The Matrix - 10th Anniversary (Blu-ray)

"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) leads a double life. During the day, he is a computer drone for a big corporation; by night, he's Neo, hacker extraordinaire. Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) opens Neo's eyes to the real world, a vast wasteland where most of humanity has been enslaved by machines that use our bodies as a power source while feeding our minds a computer-generated virtual reality that looks a lot like 1999. Neo must reenter The Matrix in order to overthrow the machines and reclaim the Earth.

The Matrix was a huge theatrical hit in 1999 and is widely considered the movie that helped launch DVD into the mainstream when it sold over 1 million copies in its first week. Before this Blu-ray version was released, the only way to purchase it was in a boxed set with the inferior sequels, but I'm sure there's a big audience out there who didn't want to spring for the expensive set.

As with the boxed set, this release boasts a fantastic VC-1 encode with outstanding depth and rich detail in both the foregrounds and backgrounds. Colors have an intentional green cast due to cinematographer Bill Pop's desire to create a world harkening back to the days of monotone computer monitors. Despite the pervasive darkness, the shadow detail is breathtaking and free of any criticism.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is loaded with demo material, most notably the lobby scene and when Neo learns kung fu and battles Morpheus. Bullets fly around the room in the first of these scenes, and the profound bass in the second one is very impressive. Demo scenes aside, this soundtrack is an aural joy with clear dialog, rich ambience, and a full 360-degree soundfield.

The BD50 disc is loaded with supplements such as an "In-Movie Experience" and a PIP commentary delving into the production with cast and crew interviews. Additional items include a boatload of trailers, four different audio commentaries, nine featurettes, a two-hour documentary, "The Matrix Revisited," and a digital copy compatible with iTunes and Windows.

An added bonus feature is the "Digibook" packaging, which includes the main disc plus a book with essays about the film, biographies of the actors and filmmakers, and production photos.

The Matrix is one of my favorite films even though the Wachowski brothers did their best to ruin the franchise with The Matrix Revolutions. Regardless, this one stands on its own well, and the presentation isn't any different than the boxed set—it's fabulous. Highly recommended.

Release Date: March 31, 2009
Studio: Warner

Movie: 9/10
Picture: 10/10
Sound: 10/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics