Why we want a return of The Matrix
Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
And so we tumbled down the rabbit hole, like Alice. The year was 1999. The Wachowski brothers had us in their grip. The Matrix would evolve into a trilogy and philosophy and a phenomenon. Two decades on it still really fascinates. That slow dawning realization that the real is only a computer simulation. Not everyone realizes it. But some do, those who feel their entire life that there’s something wrong with the world. “You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”
So much has changed of course. For one, the Wachowski brothers have now become the Wachowski sisters. For another, a future dominated by artificial intelligence feels much more imminent now than then. This is also the social media era, so that the human condition feels in the grip of more illusion and distraction than ever. This is why there’s excitement at the announcement of a new installment of The Matrix, to be co-written and directed by Lana Wachowski, with confirmed appearances by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. There is hope that the Matrix redux will also nail the zeitgeist, circa 2019 like circa 1999.
Lana has said, “Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now.” In the interim the Wachowskis have remained innovative. No less creative than the idea of a universe where reality and virtual reality are dramatically divorced, because machines are harvesting human bodies for fuel, in their 2015-18 Netflix drama Sense8 the Wachowskis brought to life a humanist collectivist world where people cross the boundaries of country, sexuality, gender etc to feel together and work together. If Matrix was dystopia Sense8 is a kind of Edenic evolution.
The siblings have also dropped a lot of turkeys. There are comparisons to the rise and fall and fall and fall of M Night Shyamalan. The challenge will be to take the Matrix franchise forward, instead of getting bogged down in imagining its past. One thing the enterprise really has going for it is that the career of Keanu Reeves is wondrously enjoying a high noon these days. He is the internet’s boyfriend. Done bright, the new movie could be the social media’s darling.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.