In 1999, The Matrix (The matrix) took cinemas – and cinema – by storm. With style to spare, breathtaking action scenes and, above all, innovative special effects, the film entered the collective imagination from the outset. The initial idea, namely that machines maintain humanity, the latter reduced to the state of neurovegetative “piles”, in a simulacrum of reality, was as ingenious as it was irresistible. Two sequels attempted to “improve” a mythology that was simple but perfect as it was, with disastrous results. Almost twenty years after the third part, here is a fourth, The Matrix Resurrections (The matrix: resurrections). And history repeating itself, literally.
Because apart from the fact that this opus in turn tries to entangle more of a cinematographic universe which is already entangled, incessant references to previous films are made by means of short extracts. The comparison, and this was certainly not the point, is hardly to the advantage of The Matrix Resurrections.
Directed by Lana Wachowski without the help of her sister Lilly, co-designer with her of the saga, The Matrix Resurrections was co-written by the premiere as well as by Aleksandar Hemon (contributor on the series Sense8, des Wachowski) and David Mitchell (author of the novel Cloud Atlas, adapted by the Wachowskis).
At the end of a long introduction in the form of a false start, we find Thomas Anderson / Neo (Keanu Reeves), elected sacrificial who was believed to be dead by defeating the matrix. Ah, but at the time, hadn’t the Oracle predicted we would see him again?
Anyway, Neo is once again a prisoner of the Matrix, but a “4.0” Matrix, inside which he is the designer of the most famous video game ever: The Matrix… And its two suites (a self-referential nod to the films and the three games that were indeed produced).
After a (very) long time, Neo’s mission, which young rebels have awakened and brought back to reality, becomes clearer: to tear his beloved Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) from the womb. The film may well wrap it up in a lot of technopop verbiage, as the raison d’être of a fourth film, it’s kinda thin, and kinda cutesy.
What saves the day is that Reeves and Moss are still making sparks together. Fortunately, because for the rest, what a disappointment! With the possible exception of Jessica Henwick as the brave and brilliant Bugs, the overly broad cast of support struggles to prevail, for lack of truly defined scores.
Famous characters reappear, sometimes in the guise of different actors, like Morpheus, this time embodied by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, sometimes under those of their interpreter of yesteryear decked out in unconvincing aging makeup, like Niobe, with whom he reconnects Jada Pinkett-Smith. Yes, the sinister Agent Smith is back, but without the sorely missed Hugo Weaving (Jonathan Groff plays the notorious antagonist like he’s in some tasteless variation ofAmerican Psycho).
Another regrettable absence: this retro-futuristic visual signature, yet so strong, established in 1999, characterized by a greenish, bluish and black palette. Inexplicable. In fact, we discarded the best and kept the worst, since in the end, The Matrix Resurrection shows the same faults as The Matrix Reloaded (The Matrix Reloaded) and The Matrix Revolutions (The revolutions matrix), namely, a tendency to complexify to the point of absurdity, and a propensity to drown the plot in overabundant and overexplicative dialogue. And the characters to explain for the benefit of an audience which we seem to believe that they will not understand otherwise, each issue, concept, emotion …
The process quickly becomes unbearable, especially since the action sequences, as dynamic as they are, never reach a level of trepidation even approaching that of the original film.
In his days, The Matrix galvanized the crowds before the suites gradually extinguished this enthusiasm. Far from revolutionizing anything, The Matrix Resurrections unfortunately perpetuates this sad tradition.