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DVD Producer Describes the Ultimate <I>Matrix</I> Set

24 Sep, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

Three movies. One virtual world. Ten discs.

Warner Home Video's Dec. 7 release of the 10-disc Ultimate Matrix Collection ($79.92) leaves no stone unturned for fans of the now-ubiquitous sci-fi masterpiece from brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski, according to DVD featurettes director/pro-ducer Josh Oreck.

By the time the brothers began filming the final two installments of the trilogy, DVD producers and documentarians knew they would be prepping for a massive future DVD release, Oreck said.

And here it comes, with two discs for each movie — the feature and a documentary-loaded “Revisited” disc for each — as well as the previously released animated exploration of The Matrix world, The Animatrix; and three brand-new discs that delve into the making, the background and philosophies of the films.“Everything good that we had is in this box,” Oreck said, including 40 hours of never-before-seen footage.

Some of the content in the set has been seen before, like The Matrix Revisited and The Animatrix, but this box represents the entire universe of “The Matrix” and the brothers' vision of it, he added.

Also, fans will be thrilled with the way the original Matrix looks in this newest DVD set. Because all the extras are on separate discs, all the compression space could be used for the transfer of the film, Oreck said.

“The transfer that was on the original DVD of the first film was very early on in the DVD process, and it had never been properly supervised by the director of photography or the brothers. So they had the chance to go back and really do a perfect transfer of the film,” he said.

“The Roots of the Matrix” disc is probably the most exciting, with entirely new content, Oreck said.

“We interviewed about 100 people and scientists and academics, not necessarily about The Matrix, but about the things we knew were influential to the brothers when they were making The Matrix,” he said. “The disc “Roots of the Matrix” is basically an examination of all the ideas that are under the surface of the films.”

Scholars Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber are among those interviewed for “The Roots of the Matrix,” and the two also provide a commentary track for all three films. This track is nicely juxtaposed with another track the brothers insisted be included: one that features three critics — Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson — who hated the films, Oreck said.

“It's funny — if you switch back and forth between the commentary tracks, you've got one of these two philosophers trying to get at the real roots of the film, delve into the meaning behind the dialogue or the action, and for the same scene at the same moment of the film, one of the critics on the other track is going ‘Laurence Fishburne sure looks fat there,’ Oreck said. “The WB lawyers really tried to squash that commentary, but Larry, Andy and [producer] Joel [Silver] went to bat for it.”

The filmmakers wanted to address the fact that many people, fans and critics alike, did not like the final two installments of “The Matrix” trilogy, Oreck said. “The thing about the Wachowski brothers is they just want there to be a dialogue,” he said. “They want to allow people to have whatever ideas they have about the films, whether they are positive or negative.”

The 10-disc set provides plenty of fodder for that discussion, he added. “It definitely tells you everything you would need to know about 'The Matrix' universe,” Oreck said.

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