6 Featurette - Preload; The Matrix Unfolds; The Freeway Chase; Get Me An Exit; Enter The Matrix Ė The Game; MTV Movie Awards
The Matrix Reloaded
Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 133 mins .
M15+ . PAL
WARNING: If you donít want to know ANYTHING that happens in this film, then please skip this plot section and jump straight to the transfer bits. Seriously, I mean it, donít email me if you think I gave something away. Iíve tried not to, but some of you are a bit anal about this kind of thing, so youíve been warned.
In case you didnít see The Matrix, letís start with a quick summary of the events so far...
Neo: Iím not the One. Morpheus: Yes you are.
Neo: No Iím not. Morpheus: Yes you are.
Neo saves Trinity from a crashing helicopter...
Neo: Whoa! Maybe I am the One? Morpheus: Told you.
This film made all the nerds in the world mess up their pants. They wanted to be in the Matrix. They thought it would be cool to be a human battery until someone came to save them. If they couldnít be in the Matrix, then they would at least dress like they were. Thus, everywhere you went you saw nerds dressed in long black coats, wearing dark shades and acting all moody. It still didnít get them laid.
Then, a long four years later, their manna from heaven had arrivedÖ
Leather, guns, scars and likes to jump out of windows - my kind of girl!
The film begins, nothing happens for 45 minutes.
Nerd: Holy crap! They make me wait four years for a sequel then it takes another 45 minutes before they get the good shit started? Iíll be sending a very sternly worded email to matrixfanboy.com and alt.matrix.loser complaining about this. The Wachowskiís will have to sit up and listen to a serious fan like me!
Morpheus: I must go and inform the citizens of Zion that in approximately 72 hours, eight minutes and 36 seconds, 250,000 of those squid things from the Matrix will have burrowed through the earth and will kill us all. Then we shall have a rave party, with much dancing and orgying. That will show them squids!
Neo: Have fun. Iím going to have sex with Trinity. Nerd: Oh my! Iím gonna wet myself! A rave party and sex? This is everything Iíve ever dreamt about!
"Damn you're handsome!"
"How about a threesome?"
Oracle: You have many questions. I know you want to ask them. I know what they are. Some are obvious, some are not. The answers I will give you are not answers but questions that you will have to answer so that you can know the question yourself and understand why you...
Neo: ...ah shit. You broke my brain, dudess. Nerd: F*CK! This is sooo deep! I just wet myself!
300 CGI Agent Smiths appear. They pick a CGI fight with a CGI Neo. Background music from an X-Treme Sports television show starts. They have a CGI battle royale for 20 minutes until CGI Neo has to go and make another Bill and Ted film, so he does his new Superman thing and flies away. In CGI. NERD: Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! I wet myself again! And I made a mess in my pants!
More plot happens. Everyone talks a lot but very little is actually said.
Nerd: Wow! Iím sure that this is really really important! I gotta remember to log on tonight and see if anyone has analysed this part of the script yet!
Neo: Whereís the Keymaker? Monica Bellucci: I will show you. But first, kiss me Neo. Kiss me hard. Kiss me deep, kiss me long, you big stud! Nerd:HOLY SHIT! YES! Oh man, whatís that wet patch on the chair?
If this was made in 3D, I would have pooped my pants.
Two white guys join the film. They are all white, with white skin, white clothes and white dreadlocks. They can turn into Ďghostsí to avoid injury. They are BADASSES! They chase Trinity and Morpheus. The audience LOVES them. Nerd: F*CK! Iím getting dreadlocks and cowboy boots! Iíve already got the pale skin! Iíll look goddamn kickarse! The guys in I.T. support will think Iím sooo cool! No-one will f*ck with me now!
Then, a MASSIVE, overhyped FREEWAY CHASE happens. It is LONG. All kinds of shit happens, but the highlight is Trinity with the Keymaker on a motorbike weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. It looks REAL. Then Morpheus fights an Agent on the top of a truck. It looks like a SUPER NINTENDO game. Nerd: Shit! Iím selling my scooter and buying a frigging motorbike! And a truck! Shit I wet myself again. Mum's gonna kill me.
A really badly edited sequence happens, culminating in Neo breaking into the Matrix server room. Nerd: No way would he have made it into my server room at work! I got a freakiní keypad on the door! Iím the only one with the codes. Oh, and the cleaner too. But I can kick her arse.
The Architect: Hello Neo. How you doiní? You thought I was Donald Sutherland, didnít you? He was in rehab, so they got me instead, and because the whole budget was spent on effects. Anyway, Iím the guy who made the MatrixÖ Neo: Are you going to do a lot of talking that only programmers and philosophy students think they will understand? The Architect: Something like that. Neo: Then screw mankind. Iím gonna go save Trinity instead. The Architect: That would be your choice to make. I cannot stop you. I shall talk to the nerd. Nerd: Oh man! Let me get out my PDA! I wanna take notes for the newsgroup.
Morpheus: I donít understand. We did as we were supposed to. The prophecy didnít occur as it should, and Zion is still in grave danger. Have I been a pompous boring arse all this time for nothing? Neo: Yeah dude. Trinity: Yes. Nerd: Yes.
To be concludedÖ
Youíd pretty much expect nothing short of perfection for this film, wouldnít you? The first Matrix was widely applauded as a great transfer, so things should rightly only get better with time and technology. And it does. Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio and saddled up with 16:9 enhancement, your display will have you drooling like all good looking movies should.
557 channels and nothing on. No wonder he invented the Matrix.
Naturally, the smaller screens will definitely lose impact yet they will look damn sharp, but larger screens will come closer to recreating the cinematic experience, with every inch of the screen used in the many action scenes filled with movement and activity to the very edges. This is a film that demands a lot be taken in during the more complex effects moments and it rewards attention. On the flipside, if you are prone to spotting less than perfect CGI (as I was in the cinema) then the clarity afforded here is just going to make these moments all the more obvious.
Colouring is as weíre used to by now with this series, being a strange mix of greens and blues and only really revealing warmer hues when shifting back to the safety of Zion which is also much darker and cloaked in shadow. The amount of visible grain is variable, mostly something youíll ignore entirely and never something intrusive on the viewing.
Ha! Youíre gonna have some mighty pissed off neighbours! I know I do right now. Hereís a tip: turn it up. Not just for the obvious reasons, but also because I thought it was a tad low to get the right effect out of my system. Bass and effects sounded pretty anaemic until the dial on my receiver had an extra push, plus there were a few brief lines in the generally spot-on dialogue that were hard to make out at lower volumes.
When the action kicks in, though, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (348kbps) basically went berserk in all the right ways. The soundstage went expansive when needed, effects were well placed spatially to give the feeling of things happening off-camera and the surrounds enjoyed a full and active workout. There are a lot of demo scenes in there, so youíll doubtless find yourself playing this DVD endlessly when friends drop by for a look-see.
One thing I did think odd was the soundtrack playing over the credits. As soon as it kicked in I noticed a severe lack of bass, and it plays out that thereís no LFE at all for the music, making it sound a bit too tinny for my liking. This might not seem like a big deal, but consider that a lot of people like the soundtrack. Also, if you stick around right until the end of the credits youíll see the Matrix Revolutions trailer, which does have the LFE channel running. Fault? Flaw? Intention? Dunno, but weird anyway.
Coming as a two disc set, both DVDs use a full screen full motion menu system pulling scenes from the film. Disc one features the movie only, so pop the second disc in to view the bonus features.
A hidden scene of Neo beating up 100 Agent Barney clones. (Just kidding, I made this up.)
A typical ďMaking of...Ē where everyone waxes lyrical about how amazing it was to work on the films, and how great, deep and exciting the story, process and the people are, if you can get beyond all the backslapping you can dig out a little bit of interesting info here. Where it just starts to touch on areas that might be really interesting, such as the creation of the sets, the world and the effect, it quickly moves on and leaves you with just brief soundbites. This is a pity, and I can only imagine that upcoming re-releases and boxsets after the third movie might expand on this (hopefully).
The Matrix Unfolds (05:22)
When Carrie-Anne Moss says here that she had a life changing experience making The Matrix, you have to wonder what she would think after shooting the two follow-up films. Trilogies such as this, Lord of the Rings and yeah, probably Star Wars (remember that one?), would have to have had a changing effect of some kind on cast and crew by way of the time of time spent within their respective universe. Unfortunately, this tiny featurette does nothing in five minutes to show us anything coherent and tell us something new, other than that we should play the game, watch the animated shorts then watch the films. The most useless extra on the disc.
...and this is why little Tommy couldn't buy bananas from Safeway yesterday. Poor Tommy. Screw the truck drivers.
The Freeway Chase (30:49)
Car chases hold a special place in film history, with many fondly remembered for just the chase itself. Matrix Reloaded contains a grand spectacle that many people consider (erroneously, I think) to be the ultimate incarnation of the art of vehicular pursuit and destruction. For my money, I believe that the sheer visceral destruction of the crane/car/motorbike/firetruck chase of Terminator 3 comes out ahead, but thereís no doubting the scope of the chase in Reloaded. Itís pretty interesting to see the cars being trashed on the mock up freeway prior to the CGI elements being added in, and the production footage as they shoot and test the stuntwork has its share of hairy moments as well.
Get Me An Exit (09:49)
A film like this offers up countless possibilities for marketing tie-ins, so itís no surprise so many companies would jump on board to use, borrow, brand and manipulate the Matrix message, style and concept for their own. Phones, sports drinks, televisions, these are featured here with background on the ideas and the commercials in full for three products. This featurette is a good idea, and considering the amount of product placement and movie tie-ins these days, it seems like an obvious choice of bonus that doesnít treat marketing as a dirty word to be hidden.
Enter the Matrix Ė The Game (28:17)
This game was conceived as a full part of the Matrix experience, with expansion of the existing storyline, rather than the more traditional method of just basing a game on a movie concept. It draws on the involvement of actors and footage from the film to more closely integrate the game as a full part of the trilogy. Itís surprising that so much time is devoted to showing us the making of a game, but I guess itís evidence of how seriously the Wachowskiís took the endeavour, who were involved in many facets of the game and shot scenes exclusively for it using the real sets and actors. Events in the game follow from The Final Flight of the OsirisAnimatrix short, then onto the film.
The Animatrix Trailer (04:34)
A trailer for the animated collection of short films based on the world of the Matrix. Get this on DVD if you want to see The Final Flight of the Osiris which immediately precedes events in Reloaded.
MTV Movie Awards (09:41)
Sean William Scott and Justin Timberlake in an awards routine which takes the piss out of Reloaded to sometimes great effect. Seanís take on the 100 Agent Smiths and Will Ferrell as the Architect are a pisser.
A seriously flawed film, a ripper picture and gloriously energetic audio mix is the end assessment of the main feature, showing perfect form from a DVD.
The bonus material is interesting, but without a commentary and the innovative standards of the first Matrix release, it falls a little short. Perhaps that's because they're saving the best till last?
The film, well, it's seriously a mixed bag. Hype has made it into too much, and it simply can't live up to the expectations of an audience jumping out of their skins to continue and complete the Matrix world experience. If the new trailer for Revolutions is anything to go by, perhaps they'll drop the indecipherable wordy double-talk and ramp up the action content (and hopefully improve some of the more obvious CGI elements while they're at it). As this one stands, it could have used some lengthy trimming to a whole bunch of scenes to tighten the tension and story.
On the other hand, there are about a billion people who will relish every single second that this excellent DVD offers up to them in the weeks before the cinematic release of Revolutions, and I guess that's what it's all about. This is gonna sell in huge volumes, no question.