Wow. How do you find the time to review something that consists of 10 DVDs? The Ultimate Matrix Collection is just such a beast – with the [sfs=492]regular version[/sfs] and a cool [sfs=493]limited edition gift set[/sfs]. Nevertheless, I finally plowed through it. This review will start a new type of DVD review to be ironed out, with less emphasis on the feature than the technical aspects.
The Ultimate Matrix Collection includes 10 DVDs as mentioned – one each for the three films, one each for the three “Revisited” features, plus the Animatrix, and then on top of that three more “making of” titles.
Roots of the Matrix covers both the philosophy and science of the Matrix, from its Gnostic roots to current online gaming worlds being a precursor to a real Matrix.
Burly Man Chronicles features a 90+ minute “silent” (no narration) making-of feature that covers the 276 days of principle filming of Reloaded and Revolutions, as well as the Enter the Matrix video game. It also includes “White Rabbit” extras that you can branch out to and see small featurettes.
The Zion Archive is basically a data archive of information about the things in the Matrix, along with feature trailers, music videos, and TV spots.
I did not view The Matrix or The Matrix Revisited DVDs, having seen them before. I watched Reloaded again (only saw it once) and Revolutions (hadn’t seen it), and then followed up each one with the appropriate “Revisited” disc.
One of the major features of The Matrix Reloaded Revisited is the making of the Highway scene – including a complete replay of the 15+ minute scene with a splitscreen of various production footage, as well as all the video segments from the Enter the Matrix game. The Matrix Revolutions Revisited does the same for the massive Siege of Zion.
Packaging: I can’t speak for the Gift Set, but the regular version included a slipcase with a nice cover with reflective green printing that can give the illusion of the computer text falling downward. Ech feature plus its Revisited extra were within its own folder, with The Animatrix in its own, and the other three in a single folder. The folders were nice, but they did a stacking trick to fit two CDs on one side of the folder to save space – if you want the disc on the bottom, you have to remove the one on top. 3/5
Video Quality: Video quality was excellent, but that was to be expected from a latter-day feature. 4/5
Extras: What can you say? I don’t think there could have been more extras. All the features were excellent, with very fascinating making-of features. No extended versions or deleted scenes, and the always desirable gag reel, but with everything else, that’s OK. Commentary tracks included one on Reloaded featuring philosophers who liked the movie, and another with critics who didn’t. 5/5
Navigation: The menu screens feature a variety of feature and production images, but the actual menu selections are a simple boring green text, but that keeps with the Matrix theme. In cases of featurette selection, when a feature finished it would return to the menu with the next one highlighted – a plus – plus there were some “Play All” selections, but not everywhere. 4/5
Overall feature: What began with the excellent The Matrix was allowed to continue the storyline, delving in to the background of the Matrix and those who exist outside of it, but something seemed to be lost as something with such an extensive backstory began to break down when parts weren’t explained clearly or at all, but perhaps that was part of my nitpickyness. 3/5.
Final score: 3.8 out of 5. An excellent DVD package which is a must for any Matrix fan, and those that love insight into such a complex production.