By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers--Andy and Larry--annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilaratin... more »g sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is--a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend. Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it's a thinking man's journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne--who both turn in fine performances--much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film's box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise--a chapter that is arguably superior to the other sci-fi smash of 1999 (you know... the one starring Jar Jar Binks). --Jeremy Storey« less
5/5 Rating - The Matrix - One of my favorites with a very original sci-fi plotline and incredible CGI effects. A must see for sci-fi action movies!
Movie's Great...This Package, Not So
D. Bailey | Minneapolis, MN United States | 12/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Matrix is an excellent movie that combines science fiction, shoot-em-up action, and philosophical questions about the nature of Reality. If you are plugged in to a computer, and that computer presents you with a reality that is completely indistinguishable from your own, is it any less real?This movie has exceptional special effects, beautiful cinematography, an excellent soundtrack, well-crafted dialogue, and respectable acting. Keanu Reeves may be a lousy actor, but I think that the Matrix is probably his best performance to date.The Platinum Limited Edition isn't really worth the extra money unless you're an absolute, die-hard, take the red pill, freak. I wish I had known that before ordering this product. It comes in a box about as thick as an encyclopedia, and is fairly large, so it won't fit on the shelf with the rest of your DVDs. Opening it up, I was rather disappointed -- most of the volume is filled with a cheap plastic tray that contains a celluloid clip of the film with a blown-up photo (decent, but nothing fantastic), a few postcard-sized stills from the movie, and a copy of the normal DVD in a normal case. Nothing fantastic. For this money, I was expecting a DVD with DTS sound, alternate angles, deleted scenes, etc., but just got the same old Matrix disc. A major drag.Do yourself a favor. Buy the basic copy."
This is what Hi-Def systems were made for...
Alexander M. Walker | Chicago, IL USA | 04/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've seen The Matrix you know why the film community heralds it as a benchmark achievement in filmmaking. Just as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars set the bar for film special effects, The Matrix came along and made us re-examine everything we thought a movie could do. Revolutionary, groundbreaking, mindblowing - these are all terms people use to describe The Matrix. It's certainly all true, but up until now, what I'd appreciated most about The Matrix was this: it packaged a Philosophy 101 course into a digestible Sci-Fi flick with a raging techno/rock/orchestral score and jaw-dropping action sequences. The Blu-ray release of The Matrix turns this scale on its head bringing the action scenes to the level they were always meant to reach - now the film is superb all the way around.
Andy and Larry Wachowski invited us to follow the white rabbit down the hole into an exploration of perception versus reality. If the entire world we live in - the air, the terrain and the other people - is nothing but a computer program, what is our reality? Do we consider the magenta-hued egg which sustains us while sapping our bioelectricity to be our reality? Or is the manufactured existence within a computer the truest one? Neo chooses the red pill and plunges into the terrifying truth of what reality has become. Amidst a group of ragtag survivors in c. 2199, Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers the truth behind the Matrix under the guidance of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).
Despite The Matrix being stuffed with heaping spoonfuls of rudimentary philosophical musings, the plot is remarkably simple in structure. The entire second and third acts stem from Neo's attempting to verify his place in his new reality. He does so by diving back into the fictional world of the Matrix to confront the Oracle and in the process Morpheus is taken captive and the remaining members of the team mount a plan to rescue him. That's The Matrix at its most barebones level. What that description fails to impart are all the aspects that make The Matrix so memorable. Attached to that frame is a traitorous monad who longs to once again lose himself in the Matrix (Joe Pantoliano), a tireless Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) seeking to end Neo and the omnipresent question of whether a true reality or an altered perception thereof is preferable. The latter might make you comfortable, but are you really living?
But I already own The Matrix on DVD, should I double dip? Is it worth the second purchase? There are two types of movies where high-definition makes a difference. The first is animation: the colors are crisper, the edges smoother and everything has vibrancy unparalleled in the DVD format. The second is balls to the wall action films with special effects that break all the rules: like The Matrix. Watching a helicopter spiral out of control and plummet into the side of a skyscraper which then ripples like a puddle is cool. Watching it in high-definition - it's like seeing the face of a special effects god for the first time. Yes, it's worth the second purchase. Buy it on Blu-ray, give your DVD copy to a friend...and just laugh at what they're missing.
Blu-Ray Extra Features:
Normally, I just plow through the trailers and audio commentary section, but in the case of The Matrix on Blu-ray special consideration is deserved. Your first audio commentary choice is a virtual Philosophy 101 lecture about the ideas presented in The Matrix taught by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber - it's really interesting for newcomers but not quite meaty enough for anyone more versed in deep thinking. The second commentary comes from film critics Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson - this is somewhat obnoxious. It's an audio track of them praising The Matrix with a few snippets of legitimate criticism thrown in as if to validate their presence in commentary form. Thirdly, a cast and crew commentary features Carrie-Anne Moss, Zach Staenberg (editor) and John Gaeta (visual effects supervisor) discussing all the usual facets: working with the big names in the cast, the stunt work, the direction, etc. Finally, not so much a commentary but audio track, there's the option to play the film with no sound (diagetic or non) besides the score. It's a surreal experience and one of my favorite ways to watch the action sequences.
Finally, there's another commentary of sorts which is the "In-Movie Experience" which is really the icing on the commentary cake. Featuring a picture-in-picture box in the lower corners, virtually everyone involved in the film gets their moment in the sun talking about every conceivable part of the film from auditions, to stunt work, to personal relationships and what they took away from the film. Brilliantly laid in, it's worth your time.
As was offered previously, "The Matrix Revisited", a feature-length documentary on the making of the original film, comes with the main feature. Definitely interesting for fans and film geeks who want to understand every technological wonder that made this landmark film possible; but for non-Matrix enthusiasts you'll probably find yourself distracted after 20 to 30 minutes. It's interesting as all get out, but you do need to have the initial level of interest to commit to the two hour duration.
We have a healthy smattering of production diary featurettes chronicling things like the injuries suffered by Hugo Weaving while filming and Keanu's obsession over physical motion in specific scenes. Fun to watch and these are essentially the more palatable versions of "The Matrix Revisited" for the less devoted among us.
The last batch of features is a virtual jukebox of the music from The Matrix and includes a music video of Marilyn Manson's "Rock is Dead". The Music Revisited is a terrific addition and helps track down some of the great tracks from the film that you might not have known the names of."
The Matrix - limited edition collector's set is "THE ONE"
Jason | fairfax, va United States | 04/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"amongst my whole entire collection of dvd's from A-Z, "the matrix-limited editon collector's set" is by far one of my most prized possessions in my arsenal, just the movie alone speaks for itself! but when you've got the actual soundtrack, movie stills, lobby cards, posters and a limited edition 8mm movie filmstrip to add to it....you're literally left speechless, it took awhile for this to arrive to me, but considering the fact that it's virtually impossible to find this item anywhere else, it was all worth the wait, definitely an add-on to your collection....and u could say...(depending on your taste)u could consider this to be the ICING on your cake...and with the sequal soon to come out in theatres, this will be an even HARDER item to find in the future....so don't let "NEO" down, get this classic action/thriller NOW!......5 stars!"
Blu-Ray Transfer Is Fantastic!
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 03/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With over 2,000 reviews, there is no sense discussing the movie so I will just address this to readers wondering if the Blu-Ray transfer is as good as they, perhaps, have heard.
Yes, it is - it's incredble. I am not a particular fan of the film, especially the sequels, so I say these remarks with no bias. I just rented this first "Matrix" to see how it looked. Well, it Blu (pun intended) me away!! At this point, I've seen around 50 Blu-Ray DVDs and this is as good as it gets. I can't imagine how you could make it any better. It's so sharp, I just sat there mesmerized by it. The sound also is outstanding....another upgrade. I've seen this movie three times now and I swear I heard a lot of background talk and stuff I never heard before.
So....if you read that the audio and visuals are 5-star caliber - believe it; it's true.
Perfect DVD of perfect movie
Nandor Klatsmanyi | Sydney, Australia - The Home of The Matrix | 12/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought Matrix a week age, but I have seen it 4 times already. Picture & sound quality are perfect ! If you have a good sound system, turn it up and you will feel yourself in the Matrix too ! The "Follow the White Rabbit" is excellent ! As well as the introduction to the Bullet-time technique. There is no multi-angle view on the DVD, but the movie itself is full of mult-angle views anyway. Unfortunately nobody can be told how good the Matrix DVD is, you have to see it for yourself !"