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Neo (Keanu Reeves)’s transformation at the end of The Matrix Reloaded left him drained of his power, adrift in a no man’s land between the Matrix and the Machine World. While Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) holds vigil over Neo’s comatose body, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) grapples with the revelation that the One is merely another system of control invented by the architects of the Matrix. The rogue programmer Smith (Hugo Weaving) has cunningly hijacked Bane (Ian Bliss), a member of the hovercraft fleet, and with Smith’s power increasing every second, he is beyond even the control of the Machines, threatening to destroy their empire along with the real world and the Matrix. 

Review by Louise Keller:
A compelling, enigmatic conclusion to the Matrix trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions is an indulgence in style enhanced by breathtaking visuals in a stimulating, densely constructed story. What does it all mean? The Wachowski Brothers know, no doubt, but there is a touch of ‘going too far’, as the plot runs away a little and there is much that confuses. But, it is still an enjoyable trip, fusing together the intricate mix of philosophy, mythology and technology in this battle of good against evil, where issues and questions are left for us to chew over at will. 

There are many levels on which to enjoy this film, from its sheer innovation of production design, special effects and amazingly diverse music score or as fuel from which to speculate on the symbolism of its story. Yes, the Wachowskis have created an extraordinary reality that hooks us from the start. The focus in this final chapter is the thrilling battle against the machines, in which massive, octopus-like metal machines detonate a frenetic attack sequence with all the voracity of a jungle-full of wild tigers. 

The effects are awesome as tension mounts and we are surrounded by an inescapable horror of never-ending aggression. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving are the key magnets and each brings much to their characters. All the characters leave their mark – and even though the alluring Monica Bellucci may only appear in one scene (with one single line of dialogue), she is highly memorable, wearing an impossibly low-cut dress that reveals yet miraculously conceals. Reeves’ Neo offers an appealing mystique through his stillness, while Moss endears us to her Trinity’s purity and devotion. Weaving’s eerily evil agent Mr Smith (and his replicas) makes a splendid villain and one we love to hate. 

The central love-story between Neo and Trinity has a sweet innocence and their moments together are filled with poignancy. But the undisputed highlight is the final encounter between Neo and Mr Smith, when the dazzle of the ‘bullet time’ technique for depicting the action in the style of anime is married with exciting martial arts choreography and wire work. This is a marvellously thrilling sequence, set in a relentless and torrential electrical storm, with the army of Mr Smith clones looking on passively, as the representatives of good and evil fight it out. The most important thing is that we believe in the characters, and perhaps the moral of the story goes something like ‘It’s not always about knowing, but about believing.’ 

Special Features reviewed by Craig Miller:
Considering the level of self importance the Matrix franchise has when it comes to visual and special effects, there is a surprising lack of depth to the extras included on this two disc release that relate to these fields. 

There are a number of featurettes and extras venturing into the highly technical effects territory, but most are around seven to ten minutes in length and, while they are enjoyable and offer up some good behind-the-scenes footage, they are just not long enough to get really excited about.

The Double Agent Smith and Mind Over Matter featurettes are the best of the bunch, as we are shown what is involved in the highly detailed work of creating hundreds of Agent Smiths for the film’s finale, and the importance of stunt work in such a physically demanding film.

The Revolutions Recalibrated feature is a decent 27 minute making of feature that is a direct continuation from the brief making-of doco that was produced on the Matrix Reloaded DVD, and looks at the filming schedule, explores some of the philosophies behind the Matrix mythology and pays homage to Gloria Foster who passed away during the filming.

What will get your attention, if you have more than a passing interest in the Matrix world, is the Future Gamer featurette which is a fascinating look into the online Matrix computer game (set to debut on monitors this year) conceived by the Wachowski brothers themselves and takes up where the action of Revolutions lets off. Interestingly, this game will be one of the largest online games in the world, and will eventually be able to host tens of thousands of players fighting it out in the Matrix universe.

Superficially, an enjoyable package, but for those expecting a detailed look into the world behind The Matrix, you may which to hold out for a special edition.

Published April 1, 2004

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(US, 2003)

CAST: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci, Mary Alice

DIRECTOR: Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski

SCRIPT: Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

PRESENTATION: 2.35:1 widescreen 16:9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc one: Trailers. Disc two: Revolutions Recalibrated – The making of the final chapter, CG Revolution – The incredible special effects arsenal, Super Burly Brawl – Behind the final Neo/Smith showdown, Future Gamer: The Matrix online – A look at The Matrix online game, Before The Revolution – Matrix timeline, 3-D Evolution – Stills gallery, Operator – Neo Realism, Super Big Mini Models, Double Agent Smith & Mind Over Matter featurettes, Weblinks.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Village Roadshow

DVD RELEASE: April 2, 2004

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