The miracle that the fans have been waiting for for 18 years has finally appeared – the fourth film of “The Matrix” franchise, with the logical name “Resurrection,” was released on the screens. Films of 1999-2003 have reliably entered pop culture along with “Aliens” and “Terminators,” gained a loyal audience… And the US movie businessmen decided amid a pandemic to shoot another post-apocalyptic masterpiece. Considering that the first film in the franchise has become a benchmark for cyberpunk and science fiction, the fourth part of the epic made me at least curious.
What result do we have? I’ll try to avoid spoilers.
We see an abrupt change in the tone of the narrative. The first three pictures fit into the canon of an action movie having a very serious “face,” interspersed with philosophy, nuances of computer systems, and general heroic pathos.
The fourth part belongs rather to the “comedy” genre. Thanks to the plot trick, we are watching the… discussion of the “Matrix 4” release by creative experts and PR specialists. They organized focus groups to understand what the audience expected. And potential viewers, according to their data, require from the authors of “The Matrix” only more fights, maximum stupidity of action, and more “bullettime” (a visual effect of detaching the time and space of a camera from those of its visible subject, which made “The Matrix” famous in 1999). I felt Homeric laughter watching sarcasm against Warner Brothers, the customer for the new film in the franchise.
“The Matrix makes any story trivial,” states the character in the fourth film. Substitute the word “Matrix” with “Hollywood” or “capitalism” – the meaning of the phrase will not change.
A small spoiler, which I will allow in the review – the authors refused to continue the popular version of the franchise’s background that the real world in the “Matrix” setting is also virtual. Otherwise, why does Neo also have paranormal abilities to stop machines with the power of his mind in real life? This question, smacking of hopelessness, is clearly forgotten in the fourth part.
That is, even when you are “waking up” from the Matrix – this, as the first two films hinted at, is not yet Reality, but simply the Matrix of a higher level. It is impossible to “wake up,” and the very idea of the city of Zion and “liberation from the Matrix” is just an insidious plan of the machines so that the “rebels” remain in prison even when they think they are “free.”
Lana Wachowski clearly decided in the fourth part to leave humans, as opposed to machines, more free will and abandon the “hopelessness” of the original plot.
In addition, by the time the third part was filmed, the authors had already earned so much money on the first two that they allowed themselves to abandon the use of all advertising integrations, which are visible in the first and second episodes (Nokia, Crysler etc.). They could also change their minds over the years of filming the trilogy and did not want to muffle their own positive pathos about free will. The plot twist with the “Super Matrix” completely negates it.
The first movie told mainly about the basic concepts of the future world – what the Matrix is (so that the viewer does not break away from understanding what is happening on the screen). In the second, the authors expanded the concepts in-depth – in the movie, there are much more explicit and hidden references to philosophy and computer technology. The Wachowski sisters didn’t make everything clear to the average viewer. And the whole plot was filled with action to make it more “edible.”
In addition, when the first “Matrix” was filmed, the authors did not yet know whether the viewer would like it or not. Therefore, the movie was formed as a completely finished independent story with complete statements.
But one of the main philosophical thoughts of the second part is the conflict between the Architect and the Oracle. In fact, both He and She are just programs of self-regulation of the Matrix. They just have different methods – like the left and right hemispheres of the human brain.
The Architect is the embodied Razio. He does not presume, and even more, so does not feel – he calculates the options.
This is exactly what is shown in the scene of his conversation with Neo (in the room with televisions), where whatever Neo says – all the options for his actions are calculated in advance on one of the Architect’s televisions.
The Oracle, on the other hand, is an embedded Irrationality and Sensuality. She creates opportunities and further allows things to take their course.
It may seem to the viewer that they are in conflict, but in fact, both He and She care about the survival of the Matrix.
The essence of the artistic expression of the Wachowski brothers, it seems to me, is that a person can choose for himself – both fate and its actions.
Actually, this is the key conversation between Neo and Agent Smith in the third “Matrix” – “I do it just because it is my choice!” (although it would seem, all rational circumstances and bets are against the character). It is a manifesto of free will: a thinking person always has a choice, no matter how forced by circumstances and calculations.
The fourth movie developed the hints of the third that the feminine and masculine principles are necessary to maintain the Matrix. Who are these archetypes chosen by the program? Of course, Neo and Trinity. But they are people, not programs, like the Oracle and the Architect.
What in all this fuss with the mass shooting is nature-protective and instructive for us, people of the XXI century? More about this is said not in the fourth movie, but in the accompanying animation.
I recommend you to watch the prequel to four films – “Animatrix,” where in two episodes of The Second Renaissance authors show the formation of a world, where trees, animals, and in general all living things, except people, have died out. It is pretty mercilessly revealed for humanity how it itself brought itself to extinction. First, it created intelligent machines, then entered into conflict with them and, ultimately, into total war. Since solar panels powered the robots, human commanders decided to isolate the Earth’s surface from the Sun. Humanity called the destruction of the sky “a final solution”. As a result, we got the very picture of eternal dark clouds and the “desert of reality” that Neo sees after “awakening”.
As a result, strawberries and other forgotten fruits (a small spoiler), the last descendants of humankind will re-create only hundreds of years later, in the fourth part of “The Matrix”.
We do not know whether computers will become intelligent in the 21st century. But the hint of the creators of “Animatrix” is obvious – the people themselves can become the cause of the extinction of humanity.
In 2021, a South African-Canadian film director, Neill Blomkamp, revealed that the development of “10 District” was moving ahead on a script for a sequel. His first work, “District 9”, was named one of the top 10 independent films of 2009 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Are you curious about this remarkable movie? Read our author’s review here.