Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.
Also the actor playing Chad was also named Chad
As EW reports: “Reeves remembers that on the original trilogy, [Wachowski] was ‘more behind the monitor’ but ‘still hands-on.’ With ‘Resurrections,’ she was ‘participating more with the movement of the camera, and more interested in doing than rehearsing.’ It was less about prep and more about everyone’s readiness to find the unexpected in the moment. Reeves confesses they ‘barely rehearsed, if at all.'”
“Filming on the fly” is how new “Matrix” star Neil Patrick Harris described Wachowski’s directing style. Speaking to Variety earlier this year, Harris said, “[The production] didn’t feel large because it felt like she was in her sweet spot, which was filming on the fly, filming using natural light. Sometimes you’d sit around for an hour waiting for the clouds to clear, and then you’d quickly film…You’d film pages at a time in 30 minutes and then be done. You would think that a giant movie would be 100 percent storyboarded, animatics, and we’d be checking off shots. I think she lived that before three times over, and I would suspect that she wants to do things her own way now.”
Perhaps there’s something modestly clever in the major meta-gesture of this newest Matrix—in its idea of the matrix reproducing its own destruction in the form of an interactive video game. After all, the notion that the very systems that delude us offer self-contained safe spaces for relieving those delusions is apt. Like capital, the matrix survives by evolving quicker than the forces that oppose it. If we take this message seriously, then the goodly thing to do is to ignore The Matrix Resurrections and all corporatized entertainments. To put down Twitter and TikTok and smooch our spouses; build a snowman with the kiddies; clink some beers with a gaggle of good buddies.
“The Matrix” also contained dreams of a better internet than our own. The eponymous computer simulation is a sinister mechanism of control, imposed upon humans to harness their energy. But after the simulation is seen as a construction (enabled by swallowing the “red pill”), people have the power to plug back in and traverse it as a truer version of themselves.
This is where a sense of nostalgia haunts a rewatching of “The Matrix”: not for the 1999 it depicts, but for the future — and the internet — it suggested could exist. It’s “a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible,” Neo (the main character, played by Mr. Reeves) declares at the end of the first film.
Dominated by a handful of mega-corporations, today’s digital sphere seems more in line with the machines’ coercive operation than the dreams of Neo and his band of rebels. The internet now stands as a vast web designed to capture our tastes, attention and patterns of thought, and to push them along profit-making lines. The goal is not a world where anything is possible — but a world where everything is predictable and purchasable.
"You see what they do is they take over a bunch of people and kind of turn them into zombies that just throw themselves at the good guys."
"So now the machines waste a bunch of batteries instead of just a few?"
"That's their new strategy, yeah."
There's a version of Resurrections that's way more overt about rejecting Red Pillers, or rejecting TERFs, and a lot less ambiguous in its depictions of psychiatry and motherhood.
But that's not the movie Lana Wachowski would ever make, because I don't think she's all that interested in just refuting critics, or rejecting bad ideas.
More to the point, Smith is that—and I think that, in Resurrections, he's still that, only now he's the version of that who's more aware of exactly which revolution he's appropriating. He's not even trying to imitate Hugo Weaving: he's openly, gleefully in love with the man he's trying to destroy.
Another question occurs to me: Neo's employee, the kind of creepy little guy who calls Trinity a MILF, seemed like he was really pushing Neo to meet Trinity. We later find out the employee is an agent or something, he's one of the programs who exists to keep Neo in line, so why would he have encouraged Neo to be with Trinity? Was he secretly working against the machines? Did he think that by having them meet they'd generate even more of their doomed, star-crossed lover energy to power the Matrix? I kind of wish we'd followed up on him, because he goes from Neo's fawning little confidante to a sinister character (offscreen), and it seems like we're just getting a glimpse of the arc there.
With a little bit of irony we could say that the Analyst corrects the falling profit rate of using humans as energy batteries: he realizes that just stealing enjoyment from humans is not productive enough, we (the Matrix) should also manipulate the experience of humans that serve as batteries so that they will experience more enjoyment. Victims themselves have to enjoy: the more humans enjoy, the more surplus-enjoyment can be drawn from them – Lacan’s parallel between surplus-value and surplus-enjoyment is again confirmed here. The problem is just that, although the new regulator of the Matrix is called 'Analyst” (with an obvious reference to the psychoanalyst), he doesn’t act as a Freudian analyst but as a rather primitive utilitarian, following the maxim: avoid pain and fear and get pleasure. There is no pleasure-in-pain, no 'beyond the pleasure principle', no death drive, in contrast to the first film in which Smith, the agent of the Matrix, gives a different, much more Freudian explanation
The film’s end brings hope by merely giving the opposite spin to this sad insight: yes, our world is composed just of layers of 'fantasy-as-reality, and reality-as-fantasy, a mess of whims, and desires', there is no Archimedean point which eludes the deceitful layers of fake realities. However, this very fact opens up a new space of freedom – the freedom to intervene and rewrite fictions that dominate us. Since our world is composed just of layers of 'fantasy-as-reality, and reality-as-fantasy, a mess of whims, and desires', this means that the Matrix is also a mess: the paranoiac version is wrong, there is no hidden agent (Architect or Analyst) who controls it all and secretly pulls the strings. The lesson is that 'we should learn to fully embrace the power of the stories that we spin for ourselves, whether they be video games or complex narratives about our own pasts... – we might rewrite everything. We can make of fear and desire as we wish; we can alter and shape the people who we love, and we dream of.' The movie thus ends with a rather boring version of the postmodern notion that there is no ultimate 'real reality', just an interplay of the multitude of digital fictions
Every reader has for sure noticed that, in my description of the movie, I heavily rely on a multitude of reviews which I extensively quote. The reason is now clear: in spite of its occasional brilliance, the film is ultimately not worth seeing – which is why I also wrote this review without seeing it.
the Analyst ... realizes that just stealing enjoyment from humans is not productive enough, we (the Matrix) should also manipulate the experience of humans that serve as batteries so that they will experience more enjoyment. Victims themselves have to enjoy: the more humans enjoy, the more surplus-enjoyment can be drawn from them"
Jonathan Groff might be a hell of an actor, but as I've never seen Hamilton, he just seemed like a generic white dude to me. He didn't even capture the cadence of a techbro or a slimy media executive, but just an empty suit. If this film really was to be a refutation of the Elon-Ivanka Twitter exchange, might I suggest the casting of Sharlto Copley to make the subtext overt? He needs to be in more sci-fi movies again.
Come to think of it, Sharlto would've done a wicked Smith.
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