the matrix: reloaded
VIDEO: "The Matrix Reloaded" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen. The transfer is simply stunning, possibly aided by the
fact that all of the extra material is located on a second disc,
leaving the film by itself on a dual-layer disc. Sharpness and detail
are exceptional - definition throughout is consistent and remarkable,
with fine details nearly always clearly present.
Flaws? Well, there really aren't many, if any. A tiny bit of
edge enhancement was spotted a couple times, but it was so minor
and brief that the couple of instances are hardly worth mentioning.
The print is in pristine condition, with not a speck or mark on
it. No compression artifacts were noticed, either.
The film's unique greenish/bluish color palette is quite perfectly
portrayed here, with no concerns. Black level remained rock solid,
while flesh tones appeared accurate. This is certainly a first-rate
transfer that will impress many.
SOUND: "The Matrix Reloaded" is presented by Warner
Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1. Since the three "Matrix"
features share the same sound designer (Dane Davis, who has worked
on such films as "Swordfish" and "Treasure Planet"),
one can be assured that all three films share the same "vision"
when it comes to the sound design. Viewers of the first film will
be familiar with some of the "signature" sound effects,
However, "Reloaded" is certainly a much bigger, bolder
experience sound-wise than the award-winning soundtrack of first
film. Surrounds are put into play much more frequently and maintain
a near-constant presence throughout the picture. With more action
this time around, there's plenty of instances where sound effects
pan around the room or ping between speakers. In fact, I appreciated
hearing the film's soundtrack in the close-up environment of a
home theater to hear some of the sound work that I'd missed in
a large auditorium, such as the word "inevitable" coming
from all sides when the multiple Agent Smiths pile on Neo during
Sound quality is certainly what one would expect; strong, deep
bass accompanies both much of the sound effects and Don Davis'
score. Dialogue remained clear and easily understood throughout,
with all the elements well-balanced in the mix. Certainly, "Reloaded"
will have an easy time becoming the new sound demo for many home
EXTRAS: The extras in the set are included on a single-layered
second disc. There is no commentary, although I suppose that's
to be expected, given the fact that directors the Wachowski Brothers
have expressed their desire to not explain the films, they were
probably working on completion of the third film and, well, response
to the somewhat sparse commentary on the first film's DVD wasn't
too positive. I'd also like to thank Warner Brothers for making
straightforward menus. A few studios lately have been making needlessly
multi-layered/multi-leveled/plain complex menus, and this certainly
could have been one of those instances.
Preloaded: This is a fairly ordinary 22-minute "making of"
that does finally get going a little further into the documentary.
It starts off with the obvious - all involved talk about how they
signed-on happily (well, duh.) and how great it was returning
to make the second feature. After all the "happy talk"
is out of the way, the documentary finally starts to go into detail
about the fight training that the actors had to undergo before
production. After that, the piece touches on the visual effects
work, storyboarding and costume design.
Matrix Unfolded: A brief, 5-minute featurette that gives a "Matrix"
overview, including information on the videogame and "Animatrix"
Highway Chase: Clearly far-and-away the best supplement on the
disc, this thirty-minute documentary follows the Wachowski brothers
and the film's crew through production on the film's famed highway
chase sequence. We get interviews with the visual effects supervisors,
the stunt coordinators and even are taken through aspects of pre-production
and planning for the scene. Then the documentary moves into production,
the scariest aspect of which is certainly Carrie Anne-Moss trying
to learn to ride a motorcycle good enough to do so safely without
helmet for the scene. We also watch as the stretch of freeway
used in the film is being built (they couldn't find a usable stretch
of freeway in the US that could be shut down for the film).
Give Me An Exit: Uh, the making of the phone and Poweraide drink
ads. Seriously. That's all this is.
MTV Movie Awards: The parody - starring Sean William Scott, Wanda
("I'm the Oracle, dammit.") Sykes, Justin Timberlake
and a brilliant Will Farrell - that opened the MTV Movie Awards
this year. Uncensored version.
Also: Promo for "Animatrix" and brief featurette on
the video game. No trailer.
Final Thoughts: Some gave "Reloaded" a mixed reception,
but I found it to be an entertaining continuation of the "Matrix"
trilogy. The performances are quite good and certainly, the remarkable
visuals reflect the increased budget the sequels were working
with. As for the DVD, the extras are somewhat lackluster (the
"Highway Chase" documentary being the main highlight),
but the audio/video quality for the film presentation is nothing
short of outstanding. Recommended.