Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Matrix: Resurrections

Movie Name:
The Matrix: Resurrections
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Lambert Wilson, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Joshua Grothe, Brian J. Smith, Erendira Barra, Andrew Lewis Caldwell, Chad Stahelski, Mumbi Maina, Max Mauff, Telma Hopkins
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Director Lana Wachowski is back, following her previous projects she worked on alongside her sister Lilly, namely "Jupiter Ascending" and the Netflix show, "Sense 8". This time around Lana, alongside acclaimed novelist David Mitchell (who also wrote "Cloud Atlas", which the Wachowski siblings adapted in 2012 alongside Tom Tykwer) and Aleksandar Hemon, go back to the "Matrix" universe, in order to revisit where Neo, Trinity and all the characters from that iconic cinematic universe are. The narrative introduces us to Thomas Anderson, aka Neo, working as a well known game designer, the one who originally created the popular Matrix game twenty something years ago. The publishing entity which has distributed the game, Warner Bros. wants to go back to that universe, and will do it with Thomas or not. Unbeknownst to Thomas/Neo, the resistance has been trying to locate him in this new version of the Matrix, and when they finally locate him, they have to convince him, that while he indeed died the first time around, he was brought back to this new matrix. And so did Trinity, who has no recollection of anything, and currently goes by the name of Tiffany. As Neo contends to coming back to reality, revisiting old allies and foes, his main focus continues to be saving Trinity, and making sure she's at his side.
Going back to a cinematic staple of the last two decades such as "The Matrix", was always going to be a somewhat interesting task, primarily since the last two chapters of the trilogy, left the arc of many of those characters somewhat resolved. However Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon have chosen to go in a very different direction in this sequel, making the characters aware of the previous installments, as if the events of those chapters were themselves part of a game, essentially making the premise for this sequel itself, very meta and self-aware. However as the narrative unfolds, and as Neo progressively witnesses what lies behind this newly built Matrix, it's interesting to witness how Lana Wachowski, while revisiting some familiar elements, also introduces new ones, building upon the pre-existing mythology, namely the meaning of the "one", and what that actually means for the central characters. It's a film that while expanding on a well known universe, does so by un-peeling the different layers that surround this mythology, bringing back some characters such as the Merovingian, who is now suffering its own fate. The action set pieces continue to be very slickly executed, and while the film does continue to falter in terms of building characters that have enough dimension, motivation and a discernible path, it's nonetheless an interesting, unconventional way to revisit a very unique universe. The cast is uniformly solid, with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss leading a group of regular performers who typically work with the Wachowski siblings, including Christina Ricci, Max Riemet, Brian J. Smith, who are aptly aided by Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris, both of whom are conveniently ambiguous about their intentions. The cinematography from John Toll and Daniele Massaccesi is impeccable as is the score from Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer. While it is indeed an uneven endeavor, it's a film that once again dares to think outside the standards, and one that is entertaining and worth seeing.