Bill Pope, the cinematographer who worked on the Matrix trilogy, has described his time on the franchise’s two sequels as “mind-numbing and soul-numbing”.
While 1999’s The Matrix is still widely cited as one of the best sci-fi films in recent history, 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were critically panned.
“Everything that was good about the first experience [on The Matrix] was not good about the last two,” he said. ”We weren’t free anymore.”
“People were looking at you. There was a lot of pressure. In my heart, I didn’t like them. I felt we should be going in another direction. There was a lot of friction and a lot of personal problems, and it showed up on screen to be honest with you.”
Pope cited the unusual length of the shooting schedule – 276 days – as one of the main reasons for the films’ failures.
“That is mind-numbing and soul-numbing and I think it numbs the movie,” he said. “There’s a limit to what we can take in.”
A fourth Matrix film is currently in production, with Lana Wachowski – one of the two Wachowski sisters who directed the original films – serving as director and co-writer.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are set to reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively, while Jada Pinkett-Smith, who featured in Reloaded and Revolutions, will also return.