Skip to content


Sense8 (series) – Wachowski (2015-8)

I ran into this Wachowski series on Netflix. It does not have the pomp of some of their creations and (perhaps) not even the complex story.

Well, there is an ‘attempt’ at a complex story. The title refers to a different kind of human being. Besides the “homo sapiens” there is also the “homo sensibilus”. The series do not explain how these “sensates” are born to ‘normal’ humans. We follow eight such sensates. It seems that they all have the same age and that they discover their abilities only later in life. We have the Korean daughter of a wealthy business family. A German criminal. An Indian beauty about to marry rich. There is an LA cop, a Mexican actor, a Nigerian buss driver, a woman who used to be a man and an Icelandic DJ.

The sensates can be in each others presence whereever they are. Also they can take over each other’s bodies. Along the way our eight sensates learn that they are a “cluster”, that there are other clusters and that there are also people hunting them. The last element brings thriller elements to the series.

The series show the characters with both the personal and the joint problems. Nomi has frictions with her parents who do not accept her transition. Lito is a popular actor, but he fears the end of his career when his fans learn that he is gay. Sun takes the fall to save her brother’s career in the family business. Wolfgang tries to do his own thing, but the criminal underground of Berlin tries to draw him in further. Kala has a loving future husband but second thoughts about the marriage. LA cop Will has frictions with his father. DJ Riley tries to balance between succes and personal life. Capheus (played by another actor in the second series) unintentionally becomes the hero of his slum.
In times of crisis, another member of the group, or all of them, team up to solve a problem of one of them. This often brings unnecessary extra drama or another tension. This typical ‘enhanced drama’ that is present in many American films and series, also crept into the work of the Wachowski’s. Sometimes these elements even overshadow the development of the story.

Overall, “Sense8” is alright. Especially in the first season (which is directed by both Wachowskis) there is quite some stress on ‘minority issues’ (trans, gay). Later (only Lilly Wachowski, but also guest directors) the ‘larger story’ gets the upper hand, making more of a thriller. There is the earlier mentioned drama, but the creators also wanted to add a layer of sensuousness, both are overdone and superfluous in my opinion. The story develops alright, but it seems that some turns had to be made to allow for future episodes or seasons. The two-and-a-half-hour final episode seems to have been made to wrap things up (quite thinly) when there no more would be a new season.

Not bad, but not the Wachowski’s best work either.

The Matrix Resurrections – Lana Wachowski (2021)

The fourth Matrix is both ‘more of the same’ and some elements have been added and left out. Lana Wachowski made some sort of rewind of the earlier films with scenes that are almost exactly alike and with flashbacks. In general, the first part of “Resurrections” is a bit of a summery of the first film and a bit of the next two.

Thomas Andersson is a celebrated, yet plagued game designer who has had episodes of not being able to distinguish reality from game. So the first three Matrix films are now seen as classic games that sprang from the mind of Andersson.

The company he works for picks up the idea for a fourth part so Wachowski could make some jokes about money and franchise. Of course this is also the step up to Andersson wondering what is real and what is not. Basically the story of the previous films in a slightly updated form.

As we got used to, we have the film playing within and without the matrix and Wachowski has brought back a whole lot of the original actors. Some characters are played by new actors though and the story was adjusted accordingly. The familiar actors bring some amusing scenes.

As you can see in the poster, Trinity apparently did not die in part three and the film is mostly about Neo again trying to find her. Naturally for this he has to find old and new enemies and he encounters new and old people on his side.

“Resurrections” is not the shoot-out that number two was. There is some action here and there which does not look as groundbreaking as in the original films in their time. As I said, there are a few new elements. Also there is a new twist to the whole matrix theme, but do not expect huge surprises.

“Resurrections” is an amusing film, but I do not think it will be anywhere near the classic the original film still is.

Jupiter Ascending * Andy & Dana Wachowski (2015)

So even the Wachowski’s can make films without much of a story. “Jupiter Ascending” is a rather brainless sci-fi spectacle.

Jupiter Jones has a troubled youth. Her father dies when her mother is still pregnant of her and Jupiter gets born while her mother flees the country. Her life consists of cleaning houses. Then there is the story of an intergalactic capitalist family who argue over whose inheritance the fertile planet earth falls under. Of course Jupiter fits into the story. She gets chased through space for the capitalists to get want they want.

That is about what the story involves. It is mostly a hangup for spectacular scifi action. The special effects look great, but there you have most of the positive news about the film. The acting is dull, the events not too interesting and an atmosphere is mostly lacking.

Not a film to watch when you like the Wachowski’s earlier films for their more ‘elaborate’ films.

Cloud Atlas * Tom Tykwer, Lana & Andy Wachowski (2012)

How unfortunate! That it took me so long to watch this film. I was mostly interested because of the directors, but the 3 hour length held me back. “Cloud Atlas” is a brilliant film though and certainly worth the three hours.
I have not read that much about the film, but the way I see it there are 7 different stories which are cut up and presented through eachother. Stories in the past, the future and combinations between the two. Many actors have 7 parts and there are several indications that the different stories are different lives of the same people. What all (or most) stories have incommon, is that the nonconformistic people are some sort of rebels. The different stories allowed the directors to go from pompous (Matrix-like) scifi to maritime drama, Medieval adventure and harsch humour. The stories in themselves are all interesting and contain some sort of mystery. It takes way up to the end before many things fall into place (but I guess watching the film again will do so even more), since the actors are not always too recognisable and also before there are cross-references between the stories. Overall there is this great Wachowski atmosphere.

The Matrix Revolutions * Andy + Larry Wachowski * 2003

I must have have paid no attention since I don’t remember that this film played in the cinemas. It must have been Christmas last year or so or was it before another Lord Of The Ring? Anyway, I saw the last part of the Matrix trilogy on rental DVD. What I remember from part 2 was that it was too much action and too little conversation. This problem is mostly solved in the last part. Of course there is still of a lot of action and the special effects are again more impressive, etc, etc., but the Wachowski brothers made time for nihilist philosophy and quite a bit of humour. What you often hear is that this last part clears up a lot of things, and hat the end is quite surprising. Hmmmm. Of course you can imagine that there is a final battle with the machines. Since The Matrix is an American film, the people win. Also you can imagine that there is a final battle between Neo and the Smiths and a lot of time is spent on this fight. Some more things are to be expected. A line that was detectible in part 2 is continued here, which is the line of unlogical parts in the story. In order to put things to an end and to make things more impressive, grave concessions have been made to the original philosophy behind the trilogy. Just to name a few things: what is possible inside and outside the matrix, the power of the writers of the programs and even an extra world had to be created.
No matters though, The Matrix Revolutions was -to me- more enjoyable than part 2. It is entertaining, some nice ideas are posed, some questions are answered, many are asked and all in all I definately need to see Revolutions again to make a clearer picture of it. I think I will wait for a trilogy DVD box or so, so I can see them all together.

So, if you liked part 2, you will love part 3 and if you liked part 1 for the philosophy, you can also savely watch the final part. (4)

The Matrix Reloaded * Andy + Larry Wachowski * 2003

This is without a doubt the most spectacular actionfilm that I ever saw. The question is if that is what we are waiting for for The Matrix 2. I am no fond of actionfilms and in The Matrix 1 I even skip the scene in which Neo and Trinity violently enter the building in which Morpheus is captured. Oh well, I didn’t see 1 in the cinema and special effects on a large screen are usually better.

So, for the few who haven’t seen it, should you go and see “The Matrix Reloaded”? There is seriously less philosophy in this one and far too much action and special effects. All very impressive of course, but all the fighting, etc. is strenghed out beyond belief. Nice scenes tend to get boring after five minutes (or more!). The story is a bit further developed. Neo and Trinity are lovers, you get to see Zion, the city under the ground, Morpheus seems to have a boss who also has bosses, agent Smith is no longer a normal agent. Also a few new characters, some nice, some superfluous. Towards the end the story itself (the matrix, the real world, dreams and then all through eachother) becomes ununderstandable. I probably will see it again when it is available on video. So, should you go and see it? If you ask me, if you like 1 for the background/philosophy, better wait until you get a cheaper chance than the cinema, if you like actionfilms with state-of-the-art special effects which are indeed 10x better than all Matrix-clones together, when you are not afraid of some martial arts and serious shooting scenes, maybe this is one that you want to see on the big screen.
(PS, for The Matrix 1 go to the articles section)

Bound * Andy and Larry Wachowski * 1996

Shame on me! I hadn’t heard of this movie I believe until recently. It is made by the brother Wachowski who later made the brilliant sci-fi film The Matrix. Bound is very much different from that film though.

Bound is an intelligent thriller with a very good story. Often it is compared to Seven, The Usual Suspects, etc., but I don’t agree with people who say that. Where the other films make you wonder “whodunnit” until the end, in Bound this is obvious from the first second. Also Bound is just a story in one line with here and there a flashback, but nothing going back and forth to make you confused.
The story is about the beautiful ex-convict Corki (Gina Gershon) who is seduced by the also beautiful maffia wife Violet (Jennifer Tilly). Violet has grown tired from the violent maffia life and wants to get away. She seduces the just-out-of-jail Corky who got some plumbers-work in the appartment next door. The plan is to get the 2 million dollar that Violets husband Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano) has to give to the big boss Gino Marzzone (Richard Sarafian) and put the blame on someone else, being Marzzones son Johnnie (Christopher Maloni). Of course the plan doesn’t work out the way the women wanted, which makes the story turn and twist in unexpected directions.

All in all quite a nice film, but I don’t think it’s all that special.

The Animatrix * various * 2003

I have had this DVD in my hands several times and I was not the only one doubting whether or not to see this film. I can tell you: I don’t regret I did!

Already a nice surprise was that before I started to watch the films, I quickly jumped through the extras menu and heard that it were the brothers Wachowski themselves who had these films made. No cheap spinoff without consulting the creators of The Matrix trilogy. The brothers Wachowski wanted an animated version of their stories and asked nine prominent Japanese “anime” artists to make a short film. The brothers wrote the stories and came with suggestions, but still left the artists very free to fill in the rest. The result is nine animation films of about 10 minutes each, in different styles and treating different aspects of the world of The Matrix. The first film is an extraordinary realistic part much like the first film. The rest is quite typical Japanese “anime” with a lot of Buddhistic and “Matrixal” symbology. You will get the story of the time before the first film and different aspects of the concept of The Matrix. The extra information is very nice. Also you will get insight into the “Enter The Matrix” computer game, but that is not really my cup of tea.

So, if you like The Matrix, just have a look at this. The atmosphere of the animations is very close to that of the first film and they are done by the best artists and this definately shows. Also if you (like me) normally do not watch “anime”, this “Animatrix” is still a pleasure to watch.