An hour into The Matrix Resurrections and I was dying for a pod to reattach myself to.
The Matrix Resurrections Synopsis
After the events of The Matrix Revolutions, humans and the machines settle into a precarious co-existence. Or did they not? The movie begins with Bugs, the new captain of the Mnemosyne, in hot pursuit by agents within the new Matrix. Elsewhere, weary and depressed game designer “Thomas Anderson” struggles to stay sane in an existence he is increasingly unable to comprehend. What role does this new Tom play in the current version of the Matrix? And what is his relationship to the legendary Neo from the previous movies?
As of December 30, The Matrix Resurrections holds a 64 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Very bluntly, I’m stunned that a sequel so unnecessary, so unhappy, could earn such a rating. Or enjoy accolades from professional reviewers the likes of “timely,” unapologetic earnestness,” etc.
And nope, NO. It’s not because I dislike the franchise. I did enjoy the first movie and The Animatrix. For a few weeks in 2003, I worked hard to understand the vocabulary of the Architect too.
What went wrong for me? Well, I’d summarise by saying the whole show feels like a 2.5-hour director’s cut ending for 2003’s Revolutions. One intended in part to address near two decades of grouches.
This “extended ending” has some energetic moments featuring all those classic combat moves; for example, “bullet time.” Reeves and Moss are, of course, back in their signature roles. Here and there, the movie brandishes dialogue the Architect would approve of too.
There are furthermore some cynical discussions of the human need for control. Nothing beyond skin-deep, though. Just, Matrix-like.
But even with these plus-points considered, Resurrections is an unevolved movie. I’m not talking about the lack of notable new concepts, or locations, or ships. It’s the hard fact that nothing in the show speaks of a clear need for there to be another movie. In fact, the whole show makes quite the effort to tell you that there is no story left, much less a new story. How silly of you to sit there expecting a sequel.
I kid you not.
Now, with the production history of the franchise, particularly the Wachowskis’ struggles with fans endlessly expecting more of the first movie, I guess one could say this fourth movie is a final rebuttal of sorts. Perhaps a declaration to the likes of, I can give you what you want if I need to. But previously, I worked hard not to …
Several reviews I’ve read also stressed that Lana Wachowski would have relinquished creative involvement had she opted out. In other words, Lana gave in to fans’ demands to retain control of her masterpiece. (And while at it, took several vicious bites at the cause of the conflicts)
I don’t know what’s the full story here. I believe this is one of those things that will continue to be debated for years.
Instead, all I’ll say is, a better compromise could have been considered? A sub-theme of Resurrections is the futility of binaries. Lana Wachowski herself is someone who firmly rejects binaries. In view of these, couldn’t there have been a better resolution to these creative conflicts?
It’s like, what about viewers like me? Neither a fan nor a hater. Just there for a “fresh” story and some reminders of great moments from earlier episodes.
We don’t deserve to be snubbed, do we? Surely we don’t deserve the yawns too.
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