First, there was my unabashed love for "Attack of the Clones"
(Shane still won't talk to me in public). Then there was my glowing review
of "The Matrix Reloaded", a film panned by almost everyone who saw
it. I think I'm
just one strike away from getting my Serious Sci-Fi Fan credentials taken
away by the Fanboy Licensing Council (if you don't see or hear from me
again after May 2005, you'll know what happened).
So you might be surprised to hear that I really wasn't impressed with the
recent DVD release of "The Matrix Reloaded". Unlike the movie itself,
which is bigger and badder than the original, this DVD is rather — lackluster.
Especially in comparison to the disc of the original, which contained a variety
of different minidocumentaries and a nifty "red pill/follow the white rabbit"
scheme for letting you explore the various easter eggs and goodies inside. This
"Reloaded" DVD, however, has only about a third of the content and
none of the style of the previous "Matrix" DVDs. Just about the only
good thing I can say about the "Reloaded" DVD is that it comes contained
in a regular old plastic snap case, instead of the weird latching cardboard
boxes that "The Matrix" and "Animatrix" were packaged in.
That's not to say the extras here aren't nice, because they are. There's a
nifty bit about the marketing design for the "Matrix" films (like
the Powerade ads and the special cell phone created just for the characters),
a rather exhaustive look at the big car chase sequence that REALLY makes you
realize just how much work all this stunt choreography is, and the best bonus
ever, the MTV Movie Awards parody of "Reloaded". While Sean William
Scott and Justin Timberlake are pretty much nonentities, Will Farrell as a rather
snaky Architect and Wanda Sykes as an earthy Oracle are pure genius.
But that's about it. Just one special effects featurette, while the original
DVD had half a dozen. No amusing easter eggs, no clever menu design, no enhanced
web storyboard feature — there's not even an audio commentary on this
DVD like there was for the first movie (even though that one was pretty lame,
admittedly). The "Reloaded" DVD even recycles some of the same extras
seen in other places, like an ad for "Enter the Matrix" and the same
old trailer for "Animatrix". This all verges on the pathetic! At least
watching the movie in French with English subtitles is kind of amusing. That's
not why we buy these DVDs, though, and Warner knows it.
I have no idea why they skimped on the DVD for "Reloaded". Maybe
they were afraid that all the bad reviews of the movie would affect DVD sales,
so they did the disc on the cheap. Maybe they're all ticked off at the Wachowski
brothers for not living up to everyone's expectations. Then again, didn't the
movie make insane amounts of dough? Maybe they're just buttheads.
If you liked "Reloaded," get this disc. At least the movie itself
looks good, especially if you have a big-screen TV. If you were lukewarm about
the flick, though, this DVD will do nothing to change your mind. And if you
were one of those people that were really disappointed by the "Matrix"
sequel, this will provide you yet another opportunity to point your finger and
laugh derisively at big-budget sci-fi action flicks. If you gotta get this DVD,
get it on the cheap, at Wal-Mart, if you're gonna be there anyway. There's no
point in doing anything else.