It can’t be underestimated just how influential 1999’s The Matrix was. Blending wire work, martial arts, ground breaking special effects and a high concept philosophical theory the film had stunning set pieces, defining images and quotable dialogue ( ‘Guns. Lots of guns’ – ‘Dodge this!’ and of course ‘I know Kung Fu’ – a quote our Editor used after downing 12 pints of strong lager before falling off the bar and hospitalizing himself ). The films huge success spawned a trilogy ( and The Matrix Resurrections was inevitable albeit 20 years later) with equally astonishing set pieces though increasingly mired in increasingly incomprehensible philosophical narrative. It also found itself allegedly influencing real life as seen in the documentary A Glitch in the Matrix ( see our interview with the director Rodney Ascher HERE).
The success of the trilogy gave the Wacholwskis carte blanche to make what they want but all their successive films bombed and understandably Warners, the studio who had financed The Matrix trilogy wanted a hoped for sure fire hit with a fourth film. With rumours swirling that Matrix 4, or Project Ice Cream as it was code named, was on its way (as we reported HERE) it was finally confirmed . Both brothers had been struggling with their transgender identity and Larry now Lana having successfully transitioned saw a fourth film as an opportunity to deal with her own issues as well as helping to cope with the recent death of her parents. Liaising with writers David Mitchell & Alecsander Hemon they wrote The Matrix Resurrections which was finally released after the pandemic, like so many others films, delayed its release until Christmas 2021.
The Matrix Resurrections was perhaps not what might have been expected from the legion of fans not quite knowing how a fourth film would continue the story seemingly having drawn to a close after the third film. The first act of the film is knowingly self-reverential and meta with Keanu Reeves back in what appears to be reality as an award winning games designer but struggling with the war he fought against the matrix. But was it all a dream prompting Tom / Neo to have therapy as he teeters on the brink of psychotic episodes and mental break down.
Now release on digital download and DVD & Blu-ray the film has been lavished with a whole load of bonus features in the same way that the original films were, which in themselves set a bench mark for DVD extras – a ‘follow the white rabbit’ feature on The Matrix original Home Ent release set the standard for the new DVD / blu ray technology that had sunk VHS tapes forever. The blu-ray release of The Matrix Resurrections is not as ground breaking as that first films Home Ent release but there’s plenty on this new disc that will please fans. For those who have never seen the original trilogy then the first feature ‘No one can be told what The Matrix is’ sees the cast attempt and fail to explain what the trilogy is about. In fairness so complex were the theories that its nigh on impossible although the ending of the second film was a a risible and incomprehensible bit of self absorbed navel gazing that was understandably sent up in the MTV awards by Will Ferrell. Resurrecting the matrix goes behind the scenes with Lana as she explains how the project got moving purportedly at the continued request by the studio for another film but in fairness with a series of expensive flop films behind Wachowskis they must have realised that funding for future films must have become increasingly difficult if they didn’t capitulate and make a fourth Matrix film.
Other featurettes include ‘Allies & Adversaries’ and ‘Matrix 4 Life’ which shows just how career changing it was for all involved notably Chad Stahelski, an extremely experienced stuntman who was Keanu’s stand in but has since moved into directing making films that themselves have set a new bench mark for action with the John Wick franchise (also with Keanu) . ‘I still know Kung Fu’ shows Keanu who at 56 years of age keeps himself in trim and can still bust a move and the rest of the cast all acknowledge that he was the man they needed to keep up with. But best of all is Matrix Reactions an impressive series of nine featurettes that that goes behind the stunts and set pieces and that includes the San Fran chase and the San Fran jump that saw both Keanu and Carrie Ann Moss jump off the edge of a 40 storey building, a stunt that saw the insurance company doing their best to prevent the two stars from doing it – they failed.
With a world still finding its feet when it came to returning to the cinema The Matrix Resurrections made only $156m worldwide but The Matrix set the bar so high that it was nigh on impossible to ever top it without repeating themselves (ironically the phrase ‘deja – vu’ features prominently in the third act’s dialogue) but it’s not for want of trying with a thrilling climatic scene shot on the streets of San Francisco that must have been a logistical nightmare. Lana Wachowski certainly did not lower her sights at attempting to top what had come before.
The Matrix Resurrections is available on Blu-Ray & DVD from 21st March 2022