The Matrix (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Matrix 4K ReviewThe Matrix is almost synonymous with the term science fiction in the late 90’s.  If you look the term up in the dictionary, you’ll find a reference to the film The Matrix.  I’m just kidding, but universal law should work that way.  When The Matrix came out it was pretty much instantly adopted and heralded as a sci-fi classic.  It was even pioneering in the way special effects were done in movie making.  Do you remember how pretty much every film that came out within a few years of The Matrix’s release adopted the slow motion action sequences seen within?  I do and they still use this gimmick.  Look at last year’s Justice League.  Some of the film’s action sequences took pages out of The Matrix’s playbook.  Not that it was ever dead, but it certainly lit a fire under the career of Keanu Reeves not to mention pave the careers of The Wachowski Brothers.  So let’s talk all about this down below.  What say you?  The red pill or blue?

The Matrix


The sci-if film The Matrix officially came out in 1999.  So that’s when the visual effects phenomenon affectionately known as “bullet time,” which I made mention of up above, officially started.  It was both written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers.  In addition to Reeves the film stars Laurence Fishburne (he also saw a resurgence in his career from this one), Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano and Hugo Weaving, who was handsomely rewarded and recognized in so many roles afterwards because of this movie.  The Matrix shows us a future not so different than our own on the surface, but very dystopian behind the curtains in which our reality as perceived is actually a simulated reality.

Let’s talk about this simulated reality thing for a bit.  I don’t think I’m spoiling anything because if you haven’t seen The Matrix by now, what’s wrong with you?   This simulated reality is referred to as “the Matrix,” and is created by sentient machines to fool the human population into a dreamlike state while they use their actual bodies as an energy source.  Lost yet?  Stay with me.  So remember me asking you about the red and blue pills up above?  Well one of them will show you what the average human can’t see.  This is how our hero, Neo (Reeves) an ordinary computer programmer, is introduced to the truth.  He obviously took the right pill, eh?  He finds himself amidst the rebellion against the machines.  He has help though from others who show him the powers he didn’t know he has now that is mind is set free to the dystopian truth of it all.  I don’t think he saw that coming when he woke up that fateful morning.  Ha ha.

The Matrix was undoubtedly well loved by critics and it even went on to win four Academy Awards (all for effects, editing and sound).  Reviewers loved the film for its effects, cinematography and sci-fi bliss.  Over the years it has been regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films ever and was added to the National Film Registry for preservation in 2012.  The film went on to spawn two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, both written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers once again.  However, the funniest thing about The Matrix is in addition to games and animated short films it also went on to influence books and theories on religion and philosophies the film provoked in the minds of others.

From a certain point of view I see The Matrix as film that teaches one in a sci-fi kind of way that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  It’s really all mind over matter here and if you seen The Matrix, you know its ending.  Once you can perceive you’re in control, you can pretty much do and accomplish anything.  This is a pretty powerful belief.  This practice in the wrong hands of the evil and corrupt can be treacherous.  I guess I can see now why there are thoughts about the religion and philosophies of “The Matrix.”  It’s a deep trip behind the curtain, but what would this movie be if Neo took the other pill?  We have to believe nothing.  The Matrix isn’t for everyone and I can definitely understand how some can be confused by it, but if you give into it, take the same pill as Neo (the red one) and master the mind over matter thing The Matrix shows, you can have a blast with this one.  I know it took me multiple viewings in 1999 to appreciate the genius of it all, but not for one moment did I ever not like all my trips down the rabbit hole.  I’ll gladly follow the white rabbit anytime.

The Matrix 4K


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warner’s The Matrix.  Just an FYI The Matrix 4K UHD release is culled from a new scan of the original camera negative and is the first remaster of the film in nearly 15 years.  The 4K UHD remaster was supervised by the film’s director of photography, Bill Pope (The Matrix Trilogy, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Baby Driver).  A remastered Blu-ray disc from the new 4K scan is also included.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • HDR: Yes
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Once again ladies and gentlemen this is the real deal folks!  Sharpness is typically paramount throughout this 4K presentation with the exception of a few soft shots here and there.  And a you can probably have guessed the acne pits on Lawrence Fishborune’s face are more prevalent then ever here.  Beyond those acne scars and pits though crispness in the close-ups is amazing down to every little imperfection, pore, stubble and mole.  In addition to skin the textures are crazy good looking from the many sweaters and post apocalyptic outfits to the concrete and steels employed throughout.  Most striking was the worn look of the red leather chair Morpheus sits down in and schools Neo about the pill choices.  The chair looked so real like you could reach out and touch it, and then want to wash your hands.  The visual effects also do not look any worse or better than before so I’ll give them a pass here.
  • Depth: There is also a crazy amount of depth in the presentation here too from jumping off distant rooftops to close quarters like within Morpheus’ ship.  The most impressive scene was the long hallway within the Oracle’s apartment building.  Love it!  Everything just had that gorgeous looking three-dimensional pop to it all!
  • Black Levels: The black levels were deep and inky throughout here.  Most importantly though I love how you can now see so many details in the shadows here in this presentation.
  • Color Reproduction: If you asked me in one word to describe the color palette of The Matrix on 4K disc I would describe it as “natural.”  Sure there is still that green tint in certain scenes, but outside of that it has a very natural look to it all in the color space…unless your talking about the reality of the sentinel affected world.  Their red lights are both piercingly bold and menacing to behold in the post-apocalyptic truth we learn about.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones throughout also carry a very naturalistic balance to them all.  I was pleasantly happy about how everything looked in this department.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There was zero signs of banding, compression, etc, but there is a very nice, healthy and thin veneer layer of grain throughout that never once gets in the way of anything.  I’m sure there are things people can nitpick about this print, but to the above average trained eyes you really can’t dispute how awesome things look here. Can  you?

The Matrix 4K


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Warner’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Matrix.  I do want you to know that the 4K UHD Disc comes armed with a Dolby Atmos surround track while the 1080p Blu-ray comes equipped with a 5.1Dolby TrueHD one.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (be careful as disc defaults to Dolby Digital 5.1 track first), English 5.1 Spanish 2.0 and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Brazilian Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch
  • Dynamics: The first thing you’re going to notice upon hitting Play on your 4K player’s remote is the overall sense of immersion this Dolby Atmos surround track packs.  It’s aggressive, balls-to-the-wall and directional all at the same time.  Whatever zany visuals the movie throws at this audio track it simply delivers never missing a beat.  It’s like zipping down the drag racing track with no stuttering whatsoever.  I think the biggest difference her with the Atmosphere track is the fidelity it bestows upon things here such as prioritization of effects and of course as previously mentioned the directionality of it all too.  Basically you can take any sequence here and be assured that things have never sounded as exceptional as they do here.  Best of all nothing, absolutely nothing, gets lost in the shuffle here not even spoken dialogue.  Take that to the bank and cash it!
  • Height: There’s no doubt about it that the height channels here create an even greater sense of immersion that your traditional 5.1 setup, but it’s the effective way they do that make it a winner-winner chicken dinner here.  Events such as water pouring from Adams Street bridge, run pouring down, thunder in the sky, the helicopter rescue sequence and so much more come to dimensional life thanks to the Atmos channels with this presentation.
  • Low Frequency Extension: I think you can pretty much also cash this check.  The LFE channel is punishing at times.  In moments of scoring and rocking singles like Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” it delivers the rhythm, but it’s the many gun battles, kicks and blows, knocking down of doors, explosions and more that will rock your socks off (in a good way of course).  So needless to say the LFE is quite impressive.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The sense of immersion here thanks in part to the Atmos height channels and the rear speakers here makes you wonder what world you’re really in when taking all this in on 4K disc.  I mean there’s the many fight scenes yes, including the bombastic Third Act.  There’s also the whirling helicopters, gun splatter and so much more.  But it’s also the little things that kill here too like the many footsteps in the rears, voices over the police radios, cars passing by and so much more that truly make this one a complete 360 degree soundscape.  Therefore, I heart it all.  Enough said!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are always loud, clear and prioritized through the film’s runtime here.

The Matrix 4K


The 4K, Blu-ray and Digital versions of The Matrix here includes more than 3 hours of previously released extras.  The 4K UHD disc and the digitally remastered Blu-ray includes the previously released written intro from the Wachowskis and four commentaries as shown below.  The Blu-ray bonus disc will include the other previously released special features including that 2-hour documentary.  Also, you’re getting a Digital HD copy of the film here, which redeems in 4K.  So there’s that too!  Since there’s nothing new here let’s quickly recap everything down below.

The Matrix 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • Written Introduction by the Wachowskis
  • “Philosopher” Commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilbur
  • “Critics” Commentary by Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson
  • “Cast & Crew” Commentary by Carrie-Anne Moss, Zach Staenberg and John Gaeta
  • “Composer” Commentary by Don Davis with Music Only Track

The Matrix Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • The Matrix Revisited (SD, 2:-2:50)
  • Behind the Matrix (43:06)
    • Making The Matrix
    • The Dance of the Master: Yuen Wo Ping’s Blocking Tapes
    • The Bathroom Fight and Wet Wall
    • The Code of the Red Dress
    • The Old Exit: Wabash and Lake
    • Agent Down
    • But Wait—There’s More
  • Follow the White Rabbit (SD, 22:51)
    • Trinity Escapes
    • Pod
    • Kung Fu
    • The Wall
    • Bathroom Fight
    • Government Lobby
    • Government Roof
    • Helicopter
    • Subway
  • Take the Red Pill (SD, 17:42)
    • What Is Bullet Time?
    • What Is the Concept?
  • Marilyn Manson “Rock is Dead” Music Video (SD, 3:20)
  • The Music Revisited (3:14:51): Believe it or not there’s a  41-song playlist found here.
  • Teaser Trailer (SD, 1:01)
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:33)
  • TV Spots (SD, 3:54)
    • Manson
    • Reality
    • Forget Everything
    • Mystery
    • Buckle Up
    • The Answer
    • Kung Fu
    • Whoa

The Matrix 4K


I have to admit it has been some time since I last revisited The Matrix.  Truth be told it’s a tad bit dated, but it still holds up very well over the years as one of the greatest films from the 1990’s.  I enjoyed every minute of it and there’s no doubt about it.  This is absolutely the best The Matrix has ever looked (w/ Dolby Vision and HDR) and sounded (Dolby Atmos) before.  You know that and I know that so what are you waiting for?  You know what to do.  Yes!  BUY NOW indeed!  And most importantly, enjoy!  Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before we get the two sequels on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray too.  I’m a huge fan of the second one, but I digress.


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


The Matrix

Questions Your Beliefs

on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

May 22nd




The Matrix 4K


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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