A blue tablet isn’t necessary. By and large, The Matrix Resurrections is an intriguing and lively film that belongs on the same shelf as the breakthrough original from 1999. It recalls that mind-scrambling pseudo-intellectual yammering becomes boring on-screen if there isn’t also some joy, unlike the soul-crushingly dreary prior episode, The Matrix Revolutions.
Fortunately, director Lana Wachowski, who is collaborating with scripting colleagues David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon for the first time, has incorporated plenty of flashbacks. It isn’t required to see the film again. But, when you’ve seen it, speak about the new one.
It’s time to brush up on your game theory
Following an introduction to new characters (who are mysteriously embedded into The Matrix’s initial scene? (Does this seem like the Holodeck?) We catch up with Keanu Reeves’ Neo, but he’s now working as Thomas Anderson as an office drone.
It’s not 1999 anymore; it’s 2021, at least, that’s what we believe. Could this, rather than the myth of The Nebuchadnezzar and The One freeing Zion from The Architect and the Machines, be the genuine fundamental reality?
If that’s the case, The Matrix trilogy as we know it was merely a game series developed by Anderson, and the strange sensations he gets about the world around him are things he wants to sort out with his therapist, Neil Patrick Harris.
However, the boundary between fiction and reality in Anderson’s life becomes even more hazy at the same time as it does in the screenplay for The Matrix Resurrections. Anderson is told, in a highly self-referential move, that he must produce a sequel to his original Matrix trilogy, since corporate overlords Warner Bros. would do it with or without him. (In the strangest reality of all, Hollywood, this is basically what happened to Wachowski.)
It gets even crazier when we learn that Anderson modelled Trinity on a girl he meets at his neighborhood coffee shop (dubbed the Simulatte, ha ha ha), Carrie-Anne Moss, who similarly has a nagging feeling that something is wrong with the world.
What exactly is the Matrix?
Anderson’s persistent concern prompts him to construct a “modal,” a little software that attempts to unravel the fabric of reality on its own. There are two things that happen: First, a computer program (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) takes on the role of Morpheus, Laurence Fishburne’s character from the first trilogy. (We’ll find out that the actual Morpheus died a long time ago, far longer than the 20 years we believe have gone.)
Another oddity about this modal is that a hacker called Bugs (Jessica Henwick) from “the real world” (the world where Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus formerly battled for Zion) manages to sneak into Anderson’s new modal (don’t ask me how).
It all makes sense, don’t you think? But, more importantly, what is this new Matrix in which Anderson (and Moss’s “Tiffany”) find themselves?
I think we’ll all need a second viewing to fully grasp this, but the most intriguing aspect is how Harris’s Analyst, who serves the same purpose as the Architect in the original trilogy, has discovered a way to extract more power from pod-sleeping humans by tormenting them with what we call tsuris in the Jewish faith.
Heartbreak, sadness, and general bad vibes seem to be all over the place these days, and The Matrix Resurrections claims that this is due to a malignant computer program pushing our psyches for some additional juice. Of course, the Analyst is unaware that when Neo and Trinity work together, a greater force emerges: the power of pure love.
“Bullet time” has been reintroduced
When Anderson and his team of game creators began planning the sequel, they realize that the original Matrix had an intangible quality about it. Yes, it had all of the heavy metaphysics, but it also looked awesome!
The new entry will need to recreate the “bullet time” effect from the 1999 film, in which Neo arched backwards, the camera spun about, and time appeared to stop. When the Analyst is taunting Anderson/Neo at a time of tremendous risk, he says it, but nothing on the screen responds.
The “holy crap, what am I seeing?” moment occurs during the climactic pursuit, when a new version of Agent Smith takes control of the corpses connected into the Matrix in order to assassinate Neo and Trinity.
Swarm mode is the name of the 2.0 version, and anybody sleeping or working in a high-rise building that happens to be towering over Trinity’s racing Ducati would suddenly have a strange look in their eyes and fall out the window, transforming into a human torpedo. It’s one of the most bizarre sights ever seen in a Matrix film.
As a transgender metaphor, The Matrix
There’s a quick discussion about what The Matrix trilogy is truly about during that montage of brainstorming game developers.
Someone claims it’s about transgender problems somewhere in the jumble of beliefs. (Lilly Wachowski did, in fact, speak about this last year.)
There’s a lot in the new entry that contributes to this discussion. To begin, the game with which Anderson is now battling (and abandoning) is called Binary.
Then there’s the movie’s whole third act, in which Neo and his group attempt to awaken Trinity from her slumber as Tiffany, a bored, married woman. Her actual self, the one that matches with Neo as a martial arts-savvy badass, is aware of this, but it is much simpler for her to remain engrossed in the role that the fake society has created for her.
Neo emphasizes that she’ll only be happy as Trinity if she chooses it, and she steps back, concerned that she’s been behaving as Tiffany for so long that it’s too late.
Many trans individuals struggle with the idea that it is too late to transition, so this discussion between Trinity and Neo will certainly resonate. Moss will also instruct her dopey spouse character (whose real name is Chad) to stop deadnaming her and start calling her Trinity instead.
Finally, the film’s conclusion reveals that in the new Matrix, most of the unique abilities (like as flight) have been passed down from the male Neo to the female Trinity.
Credits at the end
A film as crazy as The Matrix Resurrections has numerous hidden gems (one of them is a voyage through “the fetus fields”), but the hits keep coming throughout the credits. The film finishes with a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s Wake Up, like in the 1999 Matrix, but this time with a female singer.
The new version is by the band Brass Against, and if you recognize the name, it means you either enjoy rock anthems with a sousaphone or you recall the incident from mid-November in which the group’s lead singer Sophia Urista pulled down her pants, squatted over a fan, and urinated on him while performing. (While the fan seemed to agree, the venue’s cleaning staff very certainly did not!)
Of course, Lana Wachowski could never have imagined Brass Against’s current level of fame, but it only goes to show that she still has the golden touch.