Wake Up, Alice: Part Two

November 1, 2009

The following blog post will be better understood if the reader has watched and remembers the content of The Matrix Trilogy. It looks at how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland influenced the incredible success of the first part of the trilogy, and how the latter two parts of the trilogy seemingly lose the influence, and the philosophies of all the works.


Someone, somewhere, has probably told you to watch the movie The Matrix. Many people have the misconception it is just a high caliber action movie. But any enthusiast will tell you that it is first a philosophical movie, heavily influenced by Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If you dont know how the two relate, read Wake Up, Alice: Part 1. However when the movie is being discussed, it always manages to intrigue me as to how everyone slams the latter parts of the trilogy. Most people will completely ignore any references you make to the second and third parts of the trilogy, but why? After looking at the similarities between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the original Matrix, one can find the answer.

What makes both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Matrix so incredibly successful? For The Matrix it clearly isn’t the stunning action, as the second and third installments are full of violent explosions and the like but, while successful, tend to be shunned by many people. Its because The Matrix and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland both have an incredibly deep philosophy behind them, a philosophy of two different and very distinct worlds, and the latter parts of the trilogy lose the original philosophy the first one stuck to so closely. The same can be said with Through the Looking-Glass, and what Alice Found There. It was successful, but why is it not as prominent as the first installment? Many people say it isnt as prominent because it strays too far away from the original Alice, and that it doesn’t have the same feel to it. It loses the charm and the feel of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The same criticisms are given to the latter parts of The Matrix Trilogy.

But why does this matter? It matters because it shows just how important the philosophical aspects of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland really are. The idea of two different distinct worlds, one embodying logic and one embodying wonder and magic, is something that if not reinforced, will effect the overall quality of the work. This can be seen when you compare the success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. The first one sticks to and reinforces the idea of two different worlds, but the second seems to stray away from this idea a bit. Needless to say it involves a wonderland, but is it as detailed and embellished as the first?

In the end the point being made here is that what drove Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Matrix to success were the philosophies behind them, and not the effective writing style or the expensive special effects.


  1. As it’s said in the first part, Through the Looking Glass is acctually in the original Matrix. That hotel seen describes how Alice enters Wonderland in the sequel not the first. Neo starts off at the bottom with the black and white tiles which not only alludes to a chess board, but in the book Alice starts off playing with Dinah’s two kittens(one black and one white). She then ponders what it would be like on the other side of a mirror and climbs ontop of the fireplace mantle(Neo climbing the stairs of the hotel) to look into the mirror. She pokes at the mirror(which neo does in the movie) and finds that she can simply step through. It’s funny how you dont notice these things at first.

  2. Do you think that it has to do with being “new and fresh”? A huge part of the success of The Matrix was the innovative way in which it was filmed and edited along with the “surprise” portion of us all living in the “matrix”. After that idea was set in place in the first movie, it is hard to replicate the shock and awe of how different it was. Now that everybody knows we are living in the matrix and being down the rabbit hole, is it really as interesting. Is finding out if Neo really is the one as interesting as the initial discovery. The philosophy of the matrix actually gets more in depth in the second and third movies which I think loses some people because it’s too philosophical. Although, there is not many things cooler than the highway scene, has the newness worn off after the first? I personally think that it is less about the philosophy and more about the innovation and diminishing marginal utility (economic term).

  3. When things don’t stray too far from the original it is true that they retain the magic of the original but doesn’t it lose the creativity? When we have something that is very magical and we continue to ride off of the magic of the original there is only so far we can go. The true magic and genius is taking something well known and being able to draw it off in tangents. Something is magical because it can be applied to many different things and ideas however when we strain it completely with one idea the magic is lost. It’s like a bandwagon, when its rolling people jump on it however when it stops it stops. We keep fueling the bandwagon when we think about different things it relates too.

  4. I completely agree with what you say. Although the second and third Matrix movies were good, they were nowhere nearly as good as the first. The first movie put you through everything the main characters were going through. It had plot twists and great action blended into a reasonable package. The second and third movies were just excuses to blow things up. Although the second and third movies did give the audience many things to think about, they did not move the audience as much as the first. If the directors would have added a plot with a deeper real-world meaning to the last two trilogies, the Matrix Trilogy could have possibly been the best trilogy ever.

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