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the pitches

Title: The Matrix: exodus
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Starring: Raimy – Bryshere Y. Gray, Marques – Stevonte Hart, Talisa – Yara Shahidi, Popcorn Man – Joshua Jackson, StarBreaker – Sandra Bullock

Marques and brother Raimy have just moved to a new city, and their first day of high school has proven their minority status. In a white sea, these black teens immediately struggle to fit in, getting in trouble with the teachers, and clashing with the student body, and there’s a strange police presence that circles the school and surrounding neighborhoods.

They think there’s no way they can adjust to this foreign world when they meet Talisa, one of the few other non-white students and possibly the most beautiful girl in school. As much as she’s a site of comfort for the brothers, she quickly becomes the greatest wedge between them.

Hanging out after school, Talisa is clearly interested in Raimy, the eldest brother. He’s more athletic, smarter, and more confident. Marques is quickly established as the tag-along in the trio, but when Talisa spots Marques taking pills, she takes an interest in the younger boy. She thinks he’s trying to get high, but he explains the pills are for schizophrenia. He says he sees things that aren’t there, and his dreams are always nightmares. Talisa asks him if he believes that humans can have special gifts, and that maybe his mental illness could actually be something else.

Their conversation is cut short when a crew of thugs show up to make trouble, and the trio end up in a fight. Marques is knocked down quickly, but Raimy holds his own. Talisa, however, outshines them all, demonstrating physical fighting skills the boys have never seen. The thugs run off, and Talisa asks if they can both meet her that evening.

At nightfall, the group goes downtown, Talisa taking the lead. As they descend into seedier parts of the city she tells them about some new designer drug that has made people see and do strange things, the ones that live anyway. It’s harder to find now, there’s a huge DEA presence that has swooped in to take down the drug operations, at least everyone thinks they’re DEA, guys in suits that always wear sunglasses, but she knows a guy who still has some.

In an alleyway entrance to a theatre, Talisa finds the Popcorn Man. He runs the projector booth, dealing drugs in buckets of popcorn. They hang with him for a bit, smoking weed in the booth when Talisa asks about the pills. The Popcorn Man says there isn’t much left, and he’s glad. Way too many people have died, and he admits to being different now that he’s taken the drug. He says, “Everything seems kinda, fake you know? Plus, I keep dreaming I can fly, and always wake up on the floor.”

Raimy says he wasn’t even interested in the stuff, but Marques is still keen. He says he wouldn’t mind taking a chance on the drug, that maybe if it changes a normal mind into seeing strange things, it could revert a person that sees strange things into having a normal mind. Talisa agrees, that the effects might just benefit some people. The discussion is interrupted by a loud noise in the theatre. The trio look through the booth window to see the sunglass-wearing DEA agents pulling people from the crowd, searching them. Popcorn Man shoves his stash into Raimy’s hands and pushes the young gang out of the theater.

In the alleyway, the agents confront the trio. Raimy tosses the stash, spilling drugs everywhere. Talisa flees, doing some insane acrobatics to avoid capture and comes back to rescue the boys, but she’s too late. Marques and Raimy are arrested. Raimy confesses that the drugs were his and goes to prison.

Marques is left alone, fighting with his parents, fighting with the thugs at school, fighting with Talisa over her part in the debacle, and his nightmares are enflamed. He sees violent machines and towers of people in pods around him. His schizophrenia pills aren’t helping, and when he’s pushed to the edge, he finds himself back in that alley one night, looking for those red pills.

He finds one and swallows it. Immediately, the world around him is distorted, and his movements are erratic. He has a waking dream that he sprints into traffic, jumping over cars, and fights a man who was mugging some tourists. When he wakes in his bed the next day, his knuckles are bloody.

We get a montage with Marques exploring his powers, projecting himself like a dream into what he wants to do, then doing it. Talisa is there encouraging him, each showing off their abilities and they end up fighting each other, falling to the ground in exhaustion and having some super-hot sex. Afterward, Marques says he wants to break his brother out of prison.

They revisit the Popcorn Man to see if he knows anyone that can help. He says someone came by looking for ‘redpills,’ people that have taken the drug, and Popcorn Man says these characters weren’t any kind of police. Regardless, he does know someone who breaks into celebrity homes that could help them, and he might be able to get them some new identities after the job is done.

Marques, Talisa, and the StarBreaker plan and execute a prison break. The plan goes well at first, then it falls apart and Marques and Talisa have to fight the prison guards. The guards are no match in hand-to-hand with the pair, but when guns start blazing, Raimy and several prisoners are killed. Marques and Talisa are backed into a corner when mystery figures show up and annihilate the guards.

The mysterious warriors turn to the young couple, telling them they know about the red pills, but their powers aren’t what they think. Nothing is, but if they choose to stay in this life they’ll be caught and sent to prison forever. They have another option, one which requires another red pill, a much stronger one.

As one mystery figure preps Talisa to take her pill and her journey out of the Matrix, the other figure speaks to Marques, saying he is an unusual case. His mind is different than the others. Marques, still in shock and despair over his brother, explains his new gift is like a means of making his dreams into reality. “You’re a god of dreams,” says the mystery figure. “There was a Greek god of dreams long ago. If I remember correctly, his name was Morpheus.”

“If I were a god I could have saved my brother.” The mystery figures says “I’m sorry about Raimy, but if you come with us, you’ll discover the true power people like you actually have. Then you can save thousands, even millions. You can save the world, Morpheus. The real world that is.”

Sirens blaring and SWAT footsteps coming down the prison hallways, Talisa says “What choice do we have?” and swallows the red pill. Morpheus watches her slip from her body and get pulled from the transfer device. Her limp body is laid next to his brother. Morpheus connects himself and takes his pill, and we see him exit the Matrix and waking in his pod, opening his eyes for the first time.

Chris Sully

Chris Sully

Title: The Matrix: Break the Cycle
Directed by: The Wachowski Siblings
Starring: keanu reeves, laurence fishburne, zendaya as mia, Shraddha Kappor as SATI

Setting: Current Day (in the Matrix) – more like 2220 (in Zion)

We enter the film through the code of the Matrix and focus in on a young woman named Mia (played by Zendaya). She is walking down the street of a major city, but looking down at her phone, focused on the screen instead of the world around her. We catch glimpses of the buildings, shops and signs around her as she moves down the block. There is no sound, except the music coming from her earbuds – Rob Zombie plays at max volume!

Mia eventually enters a small coffee shop and takes out the earbuds, allowing us to hear the world around her. She is greeted by a young woman at the counter who seems exceptionally happy & that seems to upset Mia. Her coffee is quickly ready and as she turns to head back outside we catch our first real look at the world. It is definitely present day (2021-ish) but things are different. The building and streets are cleaner, more advanced. The sounds we hear are more peaceful than downtown-esque and as Mia walks again, we see that most of the people around her are making eye contact and nodding or saying hello. She shakes her head and puts the earbuds back in.

Mia escapes to her apartment and sits down at her computer. The windows are blacked out and the room is a mess, except for shelf after shelf of trinkets, figures and photos. We can’t quite make out what all of these things are, but clearly they are of importance to her. She is surrounded by monitors of all shapes and sizes and we see several PC towers, laptops and VR goggles at the side of her desk. There is a blip across the monitors and her phone – a recognizable green and black blip featuring the matrix code we knew from the first trilogy reveals itself for a split second, but Mia somehow misses it, as she’s still fidgeting with something in her bag.

Mia looks back at the screens, just as the code disappears and returns to whatever she was doing before falling asleep – typing away in some sort of forum. Before we can focus in on what exactly she is doing, a tone plays from her headphones and a reminder pops up at the bottom of her screen. She reaches for a VR headset and lowers the system onto her head and over her eyes. The film turns to black and then to complete white. Mia is in the center of a large void until she hears THE voice. She turns to find Morpheus and he’s there to offer her a choice. Red pill or blue…. It’s just as she had imagined.

Unlike Neo’s journey from the Matrix to the real world (which was shocking and jarring for him), Mia welcomed the transition.

In her first conversation with Morpheus, from inside Zion she shares her thoughts on finally being “freed.” She had been hunting for the truth and finally found what she knew had to be real.

Morpheus leads her to an area with several others who had recently been freed and told that their journey would begin soon, but they’d need to rest and recover and learn to use their REAL bodies before they could proceed. “You’ve lived in a world of peace and happiness for some time, but somehow you knew it was merely an illusion. You found us and now you’ve become a part of the REAL world.” He goes on to tell them how things had been very different before the arrival of The One and a truce between the machines and man had been made, but would not last. It’s not what Mia or the others had expected from their escape from the Matrix, but they knew that their world never quite felt right.

During one of their training/recovery sessions, another member of the “newly freed” told Morpheus that he couldn’t shake something he had learned in the real world. He described several “unexplained events” that he had seen on YouTube. Through comments, forums and conversations online, he found that at each of these events, a “symbol” had been found. He had searched high and low for a translation but had never found it and nobody else in those circles had either. He pointed to an inscription on the wall inside the training area and said “and now I see it here. That cannot be a coincidence.”

Morpheus revealed that the residents of Zion did not believe that Neo was dead and demanded that the machines return the body, but they refused. He had made it his mission to recover The One at all costs and was preparing this group to head to the Source to recover Neo, but this revelation of unexplained symbols changed everything. The symbol was used in Zion to refer to The One, to Neo. They had been looking for a physical body and/or signs of him within the Matrix, but had never found anything.

With that, the training of these new recruits shifted and the search would continue back on familiar ground, in the Matrix.

We can skip the training montage and “I know Kung Fu” references here, much like we started to skip the car racing scenes in the latest Fast and Furious movies. That’s been covered.

The team now assembled began their search and, at one of their first stops, are met by a young Indian woman. She shows them nothing but kindness and love and asks questions about why they have arrived at the site and what they are doing there. This is an immediate Red Flag for Mia. The young woman reveals that her name is SATI and that she is in fact a program. She too had been searching for Neo.

Sati had course-corrected the Matrix through her interpretation of love. Things had gotten better in the Matrix, but with more people being set free, the people of Zion were struggling (so many people had put a real strain on their resources and they were still living underground) and she wanted to help. She was convinced that The Architect was correct and the only way to make their life in Zion better was through coding – via a reboot of the Matrix again.

Morpheus disagreed – he believed that Zion would flourish so long as the machines gave up any and all control they still had there. The truce (in his opinion) was merely a band-aid and would eventually be broken by the machines. If that happened – things would return to the way they were before Neo went to the Source.

And there is the conflict. SATI – as loving and generous as she could be, was guided by her mission and believed that only she could be right, so she armed herself with the next generation of fighters to track down Neo and force him to reboot the Matrix – an offer apparently still on the table via the Architect. SATI saw nothing wrong with this. It was merely what had to be done.

As time progressed – Fights broke out at each and every location Morpheus and his team visited within the Matrix. Next level fighting and weapons were used and in each battle some on each side were lost. SATI’s group simply created more warriors through code and evolved at every step.

Morpheus still would not budge. Losing life after life, he believed it was all worth it IF they could find Neo. But at every location they only found the symbol and no sign of Neo. Finally, all of the locations had been visited and they thought they had nowhere else to search.

Mia, a collector at heart, had taken the symbols from each location in honor of Neo. A stone here, a carved piece of wood there, a vile of sand from where the symbol had been traced in the ground. Once they brought back the final keepsake and placed it in Zion, it happened. Code, never before seen in The Matrix, appeared on every monitor throughout Zion. And within the Matrix, The One returned.

Morpheus and the remaining members jacked in and went to reunite with Neo. But what they found was not what they expected. Neo looked mostly the same, just a little older and a little more beardy. But he didn’t act the same. Instead of black leather and glasses, he wore all red and a blindfold made of matching red leather. He hovered above the grown and an aura of bright red was all around him.

Neo, in an even more robotic tone than the first three films, explains that he had embedded himself deeper into the Matrix to understand the machines better and had reviewed every instance of the Matrix before the one that Morpheus and the “freed ones” had been familiar with. He believed that a balance could be struck between the machines and man, so that people could return to the surface of the earth and begin to populate the REAL world again, freeing more minds from the Matrix as time went on. SATI, on the other hand, believed that the machines cared for people by keeping them in The Matrix and feared that freeing too many people would result in a substantial loss in resources (ie. the people batteries the machines & code needed to exist) and a return to how things were before the machines took over.

As he had been explaining things, more and more people from Zion had jacked in and appeared all around, anxious to catch their first glimpse of the One! Nearly every resident had found their way into the crowd, within the Matrix.

It was then that SATI appeared, with an army behind her. Still positive and happy, she approached NEO with open arms. “I am so happy to see you NEO. I feared we had lost you forever. You were such an inspiration to the beautiful changes I have made to the Matrix, but I’m afraid that this balance you seek with the machines simply will not work. People are too unreliable and we simply cannot return to how things were before the Matrix.

With that and a single wave of her hand, it began. Her Army began to attack and slaughter everyone in leather (well, everyone from Zion that had jacked in – but they were pretty easy to spot in all that leather).

The machines and man had been in a truce, but this program SATI was neither. The machines continued to stand down, leaving those in Zion in peace, but what on in the Matrix was a completely different story.

Neo wanted to intervene, but if he did, the truce would be broken. Morpheus simply did not have the ability or the people to defeat SATI’s army.

It ended as quickly as it began. Only a few made it out, including Mia. Morpheus was not one of the lucky few.

The Matrix would not be rebooted. The machines would not break the truce. The population of freed was down to a few hundred & hope seemed to be lost. Going into the Matrix would prove too risky for anyone, for any reason. But those who had scattered during the fight could still return home to Zion and they did…. Slowly.

We fast forward a few months to show a restructured Zion. Things had grown dire and it simply did not look good. Then, word came that another soul had escaped and returned, which hadn’t happened in quite some time. A young man awoke and looked at Mia, who seemed to have taken over in some sort of leadership role – “Hello Mia, it’s me Neo. I’ve decided to return so we can try again. I believe.”

Cut to black and huge graphics on the screen:

The Matrix Chronicles, the series begins on HBO Max (insert date here, about one month after the premiere of the movie).

A trailer, available online a couple weeks after the premiere shows the ongoing struggles of Zion, Mia and Neo (now in the body of a different inhabitant of Zion) as they work to save their home and return to the Matrix to free more people and begin a true rebellion against SATI and her army.

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