Watchable Minutes: This is yet another bloated sci-fi movie that could have benefited from another trip through the editor bay. There’s probably 90 minutes of worthwhile content, but there’s an over indulgence of inconsequential story beats that could have been eliminated entirely.
Movie or Film : While the original movie might have had some bold ideas and messaging, Resurrections lacks the subtlety and flair that made the original so good. This one is relegated to movie category.
- Run time : 2 hours 28 minutes
- Studio : Warner Bros
- Director : Lana Wachowski
- Where to Watch : HBO Max
Years after his hit game The Matrix released to critical acclaim, Thomas Anderson struggles with his day to day life. He has trouble discerning what is real and what is a dream and copes with the help of psychoactive drugs in the form of blue pills along with the help of his therapist. However, he can’t shake the feeling that there is something more to his day dreams and that what happened in his game might be more than just something he made up.
Years after his successful video game The Matrix spawned an entire company with fans worldwide, Thomas Anderson struggles with his day-to-day life. Staving off boredom, mental anguish, and hungry investors from ruining his hard work have taken a toll on Thomas. He relies on his counselor to help him keep things straight while popping a steady dose of shiny blue pills. His business partner has begun pushing Thomas to get to work on the next game in the Matrix series, citing that the shareholders and parent company Warner Bros. (Gross) demand something new and exciting to get their return on investment. Thomas is hesitant to release another sequel just for the sake of making money but goes along with it to keep it under control (Much like Lana Wachowski). During the course of the brainstorming for the new game, Thomas stops taking his medication and starts to question his memories that he is unable to distinguish from reality. Thomas is soon contacted by somebody claiming to be Morpheus, who then stages an emergency at the studio offices in order to evacuate Thomas from the Matrix.
Fully awake and rescued from the Matrix for the second time in his lifetime, Neo is told by Niobe, a captain from the original trilogy, that Zion has evolved into a new city called Io with the help of sentient programs that can take physical forms. These sentient programs take advantage of advanced technology that separates them from the machines that rely on human energy to survive. He is also told that several decades have passed and that his sacrifice all those years ago enabled humanity to survive the onslaught of the machines. Neo immediately wonders that if he survived, maybe Trinity did as well and wants to mount a rescue to get her back. Without the blessing of Niobe, Neo and a crew of rogues enter the matrix once again to rescue Trinity. As they approach Trinity’s location, Neo’s counselor reveals himself to be the replacement for the Architect known as the Analyst that he is responsible for manipulating Neo’s mind while he was in the matrix all these years. Neo and his team eventually draw the attention of the Analyst who issues a challenge – if Trinity wants to go with Neo, she can and he will let them go. But if she doesn’t, then Neo has to return to the matrix forever. At first, it appears that Trinity will not be able to break the hold the matrix has over her but she rejects that reality and this allows Neo, Trinity, and the team to escape after Agent Smith realizes who he is and intervenes for the sake of his own interests. During the escape, Trinity awakens abilities reminiscent of the One and uses them to escape the clutches of the analyst. Together Trinity and Neo return to wipe out the analyst and remake the matrix in their own image.
Returning to the role of Neo is the perpetual internet good boi Keanu Reeves. Without a doubt, this project would have been dead on arrival without the living meme that is Keanu leading the charge back into The Matrix. Accompanying Keanu is Carrie-Anne Moss, returning as Trinity. Aside from these two, Jada Pinkett Smith reprises her role as Niobe from the second and third movies. Through the magic of lazy writing, the audience is told that several decades have passed and Morpheus has died and none of the other original characters remain, however, there is a new Morpheus that is played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen and he is a rogue agent created by Neo while he is under the control of the analyst to find proof of the matrix. Joining the cast is Jessica Henwick as Bugs, a new captain in the human army who is responsible for rescuing Neo and creating this whole mess. And lastly, there is Neil Patrick Harris as the Analyst and Jonathan Groff as the new version of Agent Smith. While Keanu and Carrie-Anne Moss are able to slip back into their characters comfortably, I would not have known it was Jada Pinkett Smith returning as Niobe. The effort put into aging her up so that they could reuse her character was not worth it. Yahya Abdul-Mateen and Jessica Henwick are welcome additions to this soft reboot. Digital Morpheus is a decent replacement for Laurence Fishburne’s original, with characteristics of both Neo and Morpheus present in his coding to make the character a little more robust. Henwick’s Bugs is overly confident, but smart and bold which is something that the aged up version of Io’s leadership severely lacked. The writers felt it necessary (even though it’s not) to rework the confusing Architect character from the original trilogy into the Analyst, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris. His smug and condescending demeanor as the Analyst was almost out of place compared to other programs the audience has seen in action, like Agent Smith or the Oracle from the previous movies. Mentioning Agent Smith, Jonathan Groff is no Hugo Weaving. Had his character been somebody new entirely instead of another retread, Groff would have had a better chance at making an impact on the actual movie. Overall, for every strong casting choice, there is an equally weak one that drags the movie down further.
Much of the story is absurd and wipes out the sense of sacrifice and finality that the trilogy before it. There are several teeth grinding sequences that are too meta for their own good and while it is a well intentioned commentary on the industry itself, it feels ham fisted and spoon fed to the audience. The comments about Warner Brothers, stale video game ideas, reboots for cash grabs are all well and good, but this is not the ideal application or soap box to preach from. While Lana Wachowski’s efforts to talk about it are admirable, a more subtle approach could have made for a better movie. Additionally, swapping Trinity and Neo’s powers to make Trinity the One for a little while was a nice touch, but ultimately made Neo’s character a geriatric Jedi who just force pushed missiles out of the way. Having both characters wield powers that were unique to them could have had potential for a more pleasing outcome.
Anyone who grew up in the mid-2000s knows the impact that The Matrix had on popular culture. Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix is still just as heavily referenced as it was upon release. Lana and Lily Wachowski’s unique visual style and flair for action hold up remarkably well, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make the franchise evolve beyond bullet time. Now, 22 years after its initial release, Matrix Resurrections attempts to recapture the hype and excitement of the original for a modern audience. But while the intentions of the lone Lana Wachowski are good, the result is a movie that is substantially less enjoyable than the original.