Friday, May 09, 2008

A Shift-Your-Gears Mach 6 Friday

The Wachowski Bros. really seem to have it in for the number 5, as the erstwhile digit is often cast in an antagonistic light in their movies. To be generous, it is possible to say that 5 as portrayed in their movies is, at best, representative of a life that must be escaped from, and that it is indicative of, if not outright Evil, at least a hive-mind mentality. Put bluntly, the number 5 is anathema to Wachoski-written protagonists, individuals who must separate themselves from the pack (although really, this makes the protagonist anathema to the hive-mind).

This is all pretty clear in the Matrix trilogy, with Neo designated as the sixth integral anomaly, and the world of the matrix downright plastered with 101 designations (addresses, highways), what in binary is 5 decimal. And in V for Vendetta, V's instigation of an anarchic uprising leads to thousands of individuals donning Guy Fawkes masks, as they all symbolically become V (5) in an act of public disobedience that glorifies the hive mind while doing nothing to effect real change (the promise of 6). Of course, in V for Vendetta, they had to radically change the original work to get there (upsetting author Alan Moore), but you could say that 5 didn't come out looking like such a pillar of "right number behavior" in the comic, either.

Anyway, it was with those examples in mind that I wondered how the Wachowski Bros. would deal with the presence of the Mach 5 in their new film, Speed Racer, opening today. I mean, that's Speed's car. And what about the delightful pun of "go" meaning 5 in Japanese? Surely the protagonist's car isn't a symbol of the hive mind?

Well, okay then. If you want to break away from the pack, I guess you're gonna need a Mach 6. Roku, Speed, Roku!

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