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.