MATRIX REVISITED, THE
Reviewed November 15th, 2001 by Dan Jones
“I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.”
Ah, yes... the Matrix. A movie that took the world by storm, March 31, 1999. A movie that stretched the science fiction genre to new levels, a movie with dazzling special effects, a great script, great acting (even from the beloved Keanu Reaves), and a movie with a truly great and immersive plot. A story of how perceived reality was not the true reality, a story of computers taking over our world and then placing us into a Matrix; a world exactly like the world we were accustomed to. A story of how a group of people would fight back against this force by entering back into this world; and master its weaknesses in an attempt to disrupt it, with an ultimate goal of taking it down, to set free humanity. It was a truly brilliant film. Yet, I am sure if you read this site, you have seen The Matrix anyways and already know everything that I just said; making this intro paragraph just about useless... hurrah!
When the Matrix was first released on DVD, we had to assume it would be great; and it truly was. We got a great transfer, great audio, and some truly solid extras. Nevertheless, with a movie of this magnitude we had to know that they had more to offer; perhaps they were holding back on us... well, of course, we were right.
By now, most of us who are heavily addicted to DVDs should know that studios have a habit of releasing “Special Edition” DVDs with extra goodies that were not included in initial DVD releases. Granted, some of these Special Editions contain new transfers or new Dolby Digital/DTS mixes, yet some contain just additional extras, perhaps audio commentary, etc... Of course, since most of us enjoy the movies that we purchase on DVD (although I know some of you addicts out there never even watch some of the movies you purchase); we feel the need to upgrade our “inferior” discs to these special editions, which essentially requires us buying the same movie twice, just to get the latest bells and whistles. (Was that too cliché?) Thankfully enough, Warner has decided to not partake in this activity (at least with The Matrix), rather deciding to release a supplement disc that is just that: a supplement. Of course, they are also offering the Matrix Gold as a package, but that would only apply to those that do not own the original release, as the movie itself is the exact same on both releases; just that it includes The Matrix Revisited.
Alas, on to the DVD at hand. The Matrix Revisited provides us with an appetizer if you will; getting us back into the Matrix mood before the second, heavily anticipated installment to the Matrix trilogy comes out, The Matrix Reloaded. We get an impressive two hours and three minute documentary covering just about everything anyone would ever want to know about the making of The Matrix, along with some tidbits and teases at work being done on the second, heavily secretive sequel.
For now, I will cut right to the main presentation, and deal with the small extra supplements later. One of the nicest things about this presentation is the interviews with many of the main stars, namely Keanu Reeves (Neo, of course), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity), and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith), along with the brains behind the genius that was The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers (Andy and Larry), producer Joel Silverfight, and the amazing choreographer, Master Yuen Wo Ping (the disc also includes his Blocking Tapes), whom I probably could not take in a fight (seriously), and a few others whom played an important role in the creation of The Matrix. This is truly a great documentary, with a very nice runtime... running thirteen minutes short of The Matrix itself.
We also get a few very short supplement supplemental material (?). First off is the amusing “True Followers” segment, giving an interesting look at a group of Matrix super fans... or... how do I put this?... people that cannot get enough of the green pills. If nothing else, this short is just funny, one of those “check this out” things that you can show your friends; who are hopefully not portrayed on the disc. Second up, “What Is To Come?” a segment which gives us some stunt footage into the sequel. Nothing too in-depth here; very promo orientated. Next, we have the “Whatisthematrix.com?” segment dealing with the website behind the movie. This nice and short fluff piece once again falls under the category of one-time-viewing. Also included is “What Is Animatrix?” a look at the upcoming Matrix anime project, the aforementioned Yuen Wo Ping’s blocking tapes, and “But Wait, There's More,” which deals more with special effects.
Clearly there is a mass of Matrix information on this disc; now you are probably wondering (or not), how is this all presented on the DVD?
The Matrix Revisited is presented in the blessed (sarcasm) 1.33:1 full screen ratio, which is all too typical of documentaries and behind the scenes extras. Various movie clips are of course in widescreen (although non-anamorphic). Alas, not a big deal. The video looks great, obviously shot digitally, clean of any real blemishes or compression problems. Colors are nice and rich for a documentary. All in all, just fine.
Audio wise we are treated to a full 5.1 Dolby Digital track... although perhaps this is overkill, in that the majority of the documentary is interviews and other not so lively behind the scenes information. Just don’t expect your LFE channel to start rumbling when Laurence Fishburne starts talking. We are also given subtitles in English (including closed captions), Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Thai.
Overall, the Matrix Revisited is an impressive piece of work. It gives any hardcore fan just about all The Matrix they can stomach, and then some. While it does not give too much information at all into The Matrix Reloaded, that was never really its goal in the first place. At a list price of $19.99, The Matrix Revisited is a bit on the expensive side. When I first heard about it I assumed they would have to sell it for about $14.99 (which, as of this reviews date, is the current Amazon price), but, after viewing the disc it really seems that they have put quite a bit of effort into it. And anyways, who pays list price anymore?
So, all things considered, is it worth it? Well obviously if you do not own the Matrix, but have seen it, it might be worth a rental. If you own the original DVD and are a big fan of the movie then I would say, yes, definitely go buy it. This is a truly good supplement disc. Recommended.
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