Return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more.
Editing: Joseph Jett Sally
Music: Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith
Director: Lana Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon
Based on Characters by: The Wachowskis
Cinematography: Daniele Massaccesi, John Toll
Timing is so important. In 1999 The Matrix utilised new technology to pull off its signature bullet time effect, used wire fu techniques from Hong Kong action cinema before its widespread use in Hollywood and pulled inspiration from anime long before it became a western staple. With The Matrix sequels, they were able to be on the cutting edge of CGI use, allowing the Wachowskis to pull off more of the crazy action sequences they dreamed of. With The Matrix Resurrections, Lana Wachowski is able to revisit the Matrix with the latest technology to tell a meta-story that could not be being released at a more perfect time.
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is an acclaimed video game designer, working on a new video game, drifting his way through days with the highlight of his day being his trip to the coffee shop where he might get a glimpse of a familiar woman (Carrie-Anne Moss) that he is inexplicitly drawn to. When Bugs (Jessica Henwick), a freed woman and captain in the human resistance, learns that Thomas is actually Neo, “The One”, she sets about freeing him from The Matrix.
Having just recently revisited the original trilogy, I had a lot of questions about how we were going to return to these characters. We’ve had a lot of these legacy sequels lately with mixed results. The explanations for the return of these characters and the way they worked in the original films into this one worked for me, even if there are points where it is a bit exposition-heavy.
The film definitely justifies its existence in my eyes as we get a chance to see the aftermath of Neo’s sacrifice in Revolutions and see what the peace between the human resistance and machines meant for both sides. I appreciate that the world of the Matrix has moved forward, and interesting ways that I hope to see explored in the future. I particularly like that humans can now enter and exit the Matrix through mirrors; now they don’t have to worry about finding a corded phone.!
At the heart of this story is the connection between Neo and Trinity. Strip away all the special effects, action sequences and sci-fi elements from the original trilogy and at its core, you have the love story between these two. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss’ connection and chemistry is palpable and seeing them together again on the big screen was a delight. Both give their all in the dramatic moments and the action-heavy ones as they anchor the film and give it heart.
The supporting cast is fantastic as well with Jessica Henwick and Jonathan Groff being great additions to the world while Neil Patrick Harris gives one of his best performances in recent memory. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does justice to the work Laurence Fishbourne did before him as he portrays Morpheus, just not in a way you would have anticipated.
A big complaint of the sequels was that the action didn’t have the same weight as the original film, punches didn’t seem to have the same effect when everyone is no-selling them. Resurrections is more like the original in that sense. You feel every punch and our heroes definitely take damage, in the Matrix and out of it. But that doesn’t mean that our resistance fighters aren’t enhanced; they still jump around, pulling off crazy martial arts moves and providing a fun action experience. All the action sequences are really good with exception of a fight on a train which featured camerawork so shaky it made it incredibly difficult to take in what was happening.
I expect there to be a lot of discussion around the subtext and meta-narrative of the film. The film isn’t very subtle about its references to Hollywood’s current preference to make reboots, remakes and sequels but I loved every minute of it and its discussion of the power of feelings over facts. I’m looking forward to reading many articles exploring the ideas brought up in this film, even if it could be viewed as slightly incendiary and kind of hypocritical.
The Matrix Resurrections is a worthy follow up to the original Matrix trilogy, moving the world forward in interesting ways, introducing exciting ideas and giving us a chance to be with Neo and Trinity again. While it is certainly not as groundbreaking as the original film, this is sure to have people talking about The Matrix for years to come and has me excited about the potential to return to this world again in the future.
Ashley Hobley attended an advance screening of The Matrix Resurrections thanks to Warner Bros. Entertainment Australia and Event Cinemas.