April 21, 2006

The Matrix (1999)
Warner Home Video

136 mins. · R
Letterboxed · 2.35:1

Format
UMD

Audio
E

Subtitles
French, Norwegian

Extras


Starring
Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, Hugo Weaving

Review by
John Nieves


Rating



(1999)

What more can be said about "The Matrix" that hasn't already been said? It is easily one of the most influential movies made in recent cinematic history that has spawned numerous amounts of movies that have tried to copy the style but failed.

What is the Matrix? Well, for the one person that hasn't seen this film, the Matrix is an elaborate computer-generated reality that we experience everyday. The problem is that someone has pulled the wool over our eyes and led us to believe that this computer program is in fact reality and we have no idea that we are living within it everyday. The only person that feels there is something wrong with the world is Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo. Recruited by Morpheus, Neo is unplugged from the Matrix to find out exactly how deep the Rabbit hole goes.

This is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. It has the perfect blend of Hong Kong style martial arts action and Sci-Fi imagery. Keanu Reeves is as wooden as ever, but does give a good performance and everyone else does an exemplary job of keeping their characters interesting, down to the smallest part. When I initially saw this movie, I had never heard of it and saw it on a whim at the movie theatre. If only I could experience THAT feeling again; seeing something amazing unfolding right before my eyes, and having no idea it was going to.

It's amazing how much martial arts training the actors went through to make this movie but judging by the incredible martial arts and actions scenes it definitely paid off. Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping choreographed the fight scenes in this movie, and it's easily his best and most kinetic work to date. If I had to sum up the action scenes and special effects with one phrase, it would be ground-breaking.

The Matrix is presented in 2:35.1. This means that there are some sizeable bars on the top and bottom of the screen in order to keep the original aspect ratio intact. I will hand it to Warner Home Video, the clarity of the movie in UMD form is clear and crisp. The one thing I do find wrong with the video is that the brightness level is significantly off. The green tones in the scenes when the characters where within the Matrix and bluish-silver when they were out of it was something intentionally done with the film, and the fact that the brightness level is high takes away from that. Not only that, but all of the colors in the film are muted because of it as well. Overall, it's a bit of a mixed bag although the picture is clear.

The lone weakness in The Matrix UMD's sound is the volume of the voices. It's too low for my tastes and makes it incredibly hard to hear if you're not using headphones. If you do decide to use headphones, you're in for a treat because the action scenes sound phenomenal. The directional audio is some of the best I've ever heard on the PSP as is the bass. In fact, I didn't know that the PSP could produce bass like this on a UMD movie without a version revision from Sony.

As far as extras features are concerned, there are none. Considering the numerous amounts of supplemental features found in the DVD version of this film, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't fit any of these featurettes onto the UMD version. This UMD loses a few points with me for the lack of extras, hell there isn't even subtitles in English; disappointing.

Overall, The Matrix is an incredible, groundbreaking movie. You can't go wrong with getting this if you just want to watch the movie itself on the go. As an UMD it's solid, but unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired and I can't recommend it over the stellar DVD version.


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