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An Anxious World

A Matrix rebook might be coming out. Can you believe that? A near flawless movie might be swallowed up and vomited onto our faces, so we can consume this already digested meal for entertainment sustenance once more. What a disaster this will be.

To make matters weirder, the Wachowski siblings are not involved with the project. This is strange considering Lilly and Lana created the entire universe and seemingly are the gatekeepers to this very lucrative content. But what would Lilly and Lana say to this? To understand, let’s go back in time.

When Jupiter Ascending was readying to be released in 2015, a Los Angeles Times story touched on the siblings’ desire to make new things. Here’s a bite on the thought process and why they were receiving flack for it.

“We’re sort of oddities in that we keep making original movies,” Lana said. “How long will that last? I don’t know, in the current cultural climate. When I was young, originality was everything. A sequel was like a bad word. We’ve gone to the opposite place where [audiences] actually are more excited about a story we know the ending to, and we become obsessed about, ‘Oh, did they move that character?’”

Of course the elephant in the room is that there were two Matrix sequels but that is neither here nor there. What Lana zooms in on is that originality isn’t quite everything and that’s probably why a reboot would happen: it’s what mind-controlled, thoughtless audiences want.

But why is that? A cut part from this interview might point out a startling aspect of society today. Rebecca Keegan, who wrote the original Times story, released a new part of that interview in her Vanity Fair HWD Daily recap of movie news. It should have been a throwaway news item but seems greatly important.

Lana told me she saw the industry’s drive toward remakes as a sad byproduct of an anxious world. “Originality has inherent in it an uncertainty,” Lana said, in a part of the interview I didn’t end up using in that story. “[Movie audiences] went from hungering for that to being afraid of that, or suspicious of that. Now we crave, as an audience, the same story over and over. I think about, where have I seen that kind of audience before? Children. Children want the same bedtime story over and over and over.

Craving the same story over and over, scared of what we’re not, living in an anxious world: this is America right now. A sweaty palmed, adventureless, risk averse, coddled and xenophobic child playacting adulthood.

Naturally, it’s ironic that a film like The Matrix—a movie about exposing truths and moving beyond constricting thought processes based in technology—is the medium for us to have this discussion. Yes, this is a ripe time for a film like this to get rereleased instead of remade.

Regardless this is an outstanding yet disgusting metaphor for America today. Entertainment often reflects who we are but many times what is being reflected is more nuanced than we think. Lana essentially predicted our 2017 reality two years prior: a worried, confused state where all we’re being fed stale sugar over and over and over again as someone yells intermittently behind us, breathing hotly on our necks to enjoy.

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