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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette
  • Isolated music score
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • DVD-ROM features
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Storyboards
  • Documentaries

The Matrix

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 136 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

"Unfortunately, no-one can be told what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself" - It is with these words that you realise no matter how good the plot synopsis, you truly have to see the movie for yourself to enjoy it. Bursting onto the screen in early 1999, the Matrix took the movie world into a new realm that has taken the special effects picture to a new evolutionary level of entertainment. All the latest effects are there, they're just done in new and exciting ways and they all come together with a carefully crafted plot to produce a movie that was just ripe for this new digital age we live in.

Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is your average software programmer by day and your elite computer hacker Neo by night. When his day job takes a back seat to his night job, it is a mysterious man named Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) who comes to his aid; to show Neo what the 'real' world is and what the 'Matrix' is. Aided by his team, Morpheus, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and cypher (Joe Pantoliano) take Neo on journey into a world that is not at all what it seems.

It's only when the agents show their true nature, led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), does the real mission begin and the entertainment moves up to a mindblowing level. It is up to Neo to realise his true potential and to free his mind to the endless possibilities that await him in this new world.

  Video
Contract

It's times like these that you truly appreciate what the PAL resolution has to offer. The Matrix, with it's sweet eye candy, comes up pretty much perfect on screen. The nature of the film lends to an eerie greenish hue whilst in the Matrix and a perfectly cooler image when not. The image is rendered perfectly througout the entire movie and really does show off during the darker sections of the movie.

As mentioned above, the Wachowski directors alter the look of the film so as to distinguish the different worlds our heros are in. Color saturation is perfect so don't adjust your set if you feel things look a little off color, that is the intent of the film. Upon viewing this movie you'll start to appreciate just how cool green can look.

Black level is exemplary with the inherent shadow detail benefitting from the increased anamorphic PAL resolution. Detail in general is exceptional throughout the movie. The sharpness levels exhibit a true representation of the film and there is no reason to induce any aritificial edge enhancement which would have been a detriment to the excellent quality we see.

Film noise is surprisingly non-existent bar a minute amount sprinkled like salt throughout the movie. MPEG artifacts are on vacation and will return on the lower quality titles. :)

  Audio
Contract

Crank up the sound, ignore the neighbours banging on your front door and revel in the mastery that is a superb soundtrack. This film has a soundtrack that does it true justice. Of the discs I have reviewed of late, this one takes the gold medal for articulate aural perfection. Anything on the screen that moves, makes a sound ranging from a deep rumble to a high pitched travel down a digital wire.

You have to pay attention to what is being said so that you can understand what the Matrix is and the dialogue on this disc is as clear as day. The real star of the soundtrack are all the speakers bar your center speaker.

Disconnect your rear speakers and you've halved the enjoyment of the soundtrack. There is so much going on around and behind you that you may not realise just how involving the soundtrack is. In the scene where Neo is being lectured by his boss, you are treated to the window cleaners outside squeegeing behind you and to a certain extent it invokes minor laughter out of you as you appreciate the subtlety of it all. The you move onto the foyer shoot-out sequence and there is nary a bullet or piece of flying debris that doesn't travel around, behind, along side or through you.

If you've got a subwoofer, prepare for an 'all you can feel' buffet. In a world where things are not what they seem, it's good to over emphasise the bass to accompany these super-human feats. Who cares what things naturally sound like. This is the Matrix afterall. If you haven't got a subwoofer and are just waiting for the right moment, well that moment has now been and gone and you're still not enjoying this movie as you should. Get shopping.

  Extras
Contract

"Cannot write to this device, the disc is FULL". Eight gigabytes of the coolest digital format currently available is what you get. No other title in the history of dvd to date has pushed the capacity of these little discs as much as the Matrix has. The extras on this release are EXACTLY the same as the region 1 cousin with only an ever so slight change to the menu screens.

  • Animated menus - some of the coolest menus you'll see on a disc. Our version has static chapeter selection menus and a combined special features menu as compared to the US release. This was done for technical reasons to save space on the disc and from what I can see, you wouldn't pick the differences in the menus unless closely scrutinized.
  • Audio Commentary #1 - Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity in the movie), editor Zach Staenberg and special effects supervisor John Gaeta give us their respective takes on the movie and the latter 2 give a technical insight to certain scenes that we would not normally come across. Carrie-Anne seems to give a more dumb-downed version of her view of the movie. All in all, a decent commentary. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.
  • Audio Commentary #2 & Isolated musical score - Composer Don Davis takes us for a tour of his latest theatrical compositions. If ever you've wanted to know what a composer is looking for in a film, here's the audio track you need.
  • Making of the Matrix - A sub 26 minute look at the making of the Matrix. Both directors, cast and crew give us their insight into the making of the movie via movie clips and short interviews. An interesting look at the movie.
  • Follow the white rabbit - Ahh, the old "how did they film that stunt scene" trick. Select this option and the movie begins as per usual. When we come to a specific segment of the movie, a white rabbit appears on the screen (small subtitled image). Pressing enter stops the movie, takes the viewer to a small feature whereby the show the making of that scene and once finished, takes the viewer back to the exact location in the movie. The movie plays until the next white rabbit is found and so on. This is an excellent feature and makes great use of the dvd interactive capability.
  • Take the red pill(s) - Yes there are two pills to find. The first appears in the special features section and it takes you to "What is Bullet Time" whereas the second appears in the filmographies section for the Wachowski brothers and takes you to the "What is the concept" section.
    • What is Bullet Time - A new style of filming called bullet time has been trademarked by the matrix crew whereby a bunch of cameras are carefully laid out around a green screen, all pointing to the same center object. In this case, Keanu is in the middle of the room performing his dodge the bullet move. The cameras are triggered in such a way that when the individual film cells are put together, you are fooled into thinking that time as stood still and the camera continues moving. An excellent effect that is appearing in many commercials of late. This 6 minute documentary shows you exactly how it is all done.
    • What is the Concept - Take a few concept drawings, move on to the storyboard sequences and then the final film footage. That's what you have here for select scenes from the movie accompanied by the cool matrix soundtrack.
  • Cast & Crew filmographies - On average, 5 pages for each star of the movie going into some detail about their careers and movie listings.
  • DVD Rom features - those of you with a rom drive can experience even more extras that stand alone players cannot touch.
    • The One - a trivia game asking questions about the movie to see if you are "the One". Winning sends you to a cool website.
    • Theatrical Trailer Sampler - View the trailers to the Matrix, Demolition man, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior, Soldier and Outland.
    • Do you know Kung Fu - Click on the image and jump to your favorite kung-fu action scene in the movie.
    • Screenplay and Storyboards - A nifty html based layout incorporating some shockwave that shows various storyboard images in the top left of the screen, the screenplay on the right hand side of the screen and specific scenes on the bottom left. Click and navigate your way around these scenes and then view the accompanying scene from the movie.
    • essays and articles - some seven articles inspired by the matrix movie.
    • Original theatrical web-site - Yep, the whole website stored on the dvd including all images and movie clips.
    • and a few more tidbits
  • Dolby Digital City Trailer - Let's not forget the only extra that doesn't appear in the US release, a dolby intro in an anamoprhic transfer and thumping 5.1 sound.
This is a jam packed disc that will take you a while to fully get through from top to bottom.

  Overall  
Contract

The Matrix is a phenomenal leap forward in its genre and it might only be surpassed by it's proposed sequels. Keanu puts in a decent performance as Neo whilst Hugo Weaving is the perfect Agent Smith with that eerie paced tone of his voice and a terminator like indestructability.

I really enjoyed this movie, even more so on dvd. Every dvd collection needs to have a copy of this disc in there somewhere and if sales figures in the US are anything to go by, this disc will fast become THE premier disc in region 4. Now you tell me that Village Roadshow are not producing some of the best discs in Australia.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=179
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  •  DVD NET Gold Review List 
      And I quote...
    "Every dvd collection needs to have a copy of this disc ... THE premier disc in region 4"
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-717 Gold
    • Projector:
          inFocus LCD projector
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha DSP-A1
    • Speakers:
          Peterson Labs 100Watts
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sherwood SC-60E
    • Surrounds:
          Sherwood LS-502
    • Subwoofer:
          Yamaha YST-SW300
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
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