“Welcome To The Real World”
The Matrix (1999) is a Sci-Fi Fantasy Action film written and directed by visionary filmmakers Andy and Larry Wachowski. The story takes place in the not so distant future of a dystopian world controlled by sentient nightmare machines that have enslaved the human race and turned them into an endless source of energy. Unwittingly born into physical and spiritual servitude, everyday people have no clue that they little more than copper-top batteries to the machines. Through an elaborate, computer generated artificial consciousness known as “The Matrix”, the machines maintain a steady, reliable source of fuel until a rag-tag band of revolutionaries break free. Believing they have found the messiah that will rescue the human race, they call upon a solitary computer hacker name Neo who is beginning to suspect something isn’t right in Wonderland. What ensues is a mind-blowing, color-splashed visual extravaganza with never before seen theatrics that will eventually foster a billion dollar franchise, two wildly successful sequels, video games, television series, animations, comic books and merchandise. When news hit in January 2011 of a possible #4 and #5 film, the flutter can still be felt over a year later.
The Matrix is that rare treat of a movie that entertains on a multitude of levels and as a result appeals to a diverse audience. You don’t have to be an adrenaline hyped action junkie to enjoy the ride, or spend years snuffing dust print dust with your nose crammed in books on quantum physics and Einsten Rosen Bridge theory to be entertained. Exceeding our expectations, returning our returns with copious amounts of discover-able tidbits and clever innuendo, like Roman Poet Publius Ovidius Naso, the miracles of Oz, Rabbits and choosing pills over consciousness – stuff like that, The Matrix dazzles. That’s the best part of all. If you just want to sit down, strap in and watch the cool stuff whiz by for two hours, you can do that too. Either way, The Matrix is a must see film and when it comes down to the best possible way to experience it then you have to pick Blu-ray.
The Matrix (1999) is considered by many to be one of the most exciting, inventive and original Sci-Fi Action Adventure films of all times. When it hit theaters in the late 1990s amid a bumper crop of exceptional first time films and franchise installments, it was an immediate sensation garnering praise from everyday moviegoers and established critics around the world. Bending the spoon between possible and probable, stylized and realistic, The Matrix earned top billing on Entertainment Weekly’s list for 1999 “The Year That Changed Movies”. In an era of remarkable dramas (American Beauty), stalwart franchises (Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace) and cheeky guilty pleasures (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), The Matrix tapped into a global fascination with re-imagined hacker heroes, cyberpunk scenarios and threats from within. The result has inspired countless films, filmmakers and others to rethink conventional storytelling and embrace a new style of action movie. When it came time for awards season there was little surprise when it earned Oscars for film editing, sound effects editing, visual effects and sound. In 1999, it won Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction, also BAFTA awards for Best Sound and Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, plus a bevy of nominations.
BLU-RAY OR NOT TO BLU-RAY?
If this is your first Blu-ray film then you should have all the evidence you’ll ever need to switch formats. Of course some films don’t require Blu-ray, but The Matrix is not one of them. The Matrix Blu-ray experience is the closest you’re going to get to the way the filmmakers intended for you to enjoy the movie. The fact is, you shouldn’t watch The Matrix any other way than Blu-ray.
BLU-RAY & “IN~MOVIE” EXPERIENCE:
Blu-ray has come to represent the very best in home theater entertainment with improvements in what you’re seeing, hearing and the availability of bonus content. Blu-ray provides a host of new features that include BD-Live, the “In-Movie” experience that allows interactive content and extra features, internet capabilities with links to production company special offers and online communities, and more. The proof, they say, is in the pudding and it’s unlikely you’ll need more than five minutes to feel the difference. Movies like The Matrix are already amazing entertainment and definitely must see movies so the added benefits of web accessible bonus features, fine-tuning audio, and specific navigation benefits depending on your player are just icing on an already tasty cake.
JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER:
The Matrix Blu-ray came in what I would describe as a bare-bones, budget variety blue box and shrink wrap. I’ve come across three different configurations. 1) The Bare Bones package that comes with a single sided dust jacket, no promo stickers, no online community invitations, no inserts on the inside and the movie and extras are all on one disc. 2) More options, sometimes a second DVD with added materials like making of featurettes, production stills slideshows, an insert offer or two. 3) This is for the true cinephile and contains at least 2 Blu-ray discs, one for the feature the other for bonus content, the box has a nifty dust jacket with loads of information, probably a coupon or bonus sticker for some online insider material. The disc is also going to offer a BD-Live link, which is Sony’s network of added materials and links online. This represents a clear collector’s approach and you get the most for your money.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the budget discs but it’s helpful to know which package is right for you.
PLUS THESE SPECIAL FEATURES:
What you get on the single disc is a written introduction by the Wachowski brothers, 4 commentaries, a feature-length documentary “The Matrix Revisited”, 3 documentary galleries “Behind The Matrix”, Take The Red Pill” and “Follow The White Rabbit”. In addition you’ll find The Music revisited: 41-track audio selection of nearly 3 hours of music, Marilyn Manson’s Rock is Dead music video, theatrical trailers and t.v. spots.
This is the first Blu-ray review here at Above The line, thanks to Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. I was selected to participate in their Blu-ray Elite program for movie reviewers to receive complimentary Blu-ray discs for the purpose of review with special attention on the “Blu-ray Experience”. I received this video for free, but that does not sway this review or the reviews of other films that will follow. I’m excited to begin here with this seminal film.