I have always enjoyed the Matrix trilogy (definitely an all time fave), but I never have been satisfied with the premise that the machines had to use humans as “batteries” after the humans interrupted their solar power by “torching the sky.” There are three big problems with this premise. First, it is just plain silly to think that there could be a net gain of energy harvested from humans after we consider how much machinery it required to grow them. Second, the machines had HUGE amounts of energy available to fly all over the place chasing the humans, and even drilling through miles of solid rock to get to Zion. It’s hard to imagine all that energy came from human “batteries.” And third, Trinity and Neo had no trouble flying above the clouds in the third movie for a glimpse of the sun, so it seems pretty silly that the machines could not do the same to get their energy.
And as if the failed “battery” thesis were not bad enough, the Matrix also gives us a really lame premise for the need of the Matrix itself. The idea was that the “batteries” would die if their minds were not properly stimulated. That’s silly, we all know that brain-dead bodies can live for years.
So how shall I save my favorite movie trilogy? Easy! The machines were machines. They were limited by logic. They had no creativity at all. They required humans to come up with new ideas and insights that went beyond the limits of logic. That’s why they had to create an entire illusory universe in which the human minds could function and generate new ideas for the machines. They harvested ideas, not material energy.
Now that’s a premise that could go somewhere …