The Matrix Resurrections REVIEW
PAT PILCHER watches a great idea (the original The Matrix) turn into a series of execrable trainwrecks (all the sequels).
Director: Lana Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris
Run time: 148 minutes
It’s been a boggling 23 years since the original The Matrix exploded into the consciousness of cinemagoers. Back in 1999, the film’s blend of cutting-edge VFX, high octane fight scenes and strangely compelling cyber-punk plot made it the movie of the moment.
Sadly, as brilliant as The Matrix was, it was ultimately a product that’d been squeezed out of the sphincter of the great Hollywood sausage machine. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t terribly long before accountants tasted money, and studio execs decided to inflict a series of increasingly dire sequels to help an unsuspecting movie-going public part with their money.
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By 2003 the third instalment, Matrix Revolutions, was released. Within 20 minutes of viewing it was abundantly clear that the concept had been milked of anything worthwhile. Put simply, the Wachowski’s were all out of fresh ideas.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that 19 long years may have given them plenty of time to craft a banging reboot. Sadly, with Matrix Resurrections the characters and story are both so shallow that there is practically nothing to engage with.
Despite decades of increasingly abysmal prequels, sequels, and recapitulations (remember Jaws or Rambo, anyone?), Hollywood studio execs appear determined to show the world that they have the imagination of a clothes peg. They’re more interested in chasing the money than producing anything that resembles a half-decent movie that’ll survive the test of time. It is little wonder that most of the action nowadays is on the little screen as streaming services continue to crank out clever, compelling, and creative content. Except for the odd big screen gem (Dune?), Hollywood seems hell-bent on putting people off the cinema by cranking out unoriginal, insipid and uninspired content in industrial quantities.
Matrix Resurrections’ complete lack of anything gripping story-wise is thrown into painfully sharp relief by the absence of several of the original film’s key characters. Instead, they’ve been replaced by actors that grossly lack the impact of the originals. Where Hugo Weaving gave Agent Smith a hard cold edge, Jonathan Groff delivers an Agent Smith that is forgettable and a tad annoying. Laurence Fishburne was replaced by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, whose flippant characterisation simply lacks the gravitas that Fishburne had brought to Morpheus. Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, looking older and more than a little worn around the edges (but still as wooden as ever). So is the female lead, Carrie-Anne Moss. Aside from being Neo’s love interest, she’s given little to do in the movie. This is a real shame as she kicked ass in the original. Then there is Neil Patrick Harris. He’s supposed to be the shit-hot baddy but comes off more as a reheated cold fart.
With the original The Matrix, I left the cinema with my mind abuzz. With Matrix Resurrections, I left the cinema and simply didn’t give a shit.
Our advice at Witchdoctor is that unless you are a die-hard fan, you’re probably best advised to wait for Matrix Resurrections to hit streaming services to avoid wasting money on over-priced popcorn, costly car parking and disappointment. Better still, just don’t bother.