Plot: What’s it about?
I, like most anyone else reading this, can remember when I saw The Matrix in theaters. It was an experience. And it was like something we’d not seen before. It broke new barriers with special effects and gave us a movie that made us think, but also was extremely entertaining as well. That was 1999. A lot has changed since then and now nearly two decades after we thought the franchise had run its course – we get The Matrix: Resurrections. Is it the sequel that no one wanted, but got anyway or something much, much more that we might have missed. Spoiler: it’s the former. Part of what made the original movie so iconic is that, by now, it’s been parodied so many times it almost seems like a joke when watching it. And, shifting gears, I’m certainly appreciative that Keanu Reeves isn’t afraid to do a film like this. After all, it’d been nearly three decades since Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and he and Alex Winter made Bill & Ted Face the Music. So, with all that said, the bar is set pretty high with this one. The question we have to ask ourselves (other than which pill to take) is: was it worth the wait?
We meet Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) who is “the world’s most famous video game designer” and he’s known for, appropriately, The Matrix. His partner, Smith (Jonathan Groff) informs him that Warner Brothers is demanding a fourth installment to the trilogy. Anderson is a bit hesitant. He meets Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) at a coffee shop with the eerie sense that they’ve met before. Together with his psychiatrist (Neil Patrick Harris), he tries to make sense of this. And if this seems odd, it’s because it is. It’s also difficult to tell the rest of the story without ruining it. But I will say that we get to see a “version” of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) is back along with some other new characters like Bugs (Jessica Henwick) who seems to be studying the Matrix or looking for patterns therein.
As I alluded to earlier, when it’s been so long since the last installment of an iconic franchise, it’s just not the same. Imagine if they’d stopped at three Harry Potter films and then a decade later decided to finish them? See? Not the same. And, evidently, audiences felt the same way I did. On one hand it was nice to see Keanu back in “whoa” mode, but on the other hand I’ve found that his John Wick movies are just as satisfying. We’re missing some key players from the first three movies, we’re missing a director and the one that’s back has now changed sexes (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The point I’m trying to make is that this just isn’t the same and it’s somewhat depressing. I think we’d have rather had them not make the movie than make it and have it fail. But Warner doesn’t run those decisions by me. Grossing only $150 worldwide, I doubt we’ll ever see a fifth installment. And you’ll get no complaints out of me.
Video: How’s it look?
Ok, are we kidding? The Matrix (and all its sequels) have had a couple things in common: reference-quality audio and video. The Matrix: Resurrections keeps the pace set by those previous films. This is one of those that even before you put the disc in the player, you know what’s in store. And Warner’s transfer delivers. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image is strong from start to finish. We get the usual “Matrix-esque” stylized look and feel for a lot of the movie, certainly blues and greens are dominant. There’s also a naturalistic look about the movie that’s a bit different from the first. Yes, it actually looks like a “normal” movie from time to time. Don’t let that fool you, though – this has signature “Matrix” scenes that we all know and love. In a word – it’s perfect.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Not having a Dolby Atmos track on this movie would be like Christmas without presents – it just wouldn’t work. But we don’t want to ruin a holiday and, thankfully, Warner’s Dolby Atmos mix is so amazingly encompassing, I’m nearly at a loss for words to describe it. There aren’t many films that make you feel like you’re “in” the movie, but I have to imagine that if seen on a screen large enough – this is one of them. The special effects lend way to some amazing examples of audio. Vocals, as expected are top notch and lacking any distortion. And let’s not forget that there’s a fair share of gunfire and car chases each of which paves the way for some more examples of top notch audio. No matter which way you go, you’re going to be inundated by some amazing atmospheric audio. Go with it.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- No One Can Be Told What The Matrix Is – We’ve got the cast and crew as they give us a brief recap of the first three Matrix films all the while hinting at this one. This is what’s best described as EPK fluff.
- Resurrecting The Matrix – By far, the more interesting (and worthwhile) supplement is this one. Clocking in at around 30 minutes we get input from all the major players in the game as we’re explained why the need for this sequel, some of the development and special effects – essentially everything you’d want to know about the movie can be found here.
- Neo x Trinity: Return to the Matrix – Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss wax nostalgic about their relationship, the first movies and working together again. It’s…nice, but nothing too engaging..
- Allies + Adversaries: The Matrix Remixed – Similar to the above, we get some information on the new characters in this film and a brief description by the actors who play them.
- Matrix for Life – Yet another dull feature is this one that tells once again how it’s nice to be back making this movie and so forth…
- The Matrix Reactions – Lastly we get a series of nine segments from the film with some detailed information about each one. Running nearly 50 minutes, there’s some interesting stuff in these and for those that are interested – this might be the most interesting feature on the disc.
- Echo Opening
- Deus Ex Machina
- Welcome to IØ
- Bullet Time Redux
- Morpheus vs Neo
- Exiles Fight
- Neo vs Smith
- The San Fran Chase
- The San Fran Jump
The Bottom Line
It’s quite rare when a new installment is so far removed from the film/films that made the franchise a success. What I mean by that is that it’s been too long for us to really take this one seriously. I feel they should have let this one go, but it’s not a total waste. But when re-watching the original Matrix that was so far ahead of its time back in 1999, this one feels like just another science-fiction movie that we’ve all seen before. Warner’s disc looks and sounds good, as expected, but as far as content, well…