What is the Matrix? According to Morpheus, it’s ‘all around you’, but in our reality it is a movie that revolutionized sci-fi and action as we know it as well as tell a story that every religion and group can relate to and call their own. It spun off two big budget sequels, a series of animated shorts, a comic book series, three video games, and countless of other merchandise. It is also the first movie to sell over a million copies on DVD. So, what is the Matrix? In many people’s eyes it is just a great action movie, but in truth it is a masterpiece that is often overlooked for what it has contributed to mainstream media.
Most people have seen The Matrix, but for those who haven’t, it is a story of freedom, salvation, and a savior. Neo (Keanu Reeves) has always been hunting for Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the answer to ‘what is the matrix’. As Neo becomes more and more fed up with his life and what he perceives as reality, he is contacted by a hacker known as Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) who offers him the answer to his question. He quickly learns that the matrix is a false reality that holds him and nearly every living human imprisoned in order for machines to actually use their bodies as nothing more than a battery. Morpheus offers him freedom from the matrix and trains him with the belief that he is ‘the one’. Meaning that Morpheus believes Neo is the savior who is destined to fight the system and eventually set the human race free.
When Morpheus is captured by Agents, programs that are faster, stronger, and can not be beat by mere humans, Neo must make a choice to risk his own life to free him. With the help of Trinity, Neo re-enters the matrix to save Morpheus and take on the Agents. Upon doing so Neo learns more about himself than he ever could imagine and unknowingly becomes the answer that many were looking for.
One of the most wonderful things about The Matrix is the story that is told. The plot grabs hold of the audience's imagination and tells a story that ranges from a fairy-tale to a nightmare. It has a deeply original story line and it grabs ideas from many influences, those most notably in the anime field. Many people’s religious beliefs play into how they feel about this movie and what message it is trying to get across. This, in turn, is huge as it has spawned conversation from Sunday morning Bible Studies in Christian Churches to Atheist groups around the world. The ponderance climaxes with the question, ‘is this the most influential movie of our generation?’
Even with that question, there are many speculators out there and much of the ‘greatness’ many bestowed upon this movie back at the turn of the century has been weighed down by the sequels that fell way shy of the original. Still, one must wonder how does a movie filled with action and science-fiction fit into philosophy lectures.
As deep as The Matrix goes, it also should be recognized as just one ‘incredible’ movie (or as Keanu might say ‘righteous’). This movie not only pushed all the right buttons at a philosophical level, but at an entertainment level as well. The action is just down-right amazing, and the special effects and CGI make for some incredible scenes. The acting does its job as well, as I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit worried about this when I learned Keanu Reeves was in the starring role. But not only was Reeves perfect for his part, Carrie-Anne Mosses career was catapulted into the spotlight and Fishburne returned to ‘bad-assism’ (if that’s even a word).
The Matrix right away was recognized for what it did for big budget action movies. The action sequences, special effects, and CGI were all breathtaking and groundbreaking forever changing how movies would look and in a sense, ‘behave’ from there on out. The running up walls, flipping over enemies, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, all the way to the ‘bullet time’ sequences that showed bullets rippling through the air has effected nearly every action or science fiction flick since.
What The Matrix is, is something that may not be matched by another movie for sometime. For generations to come, this movie will still be talked about and it's legacy will continue on, much like many of the classics that changed cinema decades ago. With an incredible story, unbelievable action, and surprisingly amazing acting, The Matrix is a no-brainer and should be viewed by everyone who enjoys sitting through a movie.
The Matrix was a movie that many were waiting for since the first days of Blu-ray and HD DVD, and even though HD DVD got the action first, Blu-ray fans got some treats for holding on a bit longer. Released in both Warner Digibook form as well as in the ‘Ultimate Collection’ set, The Matrix saw identical specs in both releases.
Everybody got what they waited for when it came to the presentation, and with the video, lets just say nobody was disappointed. With a 1080p VC-1 encode Warner Brothers delivers a knock-out punch that captivates. The detail throughout the movie is simply stunning, everything that had been lost in the DVD release is now front and center on the screen. No crushing, no losing objects in dark corners, no loss at all as every corner of the screen is chalked full. The image is three-dimensional the whole way through, from the opening sequence with Trinity to the final phone call Neo makes. Colors are vibrant and beautiful as every color gets its opportunity to shine. Greens are the most noteable, but blues, reds, yellows, and others are true and bright. Everything else looks fantastic as well from skintones to landscape in the background… The Matrix has never looked so good.
The audio is a clear cut winner also, as the sound effects are a must to complete The Matrixexperience. One could easily show off their surround sound with this Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that excersises every speaker marvelously. Dialogue is never drowned out as it some time was on the DVD release. Every conversation is crisp and clear, with the center channel doing a great job. Sound effects are perfect, ranging from every speaker to the subwoofer. Slow motion sequences sound great as well as explosions, fighting and those wonderful ‘slow-motion’ bullets. Chalk another perfect 10 up for this disc, as this presentation is flawless.
The Matrix had been previously released in The Ultimate Matrix Collection but for this stand-a-lone release it gets some nice ‘Digibook’ packaging. The ‘Digibook’ includes a full colored booklet with information about the movie, writers/directors, and actors. Along with this beautiful little book are a nice plate of other extras.
Picture-in-Picture Track: Follow the commentaries while also enjoying video clips of how special effects were done, or action sequences were completed. This PiP track is very nice and offers the audience a variety of information about the movie.
Introduction: The Wachowski Brothers kick off all the extras with a written introduction.
Audio Commentaries: There are plenty of Audio Commentaries, all featuring something (and someone) different. There is a "Philosopher's Commentary" featuring Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber, a "Critics Commentary" with Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson, another track with effects personnel Zach Staenberg and John Gaeta, plus actress Carrie-Anne Moss, as well as a music-only track featuring comments from composer Don Davis (in between the music). All four tracks offer something different and unique, and a few of these have never been done by other main stream Hollywood movies.
The Music Revisited: A long and extended featurette that takes a deep look into all the music and score used in The Matrix.
Documentary: The Matrix Revisited: This documentary was originally released on its own during the DVD days. The Matrix Revisited is a 122 minutes long covering everything from the beginning of the project to the final days and release. There is nothing left unturned here and, although it is long, this is a true treat to all the fans.
Vignettes: "Take the Red Pill" and "Follow the White Rabbit" vignettes that were included on the DVD release are present here as well. "Take the Red Pill" includes "What is Bullet Time?" and "What is the Concept" while "Follow the White Rabbit" includes "Trinity Escapes", "Pod", "Kung Fu", "Wall", "Bathroom Fight", "Government Lobby", "Government Roof", "Helicopter" and "Subway".
Promotional Gallery: This gallery includes the trailers, tv spots, and other promotional items surrounding The Matrix
The Matrix not only changed science-fiction and action movies forever, it has played a major role in the change cinema altogether has gone through. With an amzing story, mixed with state-of-the-art special effects, CGI, and action, The Matrix is a clear cut winner. Mix that with a flawless Blu-ray presentation, a healthy portion of extras, and a beautiful ‘Digibook’ package and you get a Must Own!