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At The Movies: Neo and Trinity’s excellent adventure

“The Matrix Resurrections” is a science-fiction action film that should hold your interest from beginning to end.

What exactly is going on in The Matrix, what exactly is The Matrix, and whether Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) are dead or alive isn’t exactly clear.

To begin with, to borrow from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Neo and Trinity were dead.

At least that was where we left them, or rather they left us, at the conclusion of the third “Matrix’ film, “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003).

But all is not as it seems in the world of The Matrix, which presents an alternate reality in what has been dubbed the multi-verse in science-fiction and scientific speculation.

To learn more about The Matrix and how it works, I made sure Michael “Movie Maven” Gontkosky accompanied me to “The Matrix Resurrections.” Mike’s somewhat of an expert on “The Matrix” movies, of which there are now four.

After the screening, following a discussion of the film, over cappuccino at the Barnes & Noble cafe, I purchased a copy of “The Ultimate Guide To The Matrix” and the January issue of Entertainment Weekly, with Reeves and Moss on the cover in all their Matrix green code glory.

After my admittedly not so very in-depth research, I am still dumbfounded as to what The Matrix is all about. The best analogy I can make is that seeing “The Matrix Resurrections” is not unlike when your computer program crashes at the office. You attempt to reboot it, but are unsuccessful. You text the IT department help desk. The system administrator works his or her “magic.” You’re back online.

Perhaps the metaphor doesn’t help. But then, what is a meta for? Google facebook, I guess. Or Instagram, or any cyberworld or digital platform where it seems half of humanity hangs out nowadays on their phones, tablets or behind virtual-reality goggles.

Have The Machines taken over, as they apparently have in The Matrix? I guarantee that a human, yours truly, and not a machine, is writing this movie review (as you read it).

That said, I can tell you that The Matrix is back online. “The Matrix Resurrections” is a fascinating, entertaining and rip-roaring film which doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s even a reference in the screenplay’s dialogue to the film being green-lit (my pun intended).

It was inevitable, the “a-Paul-ing” pun. As was another Matrix movie.

The first “The Matrix” (1999) film was a huge success. It had a groundbreaking effect on cinema science-fiction and the New Millennium in its influence on social media, video games, the internet, online “life” and fashion.

The sequels, “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003) and “The Matrix Revolutions,” deepened, expanded and upped the ante. There was considerable debate as to whether there would be another “Matrix” movie. For better or worse, there is. “The Matrix Resurrections” is mostly better.

At the heart of “The Matrix Resurrections” is the relationship between Neo and Trinity. Reeves and Moss seem to have a natural chemistry that is not so much one born of romance as of mutual respect for their immense humanity and abilities.

Reeves (“John Wick” series; “Matrix” series; “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” 1989) is Thomas Anderson, a video game programmer, in the real world, and Neo in The Matrix.

Reeves has a minimalist acting style defined by major emotional muscle in minor facial inflections and verbal intonations. His long black duster coat and sunglasses gives him the quality of a cleric from another world.

Moss (“The Matrix” series; “Memento,” 2000), similarly, plays a character of few words. In real life, she’s Tiffany. As Trinity, in The Matrix, she’s Neo’s doppelgänger, a leather-clad mirror image, opposite-gender reflection.

When Reeves and Moss are on-screen in a scene together, the film soars. It’s Neo and Trinity’s excellent adventure.

The action sequences soar, too. The film has incredible set pieces of martial arts, chases (on Trinity’s Ducati Scrambler 1100 Pro), augmented reality, and depictions of the inner sanctum of The Matrix and the complexities of its other world.

The supporting cast is extensive and memorable.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is Morpheus in a stunning, fashion-plate recreation of the original role played by Laurence Fishburne.

Jessica Henwick is Bugs, the blue-haired captain of the hovercraft Mnemosyne.

Jonathan Groff is Smith, Agent of the Matrix in a role previously played by Hugo Weaving.

Neil Patrick Harris is The Analyst, who is psychiatrist to Thomas Anderson.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas is Sati. As with the characters in the film, she’s described as a program. You see, the world of The Matrix is a video game.

Jada Pinkett Smith is Niobe, a haughty general of the remnant humans.

The real world, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, seems to be rushing toward something. We don’t know what. Time will tell.

The latest “Matrix” film, directed by Lana Wachowski, examines symbolically the topics of our time and the future.

Wachowski (co-director, “The Matrix” series; “Jupiter Ascending,” 2014; “Cloud Atlas,” 2012; “Speed Racer,” 2008; “Bound,” 1996) directs from a screenplay co-written with David Mitchell (screenwriter, “Cloud Atlas,” 2012, from his novel “Cloud Atlas”) and Aleksandar Hemon (screenwriter, “Love Island,” 2014), which is somewhat wide-ranging and disjointed.

In some ways, it’s hit or myth. The level of your interest in science fiction, and especially “The Matrix” films, will determine the degree to which you understand or will want to explore the world of The Matrix.

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984), in his 1967 poem, wrote that humanity is “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.” Whether Brautigan was being ironic or not, in The Matrix, the machines are not so loving. That’s the paradox of The Matrix. And it’s why “The Matrix Resurrections’ deserves serious consideration.

“The Matrix Resurrections,”

MPAA rated R (Restricted: Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.) for violence and some language; Genre: Science Fiction, Acton; Run time: 2 hours, 28 minutes; Distributed by Warner Bros.

Credit Readers Anonymous: A post end-credits scene in “The Matrix Resurrections” takes us to a video-game design meeting where the future is defined by cat videos: “The Catrix.” Filming took place in San Francisco, Chicago and Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany. “White Rabbit” (1967) by the Jefferson Airplane, which opened The Matrix, a music venue in San Francisco in 1965, is heard during the film’s opening scenes.

At The Movies:

“The Matrix Resurrections” was seen in the Dolby Theatre at AMC, AMC Center Valley 17, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, Upper Saucon Township.

Theatrical Movie Box Office,

Dec. 31-Jan. 2: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made it a three-peat, continuing at No. 1 three weeks in a row, with a strong $56 million, in 4,206 theaters, $613.6 million, three weeks,’’ to become the 10th highest-grossing movie ever, and with its worldwide box office gross at $1.3 billion.

The year ended with North American box office revenue at $4.4 billion for 2021, a 91 percent increase from 2020, but a 61 percent decrease from the pre-COVID-19 year of 2019.

2. “Sing 2” stayed in place, $20 million, in 3,892 theaters, $90.2 million, two weeks. 3. “The King’s Man” dropped one place, $4.5 million, in 3,180 theaters, $19.5 million, two weeks. 4. “American Underdog” dropped one place, $3.9 million, in 2,813 theaters, $14.7 million, two weeks. 5. “The Matrix Resurrections” dropped two places, $3.8 million, in 3,552 theaters, $30.9 million, two weeks. 6. “West Side Story” stayed in place, $2.1 million, in 2,690 theaters, $29.6 million, four weeks. 7. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” moved up four places, $1.4 million, in 1,645 theaters, $123.4 million, seven weeks. 8. “Licorice Pizza” stayed in place, $1.2 million, in 786 theaters, $6.3 million, six weeks. 9. “A Journal for Jordan” dropped two places, $1.2 million, in 2,500 theaters, $4.7 million, two weeks. 10. “Encanto” dropped one place, $1 million, in 2,800 theaters, $91.3 million, six weeks.

Box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Jan. 2 is subject to change.


Jan. 7:

“The 355,”

PG-13: Simon Kinberg directs Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger and Penélope Cruz in the Action Thriller. A CIA agent joins forces with three international agents to recover a top-secret weapon.

Movie opening date information from Internet Movie Database as of Jan. 2 is subject to change.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY WARNER BROS. Keanu Reeves (Neo-Thomas Anderson), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity-Tiffany), “The Matrix Resurrections.”