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MATRIX, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is just another feral computer hacker in a nasty early 21st century world controlled by The Matrix, until he becomes involved with the resistance. The leader, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) are convinced he is Neo, the man, the saviour, the one who can think like the machines that have taken over and who are drawing their life energy from human embryos. Neo isn’t so sure…and in a journey across time and reality, he and the rebels battle "the agents" led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who are guardians of the ruling machine class.

Settle back for the DVD experience of the year! Visit the bewildering, intriguing and extraordinary world of The Matrix with its eyeboggling effects and exceptional soundtrack – it's widescreen presentation is spectacular in every way. It boasts more features than you can possibly explore in one sitting and the Dolby sound is crystal clear.

Exploding with spine-tingling, sensational special effects, The Matrix dazzles with sci-fi intrigue and mind-boggling technological concepts, effectively pitting perceptions of reality against fantasy, the future with the present. With heart stopping thrills, here is an engrossing and entertaining futuristic action thriller, where stylistically the visuals are carefully balanced by plot and character.

Navigation is easy to follow with more extras than you could wish for. The voice over commentary by cast and crew is excellent: Carrie-Anne Moss explains that the opening action scene took six months of training and four days to shoot, and describes how ferocious and intimidating the scenes were. The visual effects supervisor and editor describe in great detail the extraordinary visual effects throughout: these comprise 20% of the entire film. But they are quick to point out that all the effects are not for effects sake but always support the story, as per the Wachowski Brothers' vision.

You may be interested to know that the extraordinary martial arts combat scene between Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne has no stunt doubles, but is painstakingly choreographed - the result of months and months of arduous training. We learn why the film has a green tone and why all the blue colours were sucked out – all enhancing the visual density. Remember that scene when the bug squirms its way into Keanu's belly button? Australian special effects specialists Dfilm were responsible for this compellingly repulsive effect and we hear nothing but praise for them. There are 38 scenes to select and there are subtitles for the hearing impaired.

You can also 'Follow the white rabbit': when you see the icon, press 'enter' and secrets of the Matrix are revealed. There's much more, but my favourite feature is the 'music only' track with commentary by composer Don Davis, who talks about the textural as opposed to thematic musical ideas and how musical textures are layered over each other to signify the various realities. Seeing and hearing images and music alone alert you to the frenetic musical adventures of this fabulous soundtrack and how the tension is sustained throughout. The Matrix is a perfect example of the best of DVD.
Louise Keller

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THE MATRIX (M)
(US)

CAST: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss

DIRECTOR: Andy and Larry Wachowski

RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes

DVD RELEASE: December 1999

RRP: $34.95

DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

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