The Ultimate Matrix Collection
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Ten-disc set includes "The Matrix," "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolutions," the documentary "The Matrix Revisited," and "The Animatrix". Standard and Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital stereo, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital stereo; Subtitles: English (SDH), French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese; audio commentary; "making of" documentaries; photo gallery; storyboards; music video; TV spots; theatrical trailers; more.
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 Storey
The Matrix Reloaded
Considering the lofty expectations that preceded it, The Matrix Reloaded triumphs where most sequels fail. It would be impossible to match the fresh audacity that made The Matrix a global phenomenon in 1999, but in continuing the exploits of rebellious Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they struggle to save the human sanctuary of Zion from invading machines, the codirecting Wachowski brothers have their priorities well in order. They offer the obligatory bigger and better highlights (including the impressive "Burly Brawl" and freeway chase sequences) while remaining focused on cleverly plotting the middle of a brain-teasing trilogy that ends with The Matrix Revolutions. The metaphysical underpinnings can be dismissed or scrutinized, and choosing the latter course (this is, after all, an epic about choice and free will) leads to astonishing repercussions that made Reloaded an explosive hit with critics and hardcore fans alike. As the centerpiece of a multimedia franchise, this dynamic sequel ends with a cliffhanger that virtually guarantees a mind-blowing conclusion. --Jeff Shannon
The Matrix Revolutions
Despite the inevitable law of diminishing returns, The Matrix Revolutions is quite satisfying as an adrenalized action epic, marking yet another milestone in the exponential evolution of computer-generated special effects. That may not be enough to satisfy hardcore Matrix fans who turned the Wachowski Brothers' hacker mythology into a quasi-religious pop-cultural phenomenon, but there's no denying that the trilogy goes out with a cosmic bang instead of the whimper that many expected. Picking up precisely where The Matrix Reloaded left off, this 130-minute finale finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) at a virtual junction, defending the besieged human enclave of Zion by confronting the attacking machines on their home turf, while humans combat swarms of tentacled mechanical sentinels as Zion's fate lies in the balance. It all amounts to a blaze of CGI glory, devoid of all but the shallowest emotions, and so full of metaphysical hokum that the trilogy's detractors can gloat with I-told-you-so sarcasm. And yet, Revolutions still succeeds as a slick, exciting hybrid of cinema and video game, operating by its own internal logic with enough forward momentum to make the whole trilogy seem like a thrilling, magnificent dream. -- Jeff Shannon
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The second and third movies paled in comparison. I think part was that trying to follow a phenomenon like that is nearly impossible, and the fact that they seemed hastily put together and with just an OK story instead of a groundbreaker follow up. I still enjoy all of the movies for the story but we all just have to realize that the first was the best and the second two at least expanded and then closed the story out.
These have all of the special features and then some that the special edition DVDs that I had, had on them. The quality is good, and the packaging is much smaller than the individual DVDs.
It's a truely fascinating and amazing Blu-Ray set and the makers clearly exhausted the entire Matrix archive collection. If there is anything you ever wanted to know about The Matrix it's on this set, from costumes to music to how people felt about the movie to the type of food they ate while shooting the flick, The Ultimate Matrix Collection on Blu-Ray is a must for anybody who loves movies. HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!!
There are several commentary tracks in this blu-ray set, but this is unique. You get the obligatory cast and crew track (surprisingly not interesting in the first Matrix. There is a track pertaining to the score, which is pretty cool to listen to.
There are two more critical tracks, though. For each of the three films, the Wachowskis include a panel of philosopher's that are pro-Matrix. (Makes sense - one of them, Dr. Cornel West, plays the annoying Zion city councilman.) There is ANOTHER commentary track, this one with a trio of critics. They're not afraid. to criticize, and in the end, I sort of think these guys like them.
I'm a bit unusual in that I see that the "Matrix: Reloaded" has a lot of merit. "Revolutions" is a train wreck, but with 4 commentary tracks on top of the original soundtrack, you definitely get your money's worth.
It was such a great hit that of course, it was subjected to copying style, abuse, over saturation and some less than stellar sequels.
But, if you love the movie as much as I do and have given it a rest for a while, this box set is the one to own.
Even the sequels had many scenes that were noteworthy and great fun.
And if you do not already own the "Animatrix" this is certainly worth your purchase. Some great shorts on that disc.
The whole box-set is going for a great price right now, toss your VHS and DvD over to the kids and buy this. 5 years from now, you will be very glad you did.