Top positive review
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a classic sci-fi first instalment followed by two action-packed (but inferior) sequels
on 13 August 2016
This is "The Matrix" trilogy on Blu-ray. It consists of three films: 'The Matrix' (1999), 'The Matrix Reloaded' (2003) and 'The Matrix Revolutions' (2003), starring Keanu Reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. This trilogy is a popular contemporary sci-fi film series, known for its 'bullet time' special effects and philosophically derived story elements. All three films were directed by the Wachowskis, and all three were financial successes. However, the first instalment in the saga is typically regarded as a far superior film - as compared to its sequels. Indeed, 'The Matrix' won four Academy awards (as well as two BAFTA's and two Saturn awards). The first film can be watched and enjoyed as a standalone movie ... while the sequels really only make sense as part of the overall saga. The Matrix franchise does include additional components, such as the collection of animated short films - The Animatrix [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] - and various videogames (e.g. The Matrix: Path of Neo (Xbox)). This 3 disc Blu-ray collection is available at a reasonable price - just £10 as I review - but it presents only a few extras. There are other options available, such as Matrix - Ultimate Collection (Ltd) (4 Blu-Ray+3 Dvd). The 'Ultimate Collection' presents 7 discs, with a huge amount of bonus features ... but I'd recommend that only to enthusiastic fans.
The Matrix saga is about a dystopian future, in which the bulk of humankind have been reduced to little more than fodder for a race of intelligent machines. These machines rule the Earth, and use humans as a power source. These humans are trapped in pods, and know nothing of their real existence. Each person is connected to a complex computer programme - a virtual reality - called the Matrix, and (nearly) everyone thinks that this is reality ... As such, people live out their whole lives inside this virtual world. Yet a few people, living deep underground, have made it their mission to free the enslaved humans. These freedom fighters enter the Matrix and try to persuade individuals that the world they know is fake. Of course, the machines don't like this - and so they use super-powered 'agents' to defend and maintain the Matrix. To greatly simplify, the main story of the films concerns one man who is born into the Matrix is destined to be able to manipulate the code of the programme and free others ... This is Neo. In the first movie, Neo is located by the freedom fighters and trained. He experiences an existential crisis of sorts, recognising that he is 'the One' - capable of doing virtually anything (and becoming akin to a super-hero). In the sequels, Neo uses his amazing powers to prevent the machines from destroying all of humankind.
The first film is excellent. It's one of the defining sci-fi movies of all time. It's unfortunate that the sequels don't live up to the quality of the original. Yet all are packed full of amazing special effects and action sequences. If you haven't seen these films, I do recommend them. I suggest watching the first - and, only if you really enjoyed it, do I then suggest watching the sequels.