Warner/1999/136/ANA 2.35

        The Matrix is a stunning visual achievement. The Wachowski Brothers deliver the goods in bringing their vision to the screen. The Science Fiction Action film is exciting, thought provoking, and thoroughly mesmerizing. No, The Matrix is not a perfectly executed series of kicks and jumps. There are plot hiccups, it’s not always easy to follow, but overall the world of The Matrix is true to itself. Seeing it a second time makes it easier to accept the internal logic. There were moments when I did not want to think about the logic of what was going on but I wanted to enjoy the visceral trip. Damned if I can figure out the telephone business. Hey, but that’s the Wachowski’s The Matrix. Cell phones and computers rule the world after all. Or is it that love conquers all in any world. Ask the Wachowski Brothers. They will probably have all the answers if the realization of The Matrix is any indication. 

Testing Neo.©Warner

      Action sequences aside, there are some interesting philosophical questions explored in The Matrix. What is reality? Does slavery require knowledge of enslavement? There are plenty of druggies who have faced down the question of what world they want to spend their time in. Are the computers just giving humanity what it wants by building a computer-realized world? What’s the significance of Morpheus leading the fight against the machines? And where the hell is that remaining colony of humans located anyway and what are they doing to fight against the world ruled by computers?
 Let’s take The Matrix as pure action movie and boy, does it move at a pace. The chases are terrific. Those rooftop sequences positively glisten. The fights are beautifully choreographed and the intensive training the actors went through shows up on the screen. Yes, and that wirework is a gas. The actors are leaping all over the screen, climbing walls like flies and the tech folks have made it look better than any Hong Kong wire movie I’ve ever seen.
     Keanu Reeves is solid as Neo in The Matrix.  He flies through the air with the greatest of ease and executes all those kick to perfection. He always looks quizzical and this works well with the character. Laurence Fishburne gives a controlled, elegant performance as Morpheus. Carrie-Ann Moss is cat sleek, wearing tight fitted black outfits and throwing her body up for grabs as an all out action dish. And Joe Pantoliano gives Cypher a touch of needed sleaze. The Wachowski’s knew they were on to something with Pantoliano in their first outstanding film Bound
     The Matrix is an eye-popping DVD, brilliant in explosive conceptions. I remember The Matrix as all too grainy in the movie theater. On DVD, The Matrix has almost no grain. It’s smooth and detailed with magnificent lighting. Dig all those fluorescent hues. The Wachowskis must have grown up under the fluorescents; they seem to know them so well. And isn't fluorescent the perfect lighting for Keanu. The transfer is blessedly unenhanced; no pumping of the sharpness, no edge artifacts. This could have resulted in a softer picture but no way here. Sonically, The Matrix was a trip too. Man, my home theater is riddled with bullets. 
       Well, if the visual and sonic virtues of The Matrix aren’t enough for you, this is a Warner special edition. There’s audio commentary with visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, editor Zack Staenberg and actress Carrie-Ann Moss. The HBO twenty-five minute special First Look: Making the Matrix is also included and is very enjoyable. Additional segments dissect the special effects further and compare the story boards to the realized film.  








































































Universal/1932/74m/BW 1.33



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Junior and Ace ride in the parade.©Anchor Bay











































































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