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Watching the latest “Everything Is A Remix” video the other day, I realized that we’re probably due for another Matrix sometime soon. By that, I don’t mean another installment of the Wachowski brothers’ uber-successful sci-fi series – I think we’re all done with that one, at least for awhile, right? – but another movie that seems to realign people’s sensibilities about genre cinema, and what it’s there for.
Maybe I’m thinking about this from a rose-colored nostalgic perspective, but The Matrix felt like one of those movies that somehow touched a nerve in pop culture, and seemed at once a summation of what lots of people were thinking (or had already been saying, which is the point of the “Everything Is A Remix” video) and a suggestion of where to go next. The same kind of thing as, say, Pulp Fiction or Star Wars. Again, your milage may vary, but I feel like the closest we’ve come to that in recent years has been Inception, but that’s not exactly the same thing – That was, somehow, a phenomenon stylistically and financially, but didn’t really seem to make much impact in terms of what followed, at least not yet. It makes me wonder if we’re at a point where we can’t really have a new Matrix anymore.
The problem may be that everyone both expects there to be a new Matrix (and is happy to announce themselves as the new Matrix – think about the way that things like Sucker Punch have been positioned, for example) and, at the same time, is entirely unwilling to accept anything that isn’t based upon an existing idea that they’re already familiar with (From this year, see the fates of the aforementioned Sucker Punch, Cowboys vs. Aliens, Skyline, and so on. Everything that isn’t based on a toy, comic book, TV show or some other franchise of old with the possible exception of, say, Super 8… which, in many ways, was sold on the familiarity of JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg as brands as much as it was the mystery of the story itself). We, as a mass audience, want something to blow our minds, but we’d rather it came in a form we were already comfortable with, if possible.
Perhaps I’m overreacting ; maybe Inception just needs time to sink in, and it’ll be the new gamechanger. But I feel that, if it really was to take that role, and not just act as an aberration that got people talking, then we’d have seen more things taking influence from it already, instead of seeing Transformers 3 be called one of the most impressive movies of the year by people who are, apparently, serious. It’d be nice to think that there’s something around the corner that will have the impact of a Matrix once again, but I don’t think that it’ll happen anytime soon, and through no fault of the filmmakers involved; no matter the quality of tomorrow’s movies, I don’t think it’ll happen until the audience really becomes ready to see it.