To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original film, the third sequel was officially announced on 20 August 2019. The word is out, and is official; a new incarnation of The Matrix is almost upon us. But what do we know so far about The Matrix 4?
It’s been twenty years went by since the first Matrix movie shocked the world. Although it seems it was yesterday when we first saw Neo dodging bullets, the trilogy ended 17 years ago, in 2003.
Two decades ago, The Matrix changed the cinematic world forever; can Lana Wachowski do it again with Matrix 4? We are about to go deep into gossip and try to make some conclusions. Fasten the seatbelt and hold on tight, we’re in for a ride.
The official news is that part of the legendary cast that made The Matrix such a blockbuster ($1.6bn so far) is back in the game. So far, these are the confirmed names:
Neo – Keanu Reeves is going for his old role as ‘The One’. According to his own social media, and some leaked photos of the set in San Francisco, he is a long-haired, bearded version of himself.
Trinity – Kate Ann Moss is also going to be back in the cast playing her legendary role. Although we saw her death during Matrix Revolutions, she is going to be one of the main characters for Matrix 4.
The Merovingian – Lambert Wilson, AKA The Merovingian from Matrix Reloaded is back in the cast. Will Monica Bellucci appear as well? Nothing confirmed yet.
Niobe – Jada Pinkett Smith is also back in her role as Niobe, the rebel present in both, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
Agent Johnson – Daniel Bernhardt, who played Agent Johnson in previous versions, is confirmed to be back in the cast reprising his role.
So far, these are the confirmed characters with known, familiar faces. But what about other classic characters such as Morpheus, or agent Smith? Lawrence Fishburne told New York Magazine, he had not been invited to join the action this time but gives his blessing to the project. About Agent Smith, actor Hugo Weaving confirmed that although Lana Wachowski approached him. Still, some schedule problems will keep him away from the project.
On one hand, the familiar faces, on the other, the big absences. What’s the icing on the cake? The added stars. Lana Wachowski brought to the Matrix realm some of the big names that worked with her in Cloud Atlas, Sense8, and more. Let’s take a look at who’s onboard so far.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – The rising star from Watchmen and Aquaman is a confirmed member of the cast as well. Will he be playing young Morpheus? That’s what most gossip goes for.
Neil Patrick Harris – Perhaps the biggest surprise is the How I met your mother star who claimed was on board for a significant role. What role is it? That is yet to be seen.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas – The Indian movie star was confirmed as part of the cast, but no further details were given about her role.
Jonathan Groff – Star from Mindhunter and Frozen, has confirmed being part of the cast.
Jessica Henwick – This Marvel star is getting all the cool stuff in geek land. She played an X-Wing pilot in The Force Awakens, a Sand Snake in Game of Thrones, and Collen Wing in the Netflix series Iron Fist. According to The Wrap, she is into the new Matrix movie with a “key role”.
Brian J Smith, Toby Onwumere and Eréndira Ibarra – These familiar faces from Wachowski’s Sense8 will also be present in the last incarnation of Matrix.
Is Lana Wachowski alone?
The Wachowski brothers made some amazing things together but this time Lana is doing the Matrix sequel on her own. Her sister, Lilly seems to have abandoned science fiction for good. She claimed in August 2019 to the TCA that she was no longer interested in the implicit messages (subtext) present in science fiction as a genre.
Her sister is absent and she is taking on the directing role by herself. This doesn´t mean she´s alone. She wrote the script together with David Mitchell, and Aleksander Hemon, coworkers from Sense8. The team of stars is complete with Grant Hill, a long-time collaborator of the Wachowski adventures.
The plot, what we know so far
Let’s see, we know that Neo and Trinity are back in the game. We also know that they died in Matrix Revolutions. This will direct us to a prequel, but when interviewed by the BBC, Keanu Reeves denied this theory stating that it was not a trip to the past. Furthermore, he said that it will be a beautiful love story with lots of action. Moreover, he qualified the script as “too beautiful to turn down” when interviewed by Empire Magazine. We assume this love story is between Neo and Trinity; will the power of love beat death? Yet to be seen.
Can we expect to see a different incarnation of Morpheus? Perhaps a parallel universe? With a Wachowski involved, anything can happen.
The filming had started on February 4th, 2020 in San Francisco. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the production was brought to a halt on March 16th. It was Keanu Reeves, through his social media who confirmed that the filming resumed on August 16th in Berlin. The principal photography for the movie was wrapped up by November 11th, 2020. This included the three main locations: Berlin, San Francisco, and Chicago.
The very few leaked scenes are in San Francisco and show Kate Ann Moss (Trinity) onboard a Motorcycle and Keanu Reeves (Neo) riding behind her.
Warner Bros original release date for Matrix 4 was May 21st, 2021. Due to the pandemic delays, the release was postponed until April 1st, 2022. Still, the latest gossip we could get our hands on said that it will premiere on December 22nd, 2021. The big news, though, is that it will be premiering not only in theatres but also in HBO MAX for all the lucky subscribers.
Since the filming wrapped up only two months ago, we should have some months before seeing the first official trailer. Don’t worry, we searched all over for it too; we can’t wait either.
What can we expect from the new incarnation of The Matrix? Well, we can make some assumptions to consider the resurrection of Neo and Trinity. Perhaps the inclusion of a younger Morpheus, which would mean time-travelling? Or even parallel realities. The truth is that with a Wachowski involved anything can happen.
We, as fans, would love to see Matrix 4 break all the moulds and witness Lana Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, and company revolutionize the movie world again.
Hopefully, they will not let us down.
Thanks for reading about what we know so far about The Matrix 4. Did we miss anything? Are there any rumours you’ve heard? What do you think the plot will be? Leave us a comment below.
Read what if Will Smith was Neo HERE.
Check out IMDB information on The Matrix 4 HERE.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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