Commentary Sacrifices Story – Matrix: Resurrections

by | Jan 6, 2022 | Podcast, Two Drink Cinema | 0 comments

Another reboot. *sigh*  Another Matrix.  *Oooh!*   That’s how we felt going into Matrix: Resurrections. Unfortunately, there were a lot more *sighs* the *Oooohs!* in the actual theatre as we watched the latest reboot and the latest addition by Lana Wachowski to the Matrix franchise.  To say it’s the most disappointed we’ve been by a film this year is a big statement. But No Time To Die was a great ending to Craig’s time as Bond, Dune didn’t rock our socks off but it was visually stunning as you’d expect from Villeneuve, Respect was a decent biopic even if it did have moments of JHud doing covers. The Matrix as a franchise is deep. There are still people who don’t really understand what the first trilogy was really about. We both decided that we didn’t understand the storyline of Resurrections but agreed that that was due to a lack of depth not a lack of our own intelligence. The story, as much as we can piece together, is intriguing. Thomas Anderson and “Tiffany” are back in the Matrix after Neo and Trinity ended the war with the machines at the end of the first trilogy. A new generation, 60 years after Neo and Trinity’s time, is seeking to free The One again however this time they seem to be doing it more as a fun hack to meet their idol rather than in an effort to save the world. Once we get to the ‘real world’ we see that everyone is living quite peacefully. Jada Pinkett Smith explains that by showing us how they’re now growing strawberries.  The additional background and depth we get as we go along are great. The revelation that Thomas’ therapist is actually The Analyst, the Machines’ replacement for The Architect, changes everything. The fact that the Machines inserted Agent Smith back into the Matrix as Thomas’ business partner means that Neo probably really did need saving.  But this story takes a back seat in a lot of ways. It’s pushed aside by unsubtle ‘messaging’ and allegory. We understand that a lot has changed for women and trans people in the last 20 years and that these kinds of messages could be so blatantly included in a blockbuster movie but in Matrix: Resurrections, it seems to have been included at the cost of the actual storyline and the elements which make a Matrix film a Matrix film. The messaging also would’ve been stronger and the trans voice louder if any of the main cast had been trans actors. It’s not like Lana doesn’t have contact with the ones she cast in Sense8 at least. We get that these are important messages, but representation along with allegory is much stronger than just making it so that everyone looks different between the real world and the Matrix, Anderson’s next game is called Binary and now it’s Trinity that flies instead of Neo.  Another thing that takes up time that could have been given to what, on later reflection, could have been a great story is the ‘references’ to the original trilogy. I put references in quotation marks there because showing us the exact scene from the original film isn’t so much as a reference but more like a “Previously on, The Matrix…”. When Thomas Anderson is having a flashback to something that happened, we see the scene. We’ll allow that. But we don’t need it every time something is referenced. There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re seeing Matrix 4 you’ve seen Matrix 1-3 and, like us, might have even given yourself a refresher watch in the lead up to release. Or you could be the guy sitting next to Brett who brought his girlfriend with no Matrix experience and had to explain every reference to her. The nods to the originals like the helicopter raining bullet casings or New Morpheus ‘quoting’ the lines of the original are fine, we expect them in reboots. But the repeated showing of original scenes got a little bit much. That’s where Brett’s sighs hit their peak.   When we think of the Matrix we think of great fighting and action sequences, a story that gets us thinking and, let’s be honest, game-changing technological film-making techniques. In Resurrections, we were disappointed on three counts. The hand-to-hand combat and the action felt like 90% of the action movies we see these days. Any action sequences that caught our attention were really just copies, sorry ‘tributes’, to the first trilogy so nothing new there. And the story fell flat in engaging us and didn’t have the space to really get deep enough to challenge us.  In the scene where the team is planning Thomas Anderson’s follow-up game to The Matrix, there’s a discussion about needing to create the next ‘Bullet Time’. Obviously, this is highlighting the impact that the Wachowski’s had on action filmmaking. But the film doesn’t give us anything new in terms of technology or film-making. Without any disrespect to Lana Wachowski, everything she’s done so far has been great, this film could’ve been directed by whoever directed Spiderman: Far From Home or The Batman.  We had a LOT more to say about this one and go deeper in our podcast episode. Give it a listen below and follow the links to subscribe. If you’ve got your own thoughts comment below or get in touch on our socials @twodrinkcinema  

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