The Matrix Revolutions (Remastered) (2003)

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Released 6-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Notes-Written Introduction By The Wachowski Brothers
Audio Commentary-The Philosophers: Dr Cornel West & Ken Wilber
Audio Commentary-The Critics: Todd McCarthy, John Powers & David Thomson
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 123:54 (Case: 129)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy Wachowski
Larry Wachowski
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Mary Alice
Tanveer K. Atwal
Helmut Bakaitis
Kate Beahan
Francine Bell
Monica Bellucci
Rachel Blackman
Henry Blasingame
Ian Bliss
David Bowers
Zeke Castelli
Sing Ngai
Essie Davis
Case ?
RPI Box Music Don Davis
Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

'Everything that has a beginning has an end...'

     While the machine army descends towards Zion, the last human city, Neo finds himself caught between two worlds. Awakening from a coma-like sleep, Neo discovers that he is in a train station, and talking to a family waiting for the next train, he learns that the station is a medium point between the real world and the Matrix. The station is controlled by a programme named the Trainman, and no one can leave without his say-so. When the train eventually arrives, the family is rushed aboard, but the Trainman refuses Neo entrance to the train. The Trainman is acting on orders from the Merovingian, and if his orders are obeyed, Neo may never be allowed to leave. Trapped in limbo, Neo struggles to find a way out.

     Meanwhile, in the real world, Neo remains in a coma state. Doctors seem unable to find an answer to Neo's state, which has the appearance of someone jacked into the Matrix, except for one large difference...Neo isn't jacked in. Still, looking for answers, Morpheus asks for a scan of the Matrix to be certain that Neo hasn't been abandoned in the system, to no avail. Out of the blue, Morpheus receives a call from Seraph, a servant of the Oracle, urging Morpheus and Trinity to visit the Oracle as soon as possible. When the pair arrive at the Oracle's apartment they are shocked, as she has taken on a totally different appearance. Learning that her previous body had been destroyed by the Merovingian, Morpheus and Trinity also learn that the Merovingian has Neo captive in a limbo state. Traveling to the Merovingian's night club, Seraph, Morpheus and Trinity make a daring raid on the club and confront Merv on the whereabouts of Neo. When faced with his own choice of life or death, the Merovingian relents and gives up his prize catch.

     In the Matrix, the Smith virus continues to spread. Not content to replicate himself several dozen times, Smith has taken on plague proportions and continues to spread throughout the Matrix, making all that he comes in contact with copies of himself. No one is spared and unchecked, the Smith virus is unstoppable. Smith exists in the real world as well, with ship's crewman Bane infected by Smith before extraction from the Matrix. With Smith everywhere, there seems no escape for Neo.

     At the same time, the citizens of Zion prepare for the impending sentinel attack on the city. Huge human controlled APUs (Armoured Personnel Unit) stand ready to defend against the machine army, as do large batteries of guns and volunteer rocket launch crews. Perhaps a futile defence, but still the city will try to defend itself. And as the city readies for the war, Neo awakens from his time in the Matrix limbo with a new quest; he must travel to the Machine City. With the machine army just hours away, sacrificing a ship to travel to the source of the impending attack seems to many as suicide. But Niobe believes in Neo and lends him her ship. With Trinity along for the ride, the pair head toward the Machine City. Unknown to the pair, Bane/Smith has stowed away aboard the ship.

     When the machine army finally does attack, the numbers seem insurmountable, the task impossible, and without a miracle, the last free outpost of humanity faces certain annihilation. But not without a fight. The armies of Zion repel wave after wave of attack, and for a moment victory seems a slight possibility. But just as the first wave of sentinels is defeated, a massive wave comes again - this time there can be no survival for the humans.

     After a showdown with Bane/Smith on board Niobe's ship, Neo and Trinity finally reach the Machine City. Here, Neo must find a way to stop the attack on Zion and save humanity. And more than that, Neo must also find a way to save the Matrix from the Smith virus that threatens not only the Matrix, but the machines as well. Neo must prove that he is more than just The One, that he is the saviour of all worlds; human, machine and The Matrix. A final showdown with Smith is the only solution...and the winner will control the fate of all three worlds!

     Here it is, the final part of the trilogy. For some it was a satisfying end to the series, but to a great many others it was a disappointment. As was the case with the Star Wars saga , sometimes the third act is the hardest and is at times the least appreciated. To my mind, the most frustrating thing about the final instalment is the fact that much of the action takes place outside the Matrix and away from the main characters. The machine army attack on Zion is spectacular, but it looks very much like Japanese manga rather than what we have been used to through the first two films. There is an obvious manga influence throughout the series, but when you see the APU army you get the feeling that you've seen all this before. There are several times that a feeling of deja vu hits you. The APUs are one, but the final climax between Neo and Smith is another. The final battle seems clearly influenced by the climax of both Dark City (which shared many of the thematic elements with The Matrix) and the 1999 Korean film Volcano High. If you've seen either of these films, the end of The Matrix Revolutions will be strangely familiar.

     The other issue with this final film is the same as with the second film, The Matrix Reloaded; the lack of accessibility. There are so many layers of spirituality contained here that only by listening to the Cornel West / Ken Wilber commentary can you get a handle on things. Okay, so maybe I'm slow and someone well read in the area of metaphysics and eastern mysticism might get all the references, but for the layman, it's only in the light of the West / Wilber commentary that this film makes sense. Again, this is what sets the second and third films apart from the first, as a commentary wasn't needed to understand the first film. The balance of philosophy, spirituality and action was perfect. You didn't need a road map to understand it and if you didn't get the spiritual bits there was still enough action to make up for it. The second film needed the exposition to make it all clear, but still the action was excellent. This third film I believe really suffers. It ties up the loose ends of the story, but it's too bogged down with storylines and characters that take the viewer too far away from the principal concern, Neo's story. There is a 45 minute section in the middle of this film where we never even see Neo. It's fine to have three storylines going on at once (George Lucas usually does this at the ends of his Star Wars films), but you cannot neglect one storyline for another, especially if the area being neglected is the principal character and his story.

     It's clear that the Wachowski Brothers created a monster in The Matrix. The film was one out of the box, right out of left field and released at the perfect time. Unfortunately, the grandeur of the first will be somewhat diminished by the somewhat ponderous nature of the second and third. The films, I believe, are too important to throw on the scrap heap, but I'd be lying if I said that Parts 2 and 3 were as good as Part 1. Still, with the benefit of the West / Wilber commentary, sense can be made out of this film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As we've had with the first two films, the video transfer here is very good.

    The film is presented near its original theatrical aspect ratio (2.35:1) at 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video here is quite clear and detail is always visible. This is a clean transfer that presents the film as well as possible within the DVD format. Running at about 7.10 Mb/s provides enough room for the data to be stored on the disc without any of the compression nasties that one might find on a disc that's had too much put on it. No such problem here. Shadow detail is quite good, and necessary because of the number of darker scenes found in this film. If shadow detail were lacking here, it would be a very big problem. Thankfully, not so. I had no issues with low level noise.

    Colour's use in the film is vital to the story. Thankfully, the disc does a great job in conveying it to screen. The greens of the Matrix are there, as is the blue of the physical world and the golden light of the spirit world. The understanding of these colours is important to the film's story and it's good to see that we have colour looking very good here.

    As stated before, we have an average transfer rate for the video of around 7.10 Mb/s so MPEG artefacts aren't a real problem here. There is some slight grain, but never so much that it causes any major issues or pixelization problems. The print used is quite good and I noticed no real film artefacts during the programme.

    There are English subtitles only on this disc that provide a reasonable approximation of the spoken words, but they are not word for word.

    This disc is formatted RSDL with the layer change taking place within Chapter 14 at 55:09. It is the same place as the layer change on the initial release and is well placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio here is good, and we get an improved audio bitrate on this disc compared to the first and second films (as was the case with the initial releases).

    There are three audio options here, these being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix running at 448 Kb/s and 2 audio commentaries in Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 192 Kb/s.

    I had no problems with the audio here, except for the fact that I found that the volume had to be turned up a bit more than normal to get both clarity on the dialogue as well as the action. Perhaps it was the case that the dialogue was a bit more defined or pronounced with the first two films at 'normal' volume, but I did need to turn up the volume just a little more than the first two films. That said, the sound for the film benefits from that extra volume as the soundstage is quite enveloping. Sync here is good and I didn't have any problems during the programme.

    Music for this film again comes from composer Don Davis. The music is in keeping with the first two films, but there isn't much here that really stands out except for the final battle theme. Largely abandoned is the high energy modern music tracks that were so much part of the first film and somewhat of the second. Some of the modern contributors are Juno Reactor and Pale 3, but sadly there is no Rage Against the Machine here.

    This film uses the surrounds quite well. From the Merovingian's night club raid to the sentinel attack to the final battle between Neo and Smith, the surrounds provide an encompassing sound field that brings the viewer into the action. A completely complementary soundtrack.

    There is quite a bit of LFE here and the bottom end of your sound system will get a workout with this disc. A full bitrate dts track might have been nice (we'll have to wait for the HD-DVD version), but what we do get works quite well.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

 
    Wisely, Warner Home Video have elected to put the films on discs of their own and the extras elsewhere to ensure that the best transfer is achieved (in terms of video anyway). Therefore, there aren't a swag of extras here.

Menu

    After the normal distributor's logos, copyright warnings and that great Warner Bros. Movie World promo (don't you just love it?), we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     The menus are 16x9 enhanced with the Main Menu animated and features audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Selecting the Commentaries option provides the following choices:

Written Introduction by The Wachowski Brothers   -   9 Pages

    Those waiting to hear a commentary by the Wachowski Bros. will continue to be disappointed. The Wachowski Brothers' contract with Warner Bros. stipulated that the pair are not obligated to do any press or interviews for the films. Instead, we have this written introduction to the commentaries provided. This is the same introduction as seen on both The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded discs in this collection.

Audio Commentary - The Philosophers: Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber

    Dr. Cornel West, Harvard University professor and philosopher and author Ken Wilber are back again, but not in full flight as they were in the last commentary. Their enthusiasm for the story in Reloaded doesn't seem to be replicated here and there are quite a few quiet patches during their commentary. Perhaps it is because they said all that they had to say during the second film, but I got the impression that they didn't have anything more to add.

Audio Commentary - The Critics: Todd McCarthy, John Powers & David Thomson

    The three critics are back, and they continue to have things to say about the film. Their commentary seems a bit more consistent to that from West / Wilber and it seems better paced. The trio do offer praise when it's warranted, but you are left with no doubt whatsoever that the three believe that the series went downhill from the onset of the second film. An interesting point of view and still worth listening to. On a side note, I did feel that the commentary ended abruptly, just into the start of the end credits, which I found to be unusual.

Web Links

    With the InterActual DVD player installed (included), a host of interactive and web enabled extras are made available.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Released in December of 2004, this package is essentially the same as that afforded our Region 1 cousins. There are some language and subtitle differences, but for all intents and purposes we get the same as Region 1.

Summary

    Everything that has a beginning has an end, and here is the end of this trilogy. For some, a fitting end, but for many others it represented frustration at an opportunity lost. This is the problem when you raise the bar too high on your first jump and succeed. It makes it very hard to do better and better again and again. The Wachowski Bros. did a great job with the first film, but it would be very hard for them to equal the effort of the original. In the end, ponderous storytelling and not enough attention to the key characters in the film would be the downsides of this final chapter. In the light of the West / Wilber commentary, you can get quite a bit more from the film, but despite it being the finale, it just seems to fade out. Does every trilogy have to have its Return of the Jedi? Who knows, but in the case of the Matrix Trilogy, one might argue that it has two.

    The video here is quite good.

    The audio is a step up with a 448 Kb/s audio transfer.

    There are two audio commentaries for extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Friday, February 25, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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