Oct 272018
 

The Matrix Trilogy is one of the more disappointing franchises having started off incredibly strong but the scripts for the two sequels relied too heavily on philosophical gobbledygook that it made it hard to watch, despite the (generally) great visual effects.

 

 

The Matrix Trilogy
(1999-2004)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action
Warner Brothers | R – 405 min. – $70.99 | October 30, 2018

Date Published: 10/27/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: The Wachowskis
Writer(s): The Wachowskis (written by)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Harry Lennix, Monica Bellucci, Harold Perrineau, Lambert Wilson, Gina Torres, Ian Bliss
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 9
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.25/5


THE MATRIX (1999) — 4.25/5
Plot Synopsis: Neo (KEANU REEEVES) believes that Morpheus (LAURENCE FISHBURNE), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question: What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (CARRIE-ANNE MOSS), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.

Review: The Matrix came out nearly 20 years ago and still holds up today, both in terms of a well told story, albeit the philosophical dialogue was a bit much to be honest, as well as some still impressive visual effects, though it’s hard not to think of the numerous movies that attempted to copy or parody the style.

One of the more interesting aspects was the inspiration behind the story by The Wachowskis was the hit manga and anime series. What’s funny, all of these years later, it is by far and away the better Ghost in the Shell adaptation than the actual live action adaptation.

The acting from Laurence Fishburne is rather good considering the on-point and philosophical dialogue, as he does one hell of a job delivering it while Keanu Reeves was… fine especially considering he never was considered to be a great auteur though in recent years, courtesy of the John Wick franchise, has revitalized his career. Carrie-Anne Moss for her part kicked ass and for their short amount of screen time, did at least have good chemistry with Reeves.

Now, as good and entertaining of a movie that The Matrix was in my latest viewing, its subsequent sequels were rather lame to the point I’d like to imagine Reloaded and Revolutions don’t exist at all as they took that all-too-serious philosophical storytelling to the next level where it became utterly laughable, and that’s not to mention just a messy plot and stupid cliffhanger ending in Reloaded.

In the end, The Matrix is hardly perfect but still really enjoyable with some finely choreographed fighting and action sequences intermixed with, at its core, a really interesting story.


THE MATRIX RELOADED (2003) — 3.0/5
Plot Synopsis: Freedom fighters Neo (REEVES), Trinity (MOSS) and Morpheus (FISHBURNE) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine Army, unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills and weaponry against the systematic forces of repression and exploitation. In their quest to save the human race from extinction, they gain greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo’s pivotal role in the fate of mankind.

Quick Hit Review: Funny thing, when I first saw The Matrix Reloaded back in 2003 in the theater, I was absolutely in love with it, even heaping praise in my old review and giving it a 4.5/5. What time does, not to mention a pretty bad follow-up, to change one’s mind. Seeing the movie again after well over a decade, I didn’t find it nearly as compelling as its predecessor, the philosophical mumbo jumbo was annoying and the acting was rather substandard to being over-the-top, namely Laurence Fishburne was at times was a bit grating.

All that said, it’s a technically well put together film from writer/directors Wachowski Brothers (at the time) and the visual effects was rather impressive and holds up relatively well save for rubber Neo who looked like he was animated that it was utterly hilarious.


THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS (2004) —2.25/5
Plot Synopsis: In a dystopia overrun by robots, Neo (REEVES), mankind’s greatest hope, is trapped in a limbo world. Meanwhile, the majority of the planet’s population remains in a state of suspended virtual reality. The few humans who are cognizant of the grim realities of the world desperately try to hold off their mechanical enemies long enough for Neo to escape and save the day, but things turn disastrous when all-powerful computer program Agent Smith (HUGO WEAVING) arrives in the flesh.

Quick Hit Review: The final entry in this franchise was a big letdown and colored my viewing on Reloaded. The philosophical dialogue was taken up a big notch and really ruined what could’ve been a fun viewing experience and turning it into a chore to even sit through. There came a point where I could not care less about any of these characters, which is a shame since we’ve spent plenty of time with them, and the visual effects were fine though the return of CGI Neo and Mr. Smith, now in the rain, looked so lame and the stakes of the fight really were diminished because it felt like I was watching a cut scene from a video game.

The Matrix franchise started out with a bang with amazing visuals and the creation of the “bullet time” effect that would be copied ad nauseam and it would end in a whimper and showcased the decline of the Wachowskis who have failed to find the spark ever since with box office flops like Speed Race, Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.75/5


Each movie is housed in its own 4K case which side slides into a slip case. There is a redemption code for the Trilogy.

THE MATRIX — 5.0/5
Discs 1 & 2 (4K UHD & BD):
Audio Commentaries

  • Philosophers – Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber
  • Critics – Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson
  • Cast & Crew – Actress Carrie-Anne Moss, Editor Zach Staenberg and Visual Effects Supervisor John Gaeta
  • Composer – Don Davis (Music-Only Track)

Written Introduction by The Wachowskis (Blu-ray Only)

Disc 3:
Behind the Story:

  • The Matrix Revisited (2:02:50) is an extensive behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews by the cast and crew, taking us back from the beginning through its rise in popularity and leading into the sequels.
  • Behind The Matrix (43:06) is a combination of making-of featurettes from the HBO special to the stunt chorography and other BTS shorts.
  • Follow the White Rabbit (22:51) are more featurettes focusing on the various action/fight set pieces.
  • Take the Red Pill (17:42) is split into two featurettes, one on the revolutionary special-effects sequence of the Bullet Time and the other on the concept behind the movie.

Music:

  • The Music Revisited (3:14:51) allows you to listen to the score/soundtrack. Pretty cool but I prefer to have it on my iPod…
  • Rock is Dead (3:20) – Music Video by Marilyn Manson.

Trailers:

  • The Matrix Teaser (1:01)
  • The Matrix Trailer (2:33)
  • The Matrix TV Spots (3:54)

THE MATRIX RELOADED — 4.75/5
Discs 1 & 2:
Audio Commentaries:

  • Philosophers – Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber
  • Critics – Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson

Disc 2:
In-Movie Experience (2:18:17) takes viewers behind the scenes with picture-in-picture footage taken from the “Behind the Story” section of the special features disc.

Written Introduction by The Wachowskis 

Disc 3:
Behind the Story:

  • Behind The Matrix (46:57) is split into four parts and has some great behind-the-scenes footage with on-set interviews by the cast and crew as they go into making the sequel.
  • Car Chase (1:26:07) breaks down the chase sequences, specifically the freeway chase from visual effects to pre-viz to looking at the different cars involved.
  • Teahouse Fight (7:04) – This has behind-the-scenes footage and a bio on martial artist Collin Chou and his background.
  • Unplugged (40:26) splits into how the “Burly Brawl” was filmed from preparation to stunts.
  • I’ll Handle Them (17:10) is on set designs and weapons for the “Great Hall” fight.
  • The Exiles (17:53) – Here the cast talk about their characters and the “Architect’s Office” scene.

Additional Footage contains a Making-of Enter the Matrix: The Game (28:17) and cut scenes (42:31) from the game with interviews intercut.

Music Video (3:43) – “Sleeping Awake” by P.O.D.


THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS — 4.5/5
Discs 1 & 2:
Audio Commentaries:

  • Philosophers – Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber
  • Critics – Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson

Disc 2:
In-Movie Experience (2:09:17) takes viewers behind the scenes with picture-in-picture footage taken from the “Behind the Story” section of the special features disc.

Written Introduction by The Wachowskis

Disc 3:

Behind the Story:

  • Behind The Matrix (1:30:05) is broken down into 9 sections and includes how the multiple Agent Smiths were created, training, visual effects, evolution of the bullet time technique, storyboards, and more.

 


VIDEO – 4.75/5


The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions are all presented in their original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p high-definition transfers. These were alrready great looking movies and it seems the 4K format gives it that extra boost be it with the colors where the greens of the Matrix pop (courtesy of the HDR), the deep black levels or the incredible sharpness. Not sure if its heads and shoulders above the Blu-ray, but it is discernible and if there’s any movie that takes advantage of, thanks to the creative directors (at least in terms of style) the new format, this one does.

AUDIO – 5.0/5


All three movies comes with a Dolby Atmos track adding additional channels which only help expand on the action sequences which output of every speaker with excellent clarity while the LFE channel rumbles on to give the track an additional boost. Should be noted the Blu-ray disc also contains an Atmos track on all three films.

 


OVERALL – 4.25/5


Overall, The Matrix Trilogy is one of the more disappointing franchises having started off incredibly strong with a perfect mixture of stunning visual effects with strong writing and performances to having sequels which certainly had style, though the effects on Neo/Mr. Smith were laughable awful, but the scripts relied too heavily on philosophical gobbledygook. Shame really as The Wachowskis are talented but have failed to reach the heights of Bound and The Matrix. This 4K box set offers up excellent video/audio transfers and ports over all the in-depth featurettes and commentaries.

 

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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