In the two decades since the Matrix was first released, it’s hard to measure the scale of the impact it has had on popular culture. Set in an artificial world constructed to fool humans into thinking they are living normal lives when they are actually serving as batteries for robots, the film tells the story of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), a bored office worker moonlighting as computer hacker Neo, and Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss), a woman from the real world with the ability to jack into the Matrix.
Regarded by many as a genre-defining masterpiece, the visual aesthetic of the original film and its sequels, the Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix Revolutions, have become engrained in our collective consciousness over the years. Not only did they help usher in a new wave of special effects-laden blockbusters, they also defined an entire era of cyberpunk fashion, while the visual metaphor of the red pill and blue pill spawned its own branch of philosophy on opening one’s mind to hidden truths. More recently, the films have been reexamined through the lens of a transgender allegory as well, in the wake of both its creators Lana and Lilly Wachowski coming out as trans.
At a time when Facebook algorithms can derail elections and online echo chambers are obscuring the very notion of truth, there couldn’t be a better moment to tumble back down the rabbit hole in the next instalment of the franchise, the Matrix Resurrections. A solo project for Lana this time around, the film revives the presumed dead duo of Neo and Trinity, both of whom are living unawares in a rebooted version of the simulation 60 years on from the last time we saw them.
While there are plenty of visual nods to the original Matrix universe – rippling mirrors, black cats, neon hues, red and blue pills, and more – the film sees original cinematographer Bill Pope hand the baton to Daniele Massaccesi and John Toll. Having already worked with the film’s production designers Peter Walpole and Hugh Bateup on previous Wachowski projects including Sense 8, Studio C Design were brought in to create all of the screen-based graphic content across its 20 sets.