Matrix, The

Featured In Issue 140, May/June 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Sci-fi Violence and brief language
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The Wachowski Brothers
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne lead the fight to free humankind from The Matrix in this 10th Anniversary edition of the special effects-laden cyber-thriller. "The Ultimate Matrix" Blu-ray Disc™ edition is reviewed on the Web site. In the year 2070, a young computer operator (Reeves) discovers that through the use of artificial intelligence system (The Matrix), the world that he—and everyone else—knows is completely unreal. The Matrix taps into peoples' minds and creates the illusion of a real world, when in reality they are just being controlled to see and feel what they are programmed to experience. But when Reeves meets Morpheus (Fishburne), he feels that Reeves is Neo, the one human who can override The Matrix and free humankind from this psychological and physical imprisonment. Winner of four Academy® Awards: Film Editing, Visual Effects, Sound, and Sound Effects Editing. (Gary Reber/Laurie Sevano)

This 10th Anniversary Edition is packaged in a collectible bonus book that includes 37 pages of insightful essays, trivia, and photos. Previously only available as part of a collection, this new edition includes the In-Movie Experience and a digital copy of the film. Special features include five commentaries: written introduction by the Wachowski brothers; philosophers' commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber; critics' commentary by Todd McCarathy, John Powers, and David Thomson; cast and crew commentary by Carrie-Anne Moss, Zach Staenberg, and John Gaeta; and composer commentary by Don Davis with a music-only track; four featurettes: The Matrix Revisited (SD 162:50), an in-depth, feature-length making of; Behind The Matrix (SD 42:48); Follow The White Rabbit (SD 23:01); and Take The Red Pill (SD 17:42). There is also The Music Revisited playable song list, the Marilyn Manson music video "Rock Is Dead" (SD 03:19), two trailers, and eight TV spots.

The stylized VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc™ is the same transfer as the 2.40:1 HD DVD. The picture quality is superb, with sharp and finely detailed images that exhibit natural clarity and openness, and solid black levels. Contrast and shadow delineation are exceptional, with a natural gradation between darkness and picture black. While much of the presentation is completely awash in green hues, fleshtones begin to look more realistic in the later scenes. The picture is pristine in image quality. The picture quality isn't perfect, but it is still very good, and compared to the previous anamorphically enhanced DVD is a dramatic improvement. This is a very visually stimulating and exciting movie. (Gary Reber/Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is identical to the previous HD DVD's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding. This is an exemplary 5.1 discrete soundtrack. The noise floor is low and enhances the impressive dynamic range, nuances, and fidelity. The dimensional holosonic® soundfield delivered by the sound design is magnificent. The soundfield is spatially delineated with aggressive split surround dimensionality and superb phantom center back surround imaging that is effectively expressive and engaging. Bass extension is deep and powerful, even in the surrounds, with aggressive low frequencies below 25 Hz enhanced with .1 LFE that is, at times, system threatening at full SPL. Warning: be prepared. The directionalized sound effects are creatively designed, for an engaging ambiance that mesmerizes. And the orchestral music score by Don Davis is wonderfully imaginative and haunting. A complete music audio track is provided, which in and of itself is worth the price of admission and features music from Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Prodigy, Rage Against The Machine, Rammstein, and Rob Zombie. The music wraps deep into the surrounds, yet presents a very expansive soundstage that images wide and deep. The ambiance foundation of the various scenes is very effective dimensionally. Dialogue sounds absolutely natural, with excellent spatial integration throughout—a rare occurrence in soundtrack execution. This is one of those few soundtracks that delivers a consistent holosonic experience that is emotionally stimulating. These sonics truly deliver you to the future, a computer-generated dreamworld. Free your mind and enjoy. (Gary Reber)