“The Matrix Resurrections”, a reinvented classic, now playing on HBO Max
Do you remember where you were when you took the “blue pill” offered by the Wachowskis and opted for the world of “The Matrix”? I do. That world expanded into three original films where, at the end of the trilogy, Trinity died and Neo sacrificed himself, freeing the humans from their virtual chains, meaning the bar was raised – very high – and that anyone brave enough to continue the story had their work cut out for them.
“The Matrix Resurrections” (the fourth installment) is a self-aware and intelligent film, fully aware that audiences are just as intelligent. This is a lucrative franchise upgrade where they present the déjà vu problem not as a bug aka a “problem in the matrix” but as a central feature of the brand. This topic is so part of the cultural landscape that in one scene, employees of a San Francisco video game company are gathered around a corporate conference table, trying to figure out how to build on the Matrix saga. It’s an interesting scene and I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it forces you to stop and wonder if we’re all trapped in a matrix.
And “The Matrix Resurrections” roars with a mantra that says, “Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. “
“The Matrix Resurrections” gets an A + for gravity-defying action that plays out like a compilation of the greatest hits from previous films. But this new installment is clever and comforts familiar characters, challenges, heroines, heroes and villains. It also fleshed out the emotional core of a world that lacked empathy and felt a bit hollow.
“The Matrix Resurrections” brings back Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and a few key characters, such as Morpheus and Agent Smith (requiring the intervention of new actors).
The story here centers on the “simulation hypothesis” presented to the masses by Elon Musk, that video game technology is developing so rapidly that we already live inside of it.
These awakened people – the “sheep” – have this potentially liberating information, but choose to continue living as if nothing had happened. Does that sound like you and me?
Time flies like a bullet in a smoking gun because (take it correctly) it has been over two decades since “The Matrix” offered the “red” or “blue” pill. These people wanted to wake up, but in this world of 2021, we don’t; they remain blind by choice. And our disruptor, Neo, donned the flesh suit of a man named Thomas Anderson, who is the chief designer of game company WB Deus Machina.
Anderson is not a believer, even when Morpheus (now Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) opens a door and tries to wake him up, again.
Meanwhile, her shrink, aka the analyst (Neil Patrick Harris), pops the blue pills on her like candy and to shake things up, between Bugs (Jessica Henwick), a brave cyber-anarchist who saves Morpheus, a another wicked woman strong enough to fight the system.
Anderson eventually reunites with Trinity, who is now living the life of Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is married with children. The villain gets an upgrade with Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) only appearing in a flashback. The new enemy is Mr. Smith (Jonathan Groff) and once Anderson starts asking those tough questions, it’s against Smith again that he has to fight.
“The Matrix Resurrections” (https://www.matrixresurrections.net/), currently airing on HBO Max, is the perfect blend of action and nostalgia.