Neo is back…or is he?

I don’t care, I’m thrilled either way!

The Matrix trilogy started in 1999 and finished in 2003, or so we thought. A new installment to the franchise will be released Dec. 22, 2021 and while some may be bored with the concept, I am barely holding it together.

The new trailer

A black cat crosses a desk and Neil Patrick Harris asks, “Thomas, you seem particularly triggered right now. Can you tell me what happened?” 

That’s all it takes. I am fully committed to this trailer and all it promises.

Why? Because the last time we saw Keanu Reeves as Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo, he was floating away on a glowing platform in Robot City after his final faceoff with Agent Smith. Trinity was lying dead in the aircraft that brought them there.

That’s it. Fade to black and credits roll. What happened to Neo?!

Apparently, he’s alive and looking an awful lot like his canine loving doppelgänger John Wick. 

Does that mean Neo is alive but only in the Matrix? Is this a new Matrix and a new version of Neo? Is Neo in a perpetual dream state being fed upon by the robot leader? I need to know!

The trailer progresses with an appearance from Carrie-Anne Moss who plays Trinity. She shakes Neo’s hand.

“Have we met?” She asks.

I’m hyperventilating. 

As the first few notes of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit play, I get chills. 

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the 1967 chart topper, its lyrics paint a perfectly nostalgic picture of the Matrix we once knew. 

“One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small,” Grace Slick croons. 

I immediately picture a red and blue pill in Morpheus’ outstretched palms. 

“And if you go chasing rabbits,” The song continues.

Again, my mind takes me to the first message Trinity sent Neo all those years ago, telling him to “follow the white rabbit.”

We’re back!

What’s the big deal with The Matrix?

I realize many Dal students weren’t born when The Matrix first aired, but some films stand the test of time. The Matrix is such a movie. 

Clothing and technology may appear dated at first glance, but once you enter the scorched skies of the “real world” and witness the pods of harvested human bodies, an agelessness sets in. The dystopian 2199 and its digital counterpart could be anywhere, anytime.

The film also has all the makings of an epic adventure. At its core, The Matrix is a quest movie, and quest stories have always and will always be loved by the masses. 

Like The Lord of the Rings with Frodo and Gandalf, Star Wars with Luke and Obi Wan and even the story of the Sword in the Stone with Arthur and Merlin, The Matrix follows a “chosen one”, his mentor and a band of loyal companions on an impossible quest. What’s not to love?

More than a movie

The Matrix makes us think. It offers the possibility of other worlds. 

The concept of an alternate reality, or a reality inside another reality is not new. In fact, it’s been argued by philosophers for centuries. 

Descartes’ dream argument postulates that it’s impossible to know when we are dreaming or dreaming within a dream. It suggests our reality, while real to us, isn’t as real as science would suggest. 

Modern philosophers have suggested similar theories. Nick Bostrom from the University of Oxford, for example, believes the world we live in could be a virtual reality, based on calculations he published in 2001. Elon Musk and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson agree with the idea, explaining that one day virtual reality video games will be impossible to distinguish from reality.

The Matrix introduced a generation to the notion of rejecting what we see and considering alternate versions of our reality. 

Take the red pill

The trailer for The Matrix Resurrections brings flashes of red and blue pills, airships in a dystopian future, physics-defying feats and plenty of Keanu Reeves action. 

As my first glimpse of the film concludes with Neo and Trinity leaping from the top of a skyscraper, I’m reminded of Cypher’s words, “Everybody falls the first time.” 

I hope I fall this time too. Which pill would you take?

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