Matrix" on DVD
is a sci-fi action adventure film that's much more than skin deep. It's
exciting and great looking, with terrific special effects - and a thought-provoking
concept that's a real brain teaser. It's also a terrific example of the
Starring Keanu Reeves,
Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving and Joe Pantoliano,
"The Matrix" turns one's conceptions about the earth and our
life upon it upside down with its vision of a planet in which we are not
who we think we are - or even when we think we are.
The film was directed
by Andy and Larry Wachowski, and features Reeves as Neo, a computer programmer
recruited by an underground figure-cum-Messiah called Morpheus (Fishburne)
who's being hunted down by a group of ruthless "Men in Black-types".
Once recruited, however,
he discovers the shock of his life (and we're not going to spoil the movie
for those who haven't yet seen it) and is forced to decide whether to
return to his previous existence of blissful unawareness or take his destiny
into his hands and fight for the future of the human race. Morpheus believes
Neo is the real Messiah, and trains him in a virtual world to fight with
all manners of weapons and tactics and then joins the war to free his
The situation's a
bit reminiscent of the "Terminator"
movies, with some "13th Floor"
and martial arts extravaganza thrown in for good measure, but in the end,
it's unique and works (and succeeds) on its own levels.
Matrix" looks like it's just another blast 'em up action yarn, and
there's enough blast 'em up action to please fans of that genre - but
it's also an intelligent movie that's well conceived, well written - and
with acting and production that does the package justice. The production
design is also excellent.
is also a terrific DVD, offering lots of the extras that make the format
so great. Besides the film, which is presented in widescreen and looks
and sounds wonderful, with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, there's a whole
set of DVD player extras, as well as a bundled set of goodies for your
DVD ROM drive.
For your home theater,
you can play with a "making of" documentary, an audio track
featuring actress Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) and the film editor and special
effects supervisor. There's also a track that features only the music,
with commentary by its composer, and a couple of neat features ("Follow
the White Rabbit" and "Take the Red Pill") that lead you
into a DVD aficionado heaven of features that include looks at the special
effects and production. These White Rabbit thingys are really neat: you
click on the rabbit icon when it appears at the beginning of a special
effects sequence and you're whisked to a "making of" section
on that part of the film - then returned to the movie when it's over.
It's really something
- though it would be even better if they played the sequence first, then
took you to the documentary footage.
DVD ROM features include
a quiz that lets you find out if you're "The One," a screenplay/storyboards
section and a group of seven essays/articles about sci-fi, martial arts,
comic books, etc. It's interesting stuff.
You also get links
that take you to the kung fu scenes, a selection of theatrical trailers
from various sci fi movies, and the usual web links, etc.
also cast/crew information and chapter stops.
In all, it's a great
package, despite the dearth of liner notes (which are more than offset
by the extras on the disc itself).
Some think "The
Matrix" is a science fiction masterpiece that'll live forever in
Hollywood history. Only time will tell, but the DVD version is definitely
an outstanding example of the species.
The Matrix, from Warner
136 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
and Joe Pantoliano
Produced by Joel Silver,
Written and Directed by The Wachowski Brothers
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