Matrix Revolutions: The Epic Edition
, Captain Khajiit patiently educated and assisted me in producing the amazing looking DVD encode of this movie.
, Boon and Doctor M provided some indirect inspiration with their edits of this movie.
- NTSC DVD-9
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
The 2nd Renaissance
Flight of the Osiris
Feature Film commentary track from Geminigod discussing specific changes, general thoughts, and all things Matrix related.
There is no set of movies I have spent more time deconstructing than the Matrix movies. They are plush with great philosophy, action, and science fiction. The story is set in one of the most original universes to have been created in our lifetime. The ideas it presented have forever changed movie-making and the public consciousness. It was a franchise that defined a generation, and yet, unlike Star Wars, the franchise is dead. Few people even bother to watch the original movies anymore.
Why? Well, we all know why in a nutshell. Revolutions sucked. Some very talented faneditors have succeeded at fixing certain elements of Revolutions but always at the cost of other elements. Such efforts thus far have metaphorically consisted of amputating an infected animal’s leg so it can limp on rather than finding a way to cure the whole animal.
I have great respect for the Wachowski brothers. They have done great works, and I mean them no disrespect when I say the following. Matrix Revolutions is a cautionary tale for artists. Artwork invariably takes on a life of its own. The story speaks back, and when the artist doesn’t listen, Matrix Revolutions is what results with its forced tangents and ill-conceived plot twists. They tried to make it more than it needed to be or should have been and consequently killed the goose.
This fanedit is an attempt to be more true to the story and to the Wachowski Brothers’ original vision for it.
1) Deliver a story that someone who has never seen the original movies can follow from beginning to end, find to be enjoyable, thought provoking, and engaging.
2) Deliver a movie that is of high technical quality and can look good on people’s bookshelves and in their home theaters for many years to come.
3) Deliver a movie that both my college screenwriting professor and the Wachowski brothers might respect.
Bonus Animatrix material is accessible from the main menu. It is intended to enhance the overall viewing experience as introduction to the universe and as an opportunity to reset your expectations. I hope it helps to get you excited again about just how much potential this universe has to offer and to come at this edition with fresh eyes as if you are watching it for the first time. If you can manage on this level, I believe you will be very pleased with the results of the feature film.
Revolutions was a letdown, but it held such promise, and there are so many redeeming aspects to be found in both Reloaded & Revolutions. I hope this edit helps to reveal the diamond in the rough.
Rather than discussing specific cuts, which are too many to list and some difficult to describe (due to re-ordering of sequences), I will briefly outline the guiding principles behind the edits I made. ,SPOILER WARNING,: Some of the major edits made may be implied to those familiar with the movies.
1) It takes more than cuts to fix this movie without creating major story gaps. Thus two new scenes and one highly modified scene have been created that represents approximately 3 minutes of new scenes (made from existing theatrical footage).
2) The key to the tension throughout the story, the hinge, if you will, that the entire story arc rests upon is Zion. Zion cannot be removed and it cannot suck. The tension from the first movie is derived from Neo succeeding or failing in becoming the One. The tension in the sequels is derived from Zion rising or falling.
3) Both Reloaded and Revolutions are one to-be-continued movie. I do not believe this was necessary other than to milk the audience for a 2nd movie, nor do I believe they originally had enough material for two movies. Many of the worst plot points arose from this decision to make two movies instead of one as (I suspect) the first draft was originally written to be.
4) The pressure to include a big mind-blowing plot twist, like existed in Matrix 1, drove the creators to fabricate an ill-conceived plot twist for the 2nd & 3rd movies that leads the story astray from the way it was originally conceived and should have remained.
5) The death of the original actress, Gloria Foster, who played the Oracle is unfortunate, but her change of appearance is explained and her scenes with Neo are vital to his character arc (although highly edited to remove unimportant or bad dialogue!).
6) Less is more, right up until it comes at the cost of dramatic tension, good storytelling, and effective characters! Thus, some controversial supporting characters and scenes remain, but hopefully you will find these elements to be modified in a way that is far more satisfying when all is said and done than the original.
7) Neo is the One. This should be quite clear at the end of Matrix 1. Humanity is facing a possible extinction. It should not be surprising or unusual to expect some religious connotations pertaining to his character or the story in general. It fits the story being told (although toned down a bit in this edit).
8) I love me some good action, but I also love me some good pacing. At its core, the Matrix is an action movie, and there is some amazing action in these movies. Much of the action remains intact, but I have tried to strike more of a balance with pacing in some scenes.
9) Philosophy is our friend, right up until it makes no sense or contributes to poorly conceived plot elements.
Thanks to Neglify's re-up I was finally able to watch this. After reading the cut list and stated aim of geminigod I thought this was going to be everything I always thought the sequel to the Matrix should have been. Alas, rather than call it Epic Edition it should have probably been called the ADHD Edition. Every cool set piece is there, joined together by the smallest thread before we're onto the next cool fight and as a result the film(s) not given any time to breathe. Even the part I thought would have worked really well (going to the source) left me cold and was a bit jarring.
The first Matrix was a fantastic, game-changing film, and I don't envy the Wachowskis the difficult task of creating two sequels to such an influential piece of art. While almost any sequel would fall short of the first, the result was two overlong, self-important action/war films that failed to bring enough new ideas to the table to justify the effort.
This edit gets a lot right in condensing the narrative into a single 3 hour epic. The new plot is relatively easy to follow, it includes much of the good and discards a lot of the bad.
Unfortunately, the very simplicity of the new narrative turns out to be this edit's greatest weakness.
The first 2/3 of the edit essentially tell a condensed version of Reloaded, but without the Architect waiting at the end. Instead, when Neo enters the door he goes immediately to the machine city. This allows for an extremely condensed version of Revolutions, but because it skips the 'twist' that Neo was never intended as the chosen one, Neo never has to make a meaningful choice in the edit. He begins the story believing that he is the chosen one, and follows the Oracle's directions to save Zion. His defeat of Smith occurs the same way it does in the first film - he destroys Smith from the inside with his 'chosen one' powers, presumably, since we do not see the Machine God aid in Smith's destruction.
In short, while this is a good 'action movie' cut of the Matrix sequels, it loses too much of Reloaded and Revolutions to replace them in my viewing.
Like most other reviewers, I am a huge fan of the original Matrix and consider it one of my top 25 favorite movies. Similarly, I was disappointed by the sequels. I have watched multiple Matrix fanedits in order to find my permanent watching replacement. After really enjoying The Matrix Revolutions Decoded and this Epic version, I believe this is THE ONE (ba dum tshhh).
It all boils down to the fact that this version is flawlessly edited and turns two overlong, overly complex movies filled with philosophy babble into a streamlined action sci-fi movie that makes complete sense. Like the first Matrix, this edit capitalizes on some basic philosophical questions (how much should man rely on machine? what makes us human? how do we define reality) and doesn't veer into the confusing meditations on choice, purpose, and multiple realities/matrices that the two original sequels do.
-I could have done without the Zion orgy dance scene, but I get its symbolism (bestial life versus cold machines).
-We don't get any sort of closure on what happens to Trinity at the end, though we can assume she makes her way from broadcasting depth back to Zion where she will live a life of sadness without Neo.
-I can't stand the change in oracle actors, but there isn't much to be done about that.
-First off, the most brilliant thing about this edit was changing where Neo goes after he steps through the special door to the Source. He travels to the "source" which is, in the original, the machine mainframe, and speaks with the baby-faced leader of the machines where they make a simple deal that Neo will remove Smith from the Matrix in exchange for peace. Absolutely inspired -- this renders the multiple matrix plotline pointless (which I always hated, as it sort of devalues the current struggle of our characters) and cuts out a ton of extraneous plot including the Architect.
-All of the best action sequences are kept, but many are trimmed down just enough for pacing.
-Small things that are stupid or ridiculous are removed. One of my favorites is when Link returns home: In the original, he starts saying something like "Where's my puss--" and is interrupted by his nephew/niece (I think) who are visiting his wife. It's a cheap laugh, and pretty crass and unlikeable that he would greet his wife after months of being away and missing her in this manner. There are a lot of little moments like this that have been thankfully removed.
-Obvious poorly done elements (Bane, Neo having powers in the real world, Trinity's comically long death scene) are gone and would make no sense with the new narrative plotline.
Overall, the narrative change and editing have redeemed these movies for me and will replace my DVD hardcopies for good.
I'd give the originals a 5/10, the Decoded version a 9/10, and this a 10/10 overall.
I first watched and reviewed this fanedit about a year ago, but upon re-watching it today having not visited the Matrix franchise again since - or fanedits in general - I thought it'd be nice to re-review this edit with a relatively fresh perspective. And this time around, I enjoyed the edit a LOT more and developed a whole new appreciation for it. So I thought I'd re-write an earlier review I wrote for it on the Fanedit Forums, which unfairly focused on criticizing geminigod's relatively great editing skills despite giving a very positive score overall.
So firstly, here are the main major changes to the films themselves in slightly more detail *OBVIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD*: Throughout the entire movie, there is so sub-plot about Agent Smith possessing Bane and entering the real world. By doing this, the whole sub-plot of Neo/Bane being stuck in a coma can be exercised, and additionally there is no footage or mention of the Caduceus crew. Additionally, Neo has no powers carrying across into the real world, only in The Matrix. But the most dramatic change is towards the end of the first half of the film. Instead of Neo meeting the Architect when he enters the door of light, it cuts straight to Neo entering the Machine City and having a peace deal with the Machines if he destroys Agent Smith. Trinity and Neo do not go to the Machine City, instead asking for a ship to borrow to go into The Matrix with, and the edit then goes straight into the battle for Zion and the final battle between Neo and Smith.
How well does this work? Pretty much flawlessly in the first 100 minutes. The pacing is expertly done, with the story still making a heck of a lot of sense and being easy to follow as one stylish, enjoyable action scene after another is thrown your way with a side of universe mythology and a touch of philosophy. The editing is barely noticeable, save for a split-second frame glitch and slowed down shot that happens in the Zion rave scene, and everything just goes into such a cohesive whole that you'd assume this is how the original Matrix sequel was made in the first place.
However, things unfortunately get a little shakier after that. The edit relies heavily on a new scene constructed from existing footage to set up a new narrative, and while the scene isn't awful and lasts for less than 1 minute, it's a scene that is *clearly* edited and feels a little disjointed. The plot threads introduced immediately following the scene feel a little rushed too, with the pacing being simply not as tight as before, and the drama/battle within Zion is simply not as engaging as the action sequences that filled the first half of the edit. The editing in general becomes more noticeable too, with a few smash cuts that feel sudden or fades to white/black that feel unnatural. However, even with that being the case it only mildly distracts from the story at hand rather than derailing it, and thankfully the narrative finds it's footing again in the last half hour, becoming a gripping, suitably epic and hugely satisfying wrap-up to everything we've seen in the rest of the film.
In terms of the quality of the edit itself, the video quality is fantastic for an AVCHD and so is the sound, although it suffers a bit mix-wise since the dialogue always seems a bit too quiet compared to the action scenes. The DVD features are simplistic, but the addition of two shorts from the Animatrix as optional intros really helps set that "epic" feel for the movie, and the commentary from geminigod is a nice addition too.
If I'd give the original sequels a 7, and the Dezionized edit an 8 for trimming the fat, I give The Epic Edition a 9 for doing the same thing but packing a bigger emotional wallop. The score would've been higher if the editing was consistently flawless as it was in the first half, but nonetheless, well done to geminigod for turning the sequels into the true successor the original film deserved!
Finally got around to this after DL'ing last year.
I put off viewing partly because I did not want to waddle through sorry assed Revolutions again.
Then I delayed reviewing because I wanted to listen to Geminigod's audio commentary.
In a nutshell, the A/V editing was spectacular. I missed glitches and fudges he referenced in the commentary. Had to go back, and even then they were often hard to catch.
He also purged the bulk of the offensive bungles from Revolutions.
Also, he made a good argument that the sequel ought to have been one long film, rather than two.
Best, this edit redeemed the franchise, which ain't gonna revive any day soon.
Less compelling, were Geminigod's prolonged defense for the importance of Zion. I never bought that argument. Zion, to me, represented a separation of humanity into elites and mudbugs. Far as Zion went, if the machines whacked them, fine by me.
Commentaries by their nature are enlightening, thoughtful, and maddening. Geminigod's was no exception. For every point he addressed, and I thought "Ooh, I hadn't thought of that," then he would belabor another cue for five minutes, and I'm going, "Hey, Pilgrim, movie's rolling, stay on topic."
This really was a powerhouse job, with a tremendous amount of editing and rearranging, in crafting a true, alternative experience.
And barking aside, I truly appreciated the editor's words. Most enlightening.