The importance of mood in analogies: The Matrix

When Se7en scriptwriter Andrew Kevin Walker picked up his Empire award for best screenwriter (or something similar), his acceptance speech mentioned how he’d been aiming to win the vote of manic depressed students with his script and this was proof he’d succeeded.

I think the Warshawski brothers were aiming for the same thing with The Matrix. As you might recall, Agent Smith takes Morpheus to one side and says that he’s worked out that humans are viruses, because we grow without limit, etc. This was his rationale for wanting to wipe us out.

Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), this chimed with a load of teenagers, who thought they’d been given some higher truth. Pseudo-intellectual sci-fi movies will do that to you.

However, I do feel that Agent Smith drew an incorrect conclusion. All he correctly determined was that a species of animal will expand without limits if there aren’t checks on it from natural predators, etc.

We aren’t viruses, my friends. We’re bunnies.

I can’t help but feel that would have ruined the mood, having a psychotic bunny-hater as an enemy. I’m sure you could argue about Smith’s mindset leaping to the best analogy his computer-generated mind could hit. But all the same, I think it would have been fun.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.