:51:31 on the DVD. National Mutual is now known as AXA Asia Pacific.


At 1:52:43 on the DVD, Tank gives Morpheus the location of an exit point at a subway station at State and Balbo. This is an actual intersection in Chicago with a subway station nearby.


At 1:54:17 on the DVD, an advertisement is seen in the subway station reading, "Puro Sabor, Pura Tecate." This is Spanish for "Pure Taste, Pure Tecate." Tecate is a Mexican brand of beer. At 1:56:14, another Mexican beer brand advertisement is seen in the station for Sol beer. Both brands are made by the Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, so the company may have had a sponsorship deal with the production.


At 1:54:33 on the DVD, a Pepsi vending machine is seen in the subway station.


Neo uses a Beretta 92FS pistol in the final shootout with Agent Smith.


Just before Agent Smith gets hit by the subway train at 1:58:30 on the DVD, an advertising sign for Hewlett-Packard is seen on the subway wall.


    After escaping from the subway station, Neo steals a cell phone from a bystander on the sidewalk and calls Tank for an exit, saying, "Mr. Wizard, get me the hell out of here!" Mr. Wizard was a television personality (real name Don Herbert, 1917-2007) who taught children about science.

   Tank gives Neo a location at Wabash and Lake. This is an actual intersection in Chicago. It seems that this intersection is the location of the Heart O' The City Hotel because he winds up back at Room 303.


At 1:59:53, Neo runs past a fruit stand called Ollie's Oranges. Later, in "Enter the Matrix", a billboard for Osie's Oranges is seen along the freeway.


Fleeing from the Agents, as Neo runs into an old woman's apartment at 2:00:36 on the DVD, her TV set is tuned to an episode of the 1967-68 TV series The Prisoner; the character of the first Number 2 from the episode "Arrival" is seen on the screen.


An advertising poster at 2:00:53 on the DVD appears to read, "PlayDirtyDrinkPurty". A box for Victorian Stone Fruit is also seen here.


A digital map of a few blocks of the City is seen at 2:02:22 on the DVD. It shows the location of St. Paule Markets. This appears to be a fictitious business district.


The call log of Neo's call to the machine masters of the Matrix shows a date of 9-18-99.


At the end of the film, the phone booth Neo makes his call from is across the street from the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Sydney, Australia. However, there is no actual phone booth there.


The song that plays as the end credits begin to roll is "Wake Up" (1992) by Rage Against the Machine.


The second song that plays during the end credits is "Rock is Dead" (1998) by Marilyn Manson.


Memorable Dialog


follow the White Rabbit.mp3

my own personal Jesus Christ.mp3

what is the Matrix?.mp3

a prison for your mind.mp3

blue pill/red pill.mp3

awakening from the Matrix.mp3

welcome to the real world.mp3

closer to 2199.mp3

I'm going to learn jujitsu?.mp3

I know kung fu.mp3

stop trying to hit me.mp3


why didn't I take the blue pill?.mp3

you're here to save the world.mp3

ignorance is bliss.mp3

someone important.mp3

breakfast of champions.mp3

why chicken tastes like everything.mp3

not too bright.mp3

déjà vu.mp3

never send a human to do a machine's job.mp3

shove that red pill right up your ass.mp3

ranking officer.mp3

we are the cure.mp3

lots of guns.mp3

goodbye, Mr. Anderson.mp3 


Back to The Matrix Episode Studies