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The Matrix 4: Resurrections - Reeves, Moss and Lana Wachowski Returning! Dec 22nd 2021


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I've been thinking a lot about the movie's themes about mental health over the past few days, given their prominence in the plot and their importance in the franchise's legacy. I think there's a lot going on there that's going to take some unpacking and I'll be really interested to see what more informed audiences have to say.

 

So, the good: Neo's "I fly or I fall" dilemma. This read to me as a clear expression of the fear of pushing yourself too far when you have mental health issues, and how that prevents you from being your full self. These leaps of faith are moments where Neo will either fly off in his full power, or will be destroyed by his own illness. Even the people who are aware of what he's capable of and trying to help him warn him off the ledge (Bugs early in the movie), and after pushing through a feverish nightmare image of his own failure (Bot Bombs) it's by combining his strength with his greatest love that he's finally able to make that leap, survive and evolve (Trinity flies). Of course this whole reading is muddled by the existence of underlying literal truths, and moments like Bugs' seeing him fly in flashback, and that then being erased by the system, but it's not a perfectly lucid movie.

 

The bad: well, it's obvious from Sense8 that Lana Wachowski has a fierce dislike of the oppressive power of the mental health system for anyone not perfectly normative, and this movie plays really strongly in to fairly worn out plot points about mental health professionals secretly conspiring against people, paranoid fantasies secretly being true, and so on. I think we've moved beyond these representations of mental health in fiction, and it's disappointing that this movie doesn't have a more nuanced take. But as a Matrix sequel in particular, these concepts combined with the "bots" idea felt genuinely irresponsible. The internet is full of paranoid subcultures which take The Matrix's central metaphor and wrap it around their most dangerous impulses, and if a sequel in this franchise doesn't have an obligation to address that, it at least needs to have the self-awareness not to play in to it. I need to do some reading to get a sense of what they were trying to do there but I don't like it.

 

I'm not well placed to discuss those issues, and I'd be particularly interested in finding out how people with psychosis and mental health professionals read the movie. I'm honestly a little surprised this hasn't come up more.

 

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My reading of the “bots” was more about the power of the Internet to radicalise everyone from total strangers in the street to your closest relations into an uncaring mob both on- and (in the wake of the attempted coup last year) off-line, for the purposes of generating power (lol) for the ones running the system, but yeah, I expect a bunch of people will go “look, NPCs, Wachowskis based???”, or whatever the fuck Reddit chuds are emitting these days.

 

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Came across this from someone who is actually undergoing the same sort of therapy Neo receives in the movie:

 

https://www.vox.com/culture/22847558/the-matrix-resurrections-4-spoilers-review-neo-therapy-mental-health-trauma

 

In brief, The Analyst masks himself as a therapist but is in fact the machine for the trauma itself, and the journey Neo goes on becomes a model of how therapy works.

 

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This is a bit off the current topic, but as an example of how bad the Matrix discourse has got for Red Pillers, I've seen several actually claim on Twitter, on comments sections etc. that the Wachowskis didn't invent the red pill metaphor, actually it's about the scene in Total Recall where Arnie gets offered the red pill.

 

It's a desperate attempt at revisionism by the internet's stupidest people, but also accidentally incredibly apt: the Red Pill in Total Recall lets Arnie reject all the uncomfortable secret truths he's discovered and return to his safe capitalist middle-class life.

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7 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

the Red Pill in Total Recall lets Arnie reject all the uncomfortable secret truths he's discovered and return to his safe capitalist middle-class life

Well, that's what a rich guy is trying to convince him of, anyway. It's actually deadly poison. :lol: Those fucking dumbasses.

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2 minutes ago, Spacehost said:

Well, that's what a rich guy is trying to convince him of, anyway. It's actually deadly poison. :lol: Those fucking dumbasses.

I gotta come back to this. Arnie, the fucking hero, shoots the guy who offers him the Red Pill in the head! It's a film where taking the Red Pill is fucking stupid and you should shoot anyone who offers you it then fuck off to save the world!

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Saw this again today and I can’t get my head around how close it is to being good. It’s almost more frustrating to me than if I’d thought the movie was properly shit, it’s just bland and never quite gets to the point where it’s doing anything interesting.

 

Mindhunter guy is great, and the scenes with Neo and Trinity having coffee and talking are good. I wish it didn’t have any action scenes, it’s like they need to have them but there’s no inventive take on them, no passion in them. They’re so sloppy and boring and hard to read. It also really suffers from a lack of clarity on how getting in and out of the matrix works, it seems like they can just go in and out whenever which is in direct contrast to the original where the stakes in that area were really clear. The whole final sequence I was like “what are they running from and where are they running to?”. 

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14 minutes ago, Broker said:

It also really suffers from a lack of clarity on how getting in and out of the matrix works, it seems like they can just go in and out whenever


This is an interesting point, and something I noticed. There’s one point where Neo and Trinity:

 

Spoiler

Are in the matrix, then just appear in the real world. I think it’s just after Trinity flies.


In the original they needed to find a pay phone, which always seemed a little odd and isn’t explained very well I don’t think, but for dramatic purposes you can understand why they can’t have someone just leave the matrix whenever they want.

 

Another point on this bit:

 

Spoiler

They manage to get a t-shirt on Trinity in the real world while she’s connected to the matrix lol.

 

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They establish in the beginning in some quick and efficient background jargon that you have “windowpanes” which are literally windows in the Matrix you leap through to exit. But then it never comes back up? Even though it plays perfectly in to Neo’s suicidal ideation?*

 

God so much of this feels like a mid-rewrite draft. I really think that they had a 3-hour screenplay for this which just got axed, and they had to press ahead and not film pieces of it without revising the screenplay much. If they were pressed for time or budget earlier they would’ve cut Zion and just moved all the stakes-setting on to the hovercraft, which would’ve made it a tighter mirror of the plot of the first film. But they didn’t. And yet if they’d filmed more connective dialogue I can’t see that it wouldn’t have made it in to the finished product? It’s not like it feels long despite the run time.

 

It’s like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad.

Edit- And mirrors are exits for blue pills and entrances for everyone?

 

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Cannot comprehend how bad this movie is. What was even at stake? I wasn't ever made aware what the actual point was. Everything was explained rather than shown, it was so boring! All the things that we missed between M3 and this sounded like a way more interesting story.

 

The one positive is it makes me look more fondly on M2 and 3, they're masterpieces in comparison.

 

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Forgot I watched this, but I'm rather conflicted about it. All the themes, subtext, and such it plays into are great, but by god is the presentation only a bit problematic throughout.

 

 

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Apart from it looking like a home video production at places (especially during fight scenes), there's also plenty of scenes where the subtext gets blown away by how awful the in-your-face metaphor is at that moment. I think the greatest problem of the film is its overall plot though.

 

We want Neo back for... reasons? And then we need Trinity for... also reasons? And then yay happy. OK, I guess the new Matrix version is "super bad", but didn't the trilogy end with humans getting the choice of going out or staying in? (Not sure, the MMO could've turned that upside down and I haven't played it.)

 

There's no real instigation to speak of, and though that in itself is ridiculed within the film, that alone is not enough to drive it forward. I watched it with some friends and they actively lost interest to the point that it became background noise to them.

 

It's akin to intricate clockwork, presented in the world's shabbiest, ugliest cuckoo clock, with something akin to Neo and Trinity popping out on the hour.

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On 01/01/2022 at 21:54, Paulando said:


In the original they needed to find a pay phone, which always seemed a little odd and isn’t explained very well I don’t think, but for dramatic purposes you can understand why they can’t have someone just leave the matrix whenever they want.

 

It's a hard line, a land line, a direct connection to the system, which allows them to download their data into and out of the Matrix. They did not have that facility in mobile phones at the time, and certainly not through fucking mirrors.

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I thought the first two thirds of this were absolutely fantastic. Concept, dialogue, character exchanges and action. It felt like a logical, smart and mature follow up to the original trilogy. It answered a lot of questions I had lingering at the end of the third part and I thought they pitched it perfectly. It felt like a film made by a Matrix fan, I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The final third honestly felt like it was written and directed by a completely different creative team. This perfect, plausible follow up to the Matrix was suddenly turned into a cartoon, interesting characters were either abandoned or thrust into wholly implausible situations.

 

Spoiler

What the fuck were they thinking with Trinity? She walks out into an army of cops and military, shrugs it off and starts talking about a video game. Then after being told her daughter has been injured, makes a last minute decision to viciously breakup with her husband in front of her two kids and runs off with Neo.

 

It was absolutely preposterous and bore no resemblance to the real world Tiffiny character they had so carefully built up in the earlier scenes.

 

Then Smith turns up for a fight and vanishes without any sort of conclusion to his involvement.

 

There was some decent action (although I was hoping for a bit more of the old Kung Fu) and there's clearly potential for more but it feels like months... years were spent polishing the first two thirds of the film to be this perfectly realised, original, fan driven follow up to the original trilogy, only for the final third to still be at first draft stage.

 

Overall I still enjoyed it because the beginning and middle were so strong but sadly I feel it squandered so much of its potential with a rushed and clumsy final act which diminished everything that came before it.

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It watched this and the new Ghostbusters relatively close together and it was amazing how closely the two hollow souless nostalgiabait projects mirrored each other in terms of structure. Both of them start off seeming like they're doing their own thing could be decent with the potential to go in some interesting directions, then quickly abandon that to just turn into almost beat for beat remakes of the original film and I just sit their thinking, if you're going to make me watch the same story again I would rather just watch the superior source rather than these microwaved scraps.

 

Thinking about it, only two of these years later sequels have really worked for me. Those being Mad Max: Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049, I think that's because in both cases the filmmakers used the established world to do their own thing and tell new engaging stories in the settings instead of a constant stream of remember this bit you used to like and hey you used to have a toy of that wasn't it cool!

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Just having characters from a previous film factor into events and building on what happened previously as your foundation to tell a story is hardly the same thing. Can you really not see the difference between the type of story that BR2049 was telling and memberberry quasi-remake pablum like this and Afterlife?

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57 minutes ago, Thwomp said:

Definitely not like Blade Runner 2049 with Deckard and Rachel then. Not at all.

 

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I loved 2049 until Harrison Ford turned up in it.

 

 

That was literally the opposite, surely? And perfectly executed.

 

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Cheers

 

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