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The Matrix (1999)

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NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the original Matrix DVD release. The version included in the Ultimate Matrix Collection has two different commentaries.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Actress Carrie-Anne Moss, editor Zach Staenberg, and special effects supervisor John Gaeta Rating:3.1/10 (22 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 2nd, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
I have to admit that I was doing other things while listening to this track, like doing crosswords and de-worming my cat. This is the worst commentary track I’ve ever heard. The people try, mind you, but they’re very dry. The first 20 minutes are fine. It’s energetic and funny. After that it loses a whole lot of steam. Carrie-Anne Moss leaves and doesn’t say anything for almost an hour and a half. In the meantime, the two other guys come up with random thoughts on the movie. They talk about the effects – about how some of the shots were made and how they like the way the effects are used in the movie – and move on to the cast and crew and some of the symbolism (reflections and things). They do say some interesting things: the movie had a 118-day shooting schedule (which is a marathon shoot, by the way), the human cultivating field shot took about a year and a half to make, and the design of the heroes’ ship was based a lot on the ship from ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. The last half hour gets a bit livelier because Mrs. Moss comes in again. It doesn’t have the energy and life of the first 20 minutes, though. For people who say they absolutely loved working on this movie, there’s an utter lack of enthusiasm in this track, I find (except for maybe Mrs. Moss, although she’s gone for a large part of the track).
Reviewed by Numes on December 9th, 2006:Find all reviews by Numes
I echo pat00139's thoughts exactly. This was just a very poor commentary. Carrie Ann Moss goes MIA besides the first 20 minutes and at the very end. In addition, it didn't seem like the commentary was sync'ed to video very well. It was hard to tell because no one ever said anything! The only bit that I found interesting was the fact that the helicopter scenes were real stuntmen over a town in Australia.
Reviewed by Hungry Baz on January 16th, 2013:Find all reviews by Hungry Baz
There plenty of pauses throughout the film and at times I forgot I was watching a commentary. Why bother doing this track if no-one is gonna say anything. There is no explanation of why Carrie left. Maybe she was bored.
Reviewed by drukepple on December 5th, 2016:Find all reviews by drukepple
The other reviews cover the matter fairly well, and I agree with everything that was said. They do cover some interesting technical aspects of the filmmaking, but the DVD/Blu-Ray also includes tons of special features that are far more engaging to watch and equally informative. I'd suggest this only if you're a hardcore completist/fan, and maybe even then, only when you can also do something else and not spend two hours sitting and watching this.

I'll also add that this commentary gets a little awkward at points. It sounds to me like Gaeta doesn't really like Staenberg. At one point, Staenberg tried to pay Gaeta a compliment by saying something like "I totally believe that Laurence Fishburne can jump like that" and Gaeta responds with a rather defensive "You have no idea how hard I worked on that effect," seemingly misinterpreting what Staenberg was trying to say. To his credit, Staenberg doesn't get defensive in return, and confirms to Gaeta that he knows how hard he worked. But to me, it belies some weird unhappy relationship between the two. I'm a little surprised the studio permitted this to be released.

Just one more thing: I kind of love how, toward the end, as Neo and Trinity kiss, Carrie-Anne Moss melts a little over how nice it was to kiss Keanu Reeves, and says "In Matrix 2, I want more kissing." It's a very human moment, and almost makes the commentary worth listening to...almost.
Commentary 2: Composer Don Davis, with isolated score Rating:3.8/10 (13 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 2nd, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
Mr. Davis talks about his inspirations and what he wanted to do with the music. He wanted to go more post-modern/minimalist/abstract with this score. He said he didn’t really have any real themes for the score but had some thematic elements. He wanted something different for the score, something that had never really been heard before, because he felt the movie was something that had never really been seen before. He also talks about writing music, as well as who worked on the score. He even talks about the movie and the symbolism, and the way he made the score relate to everything (he’s actually more insightful in this than the other track). Everything he says is clearly evident is the score. It’s quite unique if you listen to it on its own.
Reviewed by Numes on December 9th, 2006:Find all reviews by Numes
The reason I gave this one a 6 is only because when you have an isolated score with a commentary, you don't necessarily want the person talking though the whole movie, you want to listen to key scenes in the movie. That was the case on this track. When the composer did talk about an upcoming scene (or previous scene) he gives some good insights into the creation of the score.
Reviewed by Londo Mollari on February 21st, 2008:Find all reviews by Londo Mollari
This commentary was simply way too heavy on the technical aspects of making the film. Carrie Anne Moss was nice to listen to but its a shame that she was gone for so long.
Reviewed by Hungry Baz on January 16th, 2013:Find all reviews by Hungry Baz
Composer commentaries suck because they don't have much to say. It was nice hearing the isolated score on it's own, but as a commentary, it was lame. He only talks when there is no music and I couldn't be bothered to hear what he had to say.
Reviewed by drukepple on December 5th, 2016:Find all reviews by drukepple
I'm someone who loves music in general, loves film music in particular, and am fascinated by film composers, what they do, and how they do what they do. With that in mind, I loved this track.

In response to Hungry Baz, I suppose your appreciation of the commentary depends on your interest in film music. But it's not fair to complain that Davis only talks when there is no music: the whole point of the track was to isolate the score. It gives you a chance to listen to the score with no other distractions in the mix, and then Davis gives an in-depth discussion of his process that you can then appreciate as the music comes in again. Silly, silly Baz.

Also, I would normally rate this commentary an 8, but I gave it a 10, because Londo Mollari clearly wrote his review, and presumably contributed a low rating, based on the OTHER commentary track, which we can all agree is terrible. I'm just trying to restore the average.