It’s been almost 20 years since the prophetic messages of The Matrix last hit screens. In that time, we’ve seen the world change before our very eyes.
AI guides search algorithms, social media landscapes, stock prices, and everything in between – at least metaphorically, a large percentage of the human race has taken the proverbial blue pill. It makes sense, therefore, that Keanu Reeves would be pretty excited to revisit the beloved franchise.
The 57-year old actor has played everything from a street hustler to a police officer, devil’s advocate to exorcist, and expert hitman. The Matrix’s Neo/Thomas Anderson stands a bit apart from the rest.
As the subject of countless essays, analytical and otherwise, ‘The One’ is a concept that’s been compared to everything from AI ‘singularities’ to Jesus Christ, all in the same breath.
Here’s the most recent trailer for the 4th Matrix film, to get you up to speed:
From what reporters and fans have been able to understand, the film serves as a conduit for an older, more experienced Thomas Anderson to help Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity. Keanu himself calls a “dynamic inverse of the trilogy.”
“Where in the trilogy,” says Keanu to Uproxx’s Mike Ryan, “Trinity’s trying to support and wake up Thomas Anderson, now Thomas Anderson is in that position and role for Trinity.”
Keanu also explored the strange, yet familiar simulation theory – that all we experience is, in fact, unreal, and that an unknown entity sits behind the universe. This entity supposedly tinkers with what amounts to a lab experiment – just on a cosmic scale.
In the interview, Keanu and Mike explored the idea that today, most people would not share too much doubt regarding simulation theory. A ‘maybe’ at most – and how that suspension of disbelief was spurred by the film itself.
“Like the Star Trek communicator for the phone,” muses Keanu. Ultimately, he views the films as “a tool, or a mechanic, to help us understand the world that we’re in.”
QAnon and Red-Pill
While predominantly American in origin, the QAnon and Red Pill movements have been quickly gaining steam across the internet – leaking from controversial forum 4chan into the wider recesses of the internet.
The Redpiller agenda is, well, nebulous. For the sake of brevity, it postulates that society operates according to a subset of ‘hard-to-swallow truths’ – many of which are closely tied with gender and status.
Generally, redpillers believe that society is gamed against most men, that women are inherently manipulative and must be ‘dealt with’ through careful self-improvement and attraction tactics, amongst other problematic notions.
So, what does this have to do with The Matrix?
The name redpill refers to an iconic scene from the first Matrix film. In it, Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus offers Thomas Anderson a choice:
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
It’s probably nonsense that the Wachowski sisters, who created the films, coded some deep misogynistic message into the scene. However, it’s worth exploring the relationship between the film and the movement itself – and what that means for humanity.
“The idea of the mechanic of it is you take this pill and you’re able to be able to see the nature of reality,” explains Keanu. “So escaping a simulation of a reality. So I could see how that’s appropriate for a lot of perspectives. I mean, I think, just hold onto the idea that it came from The Matrix.”
There’s an interesting note here – about how the red pill – blue pill dichotomy can influence so many people, because of how universal the idea is.
Behind The Scenes
With so much of The Matrix taking place in the form of abstract discussion, it’s easy to forget that the series is a very real action sci-fi film – and with that, comes some pretty fun on-set stories.
One of the more recent highlights came out this week as Keanu guest-starred on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. The host asked the actor about the ‘most crazy’ stunt in the film – and Keanu had an answer right up his sleeve.
“Jump[ing] off a building,” he said enthusiastically. The building in question was around 46-stories tall, and most impressively, the entire scene was shot without the use of CGI.
Why? “Because it’s Lana Wachowski,” he answered, “and it’s The Matrix, and you need natural light, and you wanna do it real.”
Real is right. Keanu also shared how Carrie-Ann, who is also part of the scene, had to do around 19-20 takes across two days to get it right. That’s a lot of time spent jumping off a building!
“By the time you get there [to the stunt], I mean my heart was a little raised, but then after the first time, you can’t think of the fear. You have to deal with it, absorb it, and then just be there and do. And that’s what we did.”
The Matrix Resurrections is set to release on December 22nd, 2021.
(Image Sources: Warner Bros. Entertainment)