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From Ultimate DVD #25

The Matrix Revisited:

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The Feature

Did behind the scenes cameras ever stop rolling during the making of The Matrix? One wonders after viewing The Matrix Revisited, which heralds a new era of DVD – a spin-off title that pays tribute to one of the last great blockbuster movies of the 20th Century.

Detractors who might accuse Warner of simply cashing in on their new franchise are proved wrong by the sheer quality of this product. Bridging the depressingly long gap between the first film and the 2003 sequel, The Matrix Revisited offers recent interviews with all the key talent, with cast members chatting between kung fu training breaks. Spanning the entire story of the film, from pre-production in 1997 to the present day, we're offered some exceptional footage: the Buddhist blessing on the first day of filming, the cast being trained how to fight from the bare basics, Moss gamely taking over from her stunt double for a scene, the call of the last shot as champagne bottles pop…

Broken into sections, we meet the film's major contributors and study significant sequences in minute detail. This could be a standard ‘Making of' feature, but it's much more; the crap is well and truly cut, allowing the thrills, exhaustion and drama to filter through. Reeves really hurting during training after a neck operation, Moss doggedly doing multiple takes on a somersault and crashing on her ankle, fight arranger Woo Ping initially despairing at the cast's lack of proficiency and a continually upbeat Fishburne are just some of the delights on offer here. Better still, our appreciation of the film is increased through access to minor details: has anyone previously noticed that city crowd scenes feature twins and triplets, showing evidence of the Matrix ‘glitching'?

With an enticing preview of the forthcoming sequels ("completely over the top"), The Matrix Revisited is an indispensable purchase for any fan who wants the ultimate view of work behind-the-scenes. 4 stars - Damn Good DiscIn fact, it's almost as good as being there.

The Extras

The choice of fullscreen picture is odd, considering that much of the material was shot directly for DVD.

Of the extras, What is to Come? will be the most anticipated: a three-minute montage of film showing work on The Matrix Reloaded. Group training, new wirework, fight scenes in zero gravity, a motorcycle chase and CG motion capture all whet the appetite for more.

What is Animatrix? (five mins) previews the spin-off animated titles due to be released straight to VHS and DVD next year. Five stories set in the Matrix universe drawn by top Japanese animators, they will include a prequel to the first film, a story set within a Ninja training programme, and the tale of a man who breaks into the real world. (1' 26") looks at the film's impressive website, The Dance of the Master (six minutes) is Woo Ping's original VHS recordings of fight arrangements, The True Followers (four mins) focuses on the fan community, plus there's a three minute exploration of The Bathroom Fight and Wet Wall. But Wait – There's More (three mins) is a tableau of additional on-set film, and Easter Egg nuts can have fun playing with their remote to uncover four tiny treats. A look at the Woman in Red, Hugo Weaving's training injury (nasty), the shooting of the alley fight and an extra menu of music tracks4 stars - Damn Good Disc are all waiting to be discovered...

David Richardson

Do you know kung fu?

The Matrix Revisited on DVD

Cast Keanu Reeves,
Carrie-Anne Moss,
Laurence Fishburne,
Hugo Weaving,
Andy and Larry Wachowski
Director Josh Oreck
Year 2001
R1 Duration 130 mins
R2 Duration 122 mins
Screen Ratio 1.33:1
Anamorphic No
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters 33
R1 Language English
R2 Language English
R1 Subtitles English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai
R2 Subtitles English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Czech
R1 Release November 20
R2 Release December 24
Distributor Warner
R1 Price $19.98
R2 Price £12.99, or £24.99 (Collector's Edition: 2-disc set with the original film)



Chapter 10

Creating Bullet Time, from the Wachowski's original intention to use a camera on a dolly with a rocket attached (they were told it would blow up), to the first test footage achieved.


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Review © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction

From Ultimate DVD #25
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