Cinescape Reviews Matrix Revisited DVD – Part 2

In part one of CINESCAPE’s THE MATRIX REVISITED coverage, readers explored the well-produced, self-titled two and a half hour behind-the-scenes featurette that examines THE MATRIX phenomenon. In our continuing coverage, we probe deeper into the DVD examining its wealth of extras – those that are both hidden and in plain view.

After “Entering” THE MATRIX REVISITED and watching its two and a half hour behind-the-scenes featurette, viewers are prompted to “Go Further” into the experience. (Is it a DVD or is it The Matrix?). Here they will find a plethora of extras, most of which have to do with the property’s upcoming sequels.

“What is to Come” offers viewers a glimpse at car chases, motorcycle pursuits, green screen work and fight choreography being performed in the next MATRIX feature. In fact, the fight scenes are so heated that a resting Keanu Reeves, fresh off a workout, is shown with steam rising off of his head – obviously the aftereffects of intense calisthenics. The segment ends with fight choreographer Master Yuen Wo Ping directing the motion capture fights utilized in the creation of THE MATRIX 2 videogame.

Perhaps the most interesting feature outside of the documentary, however, is “What is the Animatrix?” Here, plans for a series of animated short subjects are revealed – cartoons that demonstrate just how the world got from where it is today to where it is during the first THE MATRIX. A number of renowned anime artists and directors will handle each project (five of which have been written by the Wachowskis) that will be released in about a year via the Internet and DVD. Legends in their respective fields like Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Takeshi Koike, Mahiro Maeda and the creative forces behind Square Pictures (makers of the “hyper real” FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN) will be tackling stories that range from training program simulations to a prequel of the original film to a direct tie-in with the upcoming sequel. Animator interviews and artwork sneak peeks await fans of THE MATRIX universe.

For viewers with DVD-ROM access, a segment entitled “What is the” is sure to offer the kind of interactive fun only those with the latest state-of-the-art computer equipment can find. Sadly, I was unable to access this area.

“The Dance of the Master” provides an inside look at the actual blocking tapes used by Ping and crew when choreographing the various fight sequences. It is interesting to compare these crude tapes with the film’s final shots. Aside from a few adlibs, the tapes are right on. Fight sequences highlighted include the Dojo Fight, the Subway Fight, the Government Lobby and the Bathroom Fight.

“True Followers” goes on to outline the devotion of the film’s most diehard fans, highlighting some of the fan fiction uploaded to the film’s website, while “The Bathroom Fight and Wet Wall” provides viewers with an actual account as to just how claustrophobic the actual making of both these scenes was.

Of course, no DVD would be complete without an Easter Egg or two – those hidden features only accessible to the most patient of viewers. Official documentation states that THE MATRIX REVISITED contains over three hours of hidden features. To date, I have been able to find seven different Easter Eggs, all of which vary from cast/crew anecdotes to the film’s theatrical trailer to a “Juke Box” that plays the entire soundtrack of the original film. All in all, very cool surprises that make owning a DVD player well worth the minimal expense.

Ultimately, THE MATRIX REVISITED makes an excellent second disc in a two-disc box set. However, seeing how the film never got the Special Edition treatment, the supplemental disc will enhance any collector’s library and manage to keep the film’s in-depth concept and eye-popping imagery alive in every fan’s mind until the release of the first sequel in 2003.

Dateline: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

By: Executive Editor