Andy and Lana Wachowski, Sci-fi, 127 mins, Mar 28
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean
The Matrix was a break-out hit in 1999 for the Wachowski directors, who many predicted would go on to shake up Hollywood with hit after hit. Whilst they have both had the odd follow-up movie that some would argue are great (emphasis on “some”), for the most part they have spent the last 15 years disappointing people.
So it is not surprising that many had reservations when the Wachowski siblings came together again to create another sci-fi universe. Unfortunately, the movie does not exceed those low expectations; it is undoubtedly great to look at, the gadgets and spaceships are cool, and every actor does a decent job. But there is no hiding from the fact that the movie liberally picks clichés and tropes from movies past, and slaps them together into a disjointed mess. The zero-to-hero role that Mila Kunis plays is a character arc so familiar audiences could finish half her sentences for her, whilst Channing Tatum is stoic and chivalrous, but hardly charismatic.
True fans of the movie may solely be those that enjoyed not only the original Matrix but also its two sequels. The plot is ropey and troublesome but is a fun romp in patches. Mila Kunis is the titular Jupiter, a lowly cleaner who is in fact royalty from an empire that actually “seeded” the planet Earth 100,000 years ago… there goes the LUCA (Lost Universal Common Ancestor) theory out the window! She is called upon by super-soldier Caine Wise (Tatum) to return to her genetic homeland in order to stop the tyrannical Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne), who is one of three siblings lobbying for power. You still with me? It does suffer a little from Phantom Menace syndrome, as we are forced to listen to quarrels and debates we really don’t care about…but they have hover-boots and lasers!