“There is No Spoon”

There is no spoon because nothing in the Matrix is real.

This is a common and ancient philosophy, present in most cultures (in the West we have Plato’s Cave) – nothing in our minds is real.  Because we experience the world exclusively through our minds, we seem to experience Cartesian mind/body dualism, a distinct separate world of our minds and the physical world of our bodies.  We experience the physical world exclusively through the lens of our minds, so the world seems to be flexible because our minds are flexible.

From a perspective of a Buddhist, “there’s no spoon” is the equivalent to the idea of “There is no self” in Buddhism. The first this was mentioned was in the Oracle’s living room. The robes that those children were in allude to the religion. The idea of no self is that everything is of impermanence and always in a state of flux, even our own “self”; and that It’s wiser not to hold on to any existence as it is. Then a spoon appears to be bent by one of the children in the room.

Another key time that this was mentioned was when Neo was leaving Zion to his final battle. Neo was uncertain and anxious about what to come. One of the children sent Neo a spoon to remind him of the truth that there is no spoon. This is exactly what and how Buddhists practice Buddhism. When one is anxious (sad, angry or even happy), we remind ourselves that there is no self, not even ours. This momental feeling is not and does not own us. This helps us back on track with our “mindfulness” in order to be with the Now and not consumed by the illusion of the past that has already gone and the future which may never come. Now is the only thing that is real and true.

The spoon if thought as a metaphor for obstacles (in our lives), the meaning is profound.

Initially Neo believes that the spoon exists in real and its not possible to bend it. When he is told that the spoon is just a computer code and a part of matrix, reality dawns upon him. He is then able to bend the spoon.

In the same way we have to realize that obstacles (troubles and dufficulties) are just a figment of our imagination. Once we realize this thing then there are no obstacles..

We are the masters of our brains and no obstacle is big enough to stop us from achieving our dreams and goals provided we have the right attitude!

What is The Matrix?

The Matrix represents the average persons’ sphere of reality, i.e. day-to-day life, the 9-5, whatever you like to call it.  It’s a set of “rules”, in the movie, set down by the computers, IRL, set down by societal expectations.

Note how in The Matrix, there is emphasis on the daily grind, “the man” keeping the little guy down, the trite ways in which we entertain ourselves or “escape from reality” (night clubs, drugs, and so on), and the search for the answer in the outside world – little is done here that appears to be positive in any way, it is all just biding time.

Escaping the Matrix (the “red pill”) is a metaphor for looking inside yourself, recognising and  letting go of the beliefs you hold which limit and filter your reality i.e. having the realisation that reality is infinite, and that the rules of The Matrix (your reality) are only limiting so long as you believe them to be.

Towards the end of the film, Neo can bend the rules of the Matrix to his will – only because he has “realised” that it is not real.  Knowing is not enough, it is the realisation that matters.  The red pill represents his first real step towards that realisation.

Jurassic Park — Must Go Faster!

Jurassic Park is a 1993 film about an island theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs. When the park’s creator invites three scientists down to solicit their opinions, a series of mishaps strands them all inside with the security systems out of commission, and the humans find themselves under attack by the resurrected predators.

Dr. Ian Malcolm is a mathematician who specializes in a branch of mathematics known as “Chaos Theory“. Ian Malcolm was invited to the park by Donald Gennaro as an insurance consultant as Donald apparently felt that Ian, as a fiduciary, would be able to notice any dangerous shortcomings the park had. On the helicopter ride to Isla Nublar, he met John’s consults, Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and Paleontologist Alan Grant, and traveled with them, along with John and Donald, into the park where he was stunned by the astonishing sight of a living Brachiosaurus. He then traveled to the visitor’s center and learned how the dinosaurs of the park were created, and watched an infant Velociraptor hatch. While his colleagues remained in awe of the event, Ian expressed skepticism of the Park’s ability to control the animals they were breeding, and explained to his colleagues that “life finds a way”.

Ian later went on the tour through the Park only to express disapproval when none of the dinosaurs showed themselves. Bored, he took to flirting with Ellie, much to Alan’s chagrin, while attempting to explain chaos theory. After watching the sick Triceratops, he returns to the tour with Alan Grant, only to have it break down in front of the Tyrannosaurus rex paddock. The T. rex escapes, and attacks Donald’s car, which Donald had earlier abandoned with the children inside. In an attempt to lure the rex away, Ian and Alan grab and ignite flares to cause a distraction, but the rex isn’t fooled by Ian and chases him to the bathroom, where he is tossed several feet and injures his leg.

Alan escapes with the kids and Ellie and Robert Muldoon arrive to help Ian, only to be set upon by the Tyrannosaurus. Having put Ian in the jeep, they escape after a short but intense chase.

Ian is brought to the control room where he helps formulate a plan to restart the power. Ian is brought to a bunker where he and John talk Ellie through the process of turning the power back on. After the systems come back online, Ian and John drive back to the visitor’s center to pick up Alan, Ellie, and the kids, all of whom then drive to the helicopter, leaving the island.

Matt Damon’s ‘Spy Mission’

Jason Bourne actor Matt Damon punked random people into carrying out a bunch of entry-level spy tasks, which he assigned through a cell phone.

“We set up a simulation to give unsuspecting people the chance to feel like they’re in a spy movie,” the actor explained in a video. He pulled the stunt to promote his upcoming movie Jason Bourne, which stars Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, and Tommy Lee, and to raise money for Water.org.

Even though he kept laughing, the actor still got four strangers to follow his every command from saying code words to complimenting cute kids. None of them seemed to have a clue it was Damon on the other line, but they were all over the mission anyway. He even made a pork-intolerant man hold a hot dog for the good cause, and the guy nailed it.

Thanks to Damon’s legit spy lingo — “that manila envelope’s the hottest potato you’ve ever held in your hand,” and “believe me, it’s not about the hot dog. You’re not going to eat the hot dog, and the hot dog isn’t even real. It’s what’s in the hot dog” — it’s all extremely watchable for a prank video. (All the participants meet Damon and win tickets to the premiere of the new Bourne flick, but following his instructions was the true thrill of a lifetime.)

Barrel of Monkeys — Iron Man 3

So it turns out that rescuing a bunch of people sucked out of a hole in Air Force One at 30,000 feet is actually harder than Robert Downey Jr. makes it look in “Iron Man 3.”  Who knew?

The audacious action sequence that occurs midway through director Shane Black’s superhero sequel, known by those on the film crew as the “barrel of monkeys” scene, required a mix of real-world guts and digital ingenuity to pull off.

The guts were supplied by the Red Bull skydiving team, who stand in for the crew of the president’s plane in the scene — the effects that placed them believably within the story came from Digital Domain, the VFX shop that created about 250 of the shots in the movie, including 35 different Iron Man suits, a wholly digital Air Force One and a unique explosive that detonates in a scene set outside the TCL Chinese Theatre.

In order to capture the barrel of monkeys footage, Black and his VFX supervisor, Chris Townsend, decided to film the scene with live actors free-falling for maximum realism. Over six days of shooting in North Carolina, the sky divers jumped from a 20-seat turbo prop plane at 13,000 feet wearing parachutes under business clothes — or, in the case of the diver portraying Iron Man, a red and gold jumpsuit. A free fall cameraman with a helmet-mounted camera jumped alongside them. It was then up to Digital Domain artists to replace nearly everything in the shot except for the the actors with digital imagery.

“I’ve worked on movies in the past where we’ve done fake free fall sequences, with vertical wind tunnels, people on wires, but by actually shooting it, you get the visceral, kinetic camera work that comes with actual free fall photography,” said Digital Domain VFX supervisor Erik Nash, who is an experienced sky diver himself. “It’s something that’s incredibly difficult to fake — the high-frequency camera shake that’s inherent to free fall photography. If you start with something photographed, it’s real, it’s believable and even if you change everything about it you’ve got a foundation.”

The Digital Domain artists replaced the turbo prop plane with Air Force One and added a gaping, smoke-spewing hole to it. They also swapped out North Carolina for the Florida coast, added a cloud layer to the sky to help make the plane appear to be dropping from 30,000 feet rather than 13,000 feet and painted out the divers’ parachute packs.

In order to make it look like Iron Man was really rescuing the crew, instead of falling alongside them, they altered the relative movement of the background behind the diver playing him.

“We need to always have Iron Man look like he’s in control and he’s driving this rescue operation,” Nash said. “In reality, the sky divers were working as a team. One person can’t actually do all the things we’re implying Iron Man is doing.”

Surprisingly, one of the trickier effects to get right was Air Force One, which turned out to require more finesse than merely adding a digital paint job. For one sequence where the plane is on the tarmac, artists worked down to the tiniest details on rivets and gaskets, and the plane still looked fake.

“Air Force One is probably the cleanest aircraft around,” Nash said. “What we determined was the cause of that unreality was that it was so clean. What gives reality is imperfection — oil streaks, dirt. So we actually made our Air Force One a lot dirtier than the real thing.”

Iron Man 3 — Blurring The Line Between Man and Machine

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When it comes to both fashion and firepower, it’s fair to say that Tony Stark is Marvel Universe’s ultimate suited and booted Super Hero. And with Marvel’s Iron Man 3, his weaponised wardrobe gets an upgrade that’s guaranteed to blow his enemies – and audiences – away.

From Iron Man through to Iron Man 2, and the blockbuster-demolishing mega-movie Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, fans have seen Tony survive all manner of robotic, human and super-powered threats, but with Marvel’s Iron Man 3, he’s set to face a combination of the three.

With more powerful villains comes the need for an even more powerful Iron Man armour, and the question of how you improve a suit that already boasted rockets, grenades, lasers, anti-tank missiles, hand repulsors, jetboot-propelled flight, its own in-flight AI butler, and a protective armoured exterior so sturdy it could withstand a hefty clobbering from the Chitauri, Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield combined.

For Marvel’s Iron Man 3 director and action movie veteran Shane Black, the appeal of the mysterious Mark XLII comes less through its bombastic firepower, and more through its bleeding-edge technological evolution.

And while he wasn’t able to divulge the full extent of the suit’s spectacular new powers, Black’s excited to explore the prehensile abilities first displayed in Marven’s Avengers Assemble Loki-bashing climax.

“All I can say is that the Mark XLII is more responsive to Tony’s needs and his body movements. It’s also available to him in pieces, as opposed to the previous suits, which were sort of the equivalent of medical armour,” says Black.

“My favourite piece of tech in the film would be the detachable multi-faceted suit, which responds to Tony seemingly telepathically. I think [fans] will enjoy the ways we’ve found to open up the suit so it’s a little more than just an armour plate.”

It’s only fitting that as the tech has evolved, so has the design. Marvel’s Iron Man 3 will debut an array of never-before-seen suits, but it’s the sleek, golden Mark XLII that was the main focus for Marvel’s Head of Visual Development, Ryan Meinerding.

“The inspiration for the Mark XLII comes from a few places. Shane and Marvel really wanted to create an iconically different Iron Man suit that the audience would still recognise as the Armoured Avenger,” Meinerding says.

“In looking for a new aesthetic, we explored going back to Iron Man’s comic roots as the Golden Avenger. Since most of the designs from previous movies have focused on having a relatively small proportion of gold, it opened up a lot of possibilities to start playing around with a lot more.”

And it looks like both fans of the comic books and the movies are in for a treat, with an array of comic homages and subtle upgrades for keen-eyed fanboys and girls to spot along the way.

“For the Mark XLII, we looked back to Tony’s second set of comic armour. In the early comics, Tony first wore a grey suit, then transitioned to a golden version. In the progressions of the Cinematic Universe, we felt like we could pay homage to this classic look,” Meinerding reveals.

The visual evolution doesn’t end with the suit design, either. Thanks to Marvel’s Iron Man 3’s incredible action scenes and SFX trickery, Shane Black thinks it’ll be hard to tell where the physical suits end and the CGI begins.

“We actually built two suits for the movie: the Mark XLII and the Iron Patriot suit. A lot of other armours that you see in the movie, some are models and some are CGI creations. It’s up to you to decide if your eye can tell the difference,” Black says.

Fittingly enough, the rapid-fire evolution from the Mark I to the Mark XLII has been as genius and adaptable as Stark’s own character arc, with Meinerding noting the suit’s progression from disparate, clunky life saver to organic, bio-synthetic war machine.

“The Mark I was meant to save his life in captivity, and was purposefully crude. The Mark II was Tony’s first chance at refining the Iron Man, and he did so with the flight suit. The Mark IV was about trying to add a heroic sleekness, while the Mark V – the suitcase suit – is his portable emergency suit,” he says.

“The heavily weaponised and armoured Mark VII is the Avengers suit, and is meant to be the armour designed for war. Finally, the Mark XLII can fly onto Tony in pieces, and he can control the pieces with his mind.”

Excitingly, that seems to be only the beginning. With Tony’s tantalising Extremis upgrade (the techno-biological threat at the heart of Marvel’s IRON MAN 3) guaranteed to offer all manner of dazzling developments, it’s clear that even at over 40 incarnations in, Iron Man’s potential is only just beginning.