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DVD Review: The Matrix (Blu-ray)
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The Matrix Blu-ray DVDThe Matrix
10th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
Warner Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 31, 2009

Forget for a moment how you felt when you watched The Matrix Reloaded and then The Matrix Revolutions. Forget that those movies may have tainted your feeling on the original. Forget the pseudo-philosophical babble and the height of the story nearly causing the entire thing to collapse on top of itself. Forget that you ever knew the term “bullet time.” Forget all of that and try to remember how you felt back in 1999 when you sat in the movie theater and first saw a stranger new sci-fi action flick called The Matrix.

To call The Matrix a revolutionary film (even for the time) would be to completely miss the point. The Matrix wasn’t anything new — it was just a new way of bringing that style of story to audiences. Anyone that was fond of comics or anime was already familiar with the storytelling style of The Matrix. What it did was introduce that style to the masses. Remember, this was before “˜geek’ was considered cool, so being into comics or anime made you more of an outcast than trendy.

I’ve watched The Matrix trilogy dozens of times since the first individual DVDs of the films have come out. I’m not part of the haters out there who can’t stand Reloaded or Revolutions. I dig the entire thing. So I’ve invested plenty of hours into this series of films. But what I haven’t done (until getting this 10th Anniversary Blu-ray) is really just sit down and watch the first film as a stand-alone piece of cinema.

Here’s what I came away with: The Matrix works as well today as it did back in the theater in ’99. The Wachowskis’ passion, love, and confidence in telling this story comes through in every glorious frame. There wasn’t one single point where I thought to myself, “Wow”¦ that looks dated.” And believe me, that never happens. Movies that came out last week tend to look dated.

This is a review of the Blu-ray, so we’re expecting a high quality transfer. Well don’t worry, this disc doesn’t disappoint. The images are so crisp and clean that, dare I say, it’s one of the most vibrant looking flicks in my Blu-ray collection. Yep, I’m that happy with it.

But this is a 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray, so it’s gotta be chock full o’ extras, right? Yes and no. There’s a lot here, but it’s nothing new if you own the plain old DVD, the HD-DVD from a while back, or the Blu-ray that came in the collection.

We’ve got a bunch of commentaries (including ones by critics, which I give the Wachowskis’ points for including), as well as a myriad of “making of”¦” featurettes.

But the absolute cream of the crop here is the documentary The Matrix Revisited. In it, you get interviews with everyone ever involved in the film (not literally, but it seems like it) including the elusive Wachoswski brothers themselves. Every aspect of making this film is covered, from selling the screenplay to the ridiculous 4 months of training the cast had to go through to the filming itself. If you’re a film buff who digs the process of filmmaking, you’ll love it.

Another selling point of this 10th Anniversary Edition is supposed to be the insert booklet with production photos, an essay about the film, trivia, and biographies for Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, the Wachowski brothers, and producer Joel Silver. Here’s the problem I have with it — it’s attached to the interior of the case. This makes it difficult to flip through. After about 6 seconds with it, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort, which is too bad. If it was removable, it would have made for a nice little companion piece.

All in all, I think this a great Blu-ray for those out there who enjoy The Matrix a helluva lot more than The Matrix Trilogy. The quality of the Blu-ray, like that of the film, is exceptional.

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