The Matrix Resurrections (AU - M/UK - 15/US - R)

In A Word: Derivative

The Matrix Resurrections

A scene from The Matrix Resurrections. 

When The Matrix premiered in 1999 it redefined the genre. The ground breaking special effects and mind-bending plot set the high water mark for cinematic action. The two sequels that followed were less favorably received and now, nearly two decades later, the fourth installment rises from the dead.

Thomas Anderson, aka Neo, (Keanu Reeves) is now a successfully games designer. The events of the previous Matrix films are explained as being part of a game that he designed years ago and his memories of those events are dismissed as delusions by his analyst (Neil Patrick Harris.) Love interest, Trinity, (Carrie-Anne Moss) is now married with children with no memory of their previous connection. Just like the original Matrix, this banal existence is discovered to be an illusion created by machines to keep humanity enslaved. Once more, the characters must discover their powers in this illusionary world and break free of the machines that control them.

"The whole experience feels like a rehash of the first Matrix. The strength of the original film was that it was fiercely original with stunning visual effects and shocking twists. Resurrections unfortunately has a plot that is now cliche, special effects that are just serviceable and the revelations produce more of a shrug than any shock."

The whole experience feels like a rehash of the first Matrix. The strength of the original film was that it was fiercely original with stunning visual effects and shocking twists. Resurrections unfortunately has a plot that is now cliche, special effects that are just serviceable and the revelations produce more of a shrug than any shock. The viewer is constantly reminded of the derivative nature of the film as there are extended sequences of characters discussing everything that made the original so great. It is a shame they didn’t spend more time considering what would make this new film a worthy successor.

There are a few new interesting concepts that explore the alliance of machines and humans forging a future together. Also, several quips of dialogue that break the fourth wall will also amuse fans. Keanu and Carrie pull off their roles well enough, however Jada Pinkett Smith, as an elderly Niobe, fares much worse with unconvincing aging makeup and grating tantrums. A greater sin, particularly in this genre, is that the action lacks any true sense of danger given Neo now has a powerful forcefield that can black any attack whether it be bullets, punches or even explosive missiles.  



The film is aptly named Resurrections because at the end of the third film Neo and Trinity were very clearly dead. After over a decade of refusing to make a fourth film, director Lana Wachowski lost both parents and a close friend. This grief spurred renewed interest in making this film after she reportedly felt that she could never have her parents back but could be comforted by the return of Neo and Trinity.

Ultimately The Matrix has always appealed to the yearning that there must be more to our existence than what we can see, touch and feel. So while the film may not be what Matrix fans have hoped for, there is value in knowing that this story was born out of intense loss and grief. The hope that death is not the end and that resurrection is possible, is a comfort not only to the the creators of this tale, but to us all.