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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Nothing really special but the real reason why anyone would want to purchase this is due to the actual movies.
As a pretty big matrix fan, I'd recommend this set to anyone.
Granted, some people hate the Matrix sequels. I'm not one of them. I see what's wrong with them, but they get so many things right that once you get past that first viewing the minor flaws are easy to ignore.
I've seen all of these films several times, but this was my first time watching them on Blu-Ray. So, so, SO much better than DVD! And while most of the bonus materials are standard definition, it didn't bother me much.
There are hours upon hours of bonuses. It's like an all-you-can-eat buffet of Matrixness. After each film, I went through and watched the bonus clips I was most interested in. They were fantastic, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface, so I know if I want to go back and see more anytime I can. (I highly recommend the bit where the actors talk about their roles in The Matrix Reloaded. The Keymaker guy is so great.)
I hadn't watched the Animatrix films before. They were better than I expected! The Wachowski brothers came up with the story for some of them and Don Davis did a lot of the music. Not up to par with the main trilogy, but they're very enjoyable and they fill in bits and pieces of story you miss in the feature films. The same goes for the footage shot for Enter the Matrix (directed by the Wachowskis and included on the Reloaded disc). However, I've read that over two hours of film were shot for that game, and I could only find ~50 minutes of it on the disc. Still, it definitely filled in some gaps for me and was satisfying to see.
I haven't even gotten to the Matrix Experience disc, but I already feel like I got way, way more than my money's worth with this collection. If you dig the Matrix, don't hesitate. Pick this up. And if you don't have a Blu-Ray player? Uh, buy a PS3 and pick this up!
The Matrix (1999, 9.4)
The one that started it all and indeed the best of the series. It was groundbreaking for the time with state-of-the-art special effects, cool action scenes, top-notch acting, and complex story that would keep you thinking in a computer world where anything goes. It involves computer programmer Thomas Anderson who has a double life as a hacker under the alias of Neo (Keanu Reeves) teaming up with the Nebuchanezzer captain Morpheous (Laurence Fishburne), infamous hacker and Neo's love interest Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and the rest of the crew trying to learn about the secrets of the Matrix while trying to evade the trio of nefarious agents led by Smith (Hugo Weaving) and crew traitor Cypher (Joe Pantoliano). Behind the cool concept, the plot is kind of like a basic underdog film in lieu of Star Wars, Total Recall, Rocky, The Karate Kid, Terminator series, Slumdog Millionaire, Avatar, some of Disney's animated films, you name it, but still overall enjoyable.
The Animatrix (2003, 9.0)
A great and informative compilation of animated segments that go deeper into the back-story and mythyos of the series with varying kinds of Japanese and computer animation listed below.
*Final Flight of the Osiris - Shown in theaters with Dreamcatcher and involves the Osiris crew discovering that the sentinels have found Zion and are about to launch an attack and one of the members, Jue, sends a message to Zion in the Matrix while the sentinels attack them and destroy the ship. It was made by Squaresoft with excellent and detailed CGI animation from Final Fantasy: the Spirit Within.
*The Second Renaissance - A two part back-story of the origins of the human vs. machine feud, when the machines started rebelling against humans and using them for infinite energy after they made a giant black cloud to block the sun, and how the Matrix came to be.
*Kid's Story - A segment involving Kid being chased by the Agents at school after receiving an invitation from Neo to leave the Matrix and how he escaped the Matrix by apparently committing suicide without a red pill. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Clayton Watson are the only three actors from the trilogy to return for this special, let alone the Animatrix compilation in general. The first Matrix movie hints at the rare and nearly impossible self-substantiation and this, along with World Record do more in-dept on how a person can separate from the Matrix safely without a red pill.
Program - Involves a trainee named Sis battling a test program called Duo in a training simulation and wins, but was distraught from killing him.
World Record - A man named Dan was competing in a track meet to set a world record for fastest time. He succeeds, but accidentally unplugs himself in the process and needed rehabilitation in the real world before he can safely walk again.
Beyond - A teenage girl called Yoko looking for her pet cat Yuki in an old abandoned shack with a group of children and discover a glitch in the Matrix and can do anything like stop in midair before hitting the ground and fall slowly with item regeneration. The Agents discover this, evacuate the group, and fix the glitch.
A Detective's Story - A down-on-the-dumps detective named Ash takes a case about finding Trinity using plot-lines, quotes, and phrases from the Alice in Wonderland franchise. After finding Trinity on a train, they are ambushed by Agents and Trinity had to shoot Ash on the shoulder to prevent him from transforming into an Agent. After parting ways, the possibly dying Ash stays behind to take them out.
Matriculated - A group of scientists on the outside world finding how to turn machines to their side by choice use a Matrix fun-house of various gags and teach them the value of human life like the T-800 from Terminator 2, and anyone who read my review knows my love for it and its predecessor. After the sentinels attack the base and kill the rebels, the reprogrammed machine plugs the dying Alexa to say goodbye.
*Co-written by the film's writers and directors, the Wachowski Brothers (Andy and Larry).
The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions (2003, 7.9 and 8.6 respectively)
The Matrix sequels involve the group trying to fend off a war between Zion and the machines that the Osiris crew warned them about before its destruction, but they realized that Neo accidentally transformed Agent Smith into a dangerous virus in his attempt to destroy him in the first film and is now able to copy himself at will by transforming innocent bystanders, especially the Oracle, and plots to destroy the Matrix and all of mankind. After visiting the Architect and rescuing Trinity from her foreshadowed death, he fends off sentinels using his powers from the Matrix that lingered into the real world and slips into a coma that traps him in a train station between the Matrix and real world being held hostage by the Trainman, awaiting rescue from Morpheous and Trinity, and meets a married couple of programs with a daughter without a purpose while the Matrix begins to fall apart. This is basically one screenplay split into two films and released six months apart on the same year, just like Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles nine years before. Both sequels are like a mixed opinion kind of thing, some people loved them, some others hated them or one of the other. I personally hardly heard people properly criticize the sequels without focusing their attention to occasional confusion in the story, which some excuse for stupidity. I know the sequels are harder to understand than the original, but that doesn't make them suck, but to just need time to grow on you as you begin to understand it. For some reason, some people I know favor Reloaded most of the time. People might make fun of me about this, but I think Revolutions is underrated and better than Reloaded which I still accepted as a guilty pleasure and necessary sequel. Yep, I said it! One of the recurring themes of the series is about the choices we make and how they affect the future and, like the Angry Video Game Nerd said, should I pretend to be confused and go along with the crowd or voice my own honest opinion and point out details that others might have missed?
Whether you agree or disagree, here are points that some people prefer Reloaded:
-More emphasis on philosophy in the back-story of the series.
-The most action scenes in the series that are all over the place with the addition of a cool freeway chase.
-Character resurrection plot twist involving Trinity getting shot in mid-air and Neo saving her.
-An abundance of officially licensed songs in the credits.
However, here are the points on how I agree with PlanetHell on favoring Revolutions:
-Returning Agent Smith to his sinister roots after becoming a joke in Reloaded with the overuse of weak clones in battle, especially the Burly Brawl when Neo was able to hold off an entire swarm of them without a scratch, while the real Smith actually put effort into a fight. This is because Neo and Smith would always have equal strength no matter what.
-A more prominent and crucial role with the Oracle instead of just a mere cameo in Reloaded with basic information on programs and choices we make in general that Seraph could have spread to speed up the pacing a bit, but I digress.
-No pointless filler unlike the overlong dance, the Oracle cameo, and subplots that occasionally go nowhere, thus faster paced and more right-to-the-point.
-Action scenes that are more focused, actually have a point to them, and not as over-the-top or excessive.
-The darkest score Don Davis ever composed, but that is not saying much, the scores of the franchise are fantastic.
-Recaptures the darker and more emotional tone of the first movie and doesn't cram as many questions so the characters can convey more emotion while Reloaded was more lighthearted and glossy as well as relies on a lot of exposition that can slow things down at times.
People would have expected the traditional cop-out ending of the main hero defeating the villain once and for all and they all live happily ever after. Woop-de-doodle-do! That is not what the Matrix series is about. Like I said, it is primarily about the choices we make and how it affects the future. After meeting the Deux ex Machina (Latin for God of the Machine) and connecting to the unstable Matrix and challenging Smith to a final showdown with all the clones standing aidely-by, as well as losing the will to live due to Trinity's actual death upon arrival to Machine City and in a last-ditch effort to put an end to Smith's reign of terror, Neo lets Smith transform him into another clone so that Deux ex Machina can bring the Smith code to the source and delete him, sacrificing Neo in the process and making peace with the human race after the big war. The recasting of the Oracle of explaining the change in appearance due to a glitch in the Matrix during a rescue attempt is how you should do a proper transition instead of just leaving it at that. After Gloria Foster fell ill before her scenes for Revolutions and Enter the Matrix were shot and died during production, Mary Alice took over the role of the Oracle and the explanation for the change in looks made the transition easy and unique, kind of like Exorcist 3. By the way, is it just me, or does Alice give more helpful advice in terms of the sequels than Foster? Revolutions also features the train station between two worlds concept from Spirited Away and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In Reloaded when the beginning foreshadowed Trinity's possible death that nearly happened, showing the bit of her getting shot and falling on an oncoming car (ala Lethal Weapon, bipity-bopity-splat!) that early in the film made it feel a little bit predictable to me. Removing the small bit of the Agent successfully shooting her and only the airborne shootout would have been more effective so that people can keep guessing what the outcome of that free-fall would be. This is all my personal opinion. If someone agrees or disagrees, that's okay. I guess you can say, the Matrix really does have me.
Anyway, this is a great collection of the series to own in High Definition if you are a die-hard fan like me. The picture and sound quality is amazing and the special features are great. High Definition is the definitive way to watch these movies.