Upload: Is This Cyberpunk?

Upload: Is this Cyberpunk?

Upload is a relatively new series on Amazon Prime that came out in May 2020 and is a science-fiction comedy-drama set in the future where humans are able to upload their digital consciousness into a virtual afterlife, a bit like the episode from Black Mirror San Junipero. It’s rare that we see a science fiction comedy-drama series, as most are either action, drama, or thrillers, and especially one carrying such philosophical ramifications while making light of the whole notion at the same time. Themes include digital consciousness, the question of what makes us human, virtual life, and cutting edge-technology set in a non-too-distant future of 2033.

But is it Cyberpunk? Today, I’m going to take a look at Upload and answer that exact question.

A Familiar Cyberpunk Premise

First, a little bit about the premise of Upload.

Set in the not too distant future of 2033, humans are able to upload their virtual consciousness to a virtual afterlife of their choosing, with some afterlives being better than others depending on how much the user is willing to pay.  When computer programmer Nathan dies prematurely, his girlfriend convinces him to upload to “Lakeview”, an expensive digital afterlife, only to find himself under her oppressive thumb as she holds total control of his funds and thus, his afterlife.


With a Familiar Cyberpunk Plot

As Nathan gets used to living in a digital afterlife, he finds himself growing closer to Nora, his living customer service rep. As Nora deals with her dying father and his wish not to be uploaded with the pressures of the job and her growing interest in Nathan, the two of them slowly discover that the circumstances of Nathan’s death aren’t all as they would appear to be.

Where’s all the Rainy Neon Megacities?

Is this Cyberpunk though? Well, it depends on your definition, because if you’re looking for a dark, gritty, and rain-soaked neon world, then Upload definitely isn’t it.

However, it certainly has a lot of the typical Cyberpunk tropes.

Recognizing the Cyberpunk Elements

Not only is the premise of a digital afterlife very Cyberpunk (we need only look to Black Mirror, Altered Carbon, or Ready Player One for similar themes) along with its latent existential and moral questions, but there’s a good amount of futuristic technology present in this series too, used in various interesting ways.

Cyberpunk 101: Attending your own wake after you die

In exploring what it would be like for a physical person to die with their consciousness uploaded, for example, we get to see almost an entire episode dedicated to Nathan attending his own wake, with some real people calling in virtually, other real people attending in person, and him attending across a mirror TV screen as his digital self from Lakeview.

We’ve seen these hand-phones before…

The real world itself is also very futuristic, with self-driving cars that feel similar to Total Recall or I Robot in style, which also play an important role in the series at the beginning. Getting groceries also involves interacting with a robotic arm much like you would find in an automated car factory, and when people call each other it’s done using their hands, which we’ve seen before in Total Recall as well.

Dark and Seedy Hacking Den? Check.

Later on in season one we even see a hacker’s den selling hacks for the avatars at Lakeview, and later a secret level in the hotel for adult-level debauchery.

The actual focus: a comedic romantic cyber-drama

All this, however, is the backdrop for what invariably is a cute romance between Nathan and Nora. The focus is on whimsical and comedic drama, which isn’t’ an easy thing to do with a series based on a premise this deep.

Final Verdict: Yes, this is Cyberpunk

So is this Cyberpunk? I definitely think so. It was also quite an enjoyable, relaxing, and fun experience watching, so I definitely recommend it. The acting for almost all characters are great, especially the principal leads, the character’s choices based on the premise is very believable, and the cinematography and music are both great.


The Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast | Episode 2: NeoMatrixology discusses the Matrix Universe

Welcome to the Second Episode of the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast

In the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Episode 2,  I am joined by Matrix University Director Lazarus, host of the NeoMatrixology YouTube channel.

We discuss:

  • The term NeoMatrixology
  • Addressing Misconceptions about the Matrix
  • The Matrix Fan Community
  • The Yellow-pilled approach and Matrix University
  • Learning new things about the Matrix every day
  • Matrix 4 News
  • Matrix 4 Predictions
  • What we’re most excited about for Matrix 4
  • John Wick
  • Matrix 4 Expectations

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to write your responses in the comments below, and if you’d like to be a guest or want some questions answered on the podcast, send us an email to thecyberpunkmatrix@gmail.com

The Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Episode 1: Snowcrash, Matrix 4, and Ready Player One

Welcome to the First Episode of the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast

In the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Episode 1,  I am joined by friend to the show and cyberpunk enthusiast Steven Katz.

We discuss:

  • Defining Cyberpunk
  • Snowcrash
  • Seeing the first Matrix films, and what scenes stuck with us
  • Matrix 4 news
  • Ready Player One the novel, and its adaptation to film
  • Philip K Dick
  • and the Cyberpunk genre in general.

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to write your responses in the comments below, and if you’d like to be a guest or want some questions answered on the podcast, send us an email to thecyberpunkmatrix@gmail.com

Introducing the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast: Episode 00

Introducing the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast: Episode 00

In this initial Episode 00, I talk about

  • The definition of Cyberpunk
  • Some examples of the genre
  • The importance of Cyberpunk in our current society
  • Why we are seeing a resurgence in Cyberpunk.
  • Why I decided to start the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast
  • Why I decided to start the Cyberpunk Matrix Blog
  • Common Cyberpunk aesthetics
  • Why I love the Cyberpunk genre
  • What listeners can expect from the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast.

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to write your responses in the comments below, and if you’d like to be a guest or want some questions answered on the podcast, send us an email to thecyberpunkmatrix@gmail.com

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.

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