How deep is the rabbit hole? Enough to accommodate at least four movies, various video games, a comic, and countless sunglasses.
In the 22 years since it debuted, The Matrix (“The Matrix”) has never left us, or, depending on the pill you choose, we have never left it. Despite two widely disappointing sequels, The Matrix It has not gone out of style, nor have its long leather jackets or its science fiction vision of an illusory reality beyond what we have in front of us. It has become easier and easier to think that perhaps Morpheus really had an idea about that simulation business.
So when the green lines of code rain on the screen again to start The Matrix Resurrections (“Matrix Resurrections”), it’s a bit like a warm bath. If we’re going to get stuck inside a simulation, at least we have one with Keanu Reeves.
But a lot has also changed in the 18 years since the last chapter on the big screen, The Matrix Revolutions (“Matrix: Revolutions”). This is the first installment directed solely by Lana Wachowski, without her sister Lilly. Both of them had long resisted the idea of making another movie of MatrixBut the death of her parents left Lana wishing for the comfort of Neo (Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), she said. The tape is dedicated to mom and dad.
And for a long time, Resurrections seems to be arguing with herself. Neo is now a despondent video game designer, famous for creating the game “The Matrix” and striving to do anything that captures the same cultural connection. This may not be all that different for the Wachowskis, visionary filmmakers whose dense and elaborate fantasies – Jupiter Ascending (“The fate of Jupiter”), Cloud Atlas – sometimes they have sunk under the weight of their baroque architectures and their confused metaphysics. Even the legacy of The Matrix is up for debate in this autoanalytic sequel.
“We kept some kids entertained,” Neo says with a shrug, not sounding like “the chosen one.” He now acts under his old Thomas A. Anderson identity.
However, parent company Warner Bros., which is also the studio behind these films, commissioned a sequel to the game. The meta boardroom scene where this is discussed is not as fresh as the filmmakers seem to think. It’s part of the film’s recharged first half, where new levels of reality open up and occasionally return to the first matrix. Familiar scenes reappear, but this time from a different and unclear point of view. There’s a blue-haired hacker named Bugs (Jessica Henwick, a nice addition to the cast) and some sort of understudy for Morpheus played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Laurence Fishburne is not in this film, and it is not difficult to spend the entire 148 minutes of the film mourning her colossal absence.
There is a lot to process in the first half of the film. Some basic points: Thomas / Neo lives quietly and sadly in a simulation where he and Trinity (Moss) do not know each other. Neo sees her in a cafeteria (“Simulatte”) and there is a powerful connection that is difficult to explain. Reeves and Moss still have strong chemistry, and one of the film’s main charms is the resurrection of the less-seen Moss. But in this warped world, Trinity calls herself Tiffany and is married with children. Her husband, cruelly, is even called Chad. Whatever Neo’s restlessness, his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) appeases him. This “Matrix” isn’t feverishly novel like the groundbreaking original film, but takes its inspiration from a later chapter in life: the midlife malaise of feeling like you’ve taken a wrong turn long ago.
Realigning all the truth and illusion layers takes a long time to Resurrections, which Wachowski wrote with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon. The first 90 minutes or so are so overloaded with expositions and explanations, that by the time the underground rebel leader played by Jada Pinkett Smith, Niobe, shows up and says to Neo “we need to talk,” you might find yourself muttering “please no ”and taking the nearest blue pill. Many sequels and reboots can be criticized as half crude; Resurrections suffers more from overthinking.
And yet it is often compelling to watch Wachowski question and reconsider his most beloved creation.
More than ever, The Matrix plays as an allegory not for the analog and digital worlds, but for something more intimate that revolves around discouragement and self-actualization. In his cocktail of pills, therapies and flights over the rooftops, Resurrections create an elaborate sci-fi tapestry of drugs, depression and suicide. While Neo and Trinity’s heterosexual romance powers the franchise (yes, along with those cool slow-mo bullets), The Matrix it is about leaving the normative existence, saying goodbye to the old code, to “Chad”, and being reborn in a universe without decidedly rules queer. It is truly ironic that the climax of Resurrections include a threatening speech about “sheep” by Neil Patrick Harris.
If defying the heteronormative program and entering the Matrix was once an exquisite finesse, in Resurrections the battle is more forceful and the tone less exultant. Personal freedom here requires mounting a defense against an alarming attack. In the sinister culmination of Resurrections, Neo and Trinity (no longer Tiffany) flee under a chilling deluge of robotically controlled bodies to invade any anomalies. The Matrix Resurrections It may be a bumpy ride, but it’s still a ride.
The Matrix Resurrections, a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 (advising parents that it may be inappropriate for those under the age of 13) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) by scenes of violence and some foul language. Duration: 148 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
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Review of the movie ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ with Keanu Reeves