|Warner HD DVD
The Matrix •••••
The Sequels •••
Old Extras •••••
New Extras ••
The first question in approaching this three-disc set is: How does Trinity look in those tight, shiny outfits? The answer: Whoa. On HD DVD, there's considerably more detail in the stretched textures. What's more, the black plastic's kinky inkiness is ultra-deep, and the highlights flitting up and down her tantalizing torso are brilliant white.
In fact, the VC-1-encoded picture for all three films is brighter overall, and the wider contrast makes them look like comic books in motion. Despite the green tinge of scenes within the Matrix, skin tones are still excellent - and rich colors really pop. I'd never before noticed the crimson mascara on the girl with the white rabbit tattoo, or the pattern in Morpheus's lime-green tie.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD sound is clean, open, and spacious. Dialogue is always clear, even for Keanu Reeves's hero-dude pronouncements. Over the bassy noise of machine-gun fire and exploding walls, you can hear the tinkling of shell casings bouncing off the floor. There's a nice panning of effects, such as thunder rolling across the surround channels. But get a grip: Vibrations from the digging machines in The Matrix Revolutions may actually bounce you off your couch.
After almost 7 hours in Matrix-monde, you can immerse yourself in nearly 30 hours of extras. The only new ones are the so-called In-Movie Experience picture-in-picture clips of cast/crew members discussing the shoot. Although fun, the clips are too intermittent. But the old extras add up to something truly extraordinary, including six commentaries, lengthy making-of documentaries, and 40 minutes of clips shot for the Matrix videogame. Among the many featurettes, the most fascinating are on motion/visual capture and the evolution of "bullet time." And when we see how this led to the creation of virtual actors who were shot by virtual cameras in a virtual world, the question becomes: Where does moviemaking end and the Matrix begin?
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