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Hopes and Predictions for the path of Matrix 4

So Matrix 4 is confirmed! But what will it look like? There are so many questions!

No fear: Today I will be reviewing how Matrix Revolutions ended with Neo, Trinity, and the Oracle in the very last scene. Then I’ll be sharing some hopes and make some predictions as to where this story may go in Matrix 4.

Refresher

In the Matrix Reloaded, the architect explained that their matrix was in fact  the 6th iteration of the matrix, meaning there were five different Matrices that all ended for one reason or another, the first one being a “perfect world” that was ultimately too perfect and so most humans rebelled and whole fields of ‘crops’ were lost, a complete disaster. As a result, the architect found a way to reboot the system in cycles with Neo as the inherent anomaly coded into the matrix itself. This anomaly (Neo) has a choice to restart the matrix, or let the whole system crash, killing everyone inside. While his 5 predecessors chose restarting and saving humanity, Neo 6.0 chooses Trinity and love, rejecting the choice and potentially dooming all of humanity.

architect choice

Neo and Trinity then decide to go to the machine city. They ‘surface in the desert of the real’ in Matrix Revolutions and upon their crash landing in the machine city, trinity dies in the ship after getting impaled (this is different from her Matrix death which Neo was able to revive her from in Reloaded, where he reached into her matrix body to remove bullets and then restart her heart).

Neo then makes an agreement with the machines, goes into the matrix, lets Smith copy him, and then allows the machines to kill his physical body and thus destroy Smith.

Revolutions ends ambiguously, watching the sunrise on the new 7th iteration of the Matrix. Let’s take a look at this pivotal final scene, as the Oracle shares some important clues as to where Matrix 4 may pick up.

Oracle matrix revolutions ending

Oracle: Well now, ain’t this a surprise.

Architect: You played a very dangerous game.

O: Change always is.

A: Just how long do you think this peace is going to last?

O: As long as it can.

O: What about the others?

A: What others?

O: The ones that want out.

A: Obviously they will be freed.

O: I have your word?

A: What do you think I am? Human?

Oracle: Beautiful! Did you do that?

(Sati nods)

Sati: For Neo.

O: that’s nice. I know he’d love it.

S: Will we ever see him again?

O: I suspect so. Someday.

This final scene tells us that the humans and machines have brokered a peace that might not last forever (thanks to Neo). For now, humans have a choice to be free or to be enslaved. But with Neo and Trinity dead, how will they come back? Why does the Oracle tell Sati she thinks they will see Neo again, eventually?

Theories

Well, here’s one theory: it could be set in a future iteration of the matrix (7+). Maybe it will be titled Matrix rebooted or Matrix resurrected? Since past anomalies probably looked like Neo, it could be that future anomalies will look like Neo again. If so, it’s likely that he will have no memories of his past lives. Connected lives is a theme that we’ve actually seen in other Wachowski works like Cloud Atlas or Sense 8.

Another theory for the conflict could be that in this new version, the war goes from overt to covert.  Humans are supposed to be free, but maybe the machines are thinking of going back on their word, or changing the deal. After all, the Architect never gave his word, since he’s “not human”. So there could be a mystery that needs to be solved, of nefarious actions from the machines or from an outcast program like Smith or the Merovingian.

3 smith

Another question is, how central will Reeves and Moss be?

Will Neo be a main character, or will he and Trinity be supporting characters like J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars trilogy. Will Neo become the new Morpheus, guiding other humans who want to escape the Matrix? Will he have memory flashes to past lives he doesn’t understand, similar to blade runner 2049? The future story may depend strongly on why Neo is resurrected.

Lana said

“many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now.”

So what themes is she referring to?

Propaganda and fake news? Simulated realities and conspiracy thinking? How society can function without trust in systems of authority? Maybe matrix 4 will be about the machines trying to lure humanity back into the matrix, to increase their energy output by making the argument that everyone would be better served to see the world as Cypher did, in ignorant bliss.

There’s also the theme of gender identity, a theme the Wachowskis had wanted to explore with the character of switch. She was originally supposed to be a woman in the real world and a man in the Matrix, thus “switching” her gender and the source of her Matrix name.

Switch

Finally, how will this new movie apply cyberpunk philosophy to the modern world? Will there be different levels of simulated realities and matrices, like in Inception?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the answers to those questions. But here’s a couple things I hope the writers have done:

Take inspiration from the wider matrix media, such as the Animatrix.

Let’s quickly review what was in the Animatrix, in case you never saw it or you just don’t remember it very well (which is fair, there were nine different stories…)

the animatrix stories

Here’s a list of the general gist of each of the different nine stories from the Animatrix:

  1. The final flight of the Osiris:  A prelude to Matrix Reloaded, it explains how Commander Locke got the crucial piece of intelligence that the machines were digging to Zion and about to lead a full-scale attack.
  2. The Second Renaissance Part I: How the Matrix came to be as well as the origins of the war between the humans and the machines.
  3. The Second Renaissance Part II: continuing the story of part I.
  4. Kid’s Story: How the kid who appears in Reloaded as Neo’s superfan, and opens the gates of Zion for the Logos at the end of Revolutions, was able to unplug himself from the Matrix by believing in Neo.
  5. Program: A story set in a sparring program in Feudal Japan between human members of a ship’s crew.
  6. World Record: An athlete who pushes himself to his physical and mental limits in the Matrix, wakes himself up briefly, and then frees his mind in the Matrix again.
  7. Beyond: When areas in the Matrix glitch, children discover the perfect playground where the laws of gravity don’t apply.
  8. A Detective Story: A human detective in the matrix is tasked with finding trinity, unaware that agents are using him to get to her.
  9. Matriculated: A human team in the real world bait and catch machines, in order to try to convert them to their cause by changing their programming in the matrix.

Final Flight of the Osiris, Program, and Detective Story are great stories for Lana’s team to draw inspiration from. Matriculated also has a lot of potential for the possibility of human/machine identity fusions.

Bring back the philosophy of the previous films, especially Matrix 1

there is no spoon

But what elements of philosophy will they explore this time? This remains a true mystery for me. They’ve already explored free will and fate, as well as reality. Will they explore identity this time? Creating reality, or trusting facts and information?

Will Matrix 4 say one final goodbye to Neo and Trinity? Start a brand new trilogy?

Clues for Matrix 4

I’m surprised that I haven’t read anyone else who have thought about this, but here’s a major relevant place to look for clues for Matrix 4: Cloud Atlas and Sense 8.

Why? Let’s look at who is reported to have already written the script: Lana Wachowski, Aleksandar Hemon, and David Mitchell. Again, the script is already written. It’s the production that will be starting in 2020. Therefore, to glean what this mystery script contains, the best indications of what the story will be about should be by watching the Season 2 finale of Sense 8. Why? Because guess who wrote the script for the finale? That’s right. Lana Wachowski, Aleksandar Hemon, and David Mitchell.

sense 8 finale

I wouldn’t be surprised if Bae Doona features in Matrix 4 as well. She was a pivotal character in the cyberpunk section of Cloud Atlas, and she’s a major character in Sense 8’s series as well. She has worked many times closely with the Wachowskis, so she seems like an obvious choice, especially considering how the Wachowskis seem to like working with people they know and trust.

Doona Bae Cloud atlas

Bae Donna waiting for Lana’s phone call (scene from Cloud Atlas)

I admit I have not watched Sense 8. The premise seemed too confusing for me to want to watch it, but now that I know Season 2 may contain clues to Matrix 4, I may have to watch it after all.

What do you think? Any ideas on what the Matrix 4 will be about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Enter the Matrix: the secret footage

enterthematrix

Did you Enter the Matrix in 2003?

If you’re reading this blog then that means that you’ve probably seen the Matrix trilogy. But! Have you seen the secret footage embedded in the 2003 video game Enter the Matrix? Few people know that the Wachowskis shot about an entire hour’s worth of additional footage to add to this video game’s story line, a first of its time.

Enter The Matrix tells a tale that runs parallel to The Matrix Reloaded.

Niobe hallways

Having some Deja Vu?

The Logos

The story begins with the crew of the Logos (comprised of Niobe, Ghost, and their smart-mouthed operator Sparks) as they race to acquire a message left in the Matrix by the crew of the Osiris (whose story was told in the short digitally animated film The Final Flight of the Osiris in the Animatrix). Once their team manage to get their hands on the package, they relay back to Zion a frightening message of a giant machine army digging towards the final human city. As a result, Niobe’s crew will have to assist Neo, Morpheus and Trinity while the rest of the Zion fleet mobilizes outside the city to protect it from the imminent machine attack. You play as either Ghost or Niobe, and the story will change in small ways based on which character you chose, and which decisions you make.

enterthematrix_guide

Unfortunately, since the game came out in 2003 you can probably tell that the graphics haven’t aged very well. However, Anthony Wong as Ghost and Jada Pinkett-Smith as Niobe deliver excellent performances as voice actors, in addition to the live footage the game delivers in between moments of action.

To watch the entire series of footage in chronological order, you can see it here (42 minutes long) or if you lots of extra time and want to see the video game cutscenes as well, you can watch it in its full entirety here (1 hour 16 minutes).

Is it worth the time? What’s new?

If you are a big fan of The Matrix Reloaded, then I highly recommend you watch these extra scenes. It provides a lot of extra information about things like how important the information was of the machines digging towards, as well as Niobe’s relationship with Commander Locke, and Ghost’s relationship with Niobe. It was also incredibly rewarding to see some of the exact same scenes we saw Neo in, with the same characters, but with new main characters going through them.

We get to revisit Persephone, for instance, and the Keymaker, as they interact in very important ways with Ghost or Niobe. We also get to revisit Agent Smith as he interacts with humans inside the Matrix, and relive the fear that he and his fellow agents caused anyone who crosses his path. We even get to see what choice words of advice the oracle gives for both Ghost and Niobe.

Niobe and the Oracle

Will Niobe eat the Oracle’s cookies, or have some of her candy? Does she even have a choice?

Noteworthy elements

I also really enjoyed Sparks’ character, as a much more interesting operator than Link was. While Link never questioned Morpheus and always did as he was told, keeping his fears and thoughts mostly to himself, Sparks constantly is eager to explain why captain Niobe’s decisions are dangerous, reckless, and will surely lead to his untimely demise.

The final thing I want to mention is the orchestral score. It’s just as good as the soundtracks in The Matrix and Reloaded, from Don Davis of course. While some tracks are the same, it occurs to me that the Original Soundtrack for the first and second Matrix movies probably did not include any additional soundtrack work Davis did for the videogame. As such, it’s almost worth it alone just to listen to the soundtrack. But if you want to save yourself some time, you can always simply watch it all on YouTube.

Why you might not have heard of the game

For all its excellence, sadly, the game play for Enter the Matrix is what holds it back. It’s laggy, the controls are difficult to work with as are the angles, and ultimately it makes what would be otherwise a great game of sound and storytelling a slog that isn’t fun enough to keep up with unless you’re a die-hard matrix fan.

A new opportunity

Which is why WB has a real opportunity here at releasing a new video game for Matrix 4 that is up to par with the times. Can you imagine a Matrix video game with the mechanics of the Arkham Asylum series?

Anyways, did you play Enter the Matrix, as I did, way back when? What did you think of it? If not, go watch the cutscenes. Are they a good complement to Reloaded? Let me know in the comments below.

Geof Darrow, Steve Skroce return for Matrix 4 Concept Art

8 storyboard

Screenrant has recently confirmed that Geofrey Darrow and Steve Skroce will be returning for Matrix 4 to help create the concept art to visualize the scenes for this film, now that the script is mostly already written. In case you don’t recognize these names, This is the duo (with Skroce in particular) that helped draw the storyboard scene by scene to help the Warner Brother executives understand the vision the Wachowski sisters had at the time back in the late 1990s. Their sketches of the opening scene of the Matrix where Trinity is running away from agents was crucial in securing the funding the Wachowskis needed in order to get their film off the ground. It’s great to see that Lana Wachowski will be going back to basics with all these original members of the team that made the Matrix trilogy so great before. It also confirms a pattern of Lana choosing people she can trust, and that she’s worked with before. This will allow fans to breathe a little easier, knowing that Matrix 4 is in good hands. John Toll has also confirmed that he will serve as cinematographer.

While I wasn’t able to find any social media for Skroce, Darrow seems very excited to be back in the project again. He posted on his twitter @DarrowGeof the following on August 22nd: “Never thought I’d ever see my name in a paragraph with these three. YIKES!!” (the three being Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in this article from Hollywood Reporter).

Darrow isn’t alone in sharing this enthusiasm for returning to the Matrix world.

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana,” said Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

Lana, in turn, also had this to say about returning to the project:

“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”

Hopefully Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving will share this enthusiasm enough to return to the world as well. For now, we have to wait and see.

 

Matrix 4 Confirmed! Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss Return

Keanu and Carrie Anne

Well folks, the unthinkable happened. Variety has confirmed last night with an exclusive report that Matrix 4 has finally been confirmed! And thus today, August 21st 2019, will mark the beginning of what will probably be a year or more of Cyberpunk Matrix reporting to you the latest updates as I get them. So far, this is what we know via Variety:

Returning actors and director

Lana Wachowski

Lana Wachowski will be writing and directing the fourth film in the series, while Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will be reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity respectively. This obviously raises a lot of questions, since Trinity died via major impaling at the end of Matrix Revolutions, and then Neo died as a martyr in order to rid the Matrix of Agent Smith and free the humans from the machines in a truce to allow them to co-exist. Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, has been noticeably absent from the announcement, which is doubly curious considering he is definitely still active in playing roles (such as with Keanu Reeves in the latest two John Wick films) and he was left practically unharmed at the end of Matrix Revolutions.

Producers

Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures will produce and globally distribute the film again, and  Warner Bros. Picture Group Chairman Toby Emmerich was the one who made the announcement Tuesday about Matrix 4.

Writers

Hemon and Mitchell

In addition to Lana Wachowski, the script was also written by Alexsandar Hemon and David Mitchell. Hemon is a Bosnian-American fiction writer best known for his novel Lazarus Project (2008) which won the distinction of New York Magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year. Mitchell might be more recognizable as the writer behind the novel Cloud Atlas, which was made into a film written and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Mitchell was reportedly very impressed with how the Wachowskis had adapted his novel into a movie, a feat that he never thought was even possible. “Adaptation is a form of translation, and all acts of translation have to deal with untranslatable spots…When asked whether I mind the changes made during the adaption of Cloud Atlas, my response is similar: The filmmakers speak fluent film language, and they’ve done what works” (Wall Street Journal). He later collaborated again with the Wachowskis on the second season of the Netflix show Sense8, and would have continued working on Season 3 had Netflix not cancelled the show.

Mitchell-Wachowski collaborations

Cloud Atlas

Considering how closely the Wachowskis are working with Mitchell, it might be worth taking a closer look at their collaboration with him for Sense8’s season 2, as well as re-watching Cloud Atlas, taking particular note to the excellent Cyberpunk story set in 2144 Seoul surrounding the story of Sonmi-451, a human clone born into slave labor.

Unanswered Questions

Although this news is very exciting, a lot of what we have learned gives rise to countless new questions. What about Laurence Fishburne and Morpheus? When will the story take place, before or after the events of the Matrix trilogy? If it takes place before, it would be focused more on Trinity perhaps, since Neo would just be Thomas Anderson, computer hacker and corporate worker. If it was set after the trilogy, they would have to resurrect Neo and Trinity somehow. It could be possible to resurrect Neo by having his consciousness stored digitally and then implanted on a new host, much like how Smith implanted himself on a human in the real world. Regarding Trinity, she could appear in Neo’s dreams, thus allowing her to be in the movie while remaining dead.

Or, perhaps, it could be a story that runs in parallel to the matrix, perhaps somewhere after the end of Matrix 1 but before Matrix 3 when Smith corrupted the Matrix system with all his clones.

Music

The Matrix music

What about the music? Who will be composing the original score? In the original trilogy it was mostly composed by Don Davis, with Juno Reactor contributing to several tracks. I think they should stick with the same composer, so that they can modify the original Matrix score to bring back the nostalgia vibe, while at the same time modifying parts of it to make it more modern.

Speaking of which, what contributing artists will they be adding? In the first Matrix, for example, they included samples of songs from artists like Rage Against the Machine, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, Propellerheads, Rob Dougan, and Rammstein. that reflected a good punk vibe of end 1990s-early 2000s. What would be an equivalent today? Will they want to make it more electronic to match the times, or perhaps add a synthwave element to it? Daft Punk seems like a good possibility, but so does Junkie XL who recently composed for Alita: Battle Angel and is composing the score for the new Terminator reboot Dark Fate.

Thoughts

What do you think about what may happen with Matrix 4? Comment below.

Detective Pikachu and its Cyberpunk overtones

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Ever since I laid eyes on the release date poster for this movie, I was struck by how Cyberpunk the aesthetic felt. Perhaps it was just the marketing? Of course, it makes sense that it would fit the stereotypical neon-lit vibe of Cyberpunk. It’s a detective movie and the videogames were all set in downtown Tokyo-like cities, after all. But after seeing the film this week, I’m happy to say that while not entirely cyberpunk, Ryme city definitely matches the theme perfectly. What’s more, there were a lot more cyberpunk tones to this film than I was expecting.

From re-watching the second trailer, and then after seeing the movie in theaters, I knew that I loved this film. But I’ve been trying to figure out WHY this film works so well. Because it’s hard to pinpoint, and by first glance, this film shouldn’t be as good as it is. It’s a film about Pokemon, that takes itself seriously, and is based on a video game. Video game films have historically been major failures (such as the Mario Bros or Mortal Combat adaptations) and although there have been some successful films ABOUT video games (such as Ready Player One or Jumanji 2), ones BASED on video games have still floundered.

So why is it that Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is rated by some as the most successful video game adaptation film to date in history?

Well, as best as I can tell, this has several factors.

The first is that while it is technically a Pokemon film, the movie is really more of a comedic action-mystery film, set in the Pokemon world. Although I usually hate films that explain themselves at the beginning of the film, this one just touches on its world-building to explain Ryme city in a brief 30-seconds before getting on with the story, in a way that doesn’t ruin the film at all. It also starts with a scene that sets into motion the mystery of the film, the driving question, and then continues by setting up one of the main characters–Tim Goodman, played masterfully by Justice Smith. And this is one of the main reasons why the film works so well. Ryme city is a city where Pokemon and humans live side-by-side in co-existence, and as such it feels more like a Star Wars planet of unfamiliar inhabitants that are minding their own business doing everyday tasks. Pidgeys fly in the sky in flocks like Pigeons would, and Snubbulls accompany their partner humans much like a dog would accompany its master. There are Machamps using their multiple arms to direct traffic and rattatas scurrying along the streets and sidewalks. There are squirtles working with firefighters to put out fires. During the day Ryme city is filled with energy and color, while at night the neon lights and steam from the sewers give it a darker tone, although it never feels like an unsafe city like Gotham. Rather, it felt very reminiscent of how New York City is today, complete with its plethora of lively characters going where they need to go and construction always in progress.

As soon as we get introduced to Goodman, a loner who makes it clear that he doesn’t mind being alone (no, really! It’s fine!) something happens to him that sets the entire plot into motion: he gets a letter saying his father, whom he hasn’t seen in quite some time, has passed away. It’s now up to him to collect his affairs and take care of the apartment his father left behind. Simple enough, right?

But at the apartment, he would then meet an amnesiac Pikachu who can mysteriously speak to him, and him alone.

Because, see, in this world, Pokemon can speak to each other but to humans it sounds like they’re only saying their own name, or parts of their name. This matches how language works between humans and Pokemon in the video games, so a Pokemon speaking fluent English is understandably something unusual and quite valuable–something that only Meowth and Mewtwo were able to pull off in the animated series.

And this is the second reason why this movie works so well. A lot of the film hinges on the hilarious and relentless banter between the pokemon-with-a-mouth Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and Tim. And what they’re talking about is relatable and makes sense given the world they inhabit. Any other Pokemon they run into offer only very brief dialogue, which means that the silliness of talking to an adorable-looking Pokemon who keeps on repeating its own name is kept to a minimum. In fact, the longest they do try to talk to a Pokemon is with a Mr. Mime, who hilariously mimes the entire time and the duo end up playing along.

When we see a human peer into Pikachu’s eyes and he says “Pika-pika”, we are instantly reminded that this is for kids. So the fact that that doesn’t happen in most of the movie means that we can take it more seriously, and delve further into the mystery and action part of it all. Why doesn’t Pikachu remember anything? Why is it that Tim can understand Pikachu, and vice versa? And is Tim’s father truly dead, or simply missing, as Pikachu believes? And why?

The audience is kept guessing, and the answers, for me at least, weren’t apparent at all. There’s a couple big reveals in the end, which in retrospect I guess I could have predicted but I was too busy having so much fun taking in the world and enjoying the film to have predicted it anyways. And that’s another reason why this films works.

The pacing in this film is perfect. It keeps the action going, and adds a great balance of seriousness to humor and lightheartedness. There were times when I remembered this was a PG-13 Pokemon film, but other times when I felt like it was just a very creative action thriller, like Avatar.

If I could have one complaint, I would say that the other characters of this film are too simplistic. Tim ends up partnering with Lucy Stevens, played by Kathryn Newton, who at first seems a bit irritating in her idealistic zeal for rising up the ranks from unpaid intern to high-profile investigative journalist and reporter. Although she grew on me as the story continued, her motivations stay the same, without any backstory provided whatsoever. The villain(s) are also equally simplistic.

Ultimately, however, that didn’t ruin the story for me, as the creative team of this film clearly had a fun time taking the premise of the Pokemon world and seeing where they could run with it. There were some pretty epic scenes that I wasn’t expecting as well, which made me glad I caught the film before it left the theaters.

Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that there is more Cyberpunk to this film than simply being set in a neon-soaked Tokyo-inspired Ryme city. The city itself was designed by a visionary billionaire as a Utopia to allow Pokemon and humans to co-exist without any Pokemon battles, unlike the rest of the world. As such, it seems more advanced, with media billboards and skyscrapers filling the skyline.

There are also several scenes with futuristic tech, such as holograms, although admittedly the “high-tech” is not a dominant theme in the film.

There are also scenes of bio-modifications and gene tampering, which will come as no surprise if you are at all familiar with the origins of MewTwo.

So let’s recap. Neon-drenched Tokyo-inspired city filled with endless capitalistic billboards and advertising, and no robots or cyborgs but Pokemon coexisting with humans. Utopian city that may not be what it seems, created by visionary billionaire, with gene-tampering and some high-tech elements. Also, gumshoe mystery-solving detectives. There’s even a scene with an illegal underground cage match!

Sounds Cyberpunk to me.

I would give this film a 9/10, with 1 point off because it could use deeper supporting characters. Go see this movie! It’s a great escape and a lot of fun. Ryan Reynolds is brilliant, the pacing and creative direction is great, and it’s an all-around delight.