Director: Lana Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Telma Hopkins, Eréndira Ibarra, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Brian J. Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith
Runtime: 2 hrs 28 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence and Coarse Language)
Released By: Warner Bros
Opening Day: 22 December 2021
Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Lana Wachowski comes "The Matrix Resurrections," the long-awaited next chapter in the groundbreaking franchise that redefined a genre. The new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic roles they made famous, Neo and Trinity. In "The Matrix Resurrections," return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. And if Thomas...Neo...has learned anything, it's that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of-or into-the Matrix. Of course, Neo already knows what he has to do. But what he doesn't yet know is the Matrix is stronger, more secure and more dangerous than ever before. Déjà vu..
If you have six hours to spare before watching this fourth instalment in The Matrix film series, we strongly recommend that you set aside time to catch the first three movies to fully appreciate this sequel which movie nerds have been anticipating.
Here’s a quick recap. The world was blown away when we were introduced to The Matrix (1999), where Thomas Anderson (a very earnest Keanu Reeves) becomes Neo and gets embroiled in a simulation known as The Matrix, a virtual world where mere mortals on Earth live seemingly ‘normal’ lives while their real bodies are trapped in pods and suck energy out of them to drive the machines that are actually controlling the world. Yup, it is a man versus machine war and some human beings are fighting back, thanks to the leadership of Morpheus (a very cool Laurence Fishburne) and the determination of people like Trinity (a very cool leather clad Carrie Anne Moss).
Things get a little more confusing in The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), where conspiracies are borne and characters like the Architect and Merovingian are introduced. Agent Smith (Hugo Smith in his snarling best), a computer programme which acts as the antagonist since the first movie, becomes more powerful. The trilogy ends with the reboot of The Matrix, and both Neo and Trinity appear to be dead.
It appears that the movie industry is churning out productions which fondly draw references from past episodes of their franchises (with the prime example being this year’s most popular money maker Spider-man: No Way Home) – this movie directed by Lana Wachowski is definitely a love letter to fans of the series which have inspired countless academic perspectives on philosophy, existentialism, free will and perhaps most importantly, how technology will get the better of human beings.
Set 60 years after the events of the last movie, we now see Thomas Anderson as a weary computer game designer (Reeves putting his shaggy hair and goatee to good use) living an uninspired life. He meets a woman named Tiffany (Moss, who has aged finely almost 20 years after the last film) and an alternate version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul Mateen II), and he is forced to question the existence of reality. Yup, a red pill is involved in the process.
The 148 minute movie does not shy away from drawing on concepts that made the series so successful. It brings back characters from the franchise (Agent Smith is now played by a terrific Jonathan Groff, Jada Pinkett Smith reprises her role as Niobe, Lambert Wilson is gleefully European as The Merovingian, and Priyana Chopra Jones makes an appearance as the adult version of Sati, a minor character who appeared in the series), and introduces new ones (Jessica Henwick is a fearless fighter, and Neil Patrick Harris steals the show with his deliciously wicked portrayal as The Analyst).
The movie is also self aware and occasionally fun (someone says: “Our beloved parent company Warner Bros. has decided to make a sequel to the trilogy.”), and these are the entertaining bits of the film. Then there are the sequences dripping with coolness that fans will lap up. Our favourite is a montage featuring Thomas Anderson trying to maintain his sanity as he stops taking his blue pills. There are shots of his colleagues discussing what The Matrix is and what it should be, all perfectly edited to Jefferson Airplane’s iconic “White Rabbit” tune. Of course, the filmmakers wouldn’t miss out signature shots of awesome fight scenes showcasing numerous “bullet time” shots.
Is there something new to discover in this movie? Not really. But fans of the franchise will be happy to see how this fourth instalment fits nicely into the series.
(This fourth instalment of the groundbreaking series is for the fans, with enough entertaining and awesome moments to please casual viewers)
Review by John Li