Now showing at the Arena Grand and Elsewhere

The mystery is solved:

THE MATRIX is about the fight against the Bush/Republican totalitarian take-over.

The code is clear, the message unmistakable: humankind must focus all its love of freedom and all that's human against the Rove/Cheney/Bush assault on spontaneity, thought and nature. Victory is possible, but only with a new level of wit and perseverance, compassion and love.

The sneering, evil Agent Smith is a George Bush/Dick Cheney clone, with his metal heart and grey-suited legions of smirky self-replicating corporate drones.

The mastermind programmer, inventor of the totalitarian Matrix, can only be Karl Rove, calm, cold, calculating, committed to exterminating all free thought and choice.

Their nemesis has evolved---as we must---beyond neo-con or neo-liberal. Neo is the common man/superman, powered by passion, inseparable from his lover Trinity and the multi-racial crew that supports them both.

Hokey? Hell yes.

But this $135 million extravaganza has chosen to dress its hispanic/black/oriental/geek heroes and heroines in ratty sweaters and hip hop attitudes. The Oracle is an African-American Earth Mother, sitting on a (rosa) park bench in the graffiti-laden courtyard of an inner-city tenement. Her body-guard is a cross between Jackie Chan and Yoko Ono.

An unlikely human hero, the keymaker, is the kind of guy Bush would lock up if we were at war with Japan or Korea, as if he could tell the difference.

See the movie.

Think about the latest media-embedded bullshit now claiming it's hip to be Republican.

The Matrix Media Mind Manipulator, from Limbaugh to Clear Channel To Fox, now wants us to believe that even though GOPutrid Agent/Senator Rick Santorum says homosexuality is the moral equivalent of bestiality, the newly "with-it" GOP will no longer refer to gays as "sodomites." What a breakthrough! A major hip-hop forward for media imaging and millennial mind control.

Every network, every cable channel, every newspaper streams the contaminated code of Bushwellian patriotism, conformity and non-thought. Homeland Security? The Bush Matrix wants to arrest all those Ravers at the Zion sex dance early in the film. Its draft-dodging Top Gun has the clonable face and poisonous smirk of every agent the Matrix sends to kill off dissenters.

This film is overlong. Its makers clearly got too attached to some of the fight scenes, especially the one with Neo battling the Countless Cheney Clones in that ghetto courtyard. Morpheus spouts too many unlistenable platitudes. Neo's long black dress belongs at a debutante's Halloween party.

And that amazing freeway chase scene could have used a few cuts here and there. But maybe---just maybe---it's good enough to discourage any more such high-speed madness from future high-tech shoot-em-ups. And its inevitable final flame-out is actually worth the wait. Lets just hope the whole scenario doesn't push a flock of pimply-faced Neo/Trinity wannabees onto the actual interstates on wrong-way Ducatis.

The film sends a grim but powerful message in its image of humankind's last refuge from the Machines: a treeless, airless Zion. Is this where we must flee when the Bush Matrix finishes wiping out the natural planet?

When Neo suddenly (twice) finds himself facing snow-covered mountains, it comes as a shock that air and snow still exist at all: a sure reminder by contrast of the barren death tunnel to which the Shrub hate-nature eco-terrorists seem determined to drive us.

From BLADE RUNNER to TIME MACHINE, from TWELVE MONKEYS to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, it's no accident we've seen such bleak visions before. With every passing day the corporate polluters' Apocalypse Express takes us closer to a post-natural Purgatory.

For all its super-hyped psycho-babbling, THE MATRIX provides a simple warning against just that. All the bloviation and streaming computer code are there to send a single message: the totalitarian mind is upon us, and we must fight back.

Call it the Matrix or call it the Republican media monopoly.

In each realm---film and real---those who fight to preserve humankind's right to make choices are still alive. Barely.

We don't know exactly how Matrix 3 will turn out. At least Matrix 2 leaves the humans alive to fight another day.

Will those of us fighting Bush 2 be able to say the same? It's up to us....but we have no choice.