Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Matrix Reloaded

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ken_McAlinden, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
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    Livonia, MI USA
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    Kenneth McAlinden

    The Matrix Reloaded

    Directed By: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

    Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Randall Duk Kim, Lambert Wilson

    Studio: Warner Bros

    Year: 2003

    Rated: R

    Film Length: 138 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1

    Subtitles: English SDH,French, Italian, Italian SDH, Dutch, Spanish (Castellano), Portuguese

    Release Date: September 7, 2010

    Long story short for owners of The Ultimate Matrix Collection Blu-ray box set, this individual release of The Matrix Reloaded is the exact same disc as was included in that set. For those unfamiliar with that release, my assessment follows:

    The Film ***½

    The Matrix: Reloaded picks up the story several months after the events of The Matrix. Neo (Reeves) has been using his powers as "The One" to free humans from the virtual prison of The Matrix and bring them to the real world underground human colony known as Zion. The machines who created the Matrix, having recently learned the location of Zion, are mounting an all-out assault with their drills estimated to penetrate through to the city within 72 hours. Human military leaders call back every available ship to ward off the impending assault, but Morpheus (Fishburne), who believes in prophecies that Neo will save mankind from the machines, insists on following an alternate course involving a consultation between Neo and The Oracle (Foster). Neo learns from the Oracle that he must go to The Source for the answers he needs to save humanity. To do this however, he needs the help of the Keymaker (Kim), who is being held captive by a rogue program known as The Merovingian (Wilson). The efforts of Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity (Moss) to free the Keymaker and learn details about the true nature of The Matrix are complicated by the Merovingian, a constant pursuit by upgraded "Agents", a reoccurring prophetic vision Neo has of Trinity's death, and a wild card in the form of the former Agent Smith (Weaving), who has returned from apparent destruction with formidable powers and plans of his own.

    While the film is in many ways inseparable from its concurrently produced follow-up, The Matrix Revolutions, it works better on its own in a number of ways. The cliffhanger ending is a bit more enjoyable if one is not aware that many of the expectations raised by the preceding events will not be met in the concluding film in the series. Structurally, the film suffers a bit from intentionally not having a conclusive ending, but the filmmakers are able to partially address this through the device of Neo's troubling visions of Trinity's demise which are paid off in the film's climax. The Matrix Revolutions outstrips its predecessor in terms of ambition, but cannot live up to it as a piece of cinematic entertainment due to the inherent structural problem mentioned earlier, but also due to a certain indulgent sloppiness in its construction that robs it of dramatic momentum. Certain sequences are allowed to drag on seemingly forever, and, by my estimate, about twice as many new characters are introduced as are dramatically needed to tell the story, establish the filmmakers themes, and illustrate what is at stake for the main characters.

    That's not to say that I did not find a lot to like in the film. It has more than its share of easy pleasures in its spectacular action set-pieces, most notably an amazing freeway chase sequence constituting most of the film's third act. Goodwill from the first film also carried over enough that I enjoyed spending more time with the recurring characters, with the possible exception of Morpheus, who is a bit of a pill until his smug faith is shaken late in the film. While some may be frustrated by the film's deliberately obtuse dialog and unnecessary complexity, I personally enjoyed puzzling out the ramblings of characters like The Oracle, Seraph, and, especially, The Architect. Their dialog is a mash-up of heavy exposition, seemingly paradoxical musings comparable to undergraduate philosophy lectures, and a healthy dose of nonsense.

    The film pushes the available digital effects technology to the outside of the envelope, occasionally "tearing the envelope" in the process such as a point in a "One Neo versus many Smiths" battle where it becomes jarringly obvious that the characters on screen have become 100% digital. One gets the impression that he has ceased watching a movie and is now watching other people play a video game. While the effects team gets points for trying, it is just one of many examples of the filmmakers' reach exceeding their grasp. While one cannot call it a complete success, it is at least an ambitious failure that can sporadically engage the viewer on a number of visceral and intellectual levels.

    The Video *****

    The VC-1 encoded 1080p transfer of the film is letterboxed to its original 2.4:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The presentation is reference quality with very impressive detail and range of contrast and no signs of digital artifacts. The intentionally eerir green tint to the scenes taking place in The Matrix world are rendered perfectly and consitently with unwavering color saturation and shadow detail.

    The Audio *****

    The film's original English audio is presented via a lossless Dolby TrueHD track. It provides an impressive work-out to anyone's 5.1 set-up that creates an immersive ambience during the film's quieter moments and a blow-the doors-off three dimensional experience during the many action set-pieces. Alternate language Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are available in French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

    The Extras ****

    As they remain unchanged, I will simply reproduce the list of extras included on the disc from Cameron Yee's review of the Ultimate Matrix Collection box set. They are quite impressive in both quantity and quality, but not quite as comprehensive as those assembled for the Blu-ray release of the first Matrix film due to the fact that the Wachowski brothers made a decision to cease discussing their films and do not provide on camera comments for any of the featurettes or the in-movie experience.


    The disc is packaged in a standard size BD case with die cut pieces in the plastic to reduce material consumption. There are no inserts.

    Summary ****

    The Matrix Reloaded, the first of two-concurrently produced sequels to The Matrix, has received its first release on Blu-ray disc in a package separate from the other films in the series. The disc is bit-identical to the version of the film that was include in The Ultimate Matrix Collection box set, which is not a problem since it features reference quality video and lossless audio along with an impressive collection of special features.

  2. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Michael Osadciw
    The movie is green? Oh, I thought that was just my TV

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