For the masala, nostalgia, and the many Easter eggs, The Matrix Resurrections is worth checking out.
“The body cannot live without the mind” – Morpheus, The matrix (1999)
The Wachowskis have created something incredibly iconic with The matrix. They have changed the way we understand and consume science fiction. Their skillful storytelling with prophetic lines focused on the relevance of ancient world philosophies in an increasingly mechanized and digitized era, woven together by spectacular fight and chase sequences, all with a generous wash of mint green filters. . They wowed a world on the threshold of its TCP / IP accounts at the turn of the year 2000 with sci-fi that seemed so fantastic but terribly real as it raised relevant life questions.
The matrix wasn’t just a bunch of machines and guns; it was an exploration of what is real and what is illusion, our idea of choice, questioning the status quo, finding ourselves and detaching from whatever we feel is controlling us. For the average college student, agnostic / atheist, The matrix was a spiritual equivalent on the nose of the rich saber light Star wars from the previous generation. It was something so original that we could call our own; something that wasn’t a legacy of the older, cooler generations of Woodstock and Indiana Jones. There was nothing like it until then, and even the sequel the Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix revolutions (both released in 2003) carefully tied to the storylines – conflicting views on this, obviously – leaving us with a clear possibility of a fourth film in the series.
Now, 22 years since we were first seduced and 18 years since the last movie, we meet Neo, who is now called Thomas Anderson. He’s an award-winning and very famous game designer from – you guessed it – The matrix trilogy.
This is the start of the meta-story the creators used to justify why we last the Matrix resurrections in the first place. In fact, Thomas’ company is convinced by Warner Bros. to make a Matrix 4 game, an experience that our gorgeous protagonist knows has the potential to mess with his already pretty messed up head.
It also gives creators the opportunity to bring in a lot more footage and past references, creating that particular mark of reboot reminiscence that has become commonplace with cinema today. The problem with reboots is that they masquerade as a sort of refresher course for younger generations of audiences. By taking a beloved movie or series and giving it a fresher, newer treatment (usually in the visual effects department), and making it stronger, more self-deprecating at the start before blazing new trails in them. later films.
How many times are we going to see a reboot after eons to be faced with a nostalgic exercise devoid of anything else? Sensing the commercial gains and risking a stroke of fame by improving on something beloved or revered, these films often have more fragile storylines compared to their originals. This is rather ironic considering that the original Matrix is often seen as a philosophical treatise on the controlling nature of capitalism and how we cannot put a price on freedom. Apparently, the mainstream belief today is that the audience needs to be brought down, but it’s clear people like Nolan don’t have this memo.
So the Matrix resurrections follows the formula of Star Wars The Force Awakens (Episode VII of the sequel trilogy), which relies heavily on the original film (The matrix in this case, and Episode IV: A New Hope in the case of Star wars), a whole slew of characters from previous films, a deluge of references and lines that allude to predecessors, making it a fan geek’s dream bending over to the overgrown male child.
The film is also incredibly funny as it controls narrative regurgitation with a sharp wit and (almost) personifies “déjà vu” on a whole new level. If the original trilogy was a green-hued experience, then the Matrix resurrections is Joseph and the Technicolor dream coat in comparison.
We remember how Keanu Reeves barely aged and he continues to play Keanu Reeves in every movie. He could have gotten out of the John wick together and rushed in The matrix, and that wouldn’t even be registered as a problem.
It’s a painful reminder that Reeves can barely act and with typical long hair and beard. He is Hollywood’s answer to Arjun Rampal; those extremely handsome men who can walk through an entire movie without any expression on their face. But we continue to support Neo, who tries to sift through what he considers to be fact of fiction. We applaud his reunion with Trinity, performed with talent by Carrie-Ann Moss who takes over the role. She’s doing her limited part as expected – with minimal fuss, emotional eyes and nothing else.
Neil Patrick Harris as Thomas’s therapist is played very effectively by combining Harris’s penchant for the rapidly changing tone of mind. Lambert Wilson and Jada Pinkett Smith return as Merovingians and General Niobe (from the Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix revolutions), joining a larger and more recent cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff and Christina Ricci. Priyanka Chopra Jonas plays Sati, who was the little girl at sunrise for Neo in Matrix revolutions. During the short span of time she’s on screen, Chopra shows us why she’s one of India’s best actors as she defends herself against Reeves’ cinematic charm.
Backed by a compelling score and enthusiastic visual effects, the film is more entertaining than innovative. For just the masala, the nostalgia and the many Easter eggs (and the white rabbit!), the Matrix resurrections worth a watch. The film shows how far ahead of its time the original is Matrix the movie actually was, especially since Resurrections looks so contemporary in comparison. With fight sequences that seem mundane at best and dated at worst, the film then adds no value to the original trilogy even though it looks like another sequel is in sight. What was once a mind-boggling idea that combined science fiction and philosophy is now mind-numbing rumination on a mind-boggling scale.
For once, I wish he had just taken the damn blue pill.
The Matrix Resurrections hits Indian cinemas.
Senior journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri has spent a good part of two decades chronicling the arts, culture and lifestyles.