Let's be brutally honest here, sequels are made to make money, not movies. It is so rare that a sequel is ever made where the decision to make the movie was based on the wealth of information left over from the first brainstorm session as opposed to the boardroom luncheon of muffins and tuna sandwiches with one clever marketeer exclaiming "You know, we could make a mint off a sequel".
No, don't start sending me emails about Harry Potter and the Godfather. They were succesful books making a conversion. Don't nag me about Star Wars and Georges ultimate 12 episode trilogy rumors that were all there from the beginning. I've hung up!!
The Matrix was a ground breaking extravaganza of a film that will be credited for changing action/adventure/sci-fi film-making over the past decade, even if the stigma of bullet-time makes you groan each time you see it used again and again in subsequent copies of the genre, or even the dreaded spoof. Sure the ending left alot of questions unanswered but sometimes leaving them unanswered is for the best, as Reloaded and Revolutions showed. The same could be said for Episodes I and II of the Star Wars franchise but at least Mr Lucas has a final sequel to redeem some credibility. The Wachowskis don't.
This Ultimate collection features a 10 disc array Matrixology for the die hard fan out there. We've already reviewed 5 of those discs here which we have showcased below but we're also looking at the remaining 5 discs of reloaded overload.
With the original Matrix being "revisited" prior to the release of the sequels, the theme continues with a revisitation of the 2 sequels. This combination fills the first six DVDs of the collection in the following order: The Matrix, The Matrix Revisited, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Reloaded Revisited, The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Revolutions Revisited.
The only real differences available on the original movies are two new audio commentaries with a twist and a totally new transfer for each. Beginning with the transfer itself, Roadshow have acquired the new hi-definition masters specifically done for this release and supplied them on DVDs 1, 3 and 5 of this box set. The results are fantastic. The first thing you'll notice is the sharpness of the image which, whilst wasn't lacking in the first few releases of the movies, is certainly improved upon here as telecine and compression technology has progressed. Couple that with a cleaner image, some richer colors and a deeper contrast and you've got yourself the best looking versions of the movies.
As everyone was expecting a commentary track from the Wachowskis themselves, they instead have called upon the services of two philosophers for the first commentary track and three film critics for the second. Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber enjoyed the movies and so discuss it from a philosophical stand point. Conversely Todd McCarthy of Variety, John Powers of Vogue and author David Thomson share their dislike of the movie with some witty banter throughout all the while making references to inspirations for the Matrix. I guarantee you'll thoroughly enjoy both commentary tracks across the entire trilogy. This is a unique way to commentate on the movies and it pays off handsomely for all fans.
As mentioned earlier, disc 4 revisits The Matrix Reloaded in the same manner they did with The Matrix Revisited with enough featurettes to keep an Oracle busy for a while. Morpheus told us he'd Handle Them and so do the 4 production featurettes about handling them. Further featurettes focus on all those amazing Car Chase scenes with further Unplugged and Exiles featurettes totalling an amazing 19 features. Completing the collection is all the footage shot for the Enter the Matrix video game. Disc 6 revisits the final movie in the trilogy in The Matrix Revolutions with an even more abundant plethora of featurettes, totally 28 in all ranging from Crew, Hel, Siege, Super Burly Brawl, New Blue World and Aftermath. Would you rather be spending your time reading about each featurette or watching them in your own good time? Thought so, let's move on. Disc 7 is the Animatrix disc released earlier on which we have reviewed above.
Here's where the collection kicks into overload beginning with disc 8 The Roots of The Matrix. There are two 1 hour documentaries here in Return to Source: Philosophy and The Matrix and The Hard Problem: The Science Behind the Fiction. If you had any questions about the origins and the science of the Matrix, this is the disc for you. One of the most obvious origins is the basis of Neo being the one just as prophesied in the Old Testament where the Jews were waiting for their Messiah, their one, to return. If that wasn't enough, there are 7 easter eggs on this disc alone with even more references to the biblical facets of the Matrix, even down to the number plates used on the cars themselves.
If you were one of the silent, behind the scenes folk that worked on the movies then disc 9 would be featuring you. Here on the Burly Man Chronicles we get to see all the work that went on before filming even began, pre-production, through principal photography and traveling to the other side of the world to a little Island called Australia. As much as was gained across the making of this movie, there were also great losses in R&B singer Aalliyah, the Oracle Gloria Foster and also the events of September 11. Let's not forget the loss of Keanu's girlfriend. This was a very emotional time for all involved and it's all captured here.
Disc 10 completes this ultimate collection bringing us the Zion Archives which is choc-full of the usual suspects you thought hadn't made it into this collection. Yes, that's right, all those theatrical trailers, teasers, photo galleries for all 3 movies are right here. Couple this with a Rave Reel of test effects footage set to some rave music and a preview to the Matrix Online game and you're just about done with this set.
If no-one can be told what the Matrix is, this Ultimate collection edition is the closest you're going to get to finding out. If you've seriously got the time to sit in front of your DVD player and go through all these extras then you'd be a fool to miss out on this collection but if you're just a serious collector wanting a cool box set, or even the box set plus Neo Bust version then get moving.