It's what every fan of The Matrix movies
want... more! More eye-opening revelations, more plugged-in
discovery, more realms of bold possibility, as the trilogy
that set a new standard in moviemaking now sets a new standard
in DVD gift sets with The Ultimate Matrix Collection...
now everyone's seen The Matrix, right? What do you
mean "What's The Matrix?" So let's explore exactly
what's on these discs.
10-DVD collection comes in two formats. The one I'm presently
reviewing is a nicely-presented slip box incorporating five
of the cardboard-type DVD cases and a detailed booklet describing
by title the assembled features and breaking the films up
In case you've been in another galaxy for the last century,
the first film in the trilogy has Neo discovering that what
he thinks is the real world is in fact a computer program
created by machines which have humans wired-up like batteries
to power their vast city. The Matrix comes as an excellent
2-disc set. The first contains a new digital transfer of the
film, a written intro by the writer/director Wachowski Brothers,
and three new commentaries (one from philosophers Dr Cornel
West and Ken Wilber, the other from critics Todd McCarthy
of Variety, John Powers of Vogue and David Thomson,
author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film).
The second disc has a feature length documentary called The
Matrix Revisited, 3-hours of audio music (made up of 41
tracks) called The Music Revisited, featurettes Behind
The Matrix, and Take The Red Pill, Follow the
White Rabbit (containing 17 featurettes originally linked
in branching to the film, CD ROM material and Web Links).
Matrix Reloaded is also a 2-disc set. After an innovative,
intelligent and thought-provoking first film, this one tries
to be too clever and simply ends up complicating the situation.
However, there is a number of outstanding set pieces and these
alone are worth seeing the film for.
first disc contains The Matrix Reloaded film, with
introductions and commentaries as per The Matrix. The
second disc has Enter The Matrix (23 live action sequences
shot for the video game, which tie-in with the overall structure
of The Matrix trilogy) with Niobe and Ghost the main
characters. There's also I'll Handle Them (Behind the
scenes of The Great Hall sequence), The Exiles (explaining
the backgrounds of the peripheral characters), Unplugged
(the multiple Mr Smith fight), Teahouse Fight (where
Neo is tested before seeing the Oracle), and Weblinks. The
best section on this disc is Car Chase, wherein the
Freeway Sequence is picked apart from concept to realisation.
The motorcycle stunt woman is fearless, and the choreography
and computer plotting is fascinating.
Matrix Revolutions is the third of the trilogy, a generally
action-packed but messy conclusion where the accepted exaggeration
of the first two films went a little too far.
it's a 2-disc set for this one, with the movie and commentaries
as per the first two films. Disc 2 is again packed with features.
Crew explores set construction, artists, lighting and
the 2nd film unit, Hel uncovers stunts, wire work,
working extras, and explosive and physical effects. Siege
describes making the machines a reality, computerising sequences,
storyboarding the final scene of the Mifune character, constructing
the IPU mechanical fighting machine, and the new actors for
this film. Super Burly Brawl plots the shooting of
the last fight scenes between Neo and Smith. New Blue World
is about creating Zion, on-screen graphics, and constructing
a fist fight in the real world. The Aftermath describes
the music composition, shooting two films back to back and
coding for cutting, sound effects, and rendering the visual
The Animatrix contains nine short films (see
my review of last year) totalling 89 minutes, and
bonus material on a single disc. There are director commentaries
on four of the films. Scrolls to Screen is a nice documentary
on the culture and history of Anime. Creators is a
text feature on the directors and segment producers. There
is also a short featurette on each of the short films. This
is a great disc with some extremely diverse stories in terms
of style and content.
final 3-disc section is called The Matrix Experience.
The first disc is The Roots of The Matrix, an in-depth
and surprisingly interesting documentary exploring the philosophies
of the concepts covered in the trilogy. This disc also has
another feature which investigates and theorises on the plausibility
of the science behind the fiction.
2 contains some of the best material in this set. A long documentary
called The Burly Man Chronicles (apparently a working
title for some of the shoot) covers a countdown in approximate
days of the training, set building, computer rendering, planning,
acting, filming and a thousand and one other tasks carried
out, all in the name of making a movie (or two, as this covers
the back to back films). Every area is viewed or covered in
some way, but never lingers long enough to make you lose interest.
Furthermore, there's 21 White Rabbit branching link featurettes
with the documentary. This, more than any other feature I
can think of, will astound you with just how much is involved
in presenting fictional celluloid for our viewing pleasure.
It is extremely big business.
Zion Archive, the final disc for this set, is the definite
weak link here. Aside from semi-interesting concept artwork
and storyboards, the majority of the rest comprises of TV
spots and trailers for each film in the trilogy. The Rave
Reel gives us music and computer imagery resembling a
sophisticated Windows Media Player, and The Matrix Online
shows and describes moments from the website game.
a lot to get your teeth into then. This set is a Matrix
fanatic's dream. There's certainly a lot of attention to detail.
However, I'm obliged I think to reduce my marks by a point
from 9 simply because this is not a mainstream release. You
would have to eat, drink and sleep - in fact, live and breathe
- The Matrix to fork-out for more than 35 hours of
bonus material. Nice idea though.
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