The Matrix Trilogy on Blu-ray

Wake the kids. Call the neighbors. Mark your calender. October 14. The Ultimate Matrix Collection will be released on Blu-ray. Seven discs, $129.95, from Warner Home Video. This set has long been available on HD DVD, but that format is history. Now it's Blu-ray's turn. Warner straddled the HD/BD fence, but tended to release its big titles on HD. That bet didn't pay off, so now it's time to move those bits to the other format. Probably the same transfer as on HD, but maybe some new extras to sweeten the deal?

The first Matrix film was picked as one of Sound & Vision's Top 50 DVD's of all time - ranking a very respectable No. 10. The question, of course, is whether you really want to pony up for the entire trilogy, or just wait until the first film is available separately on Blu-ray. The first film was actually a terrific bit of creative genius. Here's what yours truly said about it . . .

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Wachowski brothers immortalized downward-flowing green alphanumeric characters as a cultural icon. Dystopia, hacking, Lewis Carroll, animé, Agent Smith, Simulacra and Simulation, and Carrie-Anne Moss in skin-tight black vinyl all conspired to crank up cinematic cyber philosophy, and crank up movie effects, too. Admit it: The first time you saw the "bullet-time" effect, it blew your mind. Sickly green and precisely rectilinear grids emblemize The Matrix, while the real world is blue and run-down. As Trinity leaps between buildings, her arc is perfectly matched by the Doppler-shifting of a police-car siren far below. The videogame intensity of the lobby shooting spree has surely inspired real-life tragedies. There are seemingly a million bursts of gunfire, with cascades of shell casings hitting the marble floor. And yet, when Neo visits the Oracle, Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light" plays faintly in the background. Choose the red pill.

Circle the date. October 14. -Ken C. Pohlmann

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