Tuesday, December 07, 2021

The Matrix Expectations

A few trailers for "The Matrix Resurrections" have come out, and it's now obvious that the Wachowskis are finally taking their wacky universe in the meta direction—the layered "onion" universe—I had suggested back before "The Matrix Revolutions" came out (to great fan disappointment). But is it too late, after twenty years, for this franchise to recapture the old fire? Was there any old fire to begin with, given that most people think the first film of the original trilogy was the only good film of the three? Hard to say.

My principal worry is that this new film will prove to be a giant turd that trips over its own dick, if you'll pardon my mixing of metaphors. Keanu Reeves's lazy decision to play Neo while looking like John Wick isn't exactly encouraging, although it might be interesting to see how the new film plays with the idea of Neo and Trinity's love being something that reiterates with every cycle of the human/machine conflict. That story has been told in many different forms elsewhere, but as romantic ideas go, it's a compelling one—the love that lasts through eons and iterations, with two souls always destined to gravitate toward each other in different places and times. At the same time, I worry that the new movie, in its attempt to subvert everything we think we know about the Matrix universe, will somehow suck all the meaning out of the strife and conflict we experienced in the original trilogy.

And the new film does seem to be leaning more heavily on the Hindu/Buddhist tropes of cyclicality or "spiral" reality. It wouldn't surprise me if the Wachowskis decided to break the fourth wall down completely and just make a movie about Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss trying to make a "Matrix" movie, with the implication being that we too, we in the audience, are part of the Matrix. The first "Tron" ended that way, with a pullback shot that implied human civilization was simply another form of buzzing, humming circuitry. In an otherwise-superficial movie, that was a profound moment. Perhaps "The Matrix Resurrections" can pull off a similar stunt. I'm cautiously hopeful.

No comments: