It was 2003 when we last saw Neo / Thomas Anderson, Keanu Reeves (“Toy Story 4”, “John Wick: Chapter 2”), in the flesh in a Matrix film when both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions came to town. Though you’d be forgiven for forgetting either of those.
The movie that kick started it all, the movie that arguably defined a generation, came in 1999 when The Wachowski’s brought us The Matrix. To audiences around the world it wowed and amazed and rightly so, its story-line of us all being held captive by robots, used as batteries by them whilst the world we lived in was actually a computer simulation, is stunning.
Sure, it borrowed heavily in the action department from the plethora of kung-fu movies, particularly from Hong Kong, the Jackie Chan, Jet Lee brigade, to name but two, that had gone before it but this was no bad thing.
The two follow-ups were poor, not just in comparison to the first Matrix movie, but they were just poor movies full stop. They crammed more explanation, more characters who were ‘in’ on the whole thing and lest we forget the bizarre Zion drum-beat/psychedelic dance thing from The Matrix Reloaded.
It was all a far cry from The Matrix which, to many, was new, different, fresh and that’s hard to do with any movie, let alone to attempt to follow it with two movies in the same franchise. At least, other than the sad passing of The Oracle actress Gloria Foster, those movies retained the same main cast.
The same can’t be said for our latest outing, The Matrix Resurrections, which does manage to retain Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity respectively, and bring back Jada Pinkett Smith (“Angel Has Fallen”, “Bad Moms”) as Niobe, Lambert Wilson (“De Gaulle”, “Raising Colors”) as The Merovingian and a handful of others.
Otherwise it’s a new cast, though many are playing familiar faces, perhaps none more so then Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“Aquaman”, “Watchmen (TV)”) as Morpheus, and no, Lawrence Fishburne doesn’t know why he didn’t return either. Then there’s Jonathan Groff (“Mindhunter (TV)”, “Hamilton”) as Agent Smith, or Smith as he’s known now, Hugo Weaving unable to return apparently due to scheduling conflicts.
The bad guy in The Matrix Resurrections is The Analyst, Neil Patrick Harris (“8-Bit Christmas”, “Downsizing”), the man who is responsible for this version of The Matrix, who is controlling the ‘sheeple’ using emotions, generating more power than ever before and, at the heart of it all, is Neo and Trinity, one can’t be without the other, he keeps them close, but not that close.
When new girl Bugs, Jessica Henwick (“On the Rocks”, “Love and Monsters”), breaks Neo out of his pod some sixty years since the previous time he was out, he’s barely aged, unlike many around him, though no-one knows why. He and Trinity are in special pods, away from the others and Neo wants nothing more than to break Trinity free from hers.
This is what The Matrix Resurrections is all about; Neo breaking Trinity out of her pod, The Analyst laughing at their attempts and some long and rather dull explanations about things that you don’t feel needed explaining and a whole lot of shots from the previous Matrix movies as well some shot-for-shot remakes in this version.
Groff is superb in Mindhunter but playing Smith here he pales in comparison to Weaving, the menace, threat and general disgust Weaving portrayed is lacking here. The Analyst feels a weak character, a program that has built a world but fails to move one of its main assets allowing the humans in and replacing Fishburne for someone playing the same role is just odd.
It’s all a bit ‘meh’, it feels unnecessary, it feels like this has been created simply as a stepping stone for another movie whereby Trinity and Neo know their powers within the Matrix and can finally get to use them to the max. Unfortunately, if Resurrections is the result of taking the red pill, I’d prefer the blue.
22nd December 2021
THE QUICK SELL
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.