Review: The Matrix Resurrections

I didn’t understand why I connected so strongly with The Matrix in 1999, but just like the original, The Matrix Resurrections is giving me something I need in this moment in 2021.

Now, I know that not everyone has the same experience with the genius franchise that launched the Wachowskis’ distinctive style and prompted many of us to question the world. But as a soon-to-realise queer kid in the late-90s, The Matrix posed a question that I didn’t understand I was grappling with at the time: do you want to live your true life or stay ‘safe’ in the lie? Of course I wasn’t some prodigy who realised this when I first saw the film when I was 11, but I connected with the message all the same. As I rewatched the films over the years, the realisation of why this film mattered – why I connected so deeply with that life-changing realisation – became apparent.

Acknowledging that Lana Wachowski has explained in detail her reasons for creating this film, I thought it would be best to focus this review on what it is for me.

The Matrix Resurrections represents that hindsight that I have whenever I revisit the franchise. While Wachowski does this much more elegantly than I could ever hope, there is a clear reflective tone of what The Matrix represents. This perspective of hindsight is called out when Bugs (Jessica Henwick) is offering the red and blue pills and outwardly states that it was never a choice. Further, this replaying of the choice offers a rebuttal to those who use the red pill metaphor to justify embracing discrimination (anyone familiar with the franchise will likely be aware of how it has been used by those who seek to control those of us who don’t conform to hegemonic ideals). The red pill might be a metaphor, but the choice is real. The choice is about doing what’s right for you and this is what Resurrections has clarified for me.

Of course, there is an obvious meta-commentary at the centre of the film – one that has been a bug-bear for some – however I think the self-awareness is handled well. Importantly, the meta elements don’t exist for gimmick alone (or at all in my opinion), but are core to the story. These elements provide an insight into how Wachowski wanted to approach this, as well as the conflicting creative forces at play when tackling a sequel of this magnitude. That group of creatives could be the parts of Wachowski herself or perhaps the audience expectations of what the film is meant to be. That it is not so in-your-face to suggest it is either of these, or even something else, helps the whole piece come together. I can see why some might baulk at this approach, it gets done a lot and rarely is it done well. But when meta-commentary is well conceived and well executed, as it is in this case, then it is excellent and engaging.

We can’t talk about a Lana Wachowski film without briefly touching on the art of filmmaking. Her work – the work of the team she brings together – is stunning. One of my favourite things to see is when in-camera effects are done well, and Resurrections delivers this in spades. Special mention to the transitions between doors which are equal parts disorienting and impressive (you’ll know it when you see it). And of course to the distinctive mise-en-scéne that captures that sense of the world with something a bit off. I saw one Twitter user waxing lyrical about how the film was missing the green hue and leather that made it iconic, and I couldn’t disagree more. It is more than 20 years later and everything has evolved. The hints were there, just enough for any fan to connect. But Resurrections is for a contemporary world, it is a standalone masterpiece, and I can’t wait to see it again.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (five stars)

Episode 9: Gremlins 2: The new batch (1990)

Here they grow again

Summary

“Fred, what we want is, I think, what everyone wants, and what you and your viewers have: civilization.”

Gremlins 2: Here they grow again (1990) might not be the comedy-horror sequel to break the mould, bit it certainly was the one to become a cult-classic. Where else can you see the high-camp of hundreds of gremlins singing New York, New York?

Damien O’Meara (@damoo_la) and his mate Chris (@sumo_21) talk about the film that dared to parody Trump before SNL and the problematic nature of the 90s. Perhaps we realise that Gremlins 2 was more prescient than we thought as we compare it to our own experiences on the corporate laddr

  • Follow Chris on Instagram for some of the most striking and beautiful photography you’ve every seen: @sumo_21

Movies mentioned in this episode:

  • The Burbs
  • Gremlins

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz.

Episode 5: Halloween (1978)

“He had the blackest eyes. The devil’s eyes.”

Listen to Episode 5: Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978) is a horror film that follows the rules with the unstoppable Michael Myers. Perhaps more accurately, this American classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis is a scary movie that sets the rules. And these unwritten rules of the horror genre are something filmmakers and audiences alike are still trying to shake more than 40 years later!

This episode of the Camp, Scary and Squee podcast goes international when Damien (@damoo_la) is joined by his old friend Frazer, all the way from Scotland to talk about how much they love Halloween (1978).

Movies and television shows named in this episode:

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz.

Episode 4: Host (2020)

“What if we’re not lucky?”

For many years I was the friend who loved horror, but then I met someone who loved horror even more than me!

Damien O’Meara is joined by Horror Maven, Lisa Rufus to talk all about Host (2020). This is going to ruin Zoom meetings for work on Monday.

While 2020 has delivered its fair share of crappy times, Director, Rob Savage found a great opportunity, a 56 minute long horror movie, filmed over Zoom… Host (2020) is a beacon of innovation and terror that we needed to survive this bleak excuse for a year.

Movies and television shows named in this episode:

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz.

Episode 3: Scream (1996)

“What’s your favourite scary movie?”

You know that feeling when you love a movie, and you find out your friend has never seen it? The level of anxiety and anticipation as you get them to watch it for the first time, praying that they love it.

Well, Link has never seen Scream (1996)! And continuing our theme of love letters to the horror genre, it seemed like the perfect film to introduce him to the genre. Will he love it? Or will I be bitterly disappointed?

Damien O’Meara is joined by Lincoln Law to find out if Scream (1996) really is that good, or perhaps teenage Damo has blinded grown-up Damo to what this really is. Does it hold up?

You can hear more fabulous quips from Link on Twitter: @Link_Law.

Podcast Mascot Stella the Staffy makes a noisy appearance towards the end.

Movies and television shows named in this episode:

Listen to the Camp, Scary and Squee horror podcast

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz

Episode 2: The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

“Ok, I’m drawing a line in the fucking sand. Do NOT read the Latin!”

This is the horror fan’s horror movie, because it’s a love letter to and a critique of the genre. Does that make it good though? Well that’s the question, because this is a genre ripe with people who say that if it doesn’t follow the rules, then it’s just not cricket… I mean horror.

Damien O’Meara is joined by the always insightful Dave Gaukroger to talk all about The Cabin in the Woods (2011). Because when it comes to horror, we want to see the most self-aware, self-referential, up it’s own ass horror movie – and you know what.. we love it!

Check out Dave’s podcast, the Brewery Street Playground.

Movies and television shows named in this episode:

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz.

Episode 1: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

“Admit it, Buffy. Aren’t there times when you just feel… less than fresh?”

Were you ever obsessed by a movie when you were a teenager? We were. But is all that nostalgia clouding our vision of this camp-horror classic? And was it really as good as we remember?

Damien O’Meara is joined by fabulous friend, Emma O’Connor to talk all about Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992). And these two Aussies try to unpick if this movie gave them unrealistic expectations about life as an American high-schooler, cheerleading and the role of handkerchiefs in dramatic death scenes. Most importantly, Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be Buffy Summers (sorry Kristy Swanson).

Movies and television shows named in this episode:

Note: It turns out that teaching yourself to record and edit a podcast is a journey. This episode is Day 1 of that journey and I promise it gets better.

Follow Camp, Scary and Squee on Instagram and Twitter: @campscarypod.

Introduction music from the Youtube Audio LibraryGroove Tube by Audio Hertz.