Way back in 1998, a trippy dystopian movie about humanity being stuck unawares in an online world (no, not in an endless Zoom meeting) was shot almost entirely in Sydney’s Fox Studios. That film was The Matrix, and it would set the world on fire when it was released the following year. It pitted Keanu Reeves’ newly red-pill awoken saviour, computer hacker Neo, against malevolent machines personified by sharp-suited local hero and on-screen villain, Hugo Weaving, as the nihilistic Mr Smith.
While two big screen sequels dropped in 2003 – The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – they never quite lived up to the hype, although the spectacular fight sequences boosted by slow-motion ‘bullet time’ ensured the trilogy’s place in the pantheon of sci-fi excellence. So let’s just say the first trailer drop for the long-awaited fourth installment, The Matrix Resurrections, just blew up the internet.
So what did we learn? Well, as with most teaser trailers, not a whole lot. But questions, we have a few…
Neo is back?
Look, this is hardly revelatory, given we’ve known about Reeves’s involvement since the fourth live-action film was announced, but is this the flying, bullet-dodging, leather trenchcoat-clad demigod we know and love? In the trailer, we see Reeves as Thomas Anderson (his name in the ‘real’ world) in therapy with Neil Patrick Harris. But just to be clear, Neo very definitely died in a heroic sacrifice for all of humanity at the end of Revolutions. Or did he? The whole premise of the series is that we’re trapped in a simulation. Did that supposed finale play out for real? Are we going to get a JR Ewing from Dynasty gothcha 'it was all a dream' moment? Is the older Neo we see now nothing but a computer game avatar for a dead man? Or did the machines rebuild him? Who cares? More Keanu please.
Trinity is also back!?
Of course, Neo wasn’t the only one hogging heroic sacrifice duties in the third film. Fellow Canadian Carrie-Ane Moss’s butt-kicking, PVC fashion-forward Trinity also carked it. But there she is, back in action, leaping off buildings alongside Neo. We do get to see her emerging from a gooey amniotic tank though, so honestly, we're stumped.
Morpheous is back??? And he's young?
We’ve known for a while now that Laurence Fishburne would not be returning as Neo’s mentor/fanboy/MMA trainer, mostly because the star himself has been increasingly cranky about that fact in interviews. Putting aside the possibility that this could be part of a grand fake-out before hoodwinking us into an unsuspecting cameo, the trailer does seem to suggest that Watchmen/Candyman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is stepping into the character’s shoes, albeit a younger version. Peak Hollywood – why age when you can go backwards?
Mr Smith is Back!?!
Fishburne wasn’t the only major star of the original films missing in action. There was no sign of Weaving either. Or was there? There’s a really creepy moment when Neo’s looking in a mirror and the system glitches. For a moment there’s an older, grey-haired man staring back. But if you do a freeze-frame of the shot and take a closer look, it sure does resemble an uncanny valley fusion of him and Mr Smith. They did merge in the final act of Revolutions…
The Architect and the Oracle are back??????
The original trilogy presented as all-knowing avatars of good and evil. Australian-raised actor, director and writer Helmut Bakaitis played the Architect, with the Mary Alice stepping in as the Oracle when Gloria Foster died after the first two movies. While the trailer is super-vague about if these competing forces will return, we’re putting our money on the briefly glimpsed Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Jonathan Groff going head-to-head in the roles.
Watch the trailer and see if you can figure out what is going on?