Agent Smith, classic sunglasses in place, roams the gray-green hallways of a hospital. Sound like a scene from the Matrix? Think again: it's GE's new commercial, trying to turn the Matrix trilogy on its head.
Consistently rated as one of the best sci-fi movies in recent years, the Matrix has a simple theme: Machines are controlling us. The basic premise is that humans created super-intelligent computers that then became smarter than their creators. Eventually, the computers took over the world and began using humans for electricity, keeping their physical bodies in a giant factory while "plugging" their brains into a virtual reality.
While most humans go through life unaware that they only exist in a virtual state, the film’s protagonist, Neo, learns the truth and is tasked with saving mankind from the rule of the machines.
With that in mind, GE’s new ad seems rather bizarre.
The Matrix's archvillain, Agent Smith, who is an agent of the machines, leads the viewer on a tour of a hospital with gray-green lighting, which may have been meant to invoke the Matrix but instead just seems incredibly dingy. He says that this is technology "for good" and describes it as "hardwiring medical hardware with innovative software to be in many places at many times," with duplications of the Agent himself passing by.
As an avid Matrix fan, the dim lighting, the vague horror movie sound effects, and the ominous shots of various machines definitely reminded me of the Matrix ... in the worst way possible. If GE meant to make its audience feel uncomfortable and remind them of why they hate hospitals to begin with, then they passed with flying colors.
Otherwise, GE, don’t use the Matrix to try to sell machines — unless you want us to think you’re run by them, too.