Matrix, The: 10th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray) (1999)

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Released 6-Aug-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Booklet-A new 37 page booklet including introduction, trivia & bios
Audio-Visual Commentary-In-Movie Experience
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
Audio Commentary-Cast & Crew: Carrie-Anne Moss, Zach Staenberg and John Gaeta
Audio Commentary-Composer commenatary by Don Davis with music-only track
Featurette-Making Of-The Matrix Revisited - making The Matrix (122:50)
Featurette-Behind the Matrix - 7 featurettes (42:56)
Featurette-Follow the White-Rabbit - 9 featurettes (23:00)
Featurette-Take the Red Pill - 2 featurettes (17:42)
Audio Bites-The Music Revisited (41 songs)
Music Video-Rock is Dead video by Marilyn Manson
Teaser Trailer-The Matrix Teaser (0:59)
Trailer-The Matrix Trailer (2:27)
TV Spots-The Matrix TV Spots (3:46)
Web Links-text link to www.wbhidef.com
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 136:17 (Case: 138)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Larry Wachowski
Andy Wachowski
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss
Hugo Weaving
Joe Pantoliano
Case Custom Packaging
RPI $39.95 Music Don Davies


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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Ten years after the phenomenon of The Matrix, Warner Bros is still finding ways of re-releasing this seminal film in the history of cinema for the home-video market, alas this time on Blu-ray. Let me reassure you, this release is similar to the original DVD release of 1999 in that is it absolutely packed with extras.

    Usually, I provide an in-depth plot summary into the background of a film for my reviews for the benefit of our readers who may not be familiar with a particular DVD or Blu-ray release and may be interested in purchasing it. In this case I will make an exception because if you are reading this review, you will no doubt already have experienced what 'The Matrix' is for yourself and you are more interested in finding out what is on this Blu-ray release, in case you want to upgrade from your worn-out 1999 DVD copy of the film.

    There have been some excellent reviews of the plot of The Matrix on this site in the past, specifically Michael Demtschyna's and Dean McIntosh's reviews of the original 1999 DVD and Sean Bradford's review of the remastered release that was included in the Ultimate Matrix Collection boxset DVD. If you would like some more information on the plot of The Matrix, please feel free to read these excellent reviews. Otherwise, read below on the Video and Audio quality and Extras contained on this Blu-ray release of the Wachowski Brothers' ode to the Hong Kong action and martial arts films of John Woo, anime films such as Ghost in the Shell and Akira, spaghetti westerns, specifically Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and of course an updating of mankind's relationship with artificial intelligence first seen in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Blu-ray release of The Matrix uses the same colour scheme found in the sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The scenes shot within the 'artificial reality' world of the matrix have a strong green colour-scheme while the scenes shot in the 'real' world, mostly on the ship, The Nebuchadnezzar, have a strong blue tinge to them.

    The Blu-ray video transfer is 1080p, encoded with the VC-1 codec. The aspect ratio of The Matrix is 2:40:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The film looks well-defined on Blu-ray but the transfer does contain background noise, specifically for scenes featuring the 'artificial' world of the matrix. Scenes shot in the 'real' world do not contain this same grainy look. I suspect the reason for this was a creative one to allow the viewer to distinguish between the two realities.

    As mentioned before, the colour-scheme of this release of The Matrix is the same as the sequels. Personally, I prefer to view the film as I saw it at the theatre, with the original green-brown tones in the matrix and the more subtler blue-white tones used for the real world.

    There are no MPEG or Film artefacts whatsoever.

    Subtitles are provided in English, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese. The packaging states that Japanese subtitles are also included for this Region B Blu-ray release, but this is not the case as they are not included on the disc. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles provided for the four commentaries.

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

Audio

    If you thought the original 1999 Dolby Digital 5.1 track was fantastic, wait until you hear the uncompressed Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track included for this release.

    Apart from the lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, you can also view the film in English, French and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0. Again, the packaging states that a Japanese audio track is included on this release but this is not the case.

    Dialogue is clear and synchronised. Sometimes I noticed that dialogue is spread across the front channels, mixed in with Don Davis' soundtrack, at other times it is mixed specifically for the centre channel, such as the scene where Morpheus and Neo are viewing the matrix on an AWA television set in a stark-white room.

    The soundtrack by Don Davis supports the on-screen action, together with the contemporary songs used by various artists.

    There is a constant ambiance in the surround sound scheme of the film. Each speaker is utilised to full effect, so much so that when the audio track drops out in the scene where Neo and Morpheus are in the stark-white room, you really notice it!

    The Subwoofer gets used often, with plenty of great low-sounding bass effects.

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

Extras

Please note that all the extras from this release have been ported over from the recent Ultimate Matrix Collection Blu-ray release which contains The Matrix trilogy of films. All extras are presented in standard definition.

Menu Animation & Audio

The main menu contains four options: Play Movie, Settings, Scene Selection and Special Features. The settings allow you to choose the language and subtitles of the film and also the option of turning off the sound effect that plays when you use your remote control. The Scene selection option allows you to bookmark your favourite scenes. The Special Features contains may extras but it also is the option you must use to access the four commentaries included with the main feature, as well as accessing the Picture-in-Picture option.

Booklet

This 37-page booklet is unique to this release. It contains an introduction, some trivia based on the movie and the biographies of the main cast and crew.

Audio-Visual Commentary

This Picture-in-Picture commentary is for those viewers who don't have the time to wade through the hours and hours of extras included on this Blu-ray. This feature uses the best bits of the documentaries found on the disc and plays them as a supplemental highlight package along with the film.

Notes - Written Introduction by The Wachowski Brothers

These are the same introductory notes by the Wachowski Brothers that were included on the Ultimate Matrix Collection boxset. These notes serve as an introduction to the disparate views of the first two commentaries by the philosophers and the critics.

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

These two philosophers provide a commentary on the spiritual and philosophical premise of the film from the viewpoint of two fans who really enjoyed the ideas behind the story of The Matrix.

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

This commentary track is somewhat more critical of the film, more so of the Wachowski Brothers' decision to turn it into a trilogy and also some plot holes.

Audio Commentary - The Cast and Crew: John Gaeta (Visual Effects Supervisor), Zach Staenberg (Editor), Carrie-Anne Moss (Actor)

This commentary was featured on the original 1999 DVD. It contains many periods of silence and the chat among the three cast and crew is mainly about their experiences, so I found it difficult to follow for this reason.

Audio Commentary - Isolated Musical Score and Commentary - Don Davies (Composer)

This music only track looks at the background into the musical compositions used for the movie soundtrack.

Featurette-Making Of-The Matrix Revisited (122:50)

This documentary is so exhaustive, it has been released previously as a standalone DVD! It chronicles the making of The Matrix from pre-production in 1997 until the preparation work for the sequels was begun in early 2000.

Featurette-Behind The Matrix-7 featurettes (42:56)

These featurettes look at the preparation for the main production.

Featurette-Follow the White-Rabbit-9 featurettes (23:00)

These are a behind-the-scenes look at how some scenes were shot in the main film. This feature was previously accessed through seamless branching on the original DVD.

Featurette-Take the Red Pill-2 featurettes (17:42)

These 2 featurettes look at the much-copied bullet-time effect and the art concept of the film.

Audio Bites

41 songs from the film can be individually accessed or play together in sequence.

Music Video

Marilyn Manson's music video of his song, Rock is Dead.

Teaser Trailer

This 59 second teaser contains short sequences of the film without dialogue.

Trailer

The original two and a half minute trailer.

TV Spots

Eight separate TV spots are included.

Web Links

This extra is a text link to Warner Bros' high definition website, www.wbhidef.com

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region A United States release of The Matrix: 10th Anniversary Edition came out in March 2009. It is identical to the Region B release that came out in Australia in August, 2009. Both releases contain the 37-page booklet and come in a digibook casing instead of the usual and distinctive blue amaray Blu-ray case.

Summary

    If you have already purchased the Ultimate Matrix Collection on Blu-ray, then there is no point in picking this up as this release of The Matrix is identical to the first disc of the Ultimate Matrix Collection boxset. If you have the 1999 DVD, then this version of The Matrix on Blu-ray is well worth purchasing for your home theatre DVD/Blu-ray collection.

    The picture and audio on this release is excellent. Personally, I wish that Warner Bros used the original colour schemes of the theatrical release and original 1999 DVD release. If you are like me and consider The Matrix an important part of film history, unique and substantially much, much better than the two sequels, than this Blu-ray release is for you, otherwise get the Ultimate Matrix Collection instead.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Not so great - NewcastleBoy (read my bio) REPLY POSTED