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At first glance you might wonder what a hardware site is doing reviewing The Ultimate Matrix Collection DVD box set. But instead of me making some tenuous long-winded connection of how the virtual world of The Matrix is starting to resemble today's MMORPG, I thought I would just say that it's The Matrix, it's way cool, and Christmas is coming. You can also pick it up at Geeks, who furnished us our review copy.

Ult Matrix Box     Ult Matrix     Ult Matrix Neo Bust

The Matrix: Not only the best disc in this set but IMO one of the best movies ever made. For once, Keanu's dead-pan delivery works in his favor. In fact, it is one of the key elements of his character (Neo) who is somewhat lost for most of the film. The rest of the cast is also great, especially Hugo Weaving as the creepy Agent Smith who is so soulless that he reminds me of Hannibal Lecter, Laurence Fishburne, aka Morpheus, who seems to me to be doing David Carradine's mentor in the old Kung Fu TV show quite well. As for Carrie-Anne Moss, aka Trinity, I honestly had no idea who she was before this film, but I think this role will rightly make her a big star. This movie itself really works on several different levels: as an action film, as a narrative on the misuse of technology in today's society, and even as a budding romance (gag, puke). I will stop now because there is enough interesting stuff here to talk about in this one film to fill this whole article by itself.

The Matrix Revisited: I am not sure what I was expecting when I popped in Revisited, but it wasn't this; this was more--much more. Want an example? Well, in addition to the usual DVD “making of” and bonus features is a section titled “The Music Revisited” which contains 41 songs! The majority of these are instrumental; nonetheless, some may be recognizable if you have watched the Matrix trilogy. Definitely not your normal DVD movie extras disc.

The Matrix Reloaded: While not a bad movie itself by any means, I was somewhat disappointed by Reloaded. Unlike in the Matrix where the action sequences have a deep-rooted emotional resonance, Reloaded seems to exist largely as a backdrop for the gee-whiz special effects made possible by the much larger budget. For instance: The freeway car chase is probably the best one I have ever seen in a movie, but it was so long that it nearly overshadowed the rest of the movie. The acting is once again good as all of the major players seem to have settled into their roles; although Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) seems to have put on weight since the first film. Part of the problem here no doubt is that it is hard to follow up something as revolutionary as the Matrix. This time expectations were so high that pretty much whatever they did they would be really hard pressed to equal the first film. It didn't help, either, that the story this time around doesn't seem quite up to par or able to hold its own against the action and special effects.

The Matrix Reloaded Revisited: This disc takes us in a totally different direction. Gone is the dialog with the directors, the 41 track “The Music Revisited” and hand drawn storyboards. In its place is a dialog with Master Yuen Wo Ping fight choreographer, pre-vis(crude animated storyboarding), and bonus footage from the Enter The Matrix console game. This feature includes at least one clip with the Oracle explaining in detail the storyline of what happened to the original Oracle and why that should have clearly been in one of the movies.

The Matrix Revolutions: While still inferior to the original Matrix, Revolutions breaks out of the sophomoric slump of the previous film in a big way. The action and special effects are still way over the top, but this time things are kept in check by the renewed importance of an epic storyline. The machines are coming and mankind must hold them off at all costs until Neo completes his mission. In the first movie I stated that Carrie-Anne Moss, aka Trinity, had a star making performance. In Revolutions it is Hugo Weaving, aka Agent Smith, that this honor goes to. Every moment he is on the screen is riveting. The finale between Neo and Agent Smith which seems to rightly resemble something out of a Superman comic book results in a satisfying conclusion to The Matrix trilogy, while still leaving the door slightly cracked for future films in the Matrix universe.

The Matrix Revolutions Revisited: This disc actually plays pretty much like a traditional DVD bonus features disc. For me the highlight of the extras is the “crew” section that includes segments from groups of people working behind the scenes that are not normally recognized, such as the art department, Grips, Gaffer, cinematographer, etc.

The Animatrix: Out of the whole 10 disc set, this disc seems hardest to classify. The purpose of the 9 animated shorts here seems to be to fill in some of the plot holes in the storyline of the Matrix trilogy. For instance, the first short answers the question of what happened to the ship the Osiris. Others tell the back story of what lead to the war between the humans and machines, and how the Matrix handles a glitch. The Animatrix also has its own “making-of” section, with interviews with the makers of the animated shorts, as well as some interesting info on the history of anime.

The Roots Of The Matrix: This disc takes us from the movie theater to the classroom. The two subjects are Philosophy and Science, and how they relate to The Matrix. Since The Matrix is a science fiction movie many of these discussions are thought experiments based on where the participants project that technology and philosophy will be in the next 10 to 20 years. Some of them seem outlandish to me, such as one individual who claims that we may already be living in The Matrix today and just don't realize it.

The Burly Man Chronicles: This disc seems to be a grab bag of stuff that didn't fit elsewhere. That doesn't mean it isn't worth watching, though. Perhaps the most interesting thing here is how the featurettes are laid out like a web page. When there is extra information to supplement the main feature, a white rabbit icon appears at the bottom right of the screen. Pushing Play takes you to the associated featurette, acting very much like how Hyperlinks function in a web page.

The Zion Archive: The bulk of this disc is storyboards, thousands of all kinds of storyboards: concept art, drawings, and unfinished animations. All of this is naturally very entertaining for fans of the Matrix universe. Once you wade through all of those there are also trailers for all three films, both the theatrical and the TV versions. You almost feel as if you have been given a tour of the actual set. You will also find two music videos and a preview of The Matrix Online Multiplayer game.

Collectible 80 Page Book: An unexpected treat, this little book may be the sleeper in this whole set. There is an introduction by the Wachowski brothers that finally answers the question of why they rarely speak publicly about the Matrix storyline (Hint: They feel it limits personal interpretation), a middle filled with great artwork, storyboards, and disc synopsis, and a nerd-filled ending list of Matrix related statistics. Did you know that they created a 1.6 mile, 6 lane highway with working overpasses, and on-ramps for the second film? My only complaint here is that the book is not coffee table-sized, the artwork is so good.

Resin Neo Bust: From a distance the Neo statue looks good, especially while it is perched inside its acrylic case. Get up close and/or remove it from its case and things are not so good. There is a lack of detail, especially on Neo's face. Not to mention the paint job is just appallingly bad. That being said I would imagine that few people are buying this box set for the resin Neo bust.


Since The Ultimate Matrix Collection is a box set I am going to give the whole thing one score, rather than trying to assign a single score for every item here. As to whether it merits purchase at its 50 usd price tag, that depends on whether you already have all three of the movies and maybe even The Animatrix in your home library. If you don't, then at 5 bucks a disc, including the bonus book, and Neo bust this box set is very well-priced indeed. If you already own all three films, and The Animatrix, then I would say this one would be for those of you who are serious collectors only.

I would like to thank Computer Geeks for providing us with The Ultimate Matrix Collection DVD box set. This item can be purchased from Geeks for 49.99 usd and is in stock and ready to ship.


Added: December 2nd 2005
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Hits: 10744
Language: english


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