WhoPhD | The Matrix


created 1999-04-08
modified 2001-02-13
pickled 2021-02-23

What is the Matrix? As any true Doctor Who fan will tell you, the Matrix, also known as the Amplified Panatropic Computations Network (APC Net), is the repository of all the knowledge of the Time Lords, which can only be entered by immersing oneself in its virtual reality. To see where the writers of this movie got their ideas, watch the Fourth Doctor episode The Deadly Assassin (4P) in which Tom Baker gets his foot stuck in the points while a toy train comes steaming towards him - if he gets hit it will kill him in reality. Or better still, you can watch the Sixth Doctor episode The Ultimate Foe (part of 7A, Trial of a Timelord), in which Mel, the Doctor's assistant and computer programmer, goes into the Matrix to rescue the Doctor from the Fastasy Factory, and in there discovers a "megabyte modum" (sic).

In this movie, the cars resemble the cabs of Gotham City and drive on the right hand side of the road. But most of the time you'll see Class A vehicles trafficating the left half corridor. Update: In fact, they turned the stop signs and traffic lights 90 degrees left at times, and put a fake left-hand steering wheel in the car, but they couldn't prevent parking on the left-hand kerb when Keanu got picked up by agents early on. I guess it was a one-way street ;-)

Spot the UTS

Here is Keanu doing his two guns firing thing. Notice the white wavy-top IBM building in the background. Halfway between that and the right edge, you'll see a grey monolith which we have come to love and worship. That is UTS Tower, Building 1 of the University of Technology, Sydney.

If you look carefully, you can see the little white dot where the "UTS" logo is hanging.

And at the base of that tower, is another building, and within that building is a computer, and in that computer is this web page. And that computer is where the internet comes out of. On the next floor, there are some crazy postgraduate students busily developing special headsets so we can access this internet computer with our brains. When you put on this helmet, you are in the Matrix. That is the Matrix. Any questions? I hope that doesn't spoil the movie for you.

Spot the UTS, again

Here is Keanu after he has finished his two-guns firing thing. He is about to drop his guns as he realises the Bad Guy doesn't accept input of type BULLET. Can you still see the tower?

When those crazy postgraduate students finish developing their helmets, they are going to create the dystopia in which to use them. Well, it's either that, or a future like Star Trek.

Spot the UTS, maybe

And now a challenge. While Keanu is dodging the bullets from the Bad Guy, we have this unique perspective. The computer graphics were a little rushed at this precise moment, not rendering as many frames, so my best guess is that UTS is that darker purple blob amongst the other purple, in the direction Keanu's left hand is pointing.

Spot the Sydney Tower

Not quite "generic Sydney"? While we're busily watching the helicopter perform an emotional bond with this building, you may not have spotted Sydney Tower's shaft to the left of screen. If you're clever, you'll be able to read the "National Mutual" logo backwards on the prominent white building in the reflection. If you're really clever, you'll spot a bit of Queen Victoria Building near the street level. And if you go forward a few frames, you'll spot the monorail track just outside this building. (What an eyesore, hey?)

So the conclusion is, we're looking east, along Market Street, between Kent and Clarence Streets. Where's UTS? You'd need to turn 90 degrees to the right to see it, so it's not in the reflection either. Where's Keanu? He's on the other side of Market Street at this moment. Anyway, they left a bloody big hole there like some Angel headbutted it, and it's gone all ripply round the sides now. The building looks all weird today.

Update: Yes, I checked it out, it's the BT Tower, and I worked it all out with a street directory. Now, which building was shot at with the helicopter?

Spot the Left Knee-anu

No prizes for spotting the UTS on this scanned photo (courtesy tridave). Keanu is about to flick it with his right hand, but I can't tell you where it belongs in the movie, because it's probably a publicity shot.

However, spot the inconsistency. See his left foot? See his left thigh? Now what? He might be performing a Matrix illusion, I don't know!

So, what is the Matrix?

Well, I don't know about you, but by the looks of it I'm in it, that's all.

Some advice: Don't try giving out little red and blue capsules outside the cinema.