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Matrix Resurrections (with spoilers)

I have been teaching about The Matrix to teenagers and tertiary since it came out Easter 1999 (yep – you’ve picked up the allusions already in that date). I’m estimating I’ve seen it about 70 times. It’s a pretty multi-layered movie:

  • Trinity; Room 303/ Room 101
  • Doubting Thomas
  • Anderson – Son of Man
  • Knock knock jokes (and religious humour: most guys think God is a guy…)
  • White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass
  • Jean Baudrillard’s book Simulacra and Simulation (which you notice is a simulacra of a book – it opens to the chapter on Nihilism)
  • “Two Grand” (2000 years to 1999 if there’s a “zero”)
  • The Wizard of Oz: “buckle your seatbelt, Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye”
  • Nebuchadnezzar (the Bible’s dreamer)
  • Joining a John the Baptist type group by going through water
  • are you a Buddhist monk dreaming you are a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming you are a Buddhist monk
  • a betrayer
  • dying in order to set free
  • being dead for 72 seconds ( = 3×24)
  • this world is not the real world
  • and so on, and on, and on…

So you will understand my disappointment in The Matrix Reloaded (The “One” kissing Persephone – cause of Summer and Winter – is simply a titillating scene. And as for The One having sex with Trinity…) Some Wizard of Oz threads were picked up in The Matrix Revolutions, but … the first one, The Matrix, stood well by itself, had an Ascension ending, and needed no continuing. Well – except if you want to make more money…

Or so it seemed to me in 2003 when the second and third came out. When news came out that a fourth in the series was coming out (yes, I’ve of course watched the Animatrix often, and played the game…), I thought it might “redeem” Reloaded and Revolutions. The shorts looked amazing.

I rewatched Reloaded and Revolutions as revision before going to Resurrections – thankfully, they actually weren’t as bad as I had remembered them!

Resurrections is in the seventh matrix (remember, the matrix is in its sixth iteration in the Trilogy). In Resurrections, Thomas Anderson is a programmer who is famous as having created a game, The Matrix. The game follows the main character, Neo, making his way through the previous films. It is more meta than deep, more joke than development. Thomas Anderson is to make a sequel to the bestselling games; he is hesitant to do so. There is a threat that they would do so without him. This is apparently a meta reference to a real possibility that Warner Brothers would have continued the franchise without the Wachowskis:

“Things have changed, the market’s tough. I’m sure you can understand why our beloved parent company Warner Brothers has decided to make a sequel to the trilogy,” the new version of Smith tells Anderson. “They informed me they’re going to do it with or without us.”

Anyone who has not seen the first three movies will struggle to work out what the heck this story is about. There are some nice reminders of the first and the other films, but there is really nothing dynamically new added in the depth of thinking – all suggestions that the “real world” might be another matrix are abandoned. The filming, rather than introducing new effects or following the clean fight scenes of The Matrix are confused and confusing, using shake-the-camera techniques. One reviewer said, “This movie takes everything you loved about the matrix and turns it into a meta joke for the sake of lana not wanting Warner Bros to just make the movie themselves, she took the ball and ran over it with her car so that noone else could play with it.” Others think there is the possibility of a Matrix 5 – depending on how much money this one makes.

Resurrections is part of a newish trend for a love story between middle aged (or older) people.

Revolutions ended with the tragedy of Trinity and Neo dead – their death having set Zion free and rebooting the matrix to its seventh iteration. But our culture’s blue-pill, wellbeing-happiness “reality” needed a happier ending. The boy gets the girl. They weren’t really dead. And women can fly just as well as men. Nothing of substance has been added – Resurrections simply undoes the tragedy of Reloaded and Revolutions to essentially bring us back to where we were at the end of The Matrix.

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