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Cyberpunk Matrix Movies and Films

The Matrix Resurrections: Official Trailer Reaction and Breakdown

The Matrix Resurrections: Official Full Trailer

The Matrix Resurrections finally released its official trailer this month, and I’ve finally found some time between moving and getting stable internet back to sit down and unpack everything it revealed. So buckle your seatbelts, folks, because there’s a lot of exciting things that we’ve learned about Matrix 4.

The opening shot

The trailer begins with an opening shot of the top of a hill in downtown San Francisco, with a lot more vibrant hues and colors than we’re used to, considering the green tint to everything we saw in the previous Matrix trilogy. While this may seem confusing to some, it’s important to remember that at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, we see a young Sati next to the Oracle overlooking a brightly-colored sunrise, which apparently Sati created. The hues and color tone of that final scene in the matrix matches this color scheme, so it’s not exactly without precedent, despite it being definitely something new.

In the therapist’s home

We then pop into the office of a psychologist, played by Neil Patrick Harris, who is asking Neo (Thomas) about himself. We immediately see a black cat like the black cat Neo saw in The Matrix that was a deja vu, which was a glitch in the matrix and an indication that something was changed in the code of the matrix. This cat is walking across a desk with a porcelain bust of a head with different markings of the brain, and behind it are two butterflies (symbols of rebirth) in both red and blue, mirroring the red and blue pills from The Matrix as well.

The Therapist is wearing blue glasses and a blue vest, and we see yet another blue butterfly behind him.

Thomas Anderson tells the psychologist that he’s having “dreams that aren’t just dreams” and asks if he’s crazy. So clearly Neo has no memory of what he was in his past life, or who he was before he was reborn. We then see him meet Trinity, and with a handshake they seem to recognize each other, despite Trinity not recognizing him either, clearly a sign that she lost her memory as well.

Memory: A Theme for Matrix Resurrections

Earlier this year, Lana sold a prop piece from the movie set for charity, a plaque for a hovercraft with the name “Mnemosyne”, which was the greek god for memory. So clearly memory and memory loss will be a major theme in this film. This also matches similar themes of lives connected across time and generations that we saw in Sense8 and Cloud Atlas (which was directed by the Wachoskis and written by David Mitchell, the writer for the book the movie was based off of, and Tom Tykwer, who composed the musical score for Matrix Resurrections).

Blue Pills

In the next scene, we see Neo taking prescribed blue pills (which in Matrix Symbolism, a red pill was the pill to leave the matrix and wake up in the real world, whereas the blue pill was to forget and stay asleep in the matrix, symbolism present in the original Matrix film). The label on the pill bottle is Ontolofloxin, a made up drug whose name suggests an antibiotic for Ontology, or the study of existence.

Screen Zombies

We then see Neo in an elevator looking at a variety of people all staring at their screens like zombies, a subtle reflection of our current media-obsessed society.

The Oracle and Alice in Wonderland

Next we see Neo throw out his blue pills and go see who looks like a new Oracle, quite possibly a grown-up Sati played by Priyanka Chopra wearing red glasses (possibly a subtle parallel to the psychologist’s blue glasses) as she puts down the novel Alice in Wonderland. The symbolism of Alice in Wonderland was also present in the original Matrix film, with a mirror leading to a new world and references to the novel from Morpheus and Cypher. In this trailer, the song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane plays throughout, with the words “go ask Alice” when Neo meets the Oracle in the trailer.

We next see Neo standing in front of a one such a mirror, and for a split second we see a balding Neo with a face that looks eerily similar to Agent Smith from the original trilogy. We know that Hugo Weaving will not be in the film, since he confirmed he was not able to join the cast due to a scheduling conflict, but there may be references to his character using digital animation similar to what we’ve seen with recent Star Wars movies bringing back actors digitally.

A New, Younger Morpheus

We then see Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s character looking like a young Morpheus, including bare head and round small sunglasses, offering Neo a blue and red pill once again. I personally think Yahya could do a great job as a new, younger Morpheus, but like everyone else I don’t know yet why Morpheus is young while Trinity and Neo are old(er). That must have been a very intentional decision not to invite Laurence Fishburne back, since he was such a central character in the original trilogy and he probably would have said yes if he had been asked. It’s probably due to the script instead of any bad relationships between the two, so far as I know the Wachowskis had worked very well with Fishburne during the filming of the original trilogy.

Follow the White Rabbit

Next we see Jessica Henwick’s character, with a rabbit tattoo on her shoulder similar to the girl who also had a rabbit tattoo that led Neo to meet Trinity, following the orders on his computer to “Follow the White Rabbit.” What I found interesting from Henwick’s character is that she feels similar to a new kind of “Trinity” character, but with a British accent, which makes me wonder why Lana wanted Henwick’s character to at least sound British. She then leads Neo through a door of white light, similar to the white light doors we saw from Matrix Reloaded, and the two emerge from yet another liquid mirror.

Trinity Crying Code?

A few scenes later we see Neo holding Trinity’s hand, and we suddenly see green code start streaming down the side of her face, which I am very curious to see what it was. Perhaps it’s an indication that Trinity, like Neo perhaps, only exist in the Matrix at that point in time, and don’t have physical bodies yet.

After this we see Neo and a young Morpheus fighting in a dojo, just like we saw Neo learning Kung Fu fighting Morpheus in the original Matrix film.

Next we finally see some scenes of the real world, with the red pods of humans still plugged into the matrix, and a hovercraft floating through the ruins of a church.

Matrix 1 Projection in Matrix 4??!!

Then we see something particularly meta. We see a stage with a mirror, and a surveillance booth with military soldiers, but on the wall is projected Neo entering the Matrix from the first film! So a scene from Matrix 1 will be in Matrix 4. What could this possibly mean??

And So Much More

We also see more kung fu, a train fight scene, gun shootouts, corporate offices exploding in a building that may be called Deus Ex Machina, and Neo with a shaved head and a more modern neck plug connected into the Matrix, Trinity doing a special powered shout, gravity flipping (which we saw the Merovingian’s henchmen doing in Matrix Revolutions), wall running, agents entering human bodies in the matrix and dodging bullets, Henwick and someone else breaking through glass and falling toward the street (which Trinity did also in Matrix Reloaded, yet another parallel between Trinity and Henwick), Neo fighting someone in a train station (he fought Smith in what looks like the same underground train station in Matrix 1), Neo stopping bullets like he did in Matrix Reloaded at the Chateau, and finally…Neo and Trinity holding hands jumping off a skyscraper into the air, much like we saw in March of last year when they were filming in Alameda and San Francisco. This could very well be Keanu and Carrie-Anne actually doing their own stunts here between these 2 skyscrapers in San Francisco!

Also in the end scene with the credits we see some yellow code, which we saw in Matrix Revolutions as the way Neo sees the matrix, instead of the usual green code.

Want to Join the Conversation?

So those are all the major things I found! There was so much exciting content in this trailer that could all be unpacked and discussed and analyzed, but which unfortunately there isn’t enough time or space here on this blog post. If you’d like to add any additional comments on things you saw for this trailer, feel free to add them in the comments below. You can also check out the active Matrix subreddit for more discussions, or the Cyberpunk Matrix YouTube channel and comment on my reaction to this trailer in the comments there.

The Matrix Resurrections: Interactive Teaser Trailer

The Matrix 4: Resurrections Official Teaser Trailer

Breaking news for Matrix fans: Not only has Matrix 4 been confirmed to be titled The Matrix: Resurrections, but Warner Brothers have also suddenly released an interactive teaser trailer that can be found online at whatisthematrix.com, which will redirect to thechoiceisyours.whatisthematrix.com.

Also confirmed is that the official trailer will be released on September 9th, 2021 at 3pm CEST.

Whatisthematrix.com returns

Upon going to both web pages, the viewer is greeted with the same problem of choice that Thomas Anderson was given by Morpheus in The Matrix. CHOOSE YOUR REALITY proclaims the tab title, with only one phrase upon a white background: THE CHOICE IS YOURS presented with a red pill and a blue pill, once again.

“You take the blue pill, you wake up and believe, whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, and I show you how far the rabbit hole goes.”–Morpheus.

If you click the red pill, you will be shown a teaser trailer that corresponds to the exact time that you chose to take the red pill along with a voiceover by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. If you click the blue pill, you will be shown a slightly different, yet similar, teaser trailer that also corresponds to the exact time you chose to take the blue pill along with a voiceover by Neil Patrick Harris.

Amongst green and yellow code cascading both up and down the screen this time, the teaser trailer shows a variety of different scenes from the upcoming Matrix Resurrections film that promises not to disappoint, but that also have many similar themes to the original trilogy.

Twitter user @matrixresource noticed the many similarities already in a tweet:

We also finally had a chance to see what the color scheme and cinematography would look like, and many people are very excited with what they saw, myself included.

The scenes revealed showed us Jessica Henwick sporting blue hair firing a gun, Jonathan Groff losing the ability to speak, a new hovercraft that is surely the Mnemosyne (whose name was revealed when Lana Wachowski was donating the ship’s plaque prop earlier this year), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II looking at himself in a mirror, and many more. We also had a chance to see a variety of scenes with Neo: on a motorcycle seemingly controlling his surroundings with his hand, speaking with Trinity, and walking off the rooftop of a skyscraper.

Online Matrix fan and MxO Youtube Content Creator Vesuveus had nothing but praise for the trailer and its iterative variations & intelligent design.

There was actually another Cyberpunk Matrix content creator, yours truly, who could hardly contain his excitement. Enough so that he made a reaction video that you can now see on the Cyberpunk Matrix YouTube channel.

Although I am a little concerned about the use of too much CGI, which is all too easy to see nowadays, I am generally super excited and hopeful for The Matrix: Resurrections. The story seems very intriguing, the costumes and characters look great, but we will have to wait until Thursday’s actual trailer to get more information and a better impression. It will be great to see the old cast, and to see how the new cast do as well. As for the trailer delivery, I did truly love its interactive nature, it was very unique and refreshing–I certainly don’t know of any other film that has kept its production under wraps so well and then revealed a teaser trailer so mysteriously, with such a (to me) complex code.

The Matrix Campaign for Matrix Resurrections is Here

Finally, the marketing campaign for The Matrix Resurrections has  arrived. One user saw ads for the actual trailer coming in 2 days, and I can only imagine what additional marketing materials we will see coming our way in the next few months.

For more detailed thoughts and analysis, make sure to check out the live reaction video on the NeoMatrixology YouTube channel, as they did an excellent hour-long breakdown of their thoughts and impressions.

But what did you think? Did you like this new website, and the teaser trailer? Are you excited for the actual trailer to drop tomorrow? Will you be watching? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Matrix 4: What we Know so Far (June 2021 Updates)

Matrix 4: What do we know so far?

It is now less than 200 days until Matrix 4 will be released in theaters on December 22nd, 2021. But what do we know about the film so far? Here at Cyberpunk Matrix, we’ll bring you up to speed on the latest developments all the way back to the original announcements.

Here’s what we know so far about Matrix 4:

Matrix 4 Directors, Writers, and Creators

Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly will not be participating in the creation of the movie. Matrix 4 will be produced by both Lana Wachowski and Grant Hill.

The script has been written by Lana Wachowski as well, but this time with help from additional writers Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas).

Matrix 4 Cast

Returning to the Matrix franchise are Keanu Reeves (Neo/Thomas Anderson), Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity),

Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe),

Lambert Wilson (The Merovingian), and Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson).

Newcomers to the cast include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman, Watchmen),

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, A Series of Unfortunate Events),

Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist),

Jonathan Groff (Glee, Frozen, Mindhunter),

Ellen Hollman (Spartacus),

Priyanka Chopra (Baywatch),

and Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan, Speed Racer).

Also part of the cast are ex-Sense8 cast members, whom have all worked with the Wachowskis during the Sense 8 series in the past. These include Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Erendira Ibarra, Andrew Caldwell, and Brian J Smith.

Notably absent from the Matrix 4 cast are Laurence Fishburne, who was not asked to reprise his old role as Morpheus, as well as Hugo Weaving, who was approached but ultimately not able to join the cast due to a scheduling conflict.

Matrix 4 Filming

Under the codename “Project Ice Cream”, filming began in San Francisco on February 4th, 2020, and wrapped in San Francisco and Alameda in March right before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, there was still some filming that needed to be done in Berlin at Studio Babelsberg, which was delayed but ultimately finished by the end of 2020. Matrix 4 is currently set to come out on December 22nd, 2021.

Matrix 4 Plot: Educated Guesses

We don’t know much about what will be in the movie yet, but after leaked shots of filming in San Francisco, we can make some educated guesses.

At some point during filming Keanu Reeves shaved his head, which suggests that he will be playing a Neo / Thomas Anderson who is alive and well in the real world, which brings into question how he was resurrected after his apparent death at the end of Matrix Revolutions.

He was also filmed with what looks like a haggard appearance in what must be the Matrix, suggesting his virtual self comes back too, perhaps with no memory of his past life?

Carrie-Anne Moss’ casting also suggests that Trinity was also able to be resurrected somehow as well, unless if time travel or memory-scenes aren’t being used as plot devices, which I personally doubt. I think it much more likely that Neo and Trinity’s consciousnesses will be somehow downloaded from the Matrix and reinserted into either clones or real-world bodies, which would explain their resurrection somehow.

Also in filming military helicopters were present flying among the buildings of San Francisco, which suggests some sort of explosive action sequences, complete with chase scenes on motorcycles, within the matrix itself. FBI agents and SWAT teams will probably be present within the Matrix world, at least.

Notably present in the filming were scenes of someone looking like Trinity catching someone looking like Neo in the sky suspended between two different skyscrapers. Then Trinity appears to fly up into the sky holding Neo, which suggests that perhaps Trinity becomes more powerful than Neo in this next chapter of the story, and that Neo maybe needs to re-learn or re-discover who he is.

Also from the rumor mill is that Matrix 4 will actually be called Matrix Resurrections, based on this post by Shunika Terry, a makeup artist who worked with the cast on set. Officially, the movie is still untitled as Matrix 4.

In an interview on “The One Show” on BBC, Keanu Reeves revealed about Matrix 4 that it “is a love story, it’s inspiring, it’s another version of a kind of call to wake up, it entertains, it’s great action, and all will be revealed…no going back into the past.”

So what other kinds of waking up will we see? Whose love story is this about, is it between Neo and Trinity again? We can at least know that it won’t be a prequel or set in the past.

Nonetheless, there are plenty more questions about the upcoming Matrix film, and all we can do is sit and wait for the trailer to release to give us more information. Which will hopefully be any time now.

What do you think Matrix 4 will be about? Let us know your predictions in the comments below.

Cyberpunk Review: Love, Death, and Robots: Vol 2

Cyberpunk Review: Love, Death + Robots Vol. 2

Love, Death, & Robots is a series of animated shorts, an anthology all loosely related to love, death, and robots. Which means that many of which are also cyberpunk related. Volume I released in 2019, and we here at Cyberpunk Matrix covered the cyberpunk-related episodes here. Well, it took a couple years, but I’m happy to report that Volume II is finally here. So fasten you seatbelts, punks, because we’re about to dive into a new wild series of surreal, curious, cyberpunk worlds.

4 Cyberpunk Episodes, 8 Episodes Total

The first thing one notices about Volume II is how short it is compared to Volume I. While Volume I was a generous 18 episodes in length, Volume II contains only 8 episodes. Volume II’s longest episode clocks in at 18 minutes in length, although a considerable part of all episodes contain credits and thus shorten the actual run time, and the shortest runs at 7 minutes in length.

It’s hard to tell with these episodes which ones would truly be considered cyberpunk and which ones wouldn’t, since they are all so short, but since here at Cyberpunk Matrix we’re used to considered if something is Cyberpunk, I’m fairly confident with the episodes we selected. So here it is, folks, all the episodes related to Cyberpunk from Volume II of Love, Death, and Robots, complete with my own thoughts and review of each episode. Ironically, these four episodes are also the four that are first in the 8-episode anthology series

Cyberpunk episodes from Vol. 2:

  1. Automated Customer Service
  2. Ice
  3. Pop Squad
  4. Snow in the Desert

Cyberpunk Episode 1: Automated Customer Service

This episode reminded me a lot of the episode called blackhead from Black Mirror: a small, automated robot which threatens a nearby human with its cold, relentless hunt of the human it’s searching for.  Unlike Blackhead, however, this episode is delivered with a side of dark humor, a parody of automated customer service answering machines that is as much critical and social commentary as it is ridiculous. It features a future society in an elderly community where all electrical devices have been made automated, so as to give the elderly people who live there as assisted an experience as possible. All seems well and good, a prime utopian experience, until of course one of the automated robots malfunctions and starts threatening every living being inside the home it’s supposed to be cleaning.

I personally didn’t care for the animation itself, with its sharp angles it felt much too similar to a badly rendered videogame. Nonetheless, it ended up being very funny in the end, and as always I’m a sucker for a film, whether it be short or otherwise, that takes something that exists in present day and shows the negative sides of it by speculating what would happen if we took that same system to the extreme.

Basically, if you like dystopian futures with robots, and you like dark humor, then you’ll love this episode.

Cyberpunk Episode 2: Ice

Ice is a coming of age story about a teenager who is struggling to fit in with the other kids at school. A classic tale, of course, except the twist for this one is that the town they live in seems to be in the middle of a frozen tundra, with only oil wells of some sort and the residences of the workers who maintain them. Oh and the majority of the kids in town are genetically augmented, which makes the only un-augmented younger brother feel out of place and thus compelled to prove himself that much more.

At first I wasn’t going to classify this entry as a cyberpunk short, until I considered the genetic augmentations, the drugs, the punk-like artwork, and the rebellious nature of the teens sneaking out of their homes to take part in dangerous games to demonstrate their fearlessness and ability.

If you like stylistic artwork, high contrast, and a coming of age story with a dramatic thrilling end, then you’ll like Ice.

Cyberpunk Episode 3: Pop Squad

Pop Squad was my personal favorite of all eight episodes. Closely resembling a film-noir style set in the future (which is just like what Blade Runner did to pioneer the cyberpunk style), Pop Squad features a government operative, a detective of sorts whose mission is to find and process unregistered, or illegal children. Illegal children in this world doesn’t mean immigrants, however. Rather, it’s a type of population control police force to ensure that humanity isn’t having too many children, or any children at all for that matter, which seems to be a luxury reserved for the rich and powerful. This society also seems to have solved the problem of ageing, allowing many of its citizens to live hundreds of years. So what happens when one such population-control detective develops a conscience? Well, you get pop squad. The voice acting, visuals, and acting are all incredible. The episode also asks the question of what makes life worth living, where we as a society place our values, and why seeing the world through a child’s eyes is important.

Cyberpunk Episode 4: Snow in the Desert

Perhaps the most fun, interesting, and well-animated episode of all  (it seems to be a favorite for many), Snow in the Desert is about an albino bounty hunter with an unusual physiological special ability that everyone wants to kill him for. Set on what looks like a desert planet similar to Tatooine from Star Wars, it features some calm moments and some exciting moments, with a surprise ending that really drives home the Cyberpunk elements. The animation for this episode was incredible–it really felt like live action even though it was digitally animated. I was also left wanting more, and Snow himself reminded me a lot of an old, grizzly Han Solo.

If you like desert planets, high-quality digital animation, action/mystery and great visuals, then you’ll like Snow in the Desert.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

For the quality of the visuals, the great voice acting, the action and compelling stories delivered in these short segments, I give Volume 2 a high rating of 8.5. I only wish we got more episodes, 8 is a woefully low number considering how short each episode is, but otherwise I felt the quality of all the episodes were really good. If I had to pick I would say Volume 1 was better, simply because there was more there so they had some better episodes and some worse episodes overall.

But what were your thoughts? Which episodes were your favorite? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.

 

Outside the Wire — Is This Cyberpunk?

Outside the Wire — Is This Cyberpunk?

Outside the wire is one of the newest futuristic action flicks from Netflix of 2021. Released a mere two weeks into the new year, this sci-fi action thriller stars Damson Idris (Black Mirror) as Lt. Thomas Harp, a drone pilot who makes a difficult call resulting in a reassignment as punishment. There he meets Captain Leo, played by Anthony Mackie (Altered Carbon, Avengers: Age of Ultron) who also was one of the producers for the film. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom,  Outside the Wire also stars Pilou Asbaek (Ghost in the Shell, Game of Thrones) as one of its villains . At first glance, this film doesn’t seem to be Cyberpunk at all. But is it? Or is there more to this action movie than meets the eye?

A Military-Focused Plot

When I started watching this movie I had no idea it was actually science fiction, and indeed, it doesn’t really market itself as such. I was gearing up for another gritty hard-as-nails military action film, a bit like Expendables lite. It definitely started off as such, with a firefight resulting in some difficult decisions and consequences that leads our main character, Lt. Thomas Harp, to be reassigned as punishment to Camp Nathaniel, a US base of operations set in the Ukraine, and must report to Mackie’s character, Captain Leo.

All of the story in Outside the Wire takes place with its main characters exclusively military, civilians, refugees, rebels, or humanitarians who deal with the military.  However, about 30 minutes in, we suddenly discover that Captain Leo is an incredibly realistic android, a prototype made by the military to resemble humans as closely as possible. We are also casually shown human militia denigrating military robots with gimbals as heads and humanoid forms that allow them for ruthless stone-cold combat.

Science Fiction or Purely Action?

Other than Leo and the military robots, however, there is no other science fiction present in the film at all. A Russian nuclear powerplant that becomes important later in the movie uses old soviet-era tech, and the drones the military use are present-day technology (with their very human operators working much like present-day drone pilots would).

The Ukraine setting feels very Eastern Europe. No neon streets, no dark rain, none of the stereotypical cyberpunk elements. No punk elements at all, really.

Can Androids Be Trusted?

The one thing that doesn’t rule it out of the cyberpunk moniker completely is Mackie’s character, Leo. When Harp meets Leo at Camp Nathaniel, he is quickly apprehensive of Leo’s non-human nature. This leads to some interesting banter between action scenes, as Harp grabbles with what it means that his superior officer is also property of the American Military who should be serving his human creators. The question of whether Harp can trust Leo quickly becomes paramount, and lingers ever present as an unanswered question as the two work together to carry out their mission. The audience is also left wondering if Leo can be trusted, a question which is later answered very bluntly near the end of the film.

Overall Thoughts: A Missed Opportunity

Outside the Wire had a lot of the right ingredients that could have made for an excellent movie. Unfortunately, it seems like these elements are only half-baked, leaving the final product to end up being just another action movie with many of its potentially interesting questions unanswered and its characters undeveloped. While Harp’s character is likeable enough and Leo’s character keeps us guessing his true intentions, we don’t see Harp’s character develop much throughout the film, and Leo’s character ultimately underwhelms. Once his final motives are revealed, they feel uninspired and disappointing, when we look at all the things they could have focused on instead, such as whether robots or androids deserve the same treatment as humans do, which serves as a metaphor for prejudice and racism in so many other science fiction films of its kind. Outside the Wire decides instead to lean on well-choreographed fight scenes and special effects, but without the big budget that most other science fiction films have, the effect is simply underwhelming. Where is the world-building? Why don’t we feel more for Leo’s character than we do? Anthony Mackie definitely could have delivered a more moving performance, if he had been given the script to do so. They should have at least told us if Leo Dreams of Electric Sheep.

Final Verdict: Decidedly Not Cyberpunk

With what at first glance would be the possible makings of a cyberpunk film–a humanlike android, military robots, and a human main character questioning his android partner’s motives, Outside the Wire is definitely not Cyberpunk. There are no real punk or low life elements to speak of, nor are there any megacorporations or oppresive dystopias to speak of in this film. Instead we have a very near to present US military outfit acting in Ukraine and carrying out what amounts to another cold war action film with a subtle whiff of science fiction. However, it was entertaining enough to be worth watching, with decent performances and good action sequences. I would give this film a 6/10.