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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Cast:
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Helmut Bakaitis, Mary Alice, Jada Pinkett Smith, Harold Perrineau, Hugo Weaving, Monica Bellucci
Writing Credits:
Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

Tagline:
Everything that has a beginning has an end.

Synopsis:
It is a dark time for the world. Neo is trapped in the "Train Station", between the Matrix and the Source. Zion is doomed to be crushed under an unstoppable army of countless Sentinels. But it is not only the human race that is in peril. The machines press ever onward against the humans, unaware that one force within the Matrix has slowly been growing, and has taken over that world completely: Smith. There is only one hope for both races, the one force that can stop Smith, and that is Neo. One final battle must ensue. And the outcome of this battle will decide the fate and future of both races.

Box Office:
Budget
$110 million.
Opening Weekend
$48.475 million on 3502 screens.
Domestic Gross
$139.259 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 129 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 4/6/2004

Bonus:
• “Revolutions Recalibrated”
• “CG Revolution”
• “Super Burly Brawl”
• “Future Gamer: The Matrix Online”
• “Before the Revolution” Matrix Timeline
• “3-D Evolution” Multidimensional Stills Gallery


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 23, 2004)

When 2003 opened, a wide audience champed at the bit to get a look at the year’s two upcoming sequels to 1999’s The Matrix. The middle portion of the trilogy - The Matrix Reloaded - cleaned up at the box office in the spring, as it took in a whopping $281 million, a record for an “R”-rated movie until The Passion of the Christ appeared.

However, by the time the final part of the trilogy hit the screens in the fall, most of the anticipation and excitement no longer existed. The Matrix Revolutions limped along to a decidedly disappointing gross of $139 million. This essentially means that less than half of the people who went to see Reloaded six months earlier mustered the enthusiasm to take in Revolutions. To coin a phrase: wha’ happened? Reloaded happened. Personally, I liked the movie. It didn’t live up to the original, but it worked fairly well overall.

Apparently I didn’t have a lot of company. Many of those who saw Reloaded felt disappointed by it, but I felt the movie seemed fairly effective. It didn’t live up to the hype or the expectations set by the first film, but it did enough to succeed.

On the other hand, Revolutions left me flat. Revolutions launches right where Reloaded ended. Neo (Keanu Reeves) lies comatose. Piloted by Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), the Logos remains absent and feared lost. The robotic sentinels are headed toward Zion, the last refuge of the free humans, where they will arrive in less than 20 hours and pretty much trash the joint.

We quickly learn that Neo’s not in a coma per se. Instead, he’s stuck in the Matrix and needs to find a way out of there. Our friends also get a call from the Oracle (Mary Alice) and go to see her. She provides info about Neo’s status to his girlfriend Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and buddy Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). They need to help him out before the forces of the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) discover Neo first. Along with the Oracle’s assistant Seraph (Collin Chou), they go to find the Merovingian and take care of business. All the while, Neo tries to get out of a train station that acts as the transfer point out for him.

Eventually our trio meets with the Merovingian, who tries to strike a deal with them. Trinity enacts her own bargain, and they finally get Neo out of the train station. They play to leave the Matrix, but he wants to meet with the Oracle once more before they split. She provides her usual enigmatic messages and sends Neo on his way to make his own decisions, though she warns our boy of the threat presented by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), whose powers continues to increase, and basically places the fate of the world on Neo’s shoulders.

Smith presents a more direct threat when he visits the Oracle and increases his power. The Hammer finds the Logos and they all attempt to do what they can to get back to Zion. Neo declares that he needs to take a ship – all of which are in short supply – to the Machine City to confront his destiny. Niobe volunteers the Logos, and Trinity insists that she go with Neo. Back home, the humans plan their defense against the machines.

The remainder of the movie follows those three threads. We see the efforts of Niobe, Morpheus and the others on board the Hammer as try to come to the rescue, and we watch the sentinel attack on Zion. We also check out the quest of Neo and Trinity to reach the Machine City, which comes with its own obstacles.

On second viewing, Revolutions seems better than I felt it was when I watched it theatrically. I didn’t have particularly high expectations for it. Even though I liked Reloaded, I didn’t think we’d get much satisfaction from the final chapter. Despite my enjoyment of the second flick, it still took a lot of steam out of the franchise, and Revolutions failed to reignite matters.

A lot of that stems from the diffuse focus of the movie. In the first Matrix, we concentrated mainly on three characters: Neo, Trinity and Morpheus. Reloaded broadened that scope but kept things acceptably tight. Unfortunately, Revolutions largely loses track of its leads. Neo remains a prime player, but Trinity exists mainly to cling to him, and poor Morpheus gets reduced to a bit part.

This means that Revolutions concentrates on characters about whom we know little and care less. We see a lot of the folks back in Zion, with some emphasis on Captain Mifune (Nathaniel Lees) and a raw recruit just known as “The Kid” (Clayton Watson). Niobe gets a lot of screen time as well, and Morpheus does little more than act as her backseat driver.

This feels unsatisfying to me. Nothing against the secondary characters or the actors who play them, but the whole thing between Mifune and The Kid seems silly; it feels like a throwback to World War II-era propaganda piece.

The main problem is that we don’t want to see a movie about Mifune and Niobe. We want to wrap up the story of Neo, Trinity and Morpheus. The movie does this, I suppose, but it fails to present them in a satisfying manner. Mainly that’s because of the absence of Morpheus, but even Trinity has little to do other than Stand By Her Man. Neo’s journey is one more of reaction than action too. It all feels like if Return of the Jedi put Luke, Leia and Han in secondary roles and concentrated on Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb.

The movie certainly pours on a lot of action, something that was a bit of a weakness in Reloaded. That flick’s first half plodded to a degree, though its second segment made up for it. Revolutions slams us with a higher level of action, though it lacks some impact because of the absence of character involvement. The sentinel attack on Zion is a doozy, and it presents a lot of dazzling work. However, it fails to become terribly emotionally involving because of the “who are these guys?” factor. No, we don’t need a total commitment to the personalities to care, but some attachment would certainly help. The characters are one-dimensional and new to us, so we don’t feel the assault’s impact as well as we should.

A lot of Revolutions feels padded as well. Why is Neo trapped in the Matrix? I don’t know. It contributes nothing to the story, though it offers the opportunity for a big action shoot-out piece. That’s fine, but it starts the movie slowly, as we don’t get much useful material. It presents an intriguing concept of programs who exhibit humanity – represented by a little girl whose parents try to get her out of the Matrix – but the film doesn’t explore the ideas well, and they feel like gimmicks.

Revolutions seems ambitious, though its intellectual depth appears questionable. One nice thing about the series stems from its attempts to get into various deeper spiritual issues, but it doesn’t tie these together well. Some may argue this was intentional, as the ambiguity leaves the material open to interpretation and introspection. Some of that may be true, but I think a lot of the inconsistencies occur because the Wachowski brothers don’t want to bother with a real worldview. Instead, it’s easier to leave plot holes and whatnot and leave it to the audience to worry about fitting it together.

Ultimately, The Matrix Revolutions fails to complete the trilogy in a truly satisfying manner. Granted, the movie has more than a few solid sequences, and it presents a decent level of general entertainment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t wrap up matters in a coherent way, and it presents far too many flaws to become something winning. I enjoyed parts of it but felt let down as a whole.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

The Matrix Revolutions appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Since they shot Reloaded and Revolutions at the same time, one might expect the two films to demonstrate similar visuals on their respective DVDs. One would anticipate correctly, for Revolutions looked like a virtual carbon copy of Reloaded

Once again, sharpness seemed excellent. Softness created virtually no concerns at any time. The movie always came across as tight and distinctive, with no signs of any lack of definition. No issues with softness arose during the movie. Instead, the image always remained nicely detailed and well defined. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and I also detected no evidence of intrusive edge enhancement. Print flaws remained absent. Never did I notice signs of specks, grit, or other problems in this clean transfer.

As with Reloaded, the colors of Revolutions varied from setting to setting. Scenes aboard the ships and that involved machines looked blue. As with the first flick, segments that took place inside the Matrix itself demonstrated a decided green tint. A few shots differed from these two schemes, but they accounted for the vast majority of the palette. Within the world of the film, the colors always looked strong. The movie held these stylistic decisions well and presented tones that were tight and cleanly represented. Black levels also were very positive, as dark elements appeared deep and bold. Low-light shots demonstrated appropriate levels of opacity but didn’t come across as dense or thick. In the end, Matrix Revolutions presented a very solid image.

I also felt that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Matrix Revolutions matched up with what I anticipated. The mix for Reloaded started slowly, but that didn’t occur here. To be sure, the audio created a much more active setting during the film’s second half, since that included most of the action sequences. However, it also kicked in with good material during the first hour, so the difference didn’t seem as noticeable as during Reloaded.

Forward definition always remained strong. Music showed good stereo presence, and the rears supported the score well. Effects demonstrated nice delineation and localization, and elements moved across the front smoothly. The showiest parts of the film started with the sentinel attack on Zion. From there through the end, a great deal of unique material poured from the rear speakers, and they helped make the track engrossing and involving.

Audio quality appeared fine across the board. I discerned no problems connected to speech, as the lines demonstrated good clarity and crispness. No issues connected to edginess or intelligibility manifested themselves. Music probably could have been a little more dynamic, but the score mostly seemed bright and full. Effects presented good range, as those elements seemed distinctive and accurate. They also powered the low-end response well, with bass that appeared loud and solid. Nothing about the audio of Revolutions disappointed, as it provided a consistently involving and impressive piece.

Most of the set’s supplements appear on DVD Two. Disc One simply includes some trailers. We get teasers for The Matrix, Reloaded, and Animatrix as well as a full trailer for Revolutions.

When we head to DVD Two, we get the meat of the package. Revolutions Recalibrated provides a 27-minute and five-second mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and comments from producer Joel Silver, director of photography Bill Pope, visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, production designer Owen Paterson, animation supervisor Lyndon J. Barrois, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, supervising animator Tom “Gibby” Gibbons, conceptual designer Geofrey Darrow, prop maker foreman Dave Fogler, special effects supervisor Rodney Burke, MoCap supervisor Demian “DMAN” Gordon, and actors Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Harold Perrineau, Cornel West, Bruce Spence, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Lambert Wilson, Nona Gaye, Nathaniel Lees and Mary Alice. (Others appear as well, but the program fails to identify all of them.) They cover a mix of issues like the replacement of the actor who played the Oracle, the long shooting schedule, stunts, the flick’s visual style and design, the massive sets, the dynamic between Neo and Agent Smith, and effects. The behind the scenes elements definitely present the most useful moments, as we get some cool looks at the shoot. Otherwise, a smattering of good information shows up, but much of it feels fluffy. The participants mostly talk about how big the production and film are. This makes the result often feel like little more than a promotional tool. It’s got enough nice material to merit a look, but don’t expect a great examination of the production.

In an echo of the original Matrix DVD, “Recalibrated” includes occasional branching segments via the “follow the white rabbit” option. When you see the bunny in the lower right corner, hit enter, and you’ll find some quick featurettes. These cover topics like bullet time and the “virtual human project”, computer-aided photography, motion capture, and many other visual elements. Actually, this feature seemed a little glitchy on my player, so I only nabbed one bunny. I don’t know if more popped up, but at least the single featurette I saw was good. That examination of the visual elements appeared better than anything in “Recalibrated” proper, so keep an eye out for the rabbit!

For more specific notes on the visuals, we head to CG Revolution. In this 15-minute and 28-second piece, we find remarks from digital effects producer Di Giorgiutti, producer Joel Silver, visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, executive producer Grant Hill, visual effects supervisor John “DJ” Des Jardin, production designer Owen Paterson, supervising animator Tom “Gibby” Gibbons, conceptual designer Geofrey Darrow, animators Neil Michka and Scott Kravitz, prop maker foreman Fon Davis, animation supervisor Lyndon J. Barrois, gang boss/prop maker Jon P. Guidinger, first assistant director James McTeigue, concept artist George Hull, and senior visual effects supervisor Craig Hayes.

They cover integrating CG and practical elements as well as the design and execution of APUs, diggers, sentinels, Machine City and its inhabitants, and the Deus Ex Machina. Unlike the puffy “Recalibrated”, this program feels pretty substantial. It covers the different pieces logically and concisely and gives us a nice look at how these bits came to be. It’s a solid little documentary.

Get out your remote for a multi-angle feature with Super Burly Brawl. In this six-minute and 15-second piece, we can flip between behind the scenes elements, storyboards, and the final film. This shows all three on screen at the same time; the one you choose fills the biggest frame. It works well and gives us a nice look at the shooting of the film’s major action piece.

Two more “white rabbits” appear in this clip. The first gives us a seven-minute and 10-second featurette about the artificial Smiths. We see how they created the Smith animatronics and human-worn Smith rubber masks. It’s highly informative and fun as well. In the second, we check out an eight-minute and three-second look at fight choreography and training. It doesn’t seem as strong as the Smith piece, but it still includes some nice notes, especially due to all the great shots from the set.

For some gaming information, we hear to Future Gamer: The Matrix Online. In this 10-minute and 55-second clip, we find comments from Monolith Software CEO Jason Hall, lead designer Toby Ragaini, producer William Westwater, movie producer Joel Silver, writer Paul Chadwick, Warner Bros. executive producer Travis Williams, Ubi.com vice president Joe Ybarra, and lead engineer Rick Lambright. They go over the aims and design of the online game. We learn a little about some issues, but expect almost no interesting behind the scenes information. “Gamer” offers nothing more than an extended promo piece to entice us to play.

For some history, we check out Before the Revolution” Matrix Timeline. This uses a stillframe format to detail the world of The Matrix. It goes back to the origins of the machines and also gets into topics apparently addressed in games and comics. The interface is clunky – it’s slow-going to get through all the frames – but the information is fun to see and brings viewers up to date with material that precedes Revolutions.

3-D Evolution Multidimensional Stills Gallery splits into three areas: “Concept Art” (14 images), “Storyboards” (14) and “Final Scenes” (15). The “3-D” aspect of this doesn’t come to fruition. I thought it meant we’d be able to zoom in and around images, but that doesn’t happen. It’s just an awkward way to look at the stills, though the “Play All” option simplifies things. The images themselves are decent but not anything special.

Finally, in the Operator section we get four features. Actually, these simply present the “white rabbit” featurettes all in one place. I already covered three elsewhere. I missed the eight-minute and 45-second “Super Big Mini-Models” somewhere in the mix. It includes remarks from production designer Owen Paterson, concept artist George Hull, visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, US unit production manager L. Dean Jones Jr., US model unit special effects coordinator Geoffrey Heron, Zion unit sequence lead Rodney Iwashina, high speed first assistant camera Paul Sanchez, US model unit art director Nanci Noblett, conceptual designer Geofrey Darrow, model shop supervisor Michael Lynch, US model unit producer David Dranitzke, prop maker foremen Dave Fogler and Fon Davis, and visual effects supervisor John “DJ” Des Jardin. We learn a little about the design of the miniatures and see how they were made and shot. It’s another useful program with lots of nice behind the scenes shots.

Those equipped with DVD-ROM drives will find a few more minor features. We get links to a few sites plus a DVD-based “preview” of thematrix.com. “The Matrix Comics” also previews those works, and “Tunnel Recon” presents a pretty cheesy Flash game. If you don’t have a DVD-ROM drive, you’re not missing much.

The Matrix Revolutions finishes a once-exciting series on a moderately flat note. I can’t call it a bad film, as it presents far too much good action and excitement to flop. Unfortunately, it lacks the humanity and depth that helped make the first movie such a success. We get a lot of fairly mindless excitement but not much else. Picture and audio seem excellent, and though the extras don’t appear even remotely exhaustive, we do learn a fair amount about the flick. Revolutions remains the least satisfying of the three Matrix efforts, it includes enough interesting material to merit a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3055 Stars Number of Votes: 72
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