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Right up front, I have to say that THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS ($30) was not a film that I overjoyed with the first time I saw it. Personally, I didnít find the conclusion to this movie trilogy to be satisfying because I thought that the Wachowski Brothers had misstepped on several plot points, in addition to allowing the story to get too bogged down in quasi-religious symbolism (yes, I realize it is their movie and they can do anything they want with it). However, after seeing THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS for a second time on DVD, I have warmed to the film somewhat, but still have some difficulty with those aspects that troubled me the first time around.

Now, despite those things in THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS that I found bothersome, the movie was probably more enjoyable the second time around because I know what was coming, so didnít have the luxury of being disappointed with the events as they unfolded. But then again, as someone who loved THE MATRIX and the universe created by the Wachowski Brothers, perhaps there was an unconscious desire that lead me to like THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS a little bit more on the second go-round, than the first. Of course, in the filmís favor, there are plenty of great action sequences and special effects, but those jaded members of the audience are certain to find that even in these areas THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS lacks the originality and inventiveness of THE MATRIX or even THE MATRIX RELOADED.

Before I summarize the plot of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS- here is a bit of advice; donít sit down to watch the conclusion to the trilogy unless you have already seen the first two installments of the series. THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS picks up the action right where THE MATRIX RELOADED ended. After an unexpected conclusion to his encounter with the robotic sentinels, Neo (Keanu Reeves) finds himself trapped in limbo between computer-simulated world of The Matrix and the real world- where the last free contingent of humanity is coming perilously close to losing the war with the machines that dominate the planet. To retrieve Neoís consciousness, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) return to The Matrix for another encounter with the vengeful Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), the entity who has humanityís savior imprisoned between worlds. Once free, Neo finds he has but a mere few hours left to fulfill destiny, before the overwhelming machine army of sentinels breaches humanityís Zion stronghold. As Morpheus and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) return to Zion to lend their support to the final battle, Neo journeys to the Machine City where he hopes to end to war by striking a truce over a dangerous common enemy- an increasingly powerful Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). The cast of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS also includes Mary Alice, Monica Bellucci, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Clayton Watson, Bruce Spence and Anthony Zerbe.

Warner Home Video has made THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS available on DVD in a fantastic looking 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image is super sharp and boasts a wondrous level of definition, with virtually no visible flaws. Colors are strongly saturated, yet flesh tones maintain a fairly natural appearance- outside the slightly greenish cast of The Matrix, of course. Blacks are deep and completely inky, while whites are crisp and totally stable. Contrast is generally excellent, as is shadow detail in the filmís numerous dark sequences. The element used for the transfer is exceedingly clean, although there are mild instances of a grain structure to give the picture a nicely film like quality. Noticeable digital compression artifacts are practically nonexistent.

THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS features a superb Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that really packs a wallop. With the extended battle sequences, the sound design offers a highly aggressive utilization of all the discrete channels to launch its sonic assaults. As for the quieter, dialogue driven passages of the film, there is a cohesive sonic integration that creates rather natural sounding environments with ambient sounds and a genuine sense of space. The dialogue itself is well recorded, fully intelligible and reproduces voices with an unaffected timbre. As for the bass channel, it totally rocks, so you better stow the breakables before cranking up the subwoofer. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental programming, the majority of which is contained on the second disc of the set. Disc one offers up teasers for THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED, THE ANIMATRIX and a full theatrical trailer for THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. Starting things off on disc two is Revolutions Recalibrated, a nearly half-hour documentary that includes interviews with the principals and offers a pretty good look behind-the-scenes. CG Revolution is a fifteen-minute look at the filmís computer generated imagery. Super Burly Brawl is a multi-angle look at the final encounter between Agent Smith and Neo (AKA Mr. Anderson).

Keep an eye out for the "white rabbit" during the preceding programs, as it will take one deeper into the universe of The Matrix with the following featuettes: Neo Realism: The Evolution Of Bullet Time (twelve minutes), Super Big Mini Models (eight minutes), Double Agent Smith (seven minute) and Mind Over Matter: The Physicality Of The Matrix (eight minutes). In case you missed the "white rabbit," these featurettes can also be found under the section marked "Operator." 3-D Evolution provides one with access to concept artwork, plus storyboards, stills and other imagery. Finally, Before The Revolution provides a timeline to the events in THE MATRIX universe. THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS is also DVD-ROM enabled, with access to web links, games and graphic novel previews.

I enjoyed watching THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS more on DVD than I did in the theater. Mixed feelings about the movie aside, this is one hell of a great looking and sounding DVD. Warner has truly done a fantastic job with the widescreen video and audio presentation of this science fiction/action film. The supplemental materials on this two-disc set are quite enjoyable, making this DVD something that fans will want to acquire. Recommended.



The Matrix Revolutions (Widescreen Edition) (2003)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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