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Set in the 22nd century, The Matrix tells of a computer hacker (Reeves) who joins a group of underground insurgents fighting the vast and powerful computers who now rule the earth. The computers are powered by human beings...
By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers--Andy and Larry--annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is--a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend.
Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it's a thinking man's journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne--who both turn in fine performances--much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film's box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise--a chapter that is arguably superior to the other sci-fi smash of 1999 (you know... the one starring Jar Jar Binks). --Jeremy StoreySee all Editorial Reviews
- Behind-the-scenes documentary "HBO First Look: Making the Matrix"
- Take the red pills to view two hidden special effects documentaries: "What is Bullet Time?" and "What is the Concept?"
- Follow the white rabbit to nine behind-the-scenes featurettes
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Picture Quality: 4.5/5
The Matrix was shot on 35MM film, so the film grain is more prevalent with the higher resolution. but there is much to be happy about with this new transfer, the uptick in resolution reveals fine details in the costuming, actor faces, and production design and with Dolby Vision HDR, The Colors are bolder and more vivid, more natural , contrast is impeccable, and the black levels are super inky. My jaw was on the floor the whole time...I couldn't believe I was watching a 19 year old movie. Although there were a few scenes with a touch of softness, the Picture quality was almost perfect, and it was in every which way, the best viewing of this movie that I had ever experienced. (I've owned the DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray sets before this)
Sound Quality: 5/5
This 4K set has a new Dolby Atmos mix that is reference quality and will be your go to disc, to demo off to your friends and family! Great use of overhead sounds. nice crisp, clear dialogue, everything just sounds so clean and dynamic. LFE levels are also impressive...you feel every gunshot and explosion with heart-pounding grunt.
(**WARNING Spoiler alert ahead.**) I damn near thought my sub woofer was going to knock my house off its foundation near the end when Agent Smith explodes and Neo is inside of him, sending that pulsating shock wave inside of the Matrix.
This 4K upgrade is worth every penny!
Then in the 'real world' all the ninja stuff Neo and Trinity do is still awesome action. Bullettime filming isn't innovative anymore but it still looks cool in an action movie.
The story holds up well. (On this one. The sequels didn't hold up long enough to get through the first screening the day they came out) As it's core this is still a story about the duality of consciousness and its just incredibly well put together. When Morpheus offers the red/blue pill choice...that scene still has a lot of depth to it on a psychological level.
Oh, and in HD the visuals in The Matrix just crush it. It is a whole different experience in HD. I remember getting this on DVD when it first came out and DVD players were all the rage. I couldn't believe how amazing this looked back then in 480i on a 30 inch screen with the digital DVD presentation. Not on a 60 inch 1080p screen this is visually jaw dropping.
I was nervous about rewatching this movie as it's one of my all time favorites and I haven't seen it in about 10 years. I was worried that it would seem totally cheesy now and it would ruin the memory of it. But that doesn't happen at all. It holds up very well.