The Matrix Resurrections, directed by Lana Wachowski, largely eschews big action set pieces in favor of a more intimate story about love and mortality. Scriptwriter Raphael Jordan was initially disappointed with the film but came to like it more after repeated viewings.
“I really think it was secondary to Lana that people liked the movie right away,” Jordan says in episode 496 of the The Galaxy Geek’s Guide Podcast. “I don’t think she cares. And that’s the subtle genius of it. I think it’s going to get really appreciated over time, but not soon enough that they’re getting him to do more movies.
Over the past 20 years, Wachowski has seen fans and critics largely sweep the third Matrix movie, saw Matrix “red pill” footage co-opted by the political right, and faced relentless pressure to produce more Matrix sequels. The Galaxy Geek’s Guide host David BarrKirtley sees clear parallels between these struggles and Resurrections’ “swarm mode”, in which heroes are attacked by waves of mindless enemies.
“In the first movie, the symbol of the oppressive system that’s holding you back is a government agent, and in this one, it’s masses of people on their phones,” he says. “To a large extent, anxiety about who controls our lives has shifted from government to online hate mobs.”
Resurrections features the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss, now in their 50s. horror writer Therese DeLucci enjoyed seeing more mature actors headlining a sci-fi action movie. “I think [Reeves] did a wonderful job of passing on decades of exhaustion, regret, weakness and fallibility,” she says. “I loved it when they were like, ‘Are you going to fly now?’ And he’s like, ‘Fuck that.’ It’s true, you’re in your 50s. Shit, you don’t need to fly anymore.
science fiction teacher Lisa Yazek says that despite his focus on aging and loss, Resurrections manages to maintain an optimistic streak.
“It reminds me a lot of a contemporary cyberpunk story, not only in that it went from a gee-whiz attitude about the internet to a more jaded attitude, but really more in terms of hope,” she says. “There is this hope that people can connect and think logically, rationally and creatively and maybe make the world a better place. And I think that’s the ultimate sci-fi message.
Listen to the full interview with Rafael Jordan, Theresa DeLucci and Lisa Yaszek in episode 496 of The Galaxy Geek’s Guide (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
David Barr Kirtley on The matrix:
For the people who weren’t there when The matrix came out, I feel like it had this cultural impact that’s hard to overstate. I remember people saying, “This is the gift of our generation star wars“, and that’s really how I felt. Everyone had seen it. Before that, there had been films about virtual reality, like Johnny Mnemonic Where lawn mower man that only hardcore sci-fi fans would have gone to see, but with The matrix everyone saw it, and everyone was familiar with all these concepts – like the idea of downloading martial arts skills into your brain in a second – these really cool sci-fi concepts that everyone knew now.
Theresa DeLucci on The matrix revolutions:
I really don’t remember anything about it…I do remember being in the theatre, though. Everyone was very excited. It was the IMAX movie premiere in New York, the biggest screen of all time. It was like a nightclub. People were wearing all of their Matrix gear – glow goggles and glow sticks. My friend was so excited. And then you get to the end of the movie, when Trinity dies, and her death scene was so exaggerated and bad that people started heckling. Neo is like, “You can’t die”, and she goes, “Yes, I can”, and someone in the theater just yells, perfectly timed, “So do it already!” I remember it more than anything else in the movie.
Lisa Yaszek on The Matrix Resurrections:
I went there with no expectations and enjoyed it. Was it as revolutionary as the first? No, but how is that possible? This is the fourth in a series. But I still thought it really honored the show. I thought the story made sense. From day one, the Wachowskis have insisted that these movies are really about love, and I thought, “Boy, Lana really doubled down on that this time.” I think it’s interesting, and it almost makes me want to go back and see the original three again through this different setting. Not thinking, “Is this a metaphor for capitalism? Is this a metaphor for trans-ness? Is this a metaphor for our media-saturated society? Maybe it’s just a sci-fi story about love.
Rafael Jordan on writing the screenplay:
In the first film, Neo is unplugged from the Matrix in the 32nd minute. This marks the end of Act 1 and the start of Act 2 – as I said, this first scenario is airtight. In this one, he doesn’t wake up in the real world until the 52nd minute, and that’s way too long. This is where Act 2 begins, when they finally go to Io and all that. Audiences aren’t necessarily aware of these scriptwriting rules, but they start watching a movie when things aren’t moving fast enough, and it’s no coincidence that this movie was 20 minutes long. more than the others, because it took too long to get to this point. So I just wish it was a six episode, four or five hour episode [TV show].