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Review: ‘The Matrix Resurrections” revives sci-fi franchise

“The Matrix Resurrections” reunites co-stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the sci-fi action movie franchise that began in 1999, which combined groundbreaking special effects with philosophical questions about reality, technology and free will in a dystopic future.

Woman in a black trenchcoat wearing black boots.
A woman wears a black trenchcoat and combat boots in an outfit similar to those seen in, or inspired by, the movie franchise "The Matrix."
Contributed / Maksim Istomin via Unsplash.com

BAXTER — The sci-fi action movie that had everyone asking “What is the Matrix?” more than two decades ago is back in theaters with a new sequel.

“The Matrix Resurrections” is the fourth film about a dystopian future in which mankind faces extinction from machines that seek to subjugate the human race. The motion picture is playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.

Co-stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reunite for the motion picture produced, co-written and directed by Lana Wachowski, half of the sibling team behind the 1999 original.

Reeves as Thomas Anderson is haunted by dreams of his previous experiences in the Matrix, a computer construct by machines to keep society placated with an artificial environment to live in.

Anderson has doubts about the life he seemingly has as a successful and celebrated computer programmer of a video game series called The Matrix that reflects his dystopian visions.

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Neil Patrick Harris plays the therapist Anderson unburdens himself to and Anderson’s anxiety and dissatisfaction with his life only increase and worsen despite the pills Harris prescribes.

Anderson finds himself fixated with a wife and mother of two called Tiffiny who he keeps crossing paths with at a local coffee shop and is reminiscent of his true love Trinity in the Matrix.

“How do you know if you want something yourself or if your upbringing programmed you to want it?” Trinity asks Anderson, whose alternate identity within the Matrix is Neo.

The previous movies in “The Matrix” film franchise revolve around mankind’s epic struggle to break free from the illusion that machines have created to keep people docile and under control.

Anderson in the latest film finds himself now surrounded by people entranced by their mobile devices and obsessed with their digital lives on social media instead of personal connections.

People seem more content with the illusion of a seemingly perfect world or living in a dream state rather than facing the truth of a world in which one has to struggle just to survive.

Machines created by mankind but then turned against humanity harness the bio-electrical energy created by people in the dystopian future where the sun has been blocked out.

But there are those who have escaped indentured servitude and seek to free others from their comatose state while believing Neo is the savior dubbed “The One” to emancipate mankind.

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Actors Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson reprise their roles, and they are joined by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in the sequel.

Peppered between the gunplay, car chases, kung fu fights, explosions and its well-known special effects like “bullet time” — a bullet traveling in slow motion on its way to its target — are some pretty heady philosophical questions about truth, reality, acceptance, free will and fate.

Who or what to believe in, what is one’s purpose, who can you trust, what do you want to do or should you do and more are all relatable questions that made the first movie an enduring hit.

The R-rated film runs two hours and 30 minutes, and it would do audiences best to know a little bit more about the previous installments in the franchise to help with the movie’s understanding.

There is, however, enough expository dialogue or scenes in the new release that delve into the mythos of the Matrix universe, and the film even explicitly references the previous movies.

“The Matrix Resurrections” currently holds a 64% approval rating among critics and a 63% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The RottenTomatoes.com audience consensus reads: “‘The Matrix Resurrections’ falls short compared to the original, but doesn't skimp on the action or cool visual effects.”

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bdfilmforum .

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Frank Lee
Frank Lee

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