Well, Warners are bringing The Matrix back. Its been rumoured before, but the announcement this week seems more official: Lana Wachowski (one half of the Wachowski, ahem, sisters who brought us the original trilogy) is signed up, as is Keanu Reeves and (somehow) Carrie-Anne Moss. Presumably shooting next year for a 2022 release, who knows, there’s still plenty of time for it to fall apart. Keanu is, as the Hollywood parlance goes, rather ‘hot’ at the moment, with his John Wick films doing so well, which likely explains why Matrix 4 is finally happening. The Wachowski’s have struggled post-Matrix (although I did really enjoy Cloud Atlas) so in some ways it’s a little surprising that Lana is even attached to the project, but I guess it keeps the fans onboard. Speaking as a fan of all three Matrix movies (I actually have a sneaky adoration of the second one in particular, as freakish as that may seem) I’m intrigued to say the least at seeing what might happen next. At their very worst, the Matrix trilogy is odd and confounding and subversive and full of good (and bad) ideas, and I’ll take that over the generic fodder we seem to get lately. I just hope they bring the Architect back.
It will be in some company, what with future Marvel, DC, Star Wars and Avatar movies in the offing over the next decade- it rather makes me wonder where they’ll all fit in on the release schedules. Where will ‘ordinary’ non-genre movies fit in, I wonder?
Mentioning Star Wars, it has likely not escaped anyones attention that the trailer for The Mandalorian, Disney’s new flagship show headlining its November Disney+ launch, was revealed this week. Of course it’s impossible to judge anything from its trailer, but it at least looks ‘Star Wars’. To be honest, I thought it looked like a neat idea for a proper Star Wars standalone movie, like Rogue One, and that its almost a pity its a mini-series rather than a movie. It could be great, but here in the UK we don’t know when we are getting Disney+ anyway, so it becomes something of a moot point. Sign o’ the times indeed. People get used to downloading/streaming torrents, they aren’t going to be inclined to subscribe when it eventually arrives, especially if its been seen ‘by other means’, but Disney may have a situation in the UK with Sky having rights to so much Disney content. Actually makes me wonder, if Disney pulls all that content, what on Earth will Sky have to actually air?
Not that Sky are unique in that situation, but they are particularly open to some damage there. Content is king, afterall, and as streaming avenues open up and content becomes tied to particular streaming channels, a whole new world opens up and the old content providers, whether it be Sky or Virgin Media, whoever, could be in trouble.
Funnily enough, I’m reminded of when Battlestar Galactica‘s two-part pilot was edited into a theatrical release over here in the UK, and wonder if Disney would consider launching The Mandalorian over here in cinemas this Autumn if its first episode/s could work as a standalone item. Afterall, it’s all just digital files on hard drives these days, there’s no expense making prints like back then. Might keep the hype train rolling and divert people from those torrents.
So anyway, this week real-life issues got in the way somewhat regards writing posts here. I did manage to watch some stuff though – other than the execrable mother!, or Hunter Killer and Aquaman (three things that I did manage to post about), I did complete Season Three of Glow (which was fine) and watched a few episodes of The Boys (which is pretty great). Also my copy of the Ghost Story expanded soundtrack from Quartet Records arrived, but I haven’t really had proper opportunity to listen to it yet. Its a big, lush, romantic score, quite complex in orchestration and unlike the scores we get these days (it dates, of course, to 1981).
On the subject of scores, as I didn’t mention it in my Aquaman review, I feel the moment is right to point out that Rupert Gregson-Williams Aquaman score was, like the film itself, all over the place tonally. Sometimes symphonic and grand, sometimes it was all ‘Daft Punk’ channeling Tron Legacy, at others it was all Bear McCreary BSG. I suspect we hear the temp track revealing itself. But the source music used was something else entirely… did I hear the most horrible mutilation of Toto’s Africa that has ever been inflicted upon Western Civilization? I actually looked on Amazon and they even included it on the official soundtrack album. Ye gods. I’ve listened to the track (Oceans to Oceans) on Youtube and still cannot quite believe it exists. Isn’t Donald Trump being President enough of a cross for us to bear?
9 thoughts on “Last Week: This Matrix may have a score to settle”
I’m with you on the 2nd Matrix movie. While not as groundbreaking as the original (how would that be even possible?), it nontheless expanded upon it in so many ways and opened the door to so many possibilities. I loved it in theatres back when it was released (the Architect in particular), and i remember the online forums were FULL of theories. (Matrix within a Matrix, anyone?) In retrospect, what i love most of it, that it did not became a “Force Awakens” – a simple reboot/remake of the original – and that it actually propelled the story and the world forward. Too bad that the 3rd one culminated in one over-long fight scene with only minimal substance…
Yeah the third film falls into the standard trilogy lark of building up to a big action crescendo and in doing so possibly satisfied mainstream fans but alienated those like myself who preferred the metaphysical ramblings and subversive possibilities. I’ll always believe that Neo was a hybrid, part human, part machine, and that this explained his skills in the Matrix, ‘rebooting’ from death at the end of the first film (when Trinity ‘saves’ him with a kiss, it’s just the film deflecting us from realising he’s akin to a cyborg thats rebooting, i.e. not as human as everyone thinks he is) and his Messianic powers, like being able to block the Sentinel in the ‘Real World’. When he ‘returns to the source’ at the end, he’s rejoining the machine mind that he is a part of.
I really hope they’ve got a good idea for this Matrix reboot, not just doing it for the money. I once heard someone report (via a “friend of a friend” kinda method, from someone who actually worked there) that Warner are actually very protective of their archive, and that attitude doesn’t just apply to their oldies (e.g. Casablanca) but also modern classics, i.e. The Matrix. But that was a few years ago — who knows, I imagine new execs have come up at some point and might’ve brought new attitudes. But the involvement of at least one Wachowski and Reeves (who a few years ago we might’ve thought needed the work, but has refreshed his popularity) is a good omen.
It’d be great to see them go the respectful Blade Runner 2049 route but considering how that tanked financially I think the pressure will be on to (horrors!) set up some kind of Marvel-inspired Matrix Universe of movies.
I’m hoping the studios are getting over the whole “cinematic universe” thing, seeing as how no one’s managed it like Marvel has, and there have been several high-profile failures to boot. The MCU is looking like lightning in a bottle rather than a replicable moviemaking model, and that’s probably for the best.
I just can’t see it happening (the ‘cinematic universe’ thing folding). Disney seem hell-bent on making the Star Wars Universe as much a streaming on Disney+ thing as it is a cinema ‘thing’, as if the cinema wasn’t enough, and I guess they will only re-double the same with the Marvel Universe now it’s away from Netflix. Its a wonder CBS/Paramount haven’t concentrated on same with their Star Trek franchises (although that’s as much a corporate schism as anything by all accounts). This intertwining between cinema and home television might be huge, like a inter-dependency or something. Imagine watching a Star Wars movie and realising after the first ten minutes you’ve missed a season of a Disney+ show that sets all the characters up. Or a season of a show starts straight after a movie finishes with a cliffhanger, and the only way to see how the movie finale is resolved is by subscribing to Disney+.
So far such crossovers seem to have been limited to Easter eggs (there’s a bunch of little bits from Clone Wars and Rebels in Rogue One, for instance), but surely it’s only a matter of time before Lucasfilm or Marvel do a movie/TV combo that’s so co-dependent. Heck, it’s probably already on its way, considering the events of the last two Avengers movies and the list of MCU TV shows that are in production.
My chief concern, and it seems evidenced by the trends of the last few years, is that films aren’t just ‘films’ as they used to be, as far as individual, seperate pieces with a beginning, middle and an end- they seem more to be a means to an end, whether that be selling merchandise or box-sets or, as seems to be the case now, selling streaming services. Certainly the biggest surprise of the Disney Star Wars films is how disorganised they are, never having had a three-film plotted structure for the lastest trilogy, instead just making it up as they went, all attention on the merchandise they could sell, it seems. All the money Lucas made from the merchandise seems what their attention was on. The film consequently suffered and, ironically, the merchandise hasn’t sold all that well either.
Of course, Lucas didn’t exactly have the original trilogy plotted out beginning to end before he began either (despite what he likes to claim!) But certainly, times are a-changin’ when it comes to how blockbuster films behave, what their goals are. But very few are actually making a success of the “things that just lead to other things” model, so they’re either going to need to get better at it or abandon it again.