December 29, 2021
There is no better demonstration of The Matrix’s concept of the blue pill that leaves its victims able to perceive only the simulacrum of reality curated by the powers-that-be than that virtually every review of the sequel The Matrix Resurrections refers to the auteurs of the 1999 science-fiction classic and its depressing follow-ups as the “Wachowski sisters.”
Even more blue-pilled, many critics have convinced themselves not just to say that frauteurs Larry and Andy Wachowski are now Lana and Lilly, Hollywood’s most famous female sci-fi directors, but to believe it.
Bluest of all, more than a few have trained themselves to have faith not only that the Wachowskis are women in 2021, but also that they—due to transcendental gender dogma’s miraculous power to alter not just the present but the past—were female in 1999, and that therefore the original Matrix was made by women. As Orwell might assert, “The Wachowski brothers have always been the Wachowski sisters.”
Sure, a few showbiz figures such as Dave Chappelle and J.K. Rowling dare to be publicly red-pilled. But it’s much safer for one’s career to enthusiastically ingest the blue pill and believe.
Of course, The Matrix was just about the least feminine movie since, oh, say, The Deer Hunter, another film of vaulting masculine ambition from a director, Michael Cimino, who later flirted with declaring himself a woman. Neither The Matrix nor The Deer Hunter (much less Cimino’s bankruptingly grandiose Heaven’s Gate) would have been made by somebody who always felt like a girl on the inside.
As I wrote in 2003, The Matrix perfectly captured the late-adolescent male computer nerd’s mindset:
You can’t trust anyone but your online friends. Maybe you really will save the world. Computer games are more real than what adults, who are zombies or evil mechanical brain controllers, call real life. It would be cool to have a girlfriend who is a butt-kicking videogame character and doesn’t care about dumb girl stuff.
And indeed, the Wachowskis’ boyhoods were awfully boyish. Besides being comic-book aficionados and fanatical Dungeons & Dragons players and videogamers, like so many other Chicago lads they loved Da Bulls. In 2006, these season ticket holders designed a new pregame player introduction light show for their favorite NBA team. The bros announced:
“As lifelong rabid Bulls fans, to have an opportunity to work with an organization that gave us so many fond memories we not only jumped at the chance, we asked, how high??”
While the brothers were trying to break into the movies, they supported themselves by running their own construction company.
In other words, the Wachowski brothers aren’t effeminate drag queens. Instead, they come from that small but influential high-IQ population of heterosexual ex-men who are typically motivated by their cross-dressing fetish.
On the rare occasions when some spoilsport points out that the Matrix movies, which likely contend with Black Hawk Down for most thousands of rounds of ammunition discharged, are obviously the product of a couple of hyper-male brains with the Wachowski brothers egging each other on to unprecedented heights of spergy fantasy, the response is usually: “Oh, they were just faking how masculine their imaginations are to cover up from society that they don’t fit in the gender binary.”
But no, that’s not how it works. Making memorable movies is hard, competitive work that taxes the filmmaker’s inner resources. Nobody could have faked The Matrix in 1999 if they weren’t really into it.
Nor, now that they are freed from society’s misapprehension of their true genders, have the Wachowskis since turned into the second coming of George Cukor and made insightful women’s pictures.
Instead of now making great girl movies, all that has happened is that the Wachowskis have gotten worse at making guy movies.
My perhaps too-pat explanation for the Wachowskis’ career arc is that the boys used to sublimate their fetishes into their art, but the financial success of The Matrix allowed them to live out their sordid fantasies. It’s a little like James Cameron’s more wholesome path away from making sci-fi movies: The huge amount of cash Cameron has made off Terminator 2, Titanic, and Avatar has enabled him to turn himself into his own sci-fi hero, exploring the depths of the ocean in his custom-designed submarine like Captain Nemo.
In 2001, flush with Matrix money, Larry Wachowski no longer had to merely invent characters like motorcyclist Trinity, a butt-kicking babe in skintight black leather. Instead, he could now afford a full-time dominatrix (professional name Ilsa Strix).
The next year his wife, whom he’d been with since college in 1984, filed for divorce. She had the judge freeze Larry’s half of the huge haul from the 2003 Matrix Reloaded sequel so that he couldn’t blow her upcoming settlement on Ms. Strix. In 2009, Wachowski married Ilsa, although by this point he was wearing dresses and calling himself Lana.
A few years later, Larry’s younger brother Andy followed a path similar to that of his big brother, the idea man of the pair, divorcing his wife and insisting on being called Lilly.
Smart rich guys like the Wachowskis blowing up their marriages to follow their fetishes are one thing, but ex-men not telling the truth about their motivations are another. Granted, the truth in this case is embarrassing, but it’s important. We now have a generation of naive teenage girls who have been fed countless blue pills about the coolness of transgenderism but have never even heard of the icky red-pill reason why many of these famous men announce they are women: autogynephilia.
By 2016, Andy was labeling their 1999 screenplay a giant trans allegory, although the details he gave in evidence for that were handwavingly vague. He admitted he didn’t know “how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing…. But it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.” For what it’s worth, The Matrix’s venerable star, Keanu Reeves, said the Wachowskis didn’t mention to him in 1999 that their story had anything to do with transgenderism.
Larry Wachowski’s screenplay for his new Matrix Resurrections (in theaters and on HBO Max), the first sequel since 2003 and the first with only the older brother involved, is less annoying than might be expected, with less social messaging. If it’s a trans allegory, it’s not obvious.
Keanu’s Thomas Anderson is no longer a Chicago office drudge. In 2021, he’s a San Francisco game designer legendary for his Matrix videogame. But Warner Bros. is insisting upon a sequel, which inspires the marketing department to enthusiastically debate the true meaning of The Matrix. Surprisingly, the best scenes in the film are amusing satires of Silicon Valley corporate life.
But our mentally unstable hero is reluctant to revisit a game that seems all too real to him. His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) insists upon renewing his prescription, which, unsurprisingly, comes in blue pills.
This wouldn’t be a bad setup for a small actorly movie in the manner of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. On the other hand, you don’t hire Keanu to compete with Joaquin for the Oscar, you hire him to look soulful while dispensing extreme violence to the bad guys.
At 57, Keanu still looks good, and judging by the success of his recent John Wick action movies, he can still move. But in these fight scenes, he seems to be pulling his punches, as if his John Wick 4 contract has a clause reading, “Don’t you even think about getting yourself hurt in some Matrix sequel.”
Worse, the chaotic fight choreography in the new movie is a disappointment compared with the superb lucidity of the best set-piece battles in the first two films. In general, Resurrections lacks the visual and explicatory clarity that distinguished the original. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a terribly good one, either.
The plot has something to do with the undying Larry-and-Ilsa-like love affair between Neo (Keanu) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). They are now a Bill-and-Hillary-type power couple for whom no effort can be spared to make the distaff member equal in power to her mate. No longer is Neo the One: Instead, the pair are the One plus the One.