***NOTE: This article is part two in a series. Click here to read part one.***
Remember how awesome Independence Day was? Will Smith mixed his “Fresh Prince” persona with the arrogance of a fighter jet pilot, Bill Pullman tried desperately to shed his forever being known as “Lonestar,” and Jeff Goldbloom played one final role as the same character he plays in every movie!
And remember being in awe of watching the White House be destroyed by a giant alien spacecraft? Remember the terror of watching that alien use that mal-adjusted scientist to demand its release? Remember cheering for Randy Quaid as he sacrificed himself to destroy the alien spacecraft that earlier destroyed the White House? (Sorry, should I have put a “Spoiler Alert” in front of that one?)
Well, if you don’t remember, you’re not going to have much luck reliving those memories. That’s because re-watching Independence Day is a lot like going to your ten-year high school reunion. Sure, you’re happy for the Will Smith of your class who went on to bigger and better things, but you still can’t see your Bill Pullman as anyone other than “Lonestar” (or whatever nickname he had). And, of course, you notice that your Jeff Goldblum is still as Jeff Goldblumey as he ever was. You also question why you ever cheered for your Randy Quaid in the first place. Basically, it’s a lot more lame the second time around.
Movies like Independence Day, in my opinion, are really only meant to be viewed once or twice. After that, viewers tend to start finding holes in the plots. The Matrix, however, is a carefully-written movie which is meant to be seen again and again. In my experience, the more I watch The Matrix, the more lessons I learn and more parallels to life I see.
The lessons begin early in the movie when we are introduced to the main character, Thomas Anderson, who goes by the alias, Neo. Just before he appears on-screen we see his computer monitor displaying an array of newspaper articles beneath a text box that reads “Searching…” Neo is asleep and drooling on his keyboard until his monitor screen goes blank then reads, “Wake up, Neo…”
Neo obliges and wakes up. Then, after a couple more cryptic messages from his monitor (I’ll save you an exact play-by-play of the movie), there is a knock on his door and the screen goes blank. Neo answers the door and an exchange takes place with a man named Choi. After Choi pays Neo a hefty sum for an illegal software program he comments on the main character’s appearance saying, “Something wrong, man?You look a little whiter than usual.”
With the interaction with his monitor still very fresh in his mind, Neo replies, “My computer it…You ever have that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming?”
Choi nods in agreement as he says, “All the time. It’s called mescaline. It’s the only way to fly.”
And so almost immediately, we are introduced to the two basic types of humans within the movie. There are the Seekers and the Tweekers.
Seekers such as Neo know there is more to life than what the world tells them. They reject what the world has to offer, long to escape life as it appears on the surface, and strive to live more authentic lives.
Then, there are the Tweekers like Choi. Usually, the term “tweeker” refers to one who frequently abuses methamphetamines, but it rhymes with “seeker” so I’m using it to describe the non-seekers such a Choi. Tweekers live only for the world. If they do attempt to escape in some way it’s by using recreational drugs.
So a choice must be made. (In fact, when Choi shows up at Neo’s apartment he is accompanied by a female companion to whom he addresses as DuJour. Put together, their names loosely translate from french as “choice of the day”–see, I’m not making this stuff up) Seeker or Tweeker? In which of these groups do you find yourself?