Flashback: the Gnostic scifi fantasies of the late 1990s

All this talk of Gnosticism in the movies is reminding me, last Monday marked the 15th anniversary of The Matrix.

It would be impossible to overstate what a huge deal that movie was at the time. It was not the first Gnostic parable to grace the big screen by any stretch — several films that touched on similar themes had come out just the previous year — and the whole thing fizzled out when the filmmakers cranked out two bloated, underwhelming sequels just four years later. But for a while there, the movie had everyone talking about Christ-figures and philosophy and the nature of reality, etc.

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The Passion of the Christ — a box-office report

THE MOVIE that everyone said was too risky is now on course to become one of the biggest box-office hits of all time.

Mel Gibson’s graphic and controversial The Passion of the Christ surprised everyone — including its own distributor — when it opened last Wednesday. Newmarket, the company that released the film in the United States, predicted that afternoon that the film would gross about $20 million; instead, it made $23.6 million for the day, or $26.6 million once the church previews on Monday and Tuesday are taken into account.

And on Sunday, Newmarket predicted a weekend gross of $76.2 million; like all distributors, they estimated the film’s Sunday take based on the totals for Friday and Saturday. But Gibson’s death-of-Jesus film apparently attracted a much higher percentage of its followers on the Sabbath than most movies do — bringing its weekend gross to $83.8 million.

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Review: The Matrix Revolutions (dir. the Wachowskis, 2003)

SO MUCH for the salvation of humanity.

When The Matrix first came out four and a half years ago, many Christians were intrigued and excited by the film’s many biblical allusions. The protagonist was a hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) who discovered that the entire human race was trapped within a virtual reality, and all people were living in a computer-generated dream state to hide the fact that the world had been conquered by machines that were using human beings as a power source.

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Review: The Matrix Reloaded (dir. the Wachowskis, 2003)

IT’S TOO early to say all that much about The Matrix Reloaded — it’s only the first half of a two-part sequel that won’t be over until the next installment comes out in November — but the film does force fans of the first movie to rethink everything they thought they knew about it.

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