The year was 1999, you had already met Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted but have come to know him as an action star in films like Point Break and Speed. You went to the cinema to check out the latest what seems to be a latex clad gun happy action flick/ 2 hours and 16 minutes later your noodle is fried as you now question reality after having the answer to the question – What is the Matrix? Now 22 years later we find ourselves asking – What is the Matrix Resurrections?
If you haven’t seen the original Matrix you need to stop right here, because you might be getting robbed of one of Pop Cultures most iconic bait and switch moments since Vader told Luke he was his father and probably responsible for 60% of 7-11 1am munchies sales.
For those who did not have an existential crisis the Matrix is the basis for the original trilogy of The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The Matrix is the story of Thomas Anderson/The Keanu/The One who taken from his mundane/under fluro lights existence as a programmer in a nondescript city (it was shot in Sydney) into an underground resistance that seems to dress exclusively for latex fetish clubs and have shootouts with secret service looking suits.
For those who are familiar this of course is where the world falls from around Keanu with the reality of the world being that it is not 1999 Sydney but rather the far far future where a war between machines and humans raged, the sun was blotted out and the machines effectively won. Human beings where now being used as AA batteries, living in pods in a virtual world aka The Matrix, generating bioelectric energy being harvested for the machines.
Over the course of the trilogy we learnt more of the lore of the new world with the last human city (Zion) not being the first city having been levelled many times before. That the Kenau is actually ‘the chosen one’ who was the latest chosen one who had the ability to manipulate the virtual world while being inside the virtual world of the Matrix and his role is actually one of adding to the evolution of the Matrix acting as sort of a scheduled update which also sees the complete or partial destruction of Zion for the cycle to begin again.
In rejecting the choice he was given (The Matrix is all about choices) we journeyed deeper into the Matrix, meeting sentient programs and ones that pre-dated the ‘current’ Matrix such as The Merovingian and programs that could be described as werewolves and vampires. Eventually the main story is wrapped where The Keanu strikes a deal for a truce with the Machines if he defeats a rogue Secret Service Agent (Agent Smith aka the Red Skull) who had become sentient after mixing it up with John Wick.
Here is where the story ended in a fairly final way with Neo dying at the end. The story did continue past the trilogy into The Matrix MMO which carried the story on with Keanu’s main cheerleader, Morpheus, would give missions and does end up dying as part of the story. Much like the Animatrix (a collection of shorts including one by the group behind Cowboy Bebop and other Matrix game set between the first and third movies, the MMO story is considered canon.
The original Matrix is considered so iconic for so many reasons from the story twist to some cutting edge special effects (bullet dodging bullet time) that it is held in almost unachievable heights to match. Which might be a problem in creating a sequel film to the trilogy. The Matrix Resurrections is set many decades after end of Revolutions where Neo and co are long considered dead. The Matrix is still running with many in it still living in an oblivious state in their role as human batteries.
Acting a little more like an epilogue for anyone who was not happy with the end of The Matrix Revolutions, Resurrections is exactly what it says in the title with Neo being brought back to life and re-inserted into the Matrix. Thomas Anderson lives a long life as a video games developer who has had a successful career after creating a highly successful game called Binary set in ‘The Matrix’. He lives alone, sees a therapist and has a steady intake of his medicine – non-descript blue pills.
From here the film is more of a tribute to the original film with substantial number of throwbacks to not only things from the first 3 films but actual footage snippets inserted in too. While the film is it’s own it is more ‘what if we could combine the entire trilogy into a single film’ sort rather than, hold my dozer’s engine degreaser. While there is a lot of ‘new’ here there is actually not that much that is which could be frustrating for any long time fan who comes in with their own expectations.
So should you go see it? That depends, with the current environment if you cannot see it safely then absolutely not, wait for it to be out on digital/streaming. But if you can this one is really only for Matrix fans as it isn’t geared towards bringing new audiences to the franchises and even then this doesn’t really rate as a must see of the trilogy with it being more of an extended universe add on then something you must see to understand what is going on. In the meantime, you can still re-watch the originals and they are still every bit as good as when you first saw it.
The Matrix Resurrections is in cinemas across Australia right now.