In The Matrix Revolutions (2003 movie): Miguel Paraz voted up an answer.
This scene is a head scratcher - just what exactly
is going on here?
At first this moment annoyed me in the same way that Neo's ability to stop the sentinels
did - these events are supernatural, something that shouldn't happen in the "Real World" as we know it.
However, there is a larger significance
, hidden layers to the Matrix trilogy that are revealed in these 2 scenes. Philosopher Ken Wilber
provided a great theory on the film's official "philosophers' audio commentary" for Matrix Revolutions
, and given his direct access to the Wachowskis, I suspect he got this information directly from Lana Wachowski. The Short Answer:
This scene is allegorical- the images are not literal.
The Matrix universe is themed around 5 colors, Green, Blue, Yellow, Red and White, which represent different levels of our existence. In this scene, yellow represents Spirit, and the sentinels are heavenly warriors. Neo is at war with his spirit. He cannot win this battle, and his only way out is to rise through the clouds above, transcending the conflict entirely.
Let's explore these 5 colors, as they explain many mysteries in the films:
Green is the color of the Matrix, and represents the Mind.
This is the most obvious and famous color, what Wilber calls "the Green World." Every scene that takes place inside the Matrix is tinted green. The Matrix takes place in your mind and all the challenges of the Matrix are also challenges of the mind - bending the mind to change the rules.
This is why the Matrix is so appealing to us, because of the near limitless freedom it offers. In our minds, we are free to daydream almost any existence.
One interesting detail - when Smith is an Agent, his suit is tinted green. When he is reborn in the 2nd film, Smith's suit changes solid black. He is no longer an agent of the system and has become corrupted.
Blue is the "Real World" of Zion and represents the Body.
You can really see the blue lighting in Zion's dock and also in the service tunnels. Life in the Real World is harsh and unglamorous. Survival is the primary concern, death and extinction always threaten.
Some people didn't enjoy these scenes like they enjoyed the Matrix itself. In the Real World, excitement seemed to drain from the story. This is by design - real life is nowhere as exciting as the ideas in our heads. However, the Blue World is vitally important to the philosophical ideas these films present. The challenges of the mind are not the same as the challenges of the body. People like Cypher want to "escape" to the Green World because life there is easier. "Ignorance is bliss."
Yellow is the world of the Machines, representing Spirit and even Heaven.
This is by far the most interesting - the Yellow World is that of Spirit. In the Matrix Universe, the Machine City is analogous to Heaven, the Architect analogous to God. A certain kind of God.
In classical Christian philosophy, everything in Heaven is perfect.
The Wachowskis stumbled upon a beautiful and useful analogy - perfection is the mind of a Machine. Everything is precisely defined and has a purpose. The dualities of rational-vs-irrational, perfection-vs-imperfection, order-vs-chaos - all are modeled effectively by the architecture of computer systems.
However, perfection has a dark side. Unpurposed or outdated thinking is deleted. There is no room for unconditional love, or existence for the sake of existence. I love how humans are deemed imperfect because of Free Will, not because of our emotions or mortality. The Wachowskis are making a very real statement, Free Will is the enemy of perfection.
Try throwing that
statement at a die-hard rational empiricist.
Thus the Wachowskis make an interesting God-figure in the Architect. Whereas the Christian God loves his creation, the Architect holds humans in contempt. This is a Gnostic concept of a creator god who is not the
true God but made the world as a trap for human beings, blocking us from heaven.
The Spirit world exists alongside the Real World. Many times in The Matrix Revolutions
, we see the same shot from both perspectives - real and spirit. When Bane/Smith attacks Neo and burns his eyes, Neo gains the ability to see through the Spirit - a sixth sense that is referenced in most cultures, the ability to see beyond the literal, physical world and understand what operates underneath. Eastern religions call it the "third eye."
Exiles have a special affinity for the color yellow.
Being banished from the Machine City, never to return except under threat of deletion, yellow is symbol and reminder of Home. The Merovingian has yellow throughout his restaurant, and the Oracle has yellow in the wallpaper of her kitchen (although she is not an exile). When Neo spots Ramakandra for the first time, Rama is standing in front of a yellow background, and when Neo sees the code of Seraph (whose name is a term for angel), it is yellow instead of green - an angel from the Machine City, not the Matrix.
Red is the symbol for corruption, evil, and Hell.
In the Matrix Universe, Red is not really a world but a state of corruption and evil.
The sentinels glow red from within, and the pods which hold humans trapped within the Matrix are also red. The Merovingian's club, which is reached by pressing a red "Help" button with the "p" scratched off, is bathed in red.
This presents an interesting possibility with the Red and Blue pills. It might make more sense to have the blue
pill free Neo, as this releases him to the blue world.
However, the red pill serves this function. Perhaps this is an allusion to the (red) apple of Eden, ie, the fruit of knowledge. Often the "wrong" knowledge can corrupt us - we cannot "unlearn" something that we didn't want to know.
White alludes to purity and the mysterious Source.
Also not quite a world, the color white appears at times when Neo makes a major shift in his growth.
Perhaps it represents The Source, something the films rarely explain. Certain characters wear white to suggest their purity, such as Seraph or Switch.
Which brings us back to the question...
While the theme for The Matrix
was illusion-vs-reality, and the theme for The Matrix Reloaded
is Free Will, the clear theme for Matrix Revolutions
is a war between man and spirit. The battle in Zion is a literal War with Heaven, while Neo's journey is a personal struggle within. So...
when Trinity and Neo fly to the Machine City, the Machines they encounter are literally the Armies of God, defending the Gates of Heaven. The yellow ghost of the sentinel is vaguely reminiscent of an angel, a warrior of Spirit. When the sentinel flies through Neo, Spirit is fighting with the Body. Neo cannot win. Neo and Trinity can only escape by rising above the conflict. Above the clouds, the world is bathed in white light, and Trinity has her moment of transcendence, an encounter with the Source. This is unique to her. Neo does not see it even though he is sitting right next to her. Thus Trinity is content when she dies.See question on Quora