The Roots of the Matrix (2004)

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Released 6-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Return To Source: Philosophy And The Matrix
Featurette-The Hard Problem: The Science Behind The Fiction
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Links
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 122:08 (Case: 190)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Josh Orech

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring David Chalmers
Andy Clark
Frances Flannery-Dailey Ph.D.
Daniel Dennett
John Searle
Ken Wilber
Dr. Cornel West
Donna Bowman
John Smart
Stewart Brand
Christopher Koch
Will Harvey Ph.D.
Phil Husbands
Case ?
RPI Box Music Paul Cooper
Frozen Light

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Here we have the 8th disc in this 10 disc set. This is one of the simplest of the discs, with just two 1 hour documentaries on the Matrix series. These featurettes are a series of interviews with various professors and teachers, all leaders in their fields. They delve into the deeper aspects of the Matrix series and show, where the influences may have came from and what are the real possibilities of something like the Matrix ever existing, or indeed presently existing. The first of these featurettes is Return to the Source: Philosophy & The Matrix which looks at the various philosophical aspects of the films, from the psychological to the religious. The second documentary is The Hard Problem: The Science Behind the Fiction. This looks at the science and technology that would be behind the Matrix, as if it were a real possibility.

    As I've stated before, the only real way to get a handle on all three films as a whole, and perhaps the only way to enjoy the films without a feeling of total letdown in respect of the second and third chapters, is to understand the philosophy that underlies the whole series. There is quite a bit that goes on during this series, it's just that it takes a bit of work to get it all. Still, well worth it if you've enjoyed the three films in any capacity.

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Transfer Quality


    In respect to the previous documentary footage that we've had on the earlier discs, this one is quite good, especially as it's presented at 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement.

    The sharpness and clarity is good here, with a clean, watchable image throughout. Most interviews here are conducted in well lit locations, so shadow detail isn't a major issue here, but the level of detail that is present is acceptable. I didn't have any issues with low level noise.

    Colour's use and committal to disc here is good, with a natural colour image available throughout.

    I had no problems with any MPEG artefacting during the programmes. The two features are spread between two layers, so each one has its own space ensuring an MPEG nasty-free transfer. The footage is shot on video, so we don't get any film artefacts, and the video problems that could occur are thankfully held at bay.
    There is only the English subtitle option here, with the stream doing a fair job of conveying the spoken word, though it is far from word for word.

    Again, this disc is formatted dual layer with the two featurettes occupying their own layer. There is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio here is okay and reasonable enough to provide a clear and understandable spoken word.

    There is only one audio option here, that being an English Dolby Digital track running at a basic 192 Kb/s.

    I found the dialogue quality to be quite good, with no problems understanding the various speakers in the featurettes. There was a bit of a sync issue during Return to the Source: Philosophy & The Matrix at 7:01, with the spoken word not in sync for several seconds. I found this to be pretty much a once-off and not a huge problem.

    Music doesn't play a big part in these featurettes, and I don't remember hearing much during them. What little music there is is credited to Paul Cooper, Frozen Light, Jon Huck, Jesuszilla, Mica and UV. These artists are credited for the first documentary only, as there are no music credits in the end titles on the second documentary.

    As we only have a limited 192 Kb/s soundtrack, and most of the audio here is the spoken word, we don't get a whole lot in terms of surround activity. Likewise, LFE is a little thin on the ground.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This disc is 100% extras, within the context of the 10 disc set.


    After the normal distributor's logos and copyright warnings, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following: Return to the Source: Philosophy & The Matrix   -   61:04

    To gain a real understanding of the Matrix Series, especially parts 2 and 3, one really must have at least some understanding of the philosophical and religious aspects of the story. Without this basic grounding, the last 2 films become a mish-mash of mumbo jumbo. This documentary goes a fair way towards explaining some of the philosophy behind the films. Here we have a wealth of philosophers and teachers that lend their thoughts and expertise to the viewer so that they may get a better understanding of what's behind the films.

    Contributing here are:  Iakovos Vasiliou: Associate Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York, Graduate Center, Brooklyn College. Ken Wilber, Writer and Philosopher. Mark Rowlands: Professor of Philosophy, University of Hartfordshire. John Searle: Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley. Christopher Graw: Associate Professor of Philosophy, Florida International University, Philosophy Editor of T.J. Mawson: Philosopher, Oxford University. David Chalmers: Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona. Colin McGinn: Author and Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University. Dr. Cornel West: Author and Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University. Donna Bowman: Associate Professor of Religious Studies, The Honours College, University of Central Arkansas. Michael McKenna: Associate professor of Philosophy, Ithaca College. William Irwin: Professor of Philosophy, Kings College, Editor of "The Matrix and Philosophy". Richard Hanley: Professor of Philosophy, University of Delaware. Julia Driver: Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College. Rudy Rucker: Author. John Shirley: Author and Screenwriter. Bruce Sterling: Writer. Dr. Rachel Wagner: Hundere Teaching Fellow of Religion and Culture, Oregon State University. Christopher Vogler: Author. Frances Flannery-Dailey, Ph.D.: Author and Associate Professor of Religion, Hendrix College. Andy Clark: Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist, University of Edinburgh. Peter Chung: Director, Aeon Flux. Peter B. Lloyd: Software Consultant, Philosopher and Writer, Author of "Exegesis of The Matrix". John Partridge: Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wheaton College. Daniel Dennett: Author and Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University. Hubert Dreyfus: Author and Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley.

The Hard Problem: The Science Behind the Fiction   -   61:04

    This documentary takes a look at the science that would back up the Matrix. How would an artificial intelligence emerge? How would a hive-mind network establish itself? Could the Matrix be real? If you have these questions, then this is the place to look. Very interesting.

    Contributing here are:  John Smart: Developmental Systems Theorist, President, Institute for Accelerating Change. Kevin Kelly: Author. J.C. Herz: Author. Steven Johnson: Author. Will Harvey, Ph.D.: Founder, James Cook: Director of Engineering, Andy Clark: Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist, University of Edinburgh. Ray Kurzweil: Author, Inventor and Entrepreneur. David Chalmers: Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Center for Conciseness Studies, University of Arizona. Will Wright: Creator of the game "The Sims". Rudy Rucker: Author. Daniel Dennett: Author and Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University. George Gilder: Author. Karl Sims: Media Artist, President, GenArts Inc. John Searle: Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley. Peter Lloyd: Software Consultant, Philosopher and Writer. Chris Thornton: Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, University of Sussex. Richard Hanley: Professor of Philosophy, University of Delaware. John Koza: Inventor and Consulting Professor, Stanford University. Chris Langton, Ph.D.: Artificial Life Scientist. Phil Husbands: Professor of A.I., University of Sussex. Deborah Gordon: Author and Professor of Biology, Stanford University. Esther Dyson: From CNET Networks. Sherry Turkle: Professor of psychology, MIT. Brewster Kahle: Digital Librarian. Bruce Sterling: Writer. Ralph C. Merkle: Distinguished Professor of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology. John R. Koza: Consulting Professor, Stanford University. Torstein Reil: CEO, NaturalMotion. Ron Chrisley: Director of the Center for Cognitive Science. Prof. Cynthia Breazeal: Professor of Robotics, MIT Media Lab. Christopher Koch: Professor of Cognitive Behavioural Biology, California Institute of Technology. Tom Ray: Professor of Zoology, University of Oklahoma. Charles Ostman: Senior Fellow, The Institute for Global Futures. Nick Bostron: Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University. Harding Tibbs: Futures Thinker and Scenario Consultant. Stewart Brand: President, The Long Now Foundation.

R4 vs R1

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

    Other than language options and region coding, we receive the same package as afforded our Region 1 cousins.


    The key to understanding the entire Matrix Trilogy lies in the understanding of the philosophical, religious, psychological and scientific theories that make up the key concepts in the series. These two documentaries go a long way towards making the trilogy make sense.

    The video is good with a 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced image available throughout.

    The audio is okay.

    The disc is 100% extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Thursday, April 14, 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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