Matrix: Resurrection
August 21, 2019 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Lana Wachowski is writing and directing a fourth Matrix movie starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, with production rumoured to begin early next year. While Lilly Wachowski will not be involved, concept artists Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce are both set to return.
posted by adrianhon (134 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Actually it's a prequel set in the seventh previous cycle of the matrix where the machines coded everyone to sing their roles.
posted by sammyo at 6:53 AM on August 21, 2019 [38 favorites]


How is this #4 when there was only one Matrix movie ever made? (EVER.)
posted by xedrik at 6:53 AM on August 21, 2019 [84 favorites]


Is the entire plotline going to hinge on them needing to find landlines to get in/out of the matrix? I'd pay for a ticket just to see Keanu frantically fleeing an Agent, bursting through one door after another looking for the last person in the apartment complex to have a wired telephone.
posted by Mayor West at 6:56 AM on August 21, 2019 [76 favorites]


HELL YEAH. It's about time.

Good thing Keanu can't age.
posted by captain afab at 7:00 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


port to awesomeness
posted by lalochezia at 7:02 AM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


the second and third matrix movies exist and are good, though the second one is better than the third one... i wish we could have seem more of the merovingian's baroque machine-monster world from the second movie before smith ate all of it in the third one. anyway, the wachowskis were aiming at something pretty nuanced and smart with that series, and though they didn't stick the landing i respect them for trying.

i'm looking forward to seeing the new one. it'll be cool to see lana wachowski revisit that world now that she can put the "hey but what if gender isn't what you think it is?" subtext from the 90s/2000s matrix movies a bit closer to the surface.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:06 AM on August 21, 2019 [46 favorites]


I still treasure the time I saw The Matrix Reloaded on opening night in Cambridge (UK). Such anticipation, so many hopes dashed – but finally the tension was shattered when the over-educated audience started giggling during The Architect's closing speech.
posted by adrianhon at 7:07 AM on August 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


My old roommate is currently flipping his shit about this because he was a major Sense8 fan, and the writing team for this is basically the Season 2 writing team for Sense8.

Which is leading my mind down interesting paths.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 AM on August 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


In addition to Wachowski, the script was also written by Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell

Obviously depending on the David Mitchell in question the movie could be very different, but I'd be interested in both their takes. Perhaps there can be an Animatrix style companion set each written by a David Mitchell.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:08 AM on August 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


Is it too much for me to hope that it doesn't actually star Reeves and Moss and they'll play roles closer to the Merovingian and company (as those guys were The(s) One of the last cycle)?

Obviously depending on the David Mitchell in question the movie could be very different

"Aare wee the baddies, Misterr Anderson?"
posted by Reyturner at 7:10 AM on August 21, 2019 [24 favorites]


Reyturner: Michael B Jordan has been rumoured to be in a Matrix continuation/reboot since 2017, so it's not impossible that could still happen – but probably without MBJ at this point.
posted by adrianhon at 7:12 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Will there be a fresh take on fist fights? What we need is something new and exciting in a fist fight.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:12 AM on August 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


i mean correct me if i'm misremembering but the place the third movie gets to is something like "the humans and machines stop the war and together build a weird cyborg society" right? i remember it having a sort of octavia-butler-esque feel, with uncanny hybridity presented as the dialectical reversal that makes us unrecognizable to ourselves but also lifts us out of patterns of ancient violence.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:14 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's been 20 years (!!) since the original/ one movie, and back at the 20 year mark, Wired had a bunch of articles up (which would push a non-registered user past their monthly 4 article view limit):
I would love if Lana Wachowski used this new movie to take on The Matrix's red pill being abused and adopted by MRA.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on August 21, 2019 [46 favorites]


the second and third matrix movies exist and are good, though the second one is better than the third one... i wish we could have seem more of the merovingian's baroque machine-monster world from the second movie before smith ate all of it in the third one. anyway, the wachowskis were aiming at something pretty nuanced and smart with that series, and though they didn't stick the landing i respect them for trying.

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you about the second (I nearly walked out of the second movie during the endless rave, because I felt I was half an hour in to a movie that had yet to start) and third movies being good, but I am in complete agreement about the Wachowkis trying something; at the least, they were pushing big ideas and doing something different, and I have a lot of respect for ambitious failures in film. My worry now is that we're heading into "franchise" territory with Matrix 4.

Seeing filthy light thief's roundup of links reminded me of an essay posted on rogerebert.com earlier this year - Plugging back into the Matrix, 20 years later. I found it very thought provoking for the ideas of Neo as feminized hero, and of how the Matrix's depiction of technology and the internet feels today.
posted by nubs at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I re-watched the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies a few months back, having not seen them since seeing them in the theater. I was kinda hoping it would be one of those revelatory "oh wow, I didn't get this but now I do" experiences. It was ... not. Both of them are pretty awful as movies and awful as sequels to The Matrix.

There's been a lot of ink spilled over what's wrong with them, but the thing that always sticks out to me is how, in the lead-up to the 2nd movie, all I kept hearing about in articles or previews about the movie was the giant fight against a hundred Agent Smiths (the "burly brawl"). They were so proud of that thing and wanted to talk endlessly about the technical achievement of it. In the movie, it's a complete snoozefest of an over-produced fight scene.

So ... not super hopeful? I mean I'd love for them to recapture the first movie's lightning in a bottle, but I have doubts. Having read and watched a lot about the movies since, I think I understand a lot more of what the Wachowskis were trying to do, but I don't think either of the sequels succeed in their aims.
posted by tocts at 7:27 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


all I kept hearing about in articles or previews about the movie was the giant fight against a hundred Agent Smiths (the "burly brawl"). They were so proud of that thing and wanted to talk endlessly about the technical achievement of it.

I was amazed how much of a deal was made about that scene, compared to the entire highway fight sequence that ends the film. I was on the edge of my seat during that, and it made me think the third film was gonna stick the landing, like Morpheus off the edge of the trailer.
posted by nubs at 7:34 AM on August 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


I don't hate the sequels but I've always felt like the world-building of the original movie is so flimsy that it really didn't hold up once you had a chance to think about it and trying to expand that mythos across two more films was doomed to failure. I really don't see how a forth film can work. I mean I know the Wachowski sisters haven't had a successful film since Revolutions so maybe this is the only thing that the studios will bankroll but I just can't get excited about it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:36 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'd pay for a ticket just to see Keanu frantically fleeing an Agent, bursting through one door after another looking for the last person in the apartment complex to have a wired telephone.

Which makes you wonder...If the machine is so damned smart, why hasn't it figured out to re-write the simulation to exclude landlines?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:37 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


There's been a lot of ink spilled over what's wrong with them, but the thing that always sticks out to me is how, in the lead-up to the 2nd movie, all I kept hearing about in articles or previews about the movie was the giant fight against a hundred Agent Smiths (the "burly brawl"). They were so proud of that thing and wanted to talk endlessly about the technical achievement of it. In the movie, it's a complete snoozefest of an over-produced fight scene.


Not to mention that it looks like a video game cut-scene. The virtual Smiths all look so rubbery.
posted by octothorpe at 7:37 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


The original Matrix has a perfect, crystalline narrative where every single detail serves the plot. It is an amazing piece of cinema.

The sequels were hot messes.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:40 AM on August 21, 2019 [18 favorites]


> the Wachowski sisters haven't had a successful film since

your definition of "successful" is wrong. speed racer is spectacular, cloud atlas was damned good, and even though jupiter ascending isn't exactly my thing, i get why so many people love it.

fuck a studio's metrics. there's no reason we have to pay attention to them. the wachowskis have managed to wriggle their way sufficiently far into hollywood that they get to keep making great movies even if those movies don't make huge box office. that's a triumph, right there.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:40 AM on August 21, 2019 [56 favorites]


your definition of "successful" is wrong.

It's not my definition. Hollywood is an industry and exists to make money; art is just an occasional byproduct.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


your definition of "successful" is wrong. speed racer is spectacular, cloud atlas was damned good, and even though jupiter ascending isn't exactly my thing, i get why so many people love it.

lol u r cypher eating the steak
posted by gwint at 7:50 AM on August 21, 2019 [18 favorites]


>your definition of "successful" is wrong. speed racer is spectacular, cloud atlas was damned good, and even though jupiter ascending isn't exactly my thing, i get why so many people love it.

lol u r cypher eating the steak


Are you sure you're not Cypher?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on August 21, 2019 [25 favorites]


I would love if Lana Wachowski used this new movie to take on The Matrix's red pill being abused and adopted by MRA.

This is the only thing that gives me hope about the film as I groaned when first hearing of it yesterday.

I'm betting it's going to be a disaster.

And I'm sure you're all joking about which David Mitchell, but for sure it'll be Cloud Atlas Mitchell, seeing as the Wachowskis directed that as well.
posted by dobbs at 8:01 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


> Hollywood is an industry and exists to make money

there's no reason why we have to adopt the industry's perspective when thinking about movies. the industry is a bunch of motherfuckers and the wachowskis have figured out how to shake money out of those motherfuckers and they use that money to make good movies. and that is so cool.

i think one reason why people make the blunder of thinking from the industry's perspective when talking about the wachowskis is that they primarily make action flix, and we're trained (by the industry) to see action flix as being devices to turn spectacle into box office takings. the wachowskis, on the other hand, use action flix as a means to say serious and important things about the world. and also, over the course of their careers, they've made action flix that more and more decenter male power fantasies while still remaining unmistakably action flix. that's an important project. a really, really important project.

refusing to take the wachowskis seriously is not just a bad idea. it's a moral failing.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:01 AM on August 21, 2019 [41 favorites]


The Warshowskis aren't film studios. The measure of success they are rated against is that of the high budget director. And that measure is "Do they get the funding to make another high budget film?"

And the answer is of course "Yes they do. Even while not making mainstream Hollywood fare." If anything that's a higher difficulty setting in that game than aiming at yet another flavour of the month.
posted by Francis at 8:05 AM on August 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


>> lol u r cypher eating the steak

> Are you sure you're not Cypher?


this conversation thread really gets at the heart of what the wachowskis have been up to ever since they grew out of their ultra-butch matrix phase. in the first movie everyone was striving for this very masculinized version of total freedom; the lesson that the dweebs took out of it was that they should be brave strong men who look reality in the face and take the red pill and transcend the morass of society that is keeping them all down etc. etc. etc.

the message of the last two movies was that red pill model of the world is itself a fantasy. that you can't split the world into craven cyphers who can't handle reality and brave neos who smash the system. and that building a decent world requires escaping from the blue pill fantasy of passive comfort and also the red pill fantasy of total knowledge and control. the wachowskis were young filmmakers and couldn't quite bring it all together... but no one else was even trying.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:08 AM on August 21, 2019 [57 favorites]


Sometimes I'm like, is there a point in making a sequel to this?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:12 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


but what they were aiming at is both smart and important and it was worth the try.
Hear hear!

I would be pessimistic about this (I saw the sequels and though I loved parts of both I didn’t love the whole of either) but for the writers involved and the fact that I imagine Lana W is even more sure of herself as herself and as a director and I can well imagine her revisiting that whole world and pulling a white rabbit out of her hat. *wink wink*
posted by From Bklyn at 8:13 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


refusing to take the Wachowskis seriously is not just a bad idea. It's a moral failing.


I wasn't passing any judgment at all on them or failing to take them seriously. I've seen all their films and loved three of them and like at least parts of the rest. Even when I think that their films fail artistically, there's always interesting stuff in there.

But none of that changes the fact that they've spend a lot of studio money on their last three films and haven't returned much in terms of ticket sales. I don't fund movies, the executives at Warner, Disney, etc do and they don't fund things that don't make money. I don't know how this is even an argument.
posted by octothorpe at 8:14 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Shout out to the Animatrix, the Matrix sequel that was actually really good.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:16 AM on August 21, 2019 [53 favorites]


Metafilter: Red Pill Fantasies (or should that be, Blue Pill Fantasies)
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:16 AM on August 21, 2019


> But none of that changes the fact that they've spend a lot of studio money on their last three films and haven't returned much in terms of ticket sales.

good. would that all the directors were wachowskis. maybe if we had 50 or 60 extra wachowskis they could collectively bleed hollywood dry.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:17 AM on August 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


I will definitely watch this film, even though I probably won't like it. The sequels were... not terrible, but not great. The Merovingian stuff made me cringe far more than the sweaty rave or the burly brawl, but the switch from beautifully choreographed and filmed kung fu to Dragonball Z felt emblematic of the direction the movies had gone: from philosophically simple but focused to trying something more complex but ultimately just bashing around in every direction. I haven't seen anything I've enjoyed from them in years. I never got around to Cloud Atlas more out of just having too many things to watch, not lack of interest, but I didn't try Sense8 because conceptually it seems very much like a rehash of a Theodore Sturgeon book I found tiresome, and Speed Racer was utterly soulless. The performances were so wooden it may as well have just been another screening of Ultraviolet. It felt more like a tech demo than a movie.
posted by Fish Sauce at 8:18 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Matrix franchise has already given us far and away the best of the Owlkitty clips.

It has nothing left to prove.
posted by Naberius at 8:20 AM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


I honestly didn't even like the first movie, which has always made me feel a bit out of kilter with the rest of the world.
posted by kyrademon at 8:21 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


The Animatrix collection was pretty good too.

Not that Revolutions didn't have real problems, but a large part of its terrible reception, I've always felt, is the inability of pop culture to accept tragedy. The nerd-o-sphere in particular hates it when people die. It's an incredibly rare thing in gamer culture; Aeris' death in FF VII is still something people remark on, even though it's a pretty standard girlfriend in a fridge moment.

And the Wachowskis chose to kill/sacrifice not just the hot babe, but the hero insert too. Unforgivable.
posted by bonehead at 8:28 AM on August 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


even though jupiter ascending isn't exactly my thing, i get why so many people love it

I would sincerely go see an endless series of The Adventures of Diomika Tsing movies.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:33 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm here for this. Bring it on.

(And I say that despite feeling lukewarm at best toward Reloaded and Revolutions.)

The "problem" with Revolutions was the same problem Mass Effect 3 had, and I think RNTP nails it on the head: the fandom wanted a specific thing (rah rah kill the bad guys) but the Wachowskis wanted to tell a different story.

And, frankly, the high-minded philosophy stuff is the part of the sequels that aged the best. Take the Burly Brawl that was mentioned above, for instance. At the time, all the macho action movie nerds loved that shit. They ate it up. But it and the final fight between Smith and Neo are some of the weakest parts of those sequels.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:35 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Indiana Reeves and the Crystal Skull Stuck On One Facial Expression
posted by delfin at 8:35 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


There is some slight irony in this given the popularity of The Matrix wasn't unlike that of Star Wars, a movie that is concise and sharply clear in its outline, with enough suggestive vagueness in the detail to give some of the notions involved a hook for viewers to grasp onto for use in a variety of ways. One of the main reasons both movies caught hold of the audience's imagination so securely was that it seemed entirely new in presentation and craft in viscerally immediate ways, even as the story could be understood on a more basic level. The "feel" of the movies fit their message to the audience for making it seem new. That is lost in the sequels by necessity as the ideas can't remain new for long and the premise of the hero rising when repeated becomes strained.

As with Lucas and the prequels, The Matrix sequels made convoluted what was clear as the movies tried to explain what most weren't asking about. The Matrix sequels are more interesting, at least to me, for the ideas being more radical than Lucas' mundane detailing of history of the Empire, but in both cases all the added metaphor or detail can't total up to an ending that can match it as they both try to go back to simplicity in character that no longer makes much sense in their grander visions. There's a lot I like about the Matrix sequels, some of which I even prefer to the sharper outlines in the first movie, but I don't think the whole really gels overall (and I haven't really found the Wachowski's later work I've seen to fit writing to visuals to much better effect either.)

In any case, the thing that made The Matrix really stand out in its time is hard to repeat for anyone, Lucas sure couldn't do it, but even more difficult in a sequel where the known is already looming over any new possibilities, making the chance for an audience to get that excitement and energy of the new all the more difficult to expect.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:36 AM on August 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


Man, I love 2 and 3. Love love love. It's cool if 1 was the one that spoke to you, or the one that seems most tightly put together, or the most fun. And not every good movie is a movie you have to like. And the sequels are not perfect movies; there are places where execution suffers.

But I will die on the hill that Revolutions and Reloaded are not only good movies, they're great movies and the hate they get is often unreflective and unjustified.

Brian Takle's old Reloaded Explained and Revolutions Explained essays are one potential stop if you're skeptical (or, better yet, if you vaguely liked them but were puzzled by a lot). I don't think either movie requires a decoding explanation to enjoy or enrich -- both work pretty well as directly experienced mythology -- but anyone looking to participate in a critical dissection should be familiar with the insights there.

My biggest concern with a Matrix 4 (M4TRIX?) that includes Moss and Reeves is that if Trinity or Neo are alive and well, that's going to be hard to pull off w/o cheapening their choices and sacrifices in Revolutions. But then again, being alive and well is not the only reason to appear, especially in a world where simulacra and even outright copies are known to play a significant role, and nobody knows enough to know if they're reprising precisely their previous characters. Or when in the narrative things are set.
posted by wildblueyonder at 8:36 AM on August 21, 2019 [28 favorites]


But none of that changes the fact that they've spend a lot of studio money on their last three films and haven't returned much in terms of ticket sales. I don't fund movies, the executives at Warner, Disney, etc do and they don't fund things that don't make money. I don't know how this is even an argument.

It's an argument because you seem to be defining "success" as "makes a certain amount of money", and are excluding "has a fervent fan following" from that definition.

You're correct that on paper, and from a fiscal standpoint, the Wachowskis don't shine so brightly now. But Hollywood also takes the public perception into account, and that public perception includes a bunch of people for whom the reaction to this news was "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY OMIGOD!" Granted, that number of people is smaller than the number of people who'd say that for an MCU film, but it's still a number that the producers aren't going to sneeze at.

Ergo: successful.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


The sequels were... not terrible, but not great.

They were only measuring up to 3.6 Wiseau at the time
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:46 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm cautiously optimistic.

I recently re-watched all the movies and found myself enjoying 2 and 3 a great deal more than I did all those years ago. They are still very flawed movies and I still find myself cringing at some of the ... questionable choices. But they stand up as enjoyable and good effort at trying to say something interesting. I agree with gusottertrout that they suffer from trying to explain too much.

I'm going to trust that Lana Wachowski has an interesting story to tell and hope for the best.
posted by cirhosis at 9:10 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


The most impressive part of Reloaded was the fact that during the (tasteful, but still) nude scene with Carrie-Anne Moss, most of the nerds who had been crushing on her for three years were sitting there, bored, wondering when the good stuff would start. That's something of a cinematic triumph in itself.
posted by Hatashran at 9:15 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


the wachowskis were young filmmakers and couldn't quite bring it all together... but no one else was even trying.

This is a really good summation of the Wachowskis careers as a whole. Their current current level of goodwill among film twitter an nerd twitter is not just leftover from the original Matrix, they've continued to build on it by taking huge risks with studio money as collateral. I haven't really liked anything since Speed Racer, and I admit I came to that one way late, but this is one corporate franchise extension that I can root for.
posted by Think_Long at 9:20 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Brian Takle's old Reloaded Explained and Revolutions Explained essays

Thanks for linking those, I don't think I've seen them before. Looks like he's into some of the things that most struck me about the Matrix movies. I spent much of my teens and twenties immersed in the works of Joseph Campbell, Jung, and others, and what most blew my mind about the original Matrix was how it was creating a new bridge between our current technological world and some really ancient mythic ideas (such as the Hindu Maya - "world as illusion"). Star Wars, of course, gets talked about all the time for this - but Lucas created an entirely fictional world, as distant from us as the ancient past from which myths grew. The Wachowskis didn't just play with hero journey archetypes, they worked with more complex cosmologies and philosophies, and they placed them within our own world, including our technology. And they managed to do it in unexpected ways, that don't feel like ticking off the boxes on the Standard Hero Story Checklist. (scowling at Avatar.)

I'm not saying the two sequels fully fulfill on that original promise, but I always applaud the bold attempt that falls short. Better that, than Fast and Furious #27.

Anyway, I'm interested to see where this goes in a post-Sense8 Wachowski career. That show had lots of flaws as well, but man, when it hits the mark it's utterly brilliant.
posted by dnash at 9:49 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


So why is this just Lilly Wachowski? Has Lana retired or is she working on another project?
posted by octothorpe at 9:54 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


The thing I liked about the first movie was that it had a specific take on magical realism, that a plausible real world existed within the story but extended just beyond what we experience in real life, aligned with the post-modernistic sense of disconnection from reality that was popular in the nineties, and laden with cute observational quirks to lend authenticity like deju-vu being just a bug in the matrix.

Several of the Animatrix shorts captured the spirit of this perfectly, so I don't think their approach to magical realism was an accident. The second film added more fantastical elements, losing part of the grounded in reality nature and maybe some of it's relatability, and the third film left reality behind and went even further into techno-magical spectacle.

I still love the first film, but the series has progressed past the elements that I loved about it, and I feel selfish for wanting them to drag it back.
posted by Eleven at 9:54 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Last night I rewatched Jupiter Ascending for the third time and that movie is GREAT. IT IS SO GREAT.

Neo-gothic cathedral spaceships (has anyone else ever done that aesthetic?). Channing Tatum as a anti-gravity rollerblading half dog, half man. Ned Stark as a literal angel who's lost his wings. Mila Kunis is a state-less immigrant refugee who, it turns out, owns the Earth. SPACE DINOSAURS.

It's such a wild movie - it's a grand political statement about capitalism and immigration, and it's also a campy action movie where a Channing's rollerblades defeat a spaceship and destroy Chicago in the process. I fucking love this movie.
posted by weed donkey at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2019 [27 favorites]


Sorry I know this post is actually about The Matrix but people were talking shit on Jupiter Ascending so I had to say something
posted by weed donkey at 10:07 AM on August 21, 2019 [26 favorites]


The best part of Jupiter Ascending is Eddie Redmayne's character whispering through nearly the entire movie in an attempt to give it more impact at the end when he finally loses his cool and shouts one line.

I'd love it if this new Matrix movie included a part for Redmayne so he can that exact same thing. It would even make sense for a Merovingian type character to do it.
posted by VTX at 10:15 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I have always felt that one of the biggest changes that hurt my enjoyment of the sequels compared to the original was the industry's shift from practical effects to CGI special effects right around that time. I actually think the Burly Brawl was a pretty tremendous step up from what was currently being done elsewhere, but it did look a bit off put next to the fight scenes of the original movie.

Whatever else happens in this fourth film, I'll keep my fingers crossed that the industry has advanced so far that the special effects can keep up with the filmmakers' vision.
posted by jermsplan at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


>speed racer is spectacular,

Watch this at the highest resolution you can, on the largest screen you can.
posted by mikelieman at 10:29 AM on August 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Brian Takle's analysis is interesting, but I don't see how it makes the movies themselves any better.

What makes subtext cool is that you have events and situations with dual meanings -- the characters and situations function as part of the surface story, but also have symbolic meaning within the subtext.

But it has to work in both contexts. You can't have something that makes no sense within the world of the story, and defend it by pointing out its metaphorical role.

It's like you tell a story about Space Jesus who lives in a starship, and one day he gets nailed up on a wooden cross. Yeah, that completes the Jesus metaphor, but it's still fair for people to ask "why the fuck did they have a giant wooden cross on a starship?"
posted by bjrubble at 10:30 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I liked 2 -- the spectacular freeway chase would've sealed that, even if I didn't find the new characters intriguing -- but I remember finding 3 pretty tedious. How good were 2 and 3? I honestly have no idea. They really suffer in comparison with the first Matrix.

My dad was always a huge Cypher guy. Well, not the "be a creep who betrays everyone" part, but he definitely thought that living as a free human in shithole raveland would be unbearable and he'd take the blue pill. To this day, if someone mentions the Matrix, it's the first thing he says. And then he'll spend the next 20 minutes expanding on the point, though he's only seen the Matrix movies once (after they came out).

So the concept was pretty memorable!
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:32 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


[Jupiter Ascending is] such a wild movie

I sincerely love just what a fever-dream it is. And to have a big action movie that also looks, from the distance of a ~50 year old straight man, so much like specifically the sincere and unironic fever dream of a 12-year-old girl from the late 70s or early 80s. I am going to be the prettiest princess and the queen of everything and I will have the best boyfriend and we will roller skate in the sky together and also he is a puppy. Because those things are all self-evidently awesome.

Like Ronnie James Dio singing about dragons because dragons are fuckin' boss.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2019 [33 favorites]


Keanu could star in my morning toilette and I’d still be here for it.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Neo-gothic cathedral spaceships (has anyone else ever done that aesthetic?).

On film? Maybe Chronicles of Riddick? I haven't seen it, but that seems likely. Outside of film, though...
posted by tobascodagama at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'd love it if this new Matrix movie included a part for Redmayne so he can that exact same thing.

Former Roommate has professed to wanting a whole shared-universe thing that ties The Matrix and Jupiter Ascending with Speed Racer and Sense8.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


So why is this just Lilly Wachowski? Has Lana retired or is she working on another project?

This is just Lana. Lilly is apparently working on a comedy for Showtime: Lilly Wachowski Discusses ‘Revolutionary Act’ of Creating Queer TV Characters.
posted by Lexica at 10:49 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Aren't Neo and Trinity dead?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Aren't Neo and Trinity dead?

Spoilers!

/s
posted by cirhosis at 11:10 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I felt cheated by the Matrix 2. Yeah, it wasted a bunch of time on a ridiculous rave leading nowhere but the real crime is that it ended without a conclusion. More of a "to be continued." I paid for a whole movie!

The second Matrix should obviously have centered on Trinity.

Seconding (or thirding) Speed Racer. It was absolutely ridiculous but it fully captured the feel of the cartoon wooden dialog and all. Watch only if you loved the cartoon.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:15 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty ambivalent about this. The first Matrix I liked, mainly because it was a complete surprise, the high paranoid weirdness of it being still pretty fresh at the time. But I was never a fan boy, I always had problems with the amplified and glorified violence, for instance.

The Matrix's Red Pill or Blue Pill—Which Is Better?

relevant link, because I just stumbled upon it yesterday: Do NOT swallow the red pill
posted by philip-random at 11:16 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


My opinion of Speed Racer is similar to what I said about Tron: Legacy a few weeks ago. I want an audio option with just the music and sound effects and zero dialog.
posted by octothorpe at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


This XKCD just popped into my head.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I showed the original/one Matrix to my 19/20 year old interns a few weeks ago; they’d never seen it, and the most difficult thing for me to explain to them is the impact it made on pop culture. I was a junior in high school when it came out and man, it was INSANE. The sunglasses. People with the kits for the Nokia phones (for people that even had cell phones). The quotes. The quasi-philosophical discussions that you have when you’re a teenager and are certain that Adults just don’t know *anything.*

It is still one of my favorite movies.

I did not like the sequels, even though I saw them in the theatre multiple times (because I was certain something wasn’t clicking, and maybe if I just watched them again, I’d get it) and own them. I still don’t like them, but I respect them. I’ve picked up a part-time on-call job working out at the studios, and it’s insane the amount of creative vision and labor that produces even a simple entertainment product.

I really enjoyed the Animatrix.

They will get my money.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 11:23 AM on August 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


Lilly has given any new film her blessing. From Slashfilm:
“I like it when stories go out into the world and then come back to you in different ways. I mean, that’s what storytelling is all about. I’m part of a bigger thing. I don’t have any ownership over stuff like that, so whatever story anybody wants to tell, I can’t wait to hear. I hope it’s better than the original.”
posted by adrianhon at 11:25 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Aren't Neo and Trinity dead?

The wheel of time turns, and movies come and pass, leaving memories that turn to legend...Let the One ride again on the winds of time

I felt cheated by the Matrix 2. Yeah, it wasted a bunch of time on a ridiculous rave leading nowhere but the real crime is that it ended without a conclusion. More of a "to be continued." I paid for a whole movie!

This is a pretty common issue in the middle book/film of any trilogy. Empire Strikes Back ends without a conclusion, and more of a "to be continued", as another example.
posted by nubs at 11:25 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had to be dragged to see The Matrix in the theater by my then girlfriend who just wanted to see Keanu. At that point I'd only seen him in Much ado About Nothing and Dracula and wasn't impressed at his acting ability. Of course I was instantly in love with the movie right from the first scene with Trinity.
posted by octothorpe at 11:36 AM on August 21, 2019


the industry is a bunch of motherfuckers and the wachowskis have figured out how to shake money out of those motherfuckers and they use that money to make good movies.

AND

"Do they get the funding to make another high budget film?"

And the answer is of course "Yes they do. Even while not making mainstream Hollywood fare." If anything that's a higher difficulty setting in that game than aiming at yet another flavour of the month.


I'm not sure where Metafilter's confidence in the Wachowskis comes from.

When I first heard this news yesterday, I knew in my gut that the reason there's going to be another Matirix is not because the Wachowskis want another Matrix, it's because they're in movie jail. If they want out, they need a hit.

They made what were pretty much three HUGE flops in a row: Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and Jupiter Rising, all out of source material that people were expecting to not be flops. Those three films together cost nearly half a billion dollars to make and collectively, they lost money (though one made a slight profit).

The reason there will be a 4th Matrix is mot because they know how to shake out money, it's because the Matrix movies are the only thing anyone will finance for a Wachowski.
posted by dobbs at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


Aren't Neo and Trinity dead?

Easily explained by reverting to a savepoint.
posted by bonehead at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Maybe we'll get the sequel I wanted, where Neo is revealed as yet another lost child of Amber.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:45 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


The Matrix was brilliant. Sequel? I would much rather see a spin off set in the matrix universe ... so many possibilities.
posted by hoodrich at 12:15 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


If you read Neo as Durga, the second two movies make a fair bit more sense.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


My Experiences with Wachowski Projects Over the Past Decade

A Play in One Act

My Wife: What are you watching?

Me: [Cloud Atlas / Jupiter Ascending / Sense8]

My Wife: What do you think of it?

Me: It is really refreshing to get action media that is focused on transition and identity from people who have real experience with and insight about transition and identity for once.

My Wife: So it’s good?

Me: Oh, fuck no.

I will probably continue to watch the various Wachowski projects for the reasons listed above, but I am not getting my hopes up about them making another good movie again.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2019 [32 favorites]


I don't think either movie requires a decoding explanation to enjoy or enrich -- both work pretty well as directly experienced mythology -- but anyone looking to participate in a critical dissection should be familiar with the insights there.

The thing is, knowing about the deeper metaphysical aims of the directors/writers doesn't change the fact that, as someone said above: the subtext doesn't matter if the text doesn't work. I'm well aware of the interesting things the Wachowski's were trying to do. Unfortunately, they failed at making good movies.

Watching the first movie and then the sequels, it becomes really clear how much of the latter movies is badly executed copies of the first. For example, look at something like the fight against the Merovingian's crew. The camera work is clunky. Every cut feels a second too late, making the pacing feel totally wrong. They re-use iconic moves from the first movie (e.g. Trinity's jump/freeze frame/camera pan around) in ways so lazy and rote that it makes The Matrix, of all things, boring.

These same problems permeate the films, in fight and dialogue scenes. I don't know what happened, but it feels like the Wachowski's lost their way after the first and just straight up forgot how to do a bunch of things they excelled at previously, or at the very least were so focused on specific details that they lost sight of the bigger whole.

I would love to see a version of those films in closer alignment with Patrick H Willems' take, which is worth listening through. He digs into the various themes the Wachowski's were going for but tries to position the films to better lead into them, including one of the big things for me, which is pushing Agent Smith out of the picture until re-emerging at the end of the 2nd movie to lead into the 3rd as the main villain; but also better use of the Trinity/Neo relationship, making us care more about Zion, giving Morpheus a damned thing to do, leaning in to the implied (or stated, in other media) tension/history between the Merovingian and the Oracle, etc.

Instead, what we got were two movies that, when I rewatched them, I thought: yeah, that's why I haven't watched these in more than 15 years...
posted by tocts at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jupiter Ascending is very popular for a movie that is basically a for loop.
Mila Kunis meets a space relative, everything explodes, dog boy rescues her, repeat.
posted by w0mbat at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2019


I mean, if you want to get reductive John Wick is "Keanu Reeves meets people, shoots them" on a loop, but nobody seems to mind that there are three of those.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:36 PM on August 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


I re-watched the sequels a few months ago, thinking I might appreciate them more now than I did at the time.

"Reloaded" was enjoyable enough. The plot and world-building were interesting, even if they didn't always hold up to scrutiny. There were some good action sequences. It wasn't as smoothly-executed as the first film, but viewed on its own, it was a decent popcorn movie.

"Revolutions" had a lot more problems. It did very little with the few characters introduced in the second film, making me wonder why they even existed. The chases and fights relied increasingly on CGI and other visual effects that looked bad at the time and have aged terribly. Every major plot point was resolved by a (literal) deus-ex-machina. It's also badly paced, always interrupting itself with long monologues.

Anyway, I'm cautiously excited about the fourth movie. Keanu has really honed his skills by doing a lot of his own action scenes in the John Wick movies (directed by Chad Stahelski, who was also Keanu's stunt double in The Matrix). I think a new Matrix installment could really benefit from that work.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:37 PM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


I would always rather watch an ambitious failure than something that is successful but safe.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:49 PM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


"Revolutions" had a lot more problems. It did very little with the few characters introduced in the second film, making me wonder why they even existed.

The real worst part of the Matrix sequels is that they were intended to be this all-encompassing transmedia experience, so I think the answer to "why did these characters even exist" was "so they could be in short films, comics, and video games that hardly anybody saw, read, or played".
posted by tobascodagama at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Honest Trailers for The Matrix movies and Jupiter Ascending.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2019


still waiting for bound 2 because jennifer tilly
posted by logicpunk at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


I mean, if you want to get reductive John Wick is "Keanu Reeves meets people, shoots them" on a loop, but nobody seems to mind that there are three of those.

With John Wick vs.Predator to follow
posted by thelonius at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


logicpunk: "still waiting for bound 2 because jennifer tilly"

Saw a showing of Bound a few months ago with both Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon sitting for a Q&A afterwards. They were both great but Tilly just totally stole the show.

Oh and Bound totally holds up; I rate it as their second best film after the Matrix.
posted by octothorpe at 1:08 PM on August 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Now if they can reprise Ms Tilly into the Matrix-SpeedRacer-Jupiter universe and tie all the loose threads together starting phase two of the craziest franchise ever....

Imagine the bloviational blogs blowing up
posted by sammyo at 1:14 PM on August 21, 2019


Perhaps there can be an Animatrix style companion set each written by a David Mitchell.
I originally read this a Animaniacs and was all, "that would be interesting!"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:35 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


They should really edit out the transphobic bit at the start of the honest trailer for the Matrix.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:38 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


Brian Takle's analysis is interesting, but I don't see how it makes the movies themselves any better. What makes subtext cool is that you have events and situations with dual meanings -- the characters and situations function as part of the surface story, but also have symbolic meaning within the subtext. But it has to work in both contexts. You can't have something that makes no sense within the world of the story, and defend it by pointing out its metaphorical role.

...

The thing is, knowing about the deeper metaphysical aims of the directors/writers doesn't change the fact that, as someone said above: the subtext doesn't matter if the text doesn't work.

If you want to make that case, then you have to go to specifics where the text fails. I can see the case for places where it's clumsy in execution, from the CGI of the burly brawl, to certain dialogue being stilted or too long, or other things, places where the storyteller stutters or acquires an odd accent. But that's distinct from saying "the narrative stopped making sense." I think there are very few places where the text can be categorically said not to work, and nothing worse than the sin against science of a narrative treating humans as a practical energy source in the revered first film. And generally better than plot issues involved in the typical Marvel blockbuster.

Takle's analysis is primarily concerned with mythological parallels, but that doesn't mean they're unrelated to the internal text of the films. As with any fantasy world, some of the rules of it are explicit (only people who are worthy can lift the Hammer) some of them are implied or even outright unexplained (what does worthy mean?). The mythology functions at the intersection of the explicit and the implied; the references are an invitation to consider background world-rules are *something like* a given myth parallel. Which is of course why mythology is compelling to people anyway, just often not on a conscious level.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:47 PM on August 21, 2019


My kingdom for a 12-episode Animatrix series order.
posted by danhon at 2:11 PM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


I rewatched The Matrix Reloaded last night in celebration of this news, as The Matrix series is one of my favorites of all time. The sequels are inferior to the original, and Reloaded has some really stupid parts in it, but the special effects and the fight scenes are still amazing to this day. It has one of my favorite shots of any movie ever in it. I'm going to watch Revolutions later.

What I really hope they do is get the people who did The Raid 2's fight choreography. If we can get something that's some sort of approximation to those fights, the trilogy's fights and the original Matrix's gunplay, I'll be happy. I have total faith in Lana Wachowski, she's never let me down.
posted by gucci mane at 2:13 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I originally read this a Animaniacs and was all, "that would be interesting!"

Considering that both are Warner Brothers' properties and that Animaniacs is also apparently about to be rebooted, the Animaniatrix is not impossible.
posted by subocoyne at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


I re-watched the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies a few months back, having not seen them since seeing them in the theater. I was kinda hoping it would be one of those revelatory "oh wow, I didn't get this but now I do" experiences. It was ... not. Both of them are pretty awful as movies and awful as sequels to The Matrix.

There's a 2+3 fan edit (The Matrix Dezionized) that's arguably better & more watchable, & more satisfying than the originals. Available in a dark alley near you.
posted by sneebler at 2:54 PM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think there are very few places where the text can be categorically said not to work, and nothing worse than the sin against science of a narrative treating humans as a practical energy source in the revered first film.

Forgive me if my memory is faulty here, but I recall that my opinion at the time was this:

The real sin of the sequels is that they broke one of the key rules of the Matrix universe that was laid out in the first movie: That while people like Neo can have magical abilities inside of the computer-simulated world, in the real world they are just normal humans.

Except toward the end of Reloaded, Neo is somehow able to shut down sentinels in the real world with a wave of his hand. That right there is what ruined the sequels for me.
posted by good in a vacuum at 4:41 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


Oh, and I remember that in the time between the releases of Reloaded and Revolutions, there were many online theories flying around about how perhaps the reason that Neo could shut down sentinels in the "real" world was that it wasn't real at all, but just another, higher level of the matrix that the machines created to siphon off people like Neo and Trinity to make them think that they had escaped the matrix.

There was talk of a "green matrix" (the green-tinted one where the first movie opens in), and a "blue matrix" (the blue-tinted one where Neo wakes up to in the first movie, and where Zion is). It was exciting to think about how deep and complex a universe the Wachowskis were building.

Then Revolutions came out and it turned out that nope, it wasn't any deeper. They had just decided to throw away a core premise of their universe, and now Neo had superpowers everywhere.
posted by good in a vacuum at 4:48 PM on August 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


I tried reading those Brian Takle pieces, and... after six years of studying literature I have a pretty high tolerance for up-its-own-ass analytical essays, but that just blew right past my level.

Re: the text not working – I absolutely agree that the text doesn't work in the sequels, but would also add that poor execution is part of that. I did engage w/ the transmedia stuff – I'm one of the few people that probably enjoyed that video game (not the online one, never got to play that) – and the offloading of story elements onto that irritated me quite a bit, in large part because as mentioned above, it made those characters in the films themselves weaker.
posted by Fish Sauce at 4:58 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Prequel? I'd like to see the part what the The Oracle said when she landed that job .... Oh, and see proto-Neo's getting his first computer, what software it includes, and how he decides between White Hat and Black Hat.

In other words ... not stuffed with CGI, avoids action-packed production values, with a human storyline and actual acting.
posted by Twang at 5:38 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


after neo visits the source he returns to the Matrix and eventually the real world, but he is still connected to the source (this is explicitly said by the Oracle in the third movie). all of the "powers" he shows in the real world revolve around him controlling and sensing the machines, it's because he's still connected to the source that controls them. it's not like he's ever flying around the real world.
posted by JimBennett at 5:40 PM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


ctrl+F "speed racer"

Yessss, people exist who agree with me! Speed Racer is spectacular. Let's start a club.

Now, what's this about another Matrix?
posted by Mizu at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Fair enough, JimBennett, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the sequels. I guess my response to that would get very sci-fi nerd nitpicky, and ask how it is that Neo is still connected to the source even when he’s not physically connected to anything electronic. The first movie suggested that the humans we see are like us but with data ports in their heads, and disconnecting them from the matrix is like pulling out the Ethernet cable from a computer. It implied that there’s an air gap between the matrix and the real world. But I guess the Wachowskis decided that these humans also have wifi adapters, and Neo was just the first human to find the drivers for his.

But I guess it’s not fair to judge a movie by how I wanted it to be written, only how it was written.
posted by good in a vacuum at 6:02 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


... it's because he's still connected to the source that controls them. it's not like he's ever flying around the real world.

I mean, yeah that's the in-universe explanation but they never explain how the physics of that works. Does Neo's brain have the machine's wf-fi password? How does that work?
posted by VTX at 7:50 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I barely remember the movies but my wild guess is that Neo hacked physics
posted by polymodus at 7:53 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


i'm not saying it's some super well thought out or explained thing, but the idea that the brain jacks have wifi is like one of the more plausible ideas in the movie.
posted by JimBennett at 7:55 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I can see the case for places where it's clumsy in execution, from the CGI of the burly brawl, to certain dialogue being stilted or too long, or other things, places where the storyteller stutters or acquires an odd accent.

This is the thing. A good idea is only worth so much, and I don’t feel any moral compulsion to grant a poorly-realized good idea a warm reception. The Matrix sequels were bad filmmaking, whatever the nature of their underpinnings. I absolutely appreciate the vision that the Wachowskis were aiming for and their determination in realizing it, but the result was plainly lacking.
posted by invitapriore at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


That scene where hundreds of Agent Smiths start piling on. Now that's a pile-on.
posted by ovvl at 9:10 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


They had just decided to throw away a core premise of their universe, and now Neo had superpowers everywhere.

i'm not saying it's some super well thought out or explained thing, but the idea that the brain jacks have wifi is like one of the more plausible ideas in the movie.

If anything, the real world has gotten closer to the speculative fantasy-future tech of the Matrix. Neo doesn't even need magic wi-fi, all he needs is Bluetooth.

But I guess it’s not fair to judge a movie by how I wanted it to be written, only how it was written.

To be fair, the sequels were definitely overly cryptic and underwritten in parts, while horribly overwritten in other parts.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:42 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh man, now I want a movie where the unstoppable evil robot army is vulnerable mainly to hackers, since they don't themselves have any need for real adversarial thinking (being a monolithic hive mind).

Otoh, maybe that movie is just the matrix.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:21 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Maybe that movie is The Matrix 4
posted by Apocryphon at 11:25 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


First one is a classic, that is still on my Watch Again list after 3-4 viewings.

Second and third are okay, but never made that list.

Will watch the fourth one.
posted by Pouteria at 11:49 PM on August 21, 2019


Now, just when are we gonna get a sequel to Dark City?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:58 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I also would love so much if this pits itself hard against the redpill crap. Which it's totally possible 2 and 3 already went through, as the Reclusive Novelist states, and I tuned out somewhere among the ravings and the brawlings, but the thing is it didn't take.

What the pop culture I know brought away from the Matrix was the simple core of #1:
  • it's cool to be the one who can See How It Really Is even if the sheeple clutch their sheepley neckbells
  • then you get to do choreographed sexy violence
Can we manage a breakthrough of humility on that? I have no idea how to make that simple and visually stunning, I'm no filmmaker.

I'm afraid dobbs's reading is right that they're being either nerfed or managed out of Hollywood on a "Matrix money or nothing" Performance Improvement Plan. My guess and hope is Lana will do what the fuck she wants and drop the mic.

p.s. with this bringing back the actors of characters who apparently died (honestly I forgot) what I'm going for is that this is a canon-fork after the original Matrix. If you liked 2 and 3 I'm not trying to banish them, but I'd be game for a rerun from the savepoint.
posted by away for regrooving at 1:50 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Brian Takle's analysis is interesting, but I don't see how it makes the movies themselves any better. What makes subtext cool is that you have events and situations with dual meanings -- the characters and situations function as part of the surface story, but also have symbolic meaning within the subtext. But it has to work in both contexts.

This. The last time I saw such a detailed attempt to use extra-story material in an attempt to justify what were very mediocre movies were actually good was Star Wars Ring Theory for the prequels.

Fundamentally if a story can't get past the "This is boring", and the "I don't care what happens to these people" filters then no amount of saying how clever this is will turn it into a good story. And even if you liked the characters in Revolutions rather than finding them tiresome by that point it had got to the point of "I don't care what happens to our leads - the only question is how Neo is going to deus ex machina any problems leading to a complete lack of tension."
posted by Francis at 2:37 AM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Matrix sequel discussions remind me of Joseph Heller's response to being told that he had never written anything like Catch-22 since: "Neither has anyone else".

I trust the writer to come up with some way to make it make sense in a world where the Matrix has become a cultural touchstone. I think the trick will be being bold enough to bring the new and weird while matching the pace and tone of the original. I could forgive a magnificent failure more than a retread.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:20 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Now, just when are we gonna get a sequel to Dark City?

Now there's a movie that really doesn't hold up, thanks largely to Kiefer's wholly unnecessary vocal affectation. I saw that one under the influence of a strong hallucinogen and still found it lacking.

That said, I like Rufus Sewell's work in High Castle and Kiefer can legitimately act, so maybe a sequel wouldn't be so bad. Also, moar Jennifer Connelly!
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:37 AM on August 22, 2019


Apocryphon: "Now, just when are we gonna get a sequel to Dark City?"

Alex Proyas has had a way worse filmography in the last twenty years than the Wachowskis and the last thing he did was the awful "white people playing Egyptians" CGI mess "Gods of Egypt".
posted by octothorpe at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, moar Jennifer Connelly!

Well they'd need to find a new singer to overdub her as Anita Kelsey has since become a cat behaviourist.

Sometimes I worry that knowing this weird movie trivia is preventing me from remembering something more important, like CPR or bike safety or whatever.
posted by Molesome at 7:40 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to see that the Wachowskis are still at it, because when I googled them a month ago, all I could find was that they'd shut down their Chicago production offices.

Am I excited about this? Hmm. I don't know. The Matrix was important to me--I saw it 5 times in the theater over the span of two weeks in 1999--and a lot of what appealed to me about it was the trans theming, which weren't overt but which I definitely recognized--the queerness and genderqueerness of it all. Of knowing you're different and the world is a straight sham and, like, Trinity and Neo being cast and costumed as physically nearly interchangeable. And fucking Switch!! I have unabashed soft spots for Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending in part because of the trans themes of Cloud Atlas (yes, they completely bungled race, though, and the endiing, sniiiirk) and because Jupiter Ascending is such a trashy wonderful scifi girl fantasy and while I'm not a girl, really, I was raised as one and recognize the need for it. It's science fiction dipped in Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper juice and I have watched it many times.

The Matrix stands out as soaked in this outer layer of toxic masculinity, which seems tied up in the idea of passing on some level. I haven't rewatched the sequels since I saw them in the theater so I'm not sure how they play into that. But they remind me, in a way, of the hyper masculinity of Fight Club, which is much better and more interesting when you know that Chuck Palahniuk is gay and that he is attempting to grapple with toxic masculinity in a way that's . . . well, queer and homoerotic. And I am really, really curious what Lana can do with the universe and symbolism of the Matrix now that she's fully out, because it's a story that really speaks to a trans experience on every level and, like, can we get a Switch-like trans character who changes genders? Because I have been wanting that since I was 15 okay.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:04 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I liked the sequels last time I watched them, having previously fucking hated them. They answer a lot of the questions and things from the first movie. Now, none of those things NEEDED to be answered, and I can't begrudge someone for feeling Matrix woulda been better as just The One movie. However, it was too successful to not make more and I like some of the ideas they tried even if the execution wasn't deeply flawed. My biggest complaint is that too much of the plot revolves around shipping Neo and Trinity because that ultimately leads to blowing robots' minds. Plus their relationship didn't have much buildup, yo just have to accept what is told about their love.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:20 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Wait, what's this about another Highlander film?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:25 AM on August 22, 2019


OMG what if Keanu Reeves plays Trinity and Carrie-Anne Moss plays Neo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


The Dudiverse would explode.
posted by papercake at 9:25 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the Animaniatrix, apparently there was a convention event where a number of professional voice actors did a live reading of the Matrix script as some characters they voice, including the Warner Brothers and Sister.

The part with Yakko and Dot (as Smith and Mr. Anderson) begins around 12 minutes.
posted by subocoyne at 11:37 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


>> refusing to take the wachowskis seriously is not just a bad idea. it's a moral failing.

Please. They're just making a movie.
posted by spudsilo at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2019


I'm hopeful that Neo and Trinity will be digital copies, backed up by the Architect from their bodies in the machine core. This will make them available to do things, but will leave them slightly out of step with the rest of the human resistance goals. After all, if they want to live then the Matrix needs to continue to exist in some form.

Or they can hijack bodies, like Agent Smith did. But I feel like they would be against that.
posted by Zudz at 2:17 PM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]




how it is that Neo is still connected to the source even when he’s not physically connected to anything electronic. The first movie... implied that there’s an air gap between the matrix and the real world, and Neo was just the first human to find the drivers for his.

Does Neo's brain have the machine's wf-fi password? How does that work?

I barely remember the movies but my wild guess is that Neo hacked physics

We don't get explanations of ship or sentinel hovertech, either, or how The Oracle can apparently be shockingly good at predicting/shaping the future, or how even AI works. We're just told and shown they do.

Neo's connection to the source which controls things like sentinels isn't particularly different. If the complaint is "but this makes Neo different from everybody else," well, yes. Neo is different from everybody else. If the complaint is "but this makes Neo different from past Neo," well, yes, by the time he connects with and destroys the real world sentinels, we are also already given in-text reasons why different from past Neo. The Oracle preps us for Neo's growth as she prepares him to recognize that understanding some choices will transform him into someone whose senses will transcend limits he has then, including some measure of The Oracle's ability to see the future! The Architect explains Neo is transformed by arrival at the source in dialogue explicitly as soon as he arrives at the source AND implying it in the various resolutions of the TV Matrix scenes, which I don't think should be judged as a mere affectation, it's also part of the text that's working to communicate multiple and multiplying/transcendent levels of exchange happening, a visualization of a literal transformation matrix.

And what else is Neo supposed to do when he gets there? What he's been chosen and prepared by the machines to do: managing a re-established Zion colony in the real world with the help of the machines. What TheOne-specific facilities might be especially helpful for that? How might whatever Neo was chosen for PLUS whatever was installed in Neo's body PLUS however he's been expanded by arrival at the source be different for that?

Keep in mind that while some of these things are reinforced mythologically, these are all things read directly from the text. As are places in the text where Neo is referred to as part machine or even "a machine." He's still human too, of course, but as with everybody who's been jacked in he's also very clearly a bit cyborg and there are plenty of in-text reasons to assume he might even be a little more.

I get it, it's still a surprise, and it was a head-scratcher of a way to end the movie for me when I first saw it, too, and the "second matrix theory" seemed easy, but 2003 was a society with wireless communication and the world of the matrix had wireless communication between machines. Wireless communication between a clearly tech-implanted human who'd connected to The Source and machines clearly driven by The Source didn't seem like a big leap to me.


Fundamentally if a story can't get past the "This is boring", and the "I don't care what happens to these people" filters then no amount of saying how clever this is will turn it into a good story.

"I couldn't get invested in the story" is a distinct statement from both "the text didn't work" and "the references/subtexts didn't land or add anything from me." It's also a personal statement rather than a critical one.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:55 PM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Neo's connection to the source which controls things like sentinels isn't particularly different.

This is a completely baffling statement. We don't get an explanation of hovertech because it is a meaningless background element to the story. The nature of the matrix, there being a distinct difference between what power people have there (requiring literal hard-lines to get in/out and use that power) and the real world (totally disconnected, even those who are themselves refugees from it), is central to the story. Neo magically having the power to do the kinds of things he can do inside the matrix but outside of the matrix, with basically no explanation other than "well I guess he's special", is ridiculously bad storytelling.

Look, we get it: you love these movies and will bend over backwards to the point of making up extra-textual reasons why things people have problems with can't really be a problem. However, it's kinda shitty to basically treat others like criticism is an equation that can be solved and that you can prove they're wrong and literally classify their critique away as not really critique because you don't like it.
posted by tocts at 7:00 PM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


To agent-Smith pile-on* here: that essay linked up-thread about the Star Wars prequels forming a ring-narrative with episodes 4-6? I actually find that pretty convincing.

But it doesn't magically make the acting, the dialogue, or the awful racial stereotyping go away. Okay, sure, the narrative structure is now more interesting; but that doesn't really make the movies any more watchable.

In the same way, the looseness of the Matrix sequels can't just be forgiven. The original was too much of a perfect clockwork mechanism - you don't get to renege on that.

*Me. Me, me, ME!
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:11 PM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


While I'm generally not keen on talking about movies as they might have been instead of how they actually ended up being onscreen since there's so much supposition involved, I will suggest that what I earlier called convoluted about the sequels to The Matrix might indeed be explained by some changes the studio may have made to the original draft of the film. I can't verify the truth of the idea since I haven't read the original draft, but I have seen in a number of places that version of the screenplay had the major difference of Neo being a man in the matrix, but a woman outside it. That radically changes how the films read to most audiences and what the sequels are doing.

The essential idea then would be that Neo/Trinity are one and the same or that Neo is the binary face of Trinity as demanded by the matrix. Trinity/Neo are able to defeat the matrix specifically because they exist outside the binary that defines the 1/0 world of the illusory world. That would be the key that informs the whole of the series as why Trinity represents as Neo in the matrix becomes the question both the character and the series need to answer. Removing that key has some unfortunate side effects, or as I like to prattle on about, layered ironies to it.

The first being that it renders the first movie a fairly familiar hero tale in its structure, most audience members will accept without thinking Neo is simply Neo as Luke SkyWalker is Luke Skywalker, "the one", the hero chosen to defeat the bad guys. The irony is that it ends up both reinforcing the very kind of binary thinking the movie might have been seeking to uproot, with Red Pill/Blue Pill becoming the simpler substitute for any question of identity, and as most people tend to think they have better access to reality than others, that ends up being able to be used to support virtually any kind of thinking that the viewer believes they understand the truth of where others are blind. At the same time it has the second irony of allowing the audience to fall prey to the Hollywood "matrix" of storytelling that has so long defined what it means to be a hero and who gets to be one. The audience takes that formula and applies it to the movie keeping it aligned with what they already know of Hollywood's history of tropes, thus making it harder to see the ideas the movie may have wanted to convey.

The knock off effect to the sequels is that by removing the question of why Trinity represents as Neo in the Matrix, the follow up movies have to both introduce some questions of what the matrix means without it feeling entirely organic to the ideas of the original film and then try to answer those questions in a way that subverts what the audience already believed from the first movie to get something closer to the original goal. It doesn't work well because the audience is resistant to anything that feels like "changing the rules" even if that might come from misunderstanding the rules as they were meant to be taken in the first place.

It also makes the sequels feel more like repetitions of the arc of the first movie as Neo doesn't really change and the enacting of his understanding developed in the first movie is just reiterated to different effect, and for hope of a different read that is difficult to develop for how powerful the spell of the first movie and it's seeming hero trope use has on an audience. Without having developed the question of why Trinity/Neo represent as they do, the rest reads as unsatisfying and redundant or convoluted for no longer fitting the expected paradigm.

Like I say though, I don't know what was originally intended or even if this is roughly true whether that would have meant the Trinity/Neo relationships would have been as one or whether there would have been some variation with Neo represented as man and woman while keeping Trinity as a separate character or not having Trinity as we know her at all, just that the idea plays much more sensibly in some important ways than what we ended up with and would have a smoother flow to it all. It also suggests explanation for some of the things like how Neo is able to defeat the machines in the final movie as that would likely be "Neo/Trinity" finding love for who they are outside the binary and defeating the machine thinking that had managed to encroach into the "real" world represented by the neverending mulitcultural rave party, or some such.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:03 AM on August 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


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