April 20, 2004

Matrix: Revolutions (2004)
Warner Home Video

129 mins. · R
16x9 · 2.35:1

Format
DVD

Audio
E
French

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Documentaries, Timeline, Game Demo, Photo Gallery


Review by
Eric Bennett


Rating



(2004)

The dictionary has various definitions of the word "Revolution": (1) A movement in an orbit around a point, (2) a momentous change in a situation, and (3) a sudden political overthrow brought about within a given system. Depending on your view of the series, it may feel like you’re spinning in circles, or, as the latter definitions imply, involved in something significant. What the Wachowski brothers do in their third and final effort is to throw every Kitchen sink, philosophical reference, and action sequence at you in hopes that something sticks to the screen.

The movie centers on the final battle between man and machine, waged against the last human city, Zion. The Cyber-messiah, Neo, is mankind’s only real hope to avert this judgment day, and familiar characters, Trinity and Morpheus (even though sometimes oddly pushed to background) also lend their assistance. New faces, including Jada-Pinkett Smith (replacing first choice and tragically deceased Aaliyah) , as well as Mary Alice (replacing the equally well loved and tragically deceased Gloria Foster as the "Oracle") inject a decent amount of energy and character into the story. Soon after Neo realizes his final destiny, the machines penetrate the human city and an all-out, mostly Ramboesque inspired computer-rendered battle ensues between humans using machines (fighting in combat suits armed to the hilt) versus machines using their machine selves (armed with tentacles and lasers). Neo and Trinity hazardously make their way to machine city- in a largely suicidal bid to end the war. Neo’s only hope is to persuade the leader of the Machines to stop the conflict, and to combine their efforts in stopping the powerful computer virus, Agent Smith. This movie does offer some resolution – though fans will disagree in its entirety.

The video looks great. Colors are vivid, blacks are actually, really black (high contrast), and detail is sharp. Recent material given high attention from the studios in terms of transfer usually looks great, and this is no exception. Audio is music heavy, with front L & R speakers getting the most workout in terms of score, and overall sound separation is excellent, even though dialogue is a bit subdued. Due to the tones of an action piece, I’m not surprised bullet sounds are more discernable than spoken lines. Bass peaks when it needs to, but not overly so. The extras on this disc range from the horribly conceived and cumbersome "3-D Evolution Stills", which features long delays between switching pictures, to more dynamic featurettes "Super Burly Brawl", & "Revolutions Recalibrated". The extra that deals with explaining events leading up to the Matrix Revolutions (including the Animatrix, The Matrix, and The Matrix Reloaded) "Before the Revolution" is again, a bit clunky in interface but provides a great overall feel of events in the trilogy. Overall, from the start of the disc which jumps straight to the menu, to the features, it feels rushed in terms of interface and function, and it seems the studio took some serious shortcuts in lieu of the dreaded (or anticipated for fans) "Deluxe Boxed Release".

Would you take the Blue or the Red Pill? As a HUGE fan of "The Matrix", I took the Red pill, and wanted the whole bag of pills afterwards. For "Matrix Reloaded", I wanted to take the Blue pill - - and get my money back. For "Revolutions", I’d like to have both. For Zion’s largely characterless/CG videogame-like scenes, I’ll take a pass. For scenes with Neo, Smith, Trinity, and Morpheus, I’ll take some Red. The movie is uneven, with big lows… big lulls… and big highs (See Machine City/Neo & Smith brawl). Too many plots, characters, cameos, CG, action, and monologues are thrown in, but it’s largely with good intent; it’s just the Wachowski brothers either didn’t have the experience, the ability to step outside "The Matrix", or know when to say "cut" during filming or editing that ultimately hurts this movie, and the series. The new Hollywood Blockbuster frequently relies on blue screens, computers, and compositing to manufacture its drama; but this works against this final installment and the previous "Reloaded". The brothers’ most successful effort was the groundbreaking "Matrix", which was a phenomenal hybrid of horror elements, traditional Kung-Fu, story development, characters, pacing, and a crisp script. Like the "Phantom Menace", "Return of the King", and "Matrix Revolutions", once again, its proven: Sometimes… less is more. Recommended, if you are a fan. On its own, or casual fan - rent first.

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