[box cover]

The Matrix Revisted

One of the best selling DVDs since its 1999 debut, The Matrix has always been one of the best start-up discs because of its demo-quality sound and visuals (not to mention that the movie's pretty entertaining too). Unfortunately, the disc has had two primary complaints lodged against it — a spoiler-ridden menu and weak supplements, especially weak compared to two-disc sets for much lesser films. But despite the room for improvement, double-dipped discs have angered many DVD fans — especially serious collectors — so Warner should be praised for releasing The Matrix Revisited as a separate title, which means we get all of the new supplements but don't have to replace the original (though surely some collectors will see this as a missed opportunity for DTS or a director commentary, while others will complain the two discs put together cost more than a standard two-disc release). Revisited is mostly one long supplement, as the bulk of the material consists of a 123-minute documentary — directed by Josh Oreck — covering the history of The Matrix from pre-production to a quick taste of the upcoming sequels. The documentary is better than the standard electronic press-kits that get dumped on DVDs every week, although it's not as engaging as the best "making-of" tell-alls, such as Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse. With comments from the major players — including Keanu "Whoa" Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, writers/directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, producer Joel Silver, most of the production staff, and action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping — there are some interesting factoids to be gleamed (Keanu had to have neck surgery while making the film; the Wachowski Brothers forced their star to read philosophy), and it's good that the whole thing isn't clip-heavy. But there are some key cast members missing (where's Joey "Guido the Killer Pimp" Pantoliano?), and this "supplement" disc can be additionally supplemented by the wonderful book The Art of the Matrix. That said, Matrix junkies will no doubt be satisfied by Warner's quick fix — until they put out the box set with all three films, then the way-ultimate edition, then the super-final edition, and then the... well, you get the idea. The disc also offers a few extras, including featurettes on the sequels, the comic books inspired by the film, the website, the fans, the building of some sets and sequences, the special effects, and Yuen Wo Ping's test footage of the kung fu scenes. And as advertised, there are "hidden features" — a clip on the "woman in red," one on Weaving's leg surgery, and one on how much everyone got hurt — all of which can be found in the Supplements menu (on each menu go right until you see a new image), while in the Language menu there is a jukebox with 41 tracks of techno music (just look for the phone). Presented in full-frame (1.33:1) with widescreen movie clips (2.35:1) and audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 (which sounds like glorified stereo). Snap-case.
—DSH



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