New on Blu-ray: The Matrix


The Matrix not only made its mark on film history, but it also changed the way people look at the technologically-dominated world around them.

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a cog in the machine of a big corporation; his alter ego Neo is a respected hacker. Neo is preoccupied with locating Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a legend among hackers. He is led to his goal by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who is very much linked to his destiny. But success brings much more than Neo anticipated. He is told about the matrix, a construct created by machines after humans lost the war so they could easily harvest people for fuel. Put simply: nothing about our world is real. The real world is barren and overrun with machines. Neo is then given a choice: return to the matrix and everything he's discovered will seem like a dream or go down the rabbit hole and see how deep it goes. On the other side of this fight are the agents (Hugo Weaving) – like a virus, they can take control of anyone still plugged into their system. Their mission is to destroy everyone who knows the truth.

Writers/directors Andy and Larry Wachowski took such care when creating this first installment of the trilogy, the nuances are endless. The tale is rooted in philosophy and religion, spawning numerous books exploring the subtext as well as various incorporations into university courses.

The movie itself was groundbreaking. Not only was the story well-thought out and unique, the technology used to convey it was also fittingly new. One of the most referenced sequences is the exchange of bullets and subsequent dodging by Neo and an agent. The creators dubbed it “bullet-time” and it’s since been copied repeatedly.

The special features are extensive. The “In-movie Experience” allows pop-ups throughout the film that explain a scenes evolution or provide some other sort of anecdote. There are four feature commentaries: one is cast and crew, including Moss, editor Zach Staenberg and special effects supervisor John Gaeta; and another is composer commentary by Don Davis, with a music-only track. The other two commentaries are a bit more unconventional and are accordingly explained in a written introduction by the Wachowski Brothers (who do not provide a commentary of their own) – one is by philosophers who liked the film and the other is by critics who did not. They are very different to say the least.

The feature-length documentary, “The Matrix Revisited,” is a two-hour in-depth exploration of every aspect involved in creating this picture. “Behind The Matrix” similarly looks at various, but generally different, components of the film, while “Follow the White Rabbit” is composed of montages of the evolution of various scenes. “Take the Red Pills” explains the definition of bullet time and the concept is shown as storyboard to screen. Finally, there is an option to listen to an isolated soundtrack, containing more than three hours of music that can be listened to by selecting compositions individually or just played in its entirety. And, so you can watch it again anywhere, it comes with a digital copy of the film.

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