The series began with 1999's The Matrix, continuing in 2003 with several Animatrix episodes released on the official site for the series. In May 2003 (May 15, 2003 in the US), The Matrix Reloaded, the first sequel, was released. Enter the Matrix was released at the same time; it was the first video game related to the films and interspersed gameplay with scenes shot for The Matrix Reloaded which were not featured in the film. On the sequel's heels followed the full AnimatrixDVD with nine animated shorts set in the world created by the Wachowski brothers. November 5, 2003 saw both the conclusion to the film trilogy and an unprecedented worldwide release of a major motion picture when The Matrix Revolutions hit cinema screens worldwide at exactly the same time. The Matrix Online, which is a MMORPG that is set to release in 2005, is supposed to conclude the series.
Four of the most striking philosophical precedents for the Matrixtrilogy are Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, Plato’s allegory of the cave, Socrates’ visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and the work of Descartes.
Thus, the entire concept of the Matrixfilms can be interpreted as a criticism of the unreal consumer culture we live in, a culture that may be distracting us from the reality that we are being exploited by someone or something, just as the machines exploit the humans in the Matrix for bioelectricity.
Baudrillard’s greatest philosophical influence is Karl Marx, and while the Matrixfilms do not refer to Marx explicitly, the fact that the inhabitants of the Matrix are exploited by means of an illusion that they all inhabit renders the films closer in spirit to Marx than to any other philosopher.
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