When The Matrix was released in 1999, the entire sci-fi genre was redefined. The visual effects, specifically its use of “bullet time” – where a shot takes place in slow motion while the camera swoops around at normal speed – has heavily influenced fight scenes in subsequent TV shows and films, from Kill Bill to Kick-Ass. Not only that, the subject matter was groundbreaking, touching on ideas of free will and the blurring lines of machines and humans. A commanding indication of its significance, phrases like “The Matrix” and “The Red Pill” still dominate the cultural zeitgeist to this day.
Not even the astute Keanu Reeves could have predicted The Matrix’s impact on the world. “I knew it might blow some minds apart, and I hoped that people would enjoy it.”, said the actor. “But to the way it’s been embraced and the way that the word ‘Matrix’ might be in the Oxford English Dictionary as a movie made in 1999. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that.” And while the movie’s legacy will be honoured moving forward, The Matrix: Resserrections promises a new era for the franchise. We sat down with the iconic on-screen couple, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, to discuss what drew them back all these years later.
Although excited, many fans were puzzled to see both Reeves and Moss reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity. Considering the eventful deaths of both characters at the end of the trilogy, you’d be forgiven for wondering how the two found themselves back at the centre of the ongoing storyline. Perhaps most fascinated was Moss herself, who described her initial reaction to reading over the script with Keanu and legendary co-writer of the series, Lana Wachowski.
“I was reading it for the first time with Keanu and Lana, so I’m discovering it each page, right?” said Moss. That was interesting. I’ve never ever read a script for the first time in front of people. And I was just processing where Trinity left off and where she is now, where Neo left off and where Neo is, where Thomas Anderson is, and just the whole journey. It was just like, holy cow. Wow.”
In The Matrix: Resurrections, we return to a modern-day world of two realities: everyday life and what lies behind it. With Neo and Trinity living inside their existence at an older age, Wachowski believes it offers a new set of questions for her protagonists to grapple with. “Neo says lines, like ‘I feel like nothing I’ve done in my life has mattered,’ these are questions we’re wrestling with and we wonder about.”, said the co-writer. “And you get to this next part of your life, where you start really focusing on “What is real?” And what matters gets finer and finer.”
Classically, when also asked to share his first thoughts on the script, Reeves pauses for a moment and then calmly states: “How inventive, how funny, how heartfelt, beautiful, hopeful, and cautionary that it is.” Articulate as always, the Canadian actor’s poetic nature has garnered adoring fans across the globe. As one of Hollywood’s most prolific action stars, perhaps it’s the juxtaposition between being the on-screen badass and a real-life good guy that has everyone mesmerised.
With the release of the fourth instalment of one of the biggest film franchises in history and a career that is universally loved, you’d be forgiven for being a little cocky. But even when poised the question, ‘Good Guy Keanu’ still shies away from the moniker. Tasked with explaining why no one on earth has a bad word to say about him, the 57-year-old winces and explains, rather matter-of-factly, “Of course, there are people who have a bad word to say about me…I don’t know. Well, thanks for that, man and, I don’t know.”
We’re not sure who those people are, but we certainly don’t want to meet them.
The Matrix: Resurrections premieres in Australian theatres on Boxing Day, December 26.