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The Matrix: Reeveolutions - The Keanu Reeves Story


Keanu Reeves has come a long way in his career, starting with his breakthrough film River's Edge in 1986, he systematically climbed his way to the upper echelons of Hollywood. It's been a bumpy ride and not just because he's from Canada. Ranging from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure all the way through to Matrix: Resurrections, the actor has cast a spell on the world. He's played many iconic roles, many of them surprisingly named John! Johnny Mnemonic, John Constantine, Johnny Utah and John Wick, The One has really become one with the name. His actual name, Keanu, means a gentle breeze over the mountains in Hawaiian and strangely enough he was born in Lebanon, son to a showgirl/costume designer and geologist.

While the actor has been ramping up his career in recent years on the back of the critically-acclaimed John Wick franchise, which is already a trilogy with part four and part five filming and in preproduction, he's also reviving The Matrix under the watchful eye of Lana Wachowski. Matrix: Revolutions ended the trilogy in 2003, a film which was problematic because it didn't keep a foot in the ground. The series started with an 80/20 rule in terms of real versus unreal and progressively moved through to flipping that ratio so that Revolutions was largely shot against a green screen with extensive CGI. Leaving the world behind, or in fact ironically going into the actual real world, the film struggled with story and failed to meet the expectations as set by the The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded. It's been almost 20 years since the last Matrix installation, which together with Keanu's renaissance has prompted a revival.

There have been many '90s revivals lately. Just in Keanu's film stable, we've already seen a so-so remake of Point Break and Bill & Ted Face the Music. The Matrix is by far the biggest franchise remake to come out. releasing its first trailer for Matrix: Resurrections (above), after its barnstorming success and pop culture explosion in 1999. Reeves has turned it into a Reeveolution of his own with some parallels to his film career. The actor has gone through a resurrection of sorts, having been on the fringe before the household name became Internet famous. On the back of memes and discussion around his good nature as a human being, it seems as though his status has been elevated over the years. This has also been propelled by the massive success that is John Wick, action ballet if you will, which has semi-reinvented the Keanu Reeves brand.

He's always played dark characters in 47 Ronin, A Scanner Darkly and Constantine, no doubt inspired by his role as Neo and The Matrix. It's funny to imagine how The Matrix would have turned out with Will Smith who was originally considered for the lead. Now that Keanu's John Wick, it seems as though he's adopting the beard, black clothing and longish hair in almost every role he plays like a *Johnny* Cash trademark. Definitely Be My Maybe featured Reeves as "himself", which we all know is very difficult. Helen Mirren once said in a masterclass that one of the most difficult things is to play yourself on screen. Even just walking into a scene naturally is difficult and acting as yourself - just ask Jerry Seinfeld. Reeves decided to go completely over the top with his rendition of himself playing a negative, narcissistic and egotistical version of himself, which based on his current saintly reputation is completely inaccurate. However, he still maintains that John Wick look even if he's wearing glasses.

It seems as though he's trying to adopt the look of John Wick in The Matrix, where he plays Neo who's developed amnesia. It seems like one of the only ways to really reboot a series is to start over again. While set further in the future, he has to choose the red or blue pill once again - a major part of the marketing campaign. The trailer is suggesting that he has been doing that for quite some time, which means that he has to escape the digital dreamscape of the Matrix all over again. People that grew up with The Matrix will be pleased to revisit this '90s gem, a near-perfect film, and many will no doubt rewatch the trilogy in anticipation. Having greatly influenced cinema in its wake, Reeves is still fondly remembered for playing the man known as Mr. Anderson and it's quite interesting to see what has become of him opposite Trinity and Morpheus. Unfortunately Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne are not returning for this reboot. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has become the new Morpheus and Weaving has confirmed that he won't be reprising his iconic role as Agent Smith.

Based on what has been presented by the trailer, it promises to be an eye-popping visual extravaganza. While the technology has certainly come a long way, let's just hope that it doesn't turn into a Roland Emmerich style film, where CGI becomes the currency rather than the actual storytelling. Reeves probably inspired the Wachowskis to even consider another Matrix based on his newfound popularity and acclaim. Now a big-name with an ethereal kind of fame, this serves as a prelude to the subsequent John Wick sequels and let's just hope that the new Matrix: Resurrections film is good enough to revive the series and even prompt a couple of sequels of its own.

Keanu has an interesting screen presence. While mostly effective when cast in a role befitting his unique screen presence and talents, he does transpose much of his own vibration into roles. Besides his unmistakable run, he's become a conduit of sorts, not as vacuous as the chiseled Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) but able to give audiences a chance to live vicariously through his performances. >Matrix: Resurrections is only coming later in the year, so we'll just have to wait and speculate based on early trailers. Nowadays with the disruption of a global pandemic, the timing is perfect. Many have been shaken to the point that they have seen beyond their hamster wheel whilst others have seen too much and would willingly be inducted into the Matrix.