It wouldn’t hurt to show a single blade of grass growing in some dirt. All in good time, I suppose. Maybe part 5?
Director Lana Wachowski
Screenplay Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksander Hemon
Starring Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith
There’s a restaurant sign that points downward during an escape scene early in The Matrix: Resurrections that says “Andersons.” Another sign adjacent to this says, in two colors of neon “For Those Who Love To Eat Shit.” This is a curious add for a restaurant, and it basically tells the viewer right off the bat what they are in for in this story. The people in this world, accepting it for what is presented, are eating feces. To put it obviously by now, one of the characters emphasises “This is not the real world.”
To the lay person, Neo (Reeves) and Trinity (Moss) sacrificed themselves at the end of The Matrix: Revolutions in order for the people to remain free. It’s been 60 years since then. Some things have changed. Too much has stayed the same. Inside The Matrix, Thomas Anderson (Reeves) is living a slow drawn out nightmare as the developer of video games. The Trilogy he created 20 years ago is a massive hit and he promised he would not make a sequel. His partner, Smith (Groff) tells him the sequel would have gone on without either of them if they had not made an agreement with Warner Brothers. So here they are.
Anderson, who in the midst of his nightmares awakens a code within a modal that reactivates a version of Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen II) is now trying to figure out what is real and where he exists. He runs into a married mother named Tiffany (Moss) and is instantly drawn to her and she him. His therapist (Harris) convinces him there is no connection with Tiffany and to keep up with his perscription of the blue pill.
For anyone who tired of The Matrix Trilogy by the time they got past the freeway scene in Reloaded, there are things here that may draw your interest. Namely, Reeves, Moss, Groff, Abdul-Mateen II and Harris. Any moment they are on the screen is of interest, even if they are spewing out exposition.
The problem with Resurrections is the same problem the original set of films has, and that is a complete lack of interesting characters who reside outside of the framework. This includes the normally vibrant Henwick to the increasingly limited Pinkett-Smith, covered in mounds of unconvincing makeup, but still grouchy as ever.
When the story moves to “the real world” things get an awful lot more samey, just like they did before. Sure, there are different types of technology now, and some of the AI are now in league with the humans in a fight against…well, I will let you figure it out.
The best parts of Resurrections involve Reeves in his different iterations. His attempt to work things out mirrors that of the viewer and he’s as identifiable and agreeable as any protagonist has a right to be, even now.
The filmmakers have gone a bit woke with this one though, in an effort to put a finger on the scale to at leas show an even respect to both Neo and Trinity. We get an understanding that The One never has been a spectaular presence in and of himself. It’s the combination of The One and his female counterpart that gives the power to overcome the bad guys.
The effects from the original films still hold up, so the few tweaks we have here won’t make the other films feel quaint, especially with the number of times we get flashbacks to point the viewer to what they are seeing and why. This becomes a bit more heavy handed as we move through the film. It’s kind of strange the same thing has continued happening when they supposedly won last time. Guess what happens this time…
If they want to keep this train going, I recommend showing the viewer that the humans can live above ground for once. It wouldn’t hurt to show a single blade of grass growing in some dirt. All in good time, I suppose. Maybe part 5? Now that Trinity is carrying more of the load, I suppose we will have to see her grow more first.
(***1/2 out of *****)