Rumours emerged this week that Warner Bros is putting together ideas for a potential reboot of that quintessential '90s action franchise, 'The Matrix'. The original trilogy was directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski and starred Keanu Reeves as a computer hacker who learns that the world around us is really just a computer construct built by powerful artificial intelligences who use human beings as living batteries on a ravaged, post-apocalyptic earth. But while the first film was a solid-gold classic, a pair of sequels – 'The Matrix Reloaded' and 'The Matrix Revolutions' – were disappointing, disappearing down a winding rabbit hole of philosophical mumbo-jumbo, misplaced classical literature references and crusty rave parties (the action scenes were still awesome, though).
Now Warners want to bring the series back, with 'Creed' star Michael B Jordan replacing Reeves in the lead. Here are a few suggestions on how to make it not-awful...
1. Don't reboot 'The Matrix'
We're serious. If they absolutely have to bring the series back, wouldn't a sequel be a better idea? Set it 25 years later, keep resurgent star Reeves in the elder-statesman role, bring the Wachowskis on as story advisors and have some bloody respect for the originals. In our experience, the belated sequel route tends to work better than the complete reboot route: think 'The Force Awakens' rather than the 21st century versions of 'Total Recall' and 'Robocop'.
2. Tone down the philosophising
If your basic idea is that the world is a construct and that nothing is real, then existentialism is hard-wired into your movie. You don't need to spend whole scenes waffling on about how a spoon is not really a spoon. Focus on the running, jumping and shooting – and give plenty of thought to the characters – and the hoity-toity stuff will look after itself.
3. Tap into real-life experimental physics
Increasing numbers of respectable scientists already believe - based on pretty solid evidence - that the world isn't real, and that the dimensions we perceive are merely constructs of our own mental processes. Quantum mechanics actually makes more sense if you look at the universe as a two-dimensional projection. These are exactly the kind of ideas the producers of any new 'Matrix' movie ought to be locking onto.
4. Bring Keanu back
Okay, we kind of covered this already, but it's worth saying twice. Not only is he one of the most likeable stars on the planet, and an amazingly nice guy – he gave away literally millions in profit points to the 'Matrix Reloaded' design and effects teams, alleging that they were more important to the film's success than he was – he's also the perfect actor for a movie like this, at once smart and goofy, heroic and everyday, open to big ideas and way into the whole punchy-kicky martial arts stuff.
5. Keep the trenchcoats
It's just not 'The Matrix' without trenchcoats.