If you’ve read my posts ’round here, you know this has been a very bad year for me and my family. We’ve faced horror and tragedy above and beyond the COVID pandemic and that stuff is still being sorted out.
My wife was determined to stay awake past midnight, to effectively tell 2021 to go fuck off, before going to bed.
I used to be somewhat nocturnal, but nowadays it’s tough for me to stay awake much past 11 pm… if I get to that hour!
But much before we got to that time, I was alone and had nothing going on. The daughters were busy, the wife was (at the time) visiting the next door neighbor, and I was alone in the family room.
I knew The Matrix Resurrections was available via HBO Max. Now, its been a very long time since I’ve set foot in a movie theater… I’m hoping in the new year I get to finally go back… but for now, with the movie available for streaming, I figured I’d finally give it a look. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
I very much recall going to see the original The Matrix way back in 1999 and upon its initial release and being totally blown away by the film. Terrific action sequences and a truly mind-bending story. And the trio of Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne were at the top of their game, delivering the goods scene after scene.
What was there not to love?
Thing is, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who directed The Matrix, would follow that terrific film with a string of others which… well… didn’t appeal to me that much.
Despite the wonderful spectacle, I wasn’t a big fan of the two follow up Matrix films, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (also 2003). Despite being a fan of the original Anime, I found it hard to watch more than 20 or so minutes of Speed Racer (2008). I have a digital copy of Cloud Atlas (2012) but haven’t had a chance to catch it as of yet, so I have no opinion on that film. What I saw of Jupiter Ascending (2015) seemed like more of the type of thing that had slowly turned me off of the Wachowskis and their films: Beautiful, in your face spectacle but a tough plot to follow and characters who didn’t appeal as much as I would have hoped.
Oh, and also, these films were all very long. I came away feeling like perhaps the Wachowskis could have used someone to edit the material down a little so that the stories had a better, stronger focus.
The bottom line is that as I sat in my living room yesterday on the last day of 2021 and with nothing else to do, I was somewhat hesitant to venture into The Matrix Resurrections.
Yet I did, and I’m rather glad I did so.
My verdict is that The Matrix Resurrections is a too long (not surprising) work that brings our older characters back (though Laurence Fishburne did not return this time around) for another round and while it may not be a great film, there is so much meat on the bone that I’m glad I went down this particular rabbit hole.
Having said that: I don’t feel I can recommend this film to everyone.
Looking around the internet and blog posts here and there, there are clearly many people who really hated the film. Still, over on rottentomatoes.com, the film has a “fresh” rating of 65% positive with critics and 64% positive with audiences.
But the film is bound to be divisive.
To begin with, the action sequences, while at times pretty well done, aren’t up there with the original film or even the sequels. I don’t know if its because so many years have passed but the action sequences never took my breath away.
However, the plot, involving the reconnection of Neo (Keanu Reeves, looking so much older than when he was last in the Matrix) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) was something that by the end had me genuinely near tears.
I just wish that they spent more time showing them together!
The story goes like this: Neo (Keanu Reeves) lives his boring, empty life working on video games. See, he created this great game several years ago called The Matrix and now the company, which is owned by Warner Brothers, wants a sequel.
Yes, the film is quite meta.
Neo, however, is deeply depressed. Perhaps even suicidal. He goes to a cafe to eat day after day and often sees Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) there buying a drink for herself. He pines for her, though he doesn’t know who she is and is too shy to introduce himself to her.
Eventually they do talk, and that opens the whole doorway into the film’s plot… and the machinations therein.
The film doesn’t move all that smoothly and there are moments where I could see people throwing their hands up and giving up. Things are often very weird and dragged out and, as I mentioned, the action sequences aren’t necessarily as good as some of the others we’ve seen from the Wachowskis (for the record, Lilly Wachowski bowed out of involvement in this film and her sister Lana is the sole director).
Still, if you stick around, you start to really get into Keanu Reeves’ Neo. This is a haunted man, one who knows a big part of himself is missing (could the meta storyline have something to do with Lilly Wachowski’s not returning to this film?) and he’s incredibly depressed about that… to the point where he’s considering suicide.
Granted, not the most fun stuff to watch for a potential blockbuster film, but the payoff is all that much stronger when it comes.
I doubt there will be another Matrix film, certainly by the Wachowskis. It feels Lana Wachowski took this opportunity and made a highly symbolic and very meta film about her current state of mind. If so, I hope she’s found her peace, just as Neo and Trinity appear to.
Yeah, it’s a tough film to recommend to everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a feature that doesn’t offer smarmy characters spouting smarmy dialogue, you may just find it worthwhile to take a dive into The Matrix Resurrections.