Three weeks after its theatrical release (and on HBO Max), let’s come back to this “Matrix 4” because it’s worth it. The idea here is not to spoiler the plot which, in any case, is secondary. Because “Matrix: Resurrections” is not a film, it is a commentary on the film industry as we have known it for fifteen years, with its trilogies, its rebootshis sequels and others prequels. It’s a middle finger extended to industrial policy, business-firstfrom Hollywood.
Be careful, it’s time to choose. You don’t want to know any of this? Take the blue pill. You are curious, you want to continue despite the risks of spoiler the surprise behind the plot? Take the red pill.
Red pill? Welcome to the matrix…
“What is the Matrix? Hollywood!”
From its announcement, we felt that the idea of making a sequel to “Matrix” was not really a good idea. What was it going to bring? How was it only to equal what had constituted, in 1999, a veritable aesthetic revolution in cinema? Already that episodes 2 and 3 had been (more than) disappointing, how to hold the mythology-cyber-punk-futurist rope which was so in tune with its time that it became a pop culture phenomenon, all this twenty years later late ? It seemed impossible.
And, in fact, it is. The first to realize this is Lana Wachowski (alone aboard the Nebuchadnezzar for the occasion). She shares our point of view 100%. We know this because she makes it clear, within the very heart of this “Resurrections”: she did not want to make this film! So she decided to use this fourth episode to answer the famous question: What is the Matrix? The Matrix is Hollywood.
A stroke of genius from “Matrix: Resurrections”, the original trilogy is presented there as a trilogy of video games. From there, Lana Wachowski allows herself everything. And in particular to show us how things happened very exactly, how we arrived at this sequel. It is said, text in the film: “Our production company Warner Brothers has decided to do a sequel to the trilogy, with or without us. So we’re going to stick with it”.
Follows a behind the scene unprecedented and bewildering showing the brainstorming on how to craft this sequel, with Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” playing in the background: “Matrix revolutionized video games! We have to revolutionize it again!” ; “ Matrix, it is above all the ‘bullet time’. What is needed is ‘bullet time! “ ; “We’re not going to just do a simple reboot – why not? Reboots make money!”
“Matrix: Resurrections” is not another reboot, Nope. It is a denunciation. A “J’accuse”, Hollywood version of the 21st century: How the American cinema industry has taken your money from you for twenty years thanks to pop culture. With a key word: fan service.
Trilogies, reboots, prequels, sequels… and “fan service”
the fan service, it’s offering what the fan came looking for: a Proust madeleine, a great Disneyland-style show, a memory of his youth… All this to the detriment of a drinkable plot that can make a story. And so, a movie.
For twenty years, it has been the norm in Hollywood based on its back catalog, these pop works that have become iconic from the 80s and 90s. We will therefore be content to pay Harrison Ford to come back for a spin in the new “Star Wars” trilogy rather than write a story that holds up; or to make one superhero meet another; or even to multiply the nods to the original work. It’s a guaranteed jackpot, because it will definitely bring people back to the cinema, the fans who grew up with these works that mean a lot to them.
In this game, Marvel is the ultimate champion. After the fashion for the trilogies and other endless sequels of the early 2000s (“Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Batman”, “X-Men”,… “Matrix”), the “suggestion box” has invented the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Basically, she took on all the characters from the comics Marvel in cinematic adventures, sometimes solo, sometimes in groups, which often cross and recross to form, well, a universe that hooks fans like a good drug. Not really plot (yes, we have to save the world), but schoolboy humor, big show like at the amusement park and fan service on all floors.
What the red pill reveals…
What Lana Wachowski decided to do with “Matrix: Resurrections” is to be completely transparent about the whole circus. She shows us what the red pill reveals by insulting us: “Do you want fan service? Is that what you came for? Here!”. The rope is so thick that it reveals the big business of a Hollywood production of this type. By insisting on what we already knew without wanting to admit it: we can only be disappointed by a sequel to “Matrix”, simply because the first trilogy did not ask for it.
She has fun with her main characters: Neo, the chosen one? He is twenty years older and has pain in his joints. The futuristic looks, the kung fu scenes? Dated, outdated, because yes, we are no longer in 2000! The mythical scenes of episode 1? Made fun of or replayed as is with the original version in the background. “What else do you want me to do? seems to tell us the director, the films have been made, the story has been completed! “
Then, as it is necessary to make a film, it leaves in a intrigue a little talkative… Which is limited, finally, to few things. Basically, Neo isn’t much interested in saving the world anymore, he’s old and tired and has more important things to do. We won’t reveal what…
Faced with this coup, Warner let it happen… But we would still have liked to see the face of the CEO when he saw the result – if he saw it. In any case, the multinational has decided to release “Matrix: Resurrections” on its HBO Max streaming platform at the same time as in cinemas. As a result, the film reached illegal download records. Like a final dirty trick. We had however warned them, the big shots of Warner, that this sequel was a bad idea. The pill probably had a hard time passing… However, you can be sure that a reboot is in preparation. Without the Wachowskis…