Matrix Revolutions: The Epic Edition

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7.6
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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.

Spoilers Begin

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.

Spoilers End

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.

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(Updated: September 12, 2012)
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7.3
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8.0
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6.0
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It is a bold and confident step to refuse to tell us what changes have been made in this Matrix edit, but I put my trust in GeminiGod and set aside three hours to see if the ‘Epic Edition’ meets its highly ambitious goals. While this is certainly a project which has received a lot of effort and is a display of some impressive technical skills, on the whole I feel it loses its way as much as the other Matrix sequel edits that I have viewed.

The Good
- In general, the trimming down of the films is good, I particularly enjoyed the first hour which was a finer version of Reloaded.
- The added scenes, though noticable, are still impressive.
- The inclusion of the two animatrix films is an excellent choice and perfectly sets oneself up for an epic Matrix experience.

The downfall however, is the narrative. It isn’t easy to blend two films or to reshape the plot as much as GeminiGod has attempted, and again for the first hour it mostly holds together. But towards the middle, things get shaky.

It is not clear how Neo and Morpheus find the Meriovingian so quickly, but this can be assumed by the audience. However, immediately following that scene, Neo meets the Oracle for a second time (taken from the second film): the fact that he knows where she is undermines the film’s plot so far – everybody disobeyed direct orders simply awaiting word from the oracle, Neo must then pass a test simply to be taken to her, after which she dissapears again. The conversation which they have does not make much sense in the context of its new place. The Smith subplot now feels rushed and does not feel like the logical conclusion to Neo’s journey (because it isn’t). The squeezing together of the two films makes an already convoluted plot even weaker – look at the ships for example. As the films begins, Ship #1 The Nebucaneza returns, but ship #2 waits for the Oracle. Ship #2 returns, so #1 leaves with ships #3 and #4. Ship #3 gets blown up, then ship #1 is also blown up, at which point ship #5 turns up and takes the crew of ship #1 to find ship #4. Five ships with no characterisation of the crews is too many but at least over the course of two movies they progress the plot, here the flaws of the sequels are highlighted rather than reduced. Similarly, the inclusion of every Neo fight scene from the movies means we spend most of the time watching him engage in pointless fights (agents, to seriphim, to smith, to meriovingian guards, to smith again). Finally, the inclusion of Sati, and the Architect at the end doesn’t make much sense. Sati may have been hard to edit out, but the use of the Architect would be plain confusing to somebody who had not seen the original, not to mention his dialogue with the Oracle doesn’t really work without the plot developments cut from this edit.

On the plus side, the Epic Edition did remind me how much I enjoy the sequels in spite of their obvious flaws, but the films are designed to be separate. Putting the films focus on Zion is a good idea, and it works for the first half, but by the second half the edit is trying to be something which the source material does not allow.

I do not mean to put down a labour of love, and my review is only harsh due to my ridiculously high standards; for me a true fanedit is one that manages to improve on the original film – a feat in itself – and can be viewed with absolutely no knowledge that it is an edit (for example, Star Wars Revisited, Black Knight Rises, Spiderman Redemption). There are some good ideas here, and some very high quality editing, but the final product isn’t for me.

Overall ratings
DVD menu: 8/10 simple, with excellent selection of shorts.
Sound 6/10 the dialogue is very quiet and the action is far too loud, although this might be simply from the original. I did find myself having to constantly change the volume while watching.
Narrative 6/10
Editing 8/10 (a few technical errors)

Review by gugliemo — June 24, 2011 @ 4:23 AM
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(Updated: September 12, 2012)
Overall rating
 
8.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Generally speaking, I enjoyed the Matrix sequels. Sure, they weren’t as good as the original, but few sequels are. I never really bothered with any edits until now because hey, why watch an edit of a film I like in its original form? Then Geminigod came along, with promises of an epic finale and so on. I was intrigued, and since I had the time to spare, being on summer break from university, I decided I’d check it out.

And I was absolutely impressed. About an hour and forty minutes into it I asked myself where my rubber stamp was. Ambition is the name of this game, and it’s safe to say that Geminigod is winning (duh).

VIDEO:
Absolutely stunning. The Blu-ray source (and the further clean up by the editor) really shines through even on the DL DVD version. Gem also did some VFX work for a few bits (no, I won’t tell you which) and his work was very well done. There was only one shot that was a bit off due to color correction, but it was a necessary evil.
10/10

AUDIO:
Lacking the proper equipment for a true 5.1 experience I can’t really say how the surround was, but it sounded good, though I did feel a few times the music was over powering the dialogue and sound effects, though I think that may be a flaw of the original and not this edit.
10/10

THE EDIT
The opening was very well edited, flowing from the Revolutions code opening through to the Reloaded one. The title “The Epic Edition” was a bit awkward…perhaps if it had been in the Matrix font it would have fit a bit better, but hey, it was still good.

While several semi-major scenes were excised, I didn’t really notice until about twenty minutes after the cut bit would have taken place. All of the cuts were well made, though there was ONE I didn’t agree with at the end in terms of dialogue, but it was a minor quibble. There was one flash frame during a cut in the rave sequence at the beginning, but the funny thing is, I couldn’t recall what had been cut. There were a couple awkward fades elsewhere, but nothing overly distracting.

Now, for the story. Gem did a great job condensing the two films to a slightly-less-than-three hour long experience. There are a few spots near the middle where he began to use blend the events of Revolutions and Reloaded, and it worked wonderfully. Gone is the silly plotline if Neo being comatose in the Matrix and everything related to that. While he DOES have a noted change in demeanor after the Neb is destroyed, it fits with what he has to do. Is it perfect? No, but if you pretend that you’ve never seen the original versions, it works.

The biggest issue is that, the way the story has been restructured, a number of characters don’t really get an emotional climax, or one at all. It can be left to interpretation, but something would have been nice. Though, this is more a fault to the source material not really having much room for alternate takes, but Gem did the best with what he had to work with.

I don’t want to write a novel on what works and what doesn’t, but suffice it to say that this edit is brilliant, and a definite improvement on the sequels.
8/10

THE DVD:
The disc is simple enough: the movie, chapter selection, and two bonus features: The Final Flight of the Osiris as the prologue, and The Second Renaissance from the Animatrix as “In The Beginning.” As with the main feature, the quality here is excellent.
10/10

IN SUM
I really enjoyed watching this, and as it charged towards its climax, it felt as if I was watching a new film entirely. The few faults are easy to overlook, and on the whole it is an enjoyable experience.

9/10

Review by Aztek463 — June 10, 2011 @ 10:33 PM
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(Updated: September 12, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Geminigod,

Much much better than the originals. First I want to say that it is technically near flawless.

What I like:
1. With the new Oracle being brought in quicker, it does flow with the movie quite a bit more
2. The dance sequence is there, but cut to bare minimum so that it makes sense and the audience can stand it
3. Glad to see Smith not being able to come out of the Matrix and getting rid of Neo having powers out of the matrix.

My one compliant:
I have never been a fan of the first Neo vs Smith fight (CGI wise it’s horrid and it runs too long) ….. so personally I would have went directly from the Oracle talking to the Merovingian’s place. I think cutting this action sequence also makes the action Sequence at the Merovingian’s Manor and the Car chase better.

Iffy about:
1. I have never been a fan of the original ending, always felt it should have ended at Morpheus’s scene.
2. I do agree that there is technical end to Neo and Trinity’s part in the movie and that feels missing.

Definite 8/10

Review by revel911 — June 10, 2011 @ 6:01 PM
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Overall rating
 
8.5
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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8.0
Original review: Febuary 1 2012

I finally got to watch this epic edit tonight, and was highly impressed with the skill and creativity that went into it. It looked and sounded superb, made some fantastic cuts and, overall, was a much much more enjoyable experience than sitting through the two sequels (especially revolutions, I still quite enjoy reloaded as a stand alone film.)

Video: I watched the bluray, and was taken to that special bluray place. Thank you for being an HD snob Gemini, we all benefit from it! The picture was brilliant, and I didn’t notice any flaws at all.

Audio: Same deal. Great work, your technical prowess was obvious throughout, and everything was well balanced.

Story: You have improved it a great deal.

Things I liked: Simplifying the story by cutting out many flabby elements, including Smith in the real world, Neo’s powers in the real world, Neo lost in the train station, the multiple 1’s story thread, the 2nd visit to the frenchy who likes to wipe his ass with silk…Great. It plays more like a classic hero tale now in it’s general structure, which can only be a good thing.
- The effects work in the ’source’ scene was a great surprise, and a very clever and original way to avoid meeting colonel Sanders in the tv shop.
- Supporting characters, especially in Revolutions, are now more likable, probably because they’re not surrounded by a load of bolony in the other story threads anymore. I found myself caring about the action in Zion for the first time, so great job there Gem.

Things I didn’t like as much:
- There were a few points where the edits unfortunately did jump out at me and take me out of the film, and these were mostly due to awkward wipes and cross fades. There were about 4 or 5 of these that I thought could have been a bit smoother, but without seeing the alternative, it’s hard to say. Maybe this is as good as it could have been, but they were there so I’ll mention them.

- There were also a few stitching problems, such as after the epic flying truck crash rescue, we almost instantly cut to a very calm Neo, Morpheus and Trinity in the car. There is no response to what they have just been through, and it feels jarring. I also thought the sudden introduction of all of the revolutions minor characters in that ‘bridging’ section felt awkward as well. If this was really intended to be one movie, ideally we would have met those characters in the early meeting scene, but never mind. There’s nothing you could do about that really, and I think you managed well.

- The biggest story problem for me was the lack of a conclusion with Trinity, She’s a major player, and the last we see of her she says “I’m coming with you”… but then she doesn’t. I think this hurt the edit a fair bit actually, as you really can’t leave the major love interest and female heroine stranded like that… but oh well.

- two more minor gripes
1) The movie still felt too long, I think you could easily cut another 30 minutes and tighten up your already tightened narrative further. The heavy handed philosophy is, at times, incredibly cringe worthy. It sometimes, dare I say it, borders on the levels of wooden and cheesy only achieved by one other director that shall remain nameless (George Lucas). “I dreamed a dream…” still makes me laugh out loud. I half expect Morpheus to burst into song, and start singing Les Miserables. And he says “I believe” about 8 too many times. So I guess I would love to see the slightly less epic but more condensed and less wanky edition if you can ever be bothered, but I understand if you’re done and dusted with the matrix after this mammoth effort. You have permission to use that title by the way.

2)The rave. Goodness me I hate that scene. I understand why it’s needed, but I thought a lot of slow motion grindy shots could have been trimmed to tighten that scene further. I guess the problem is it makes Neo look like he has premature problems, given that the climax of the dance is so obviously supposed to coincide with the …ahem. Naked Gun anyone?

But seriously, overall I really enjoyed this edit, and I can’t quite believe you managed to get me invested in the Revolutions scenes. Bravo, and great work on making the Matrix sequels palatable again. I have only watched one other 2 in 1 matrix effort, and this blows it out of the water in my opinion.

Congrats Gem, nice work.
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