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The Matrix Revolutions: DVDetails
Reviewed by Kevin Pezzano, © 2004

Format: Movie
By:   Warner Home Video
Genre:   Sci-Fi/Action
Review Date:   April 25, 2004
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)
I think I may have been alone in my assessment of "The Matrix Revolutions." Unlike almost every other geek on the planet, I actually liked the climactic installment of the Wachowski Brothers' gnostic-punk epic. I even liked it better than "Reloaded," despite the fact that my loud declaration of that opinion resulted in even "Matrix" fan boys coming after me with pitchforks and torches. Let's just say that my review proved... controversial.

The one thing that there should be absolutely no controversy about, though, is the relative quality of the DVD releases for the "Matrix" sequels. Sure, go ahead and think that the Wachowskis have destroyed all that was good and wholesome in cyberpunk wire-fu movies with their sequels. But it's fact as plain as the stunned-mullet look on Keanu's face that the DVD of "Revolutions" is far superior to the DVD of "Reloaded." I'd even go so far as to say that it's the best DVD version of ANY "Matrix" movie, and overall it's second only to the brilliant and extras-packed "Animatrix" disc.

The lackluster "Reloaded" disc, for those who may not remember (or who make a habit of skipping my "Matrix" reviews), contained short documentaries on two of that film's big action setpieces, the surprisingly funny parody from the MTV Movie Awards, and a slew of useless trailers. The "Revolutions" disc redeems the Wachowskis at least somewhat, since it contains a HELL of a lot more goodies. For starters, the "Revolutions" DVD contains more and longer documentaries that focus on the SFX as a whole rather than isolated flashy bits. Even better, the documentaries feature the return of the "Follow the White Rabbit" extra from the DVD of the first movie, where at random times as you're watching the feature a small white rabbit flashes onscreen, and if you're fast enough in clicking on it you get taken to a special expanded minidocumentary focusing on whatever particular bit of SFX magic was being propounded on in the regular documentary.

And that's just the beginning of the goodies on this DVD. There is a huge stills gallery, tracing the evolution of world and mecha designs from Geoff Darrow's intricate initial sketches to intermediate renderings to the final finished look of the film. There is a triple-screen version of the big showdown between Neo and Agent Smith that lets you see the storyboards, animatics, and final version of that scene all at once, and you can zoom in to focus on any of those three at will. There is an interactive timeline of the Matrix world, going from the B1-66ER trial (as seen in "The Second Renaissance" on the "Animatrix" DVD) up to the final events of "Reloaded." There's even a short and fluffy but still rather informative documentary about the "Matrix Online" massively-multiplayer online RPG that goes into some rather drool-inducing detail about how the game will work, what players can do in it, and how the storyline of the "Matrix" movies is continued in it.

Of course, this DVD isn't quite perfect. There's still the mysterious lack of any kind of commentary track (at least the first "Matrix" had a commentary track on its DVD, however sucky and pointless it was). And, to be fair, this DVD does contain a full copy of "Matrix Revolutions" on it.

But aside from all that, the "Revolutions" DVD is the best way to experience the movie short of catching it at an IMAX theater. Maybe it's not quite enough to turn around those who hated the "Matrix" sequels (I don't think there's any hope for them). But if you were ambivalent about "Revolutions" in the theater, then the presentation and the extras and the exhaustive behind-the-scenes peeks contained on DVD just may be enough to tip you over to the favorable side.
Anime and Comics Editor Kevin Pezzano takes his life into his own hands every time he reviews something "Matrix"-related around here.

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