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Blu-Ray Review: Matrix Reloaded
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Matrix Reloaded Blu-ray DVDMatrix Reloaded
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by The Wachowski Brothers
Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Laurence Fishburne
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Release date: September 7, 2010

Ah, remember the halcyon days of early 2003? When everyone still loved The Matrix and we all waited with anticipation to see the genius that would be Matrix Reloaded? You remember those days, don’t you, and you had bought into the hype just as much as everyone else. Nowadays, there are more people who complain about Matrix Reloaded than those who try to defend it. The Matrix trilogy has been available on Blu-ray for a number of years, and the first film has been available by itself for a while, and now Warner Bros Home Entertainment has gotten around to releasing the second movie by itself. The question you will have to answer for yourself is whether you just want to watch the first film and forget the others exist, or if you want to watch the entire trilogy as a whole.

I’m actually not as much against this movie as a lot of people are. Sure it gets a bit, shall we say, goofy towards the end, but it’s filmed with some pretty incredible and memorable action sequences. I still marvel at the execution of the highway chase scene that is very much the high point of the film. Hugo Weaving still turns in an entertaining performance as Agent Smith, and makes any scene he’s in worth watching.

I can see the downsides that people have with the movie. The film definitely suffers from spending too long in the real world at the start of the film, and the whole thing takes much too long to get going. Keanu Reeves still sleepwalks through most of his scenes as Neo. Let’s be honest though, this film has been out for so long and complained about so much, I’m not going to be changing anyone’s opinion about it. Love it or hate it, the movie is unique.

The picture quality on this Blu-ray is top notch and is a big step up over the DVD release; in fact, it’s almost too crisp. The problem I’ve run into with certain Blu-rays is that they can show the cracks in the CG. For example, during the fight with the multiple Smiths, before, you could always tell when the fight was switching between the actual actors and the CG models of them. On the Blu-ray, it becomes painfully obvious and looks more like a Pixar movie than it does a live-action movie, and that took me out of the fight scene more than it has before. Any time that Neo is flying looks more like a cartoon than I think the directors were going for. Other than that, the film looks great, and is a good showcase for your Blu-ray system. Fans of the film will want to pick up the Blu-ray edition in one form or another.

I’m not sure why you would necessarily want to buy this by itself when it’s already available in The Ultimate Collection with the rest of the films in the series, and I doubt there are many who prefer this film over other entries in the series. It makes sense to sell the first film by itself, but not so much the second and third film in the series, so I’m just not sure what the point of this is. I guess if it winds up cheaper to buy the three films by themselves, I guess go for it, otherwise, just pick up the box set.

Bonus Features

These may be the exact same extras available on the “The Ultimate Matrix Collection” Blu-ray released back in 2008, but there are some that are different from the original DVD release. There is one pseudo-commentary called the “In Movie Experience” that has the various actors, creators, and producers talking about the film as the movie plays, and gives you a nice look at the production from a variety of sources. There are also two traditional commentaries on the disc, one by a couple of philosophers, and one by a trio of film critics. The philosophers’ track is done by a couple of guys who you can tell are fans of the film, so they’re a bit more forgiving of the film, but they still have some interesting points to make. The critics’ track is a bit more unforgiving, and is interesting in that the critics don’t hold back on the issues they bring up. The rest of the extras are your standard collection of how they filmed the action scenes, costumes, and what not. It’s still interesting to see how they filmed the stunts and the exciting car chase, and on the whole, the disc has a nice collection of extras.

If you enjoyed the Matrix trilogy as a whole and you’re been living with your DVD versions, it may be time to step up and get the Blu-ray edition. The improvement in picture quality is reason enough to pick this version up, assuming you haven’t bought the Ultimate Collection Blu-ray already. Matrix Reloaded may not have been as ground-breaking as the first movie in the trilogy, but it still has its fans. As a total package, this Blu-ray gets a 4 out of 5.

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