Q: HAVE ANY trilogy maestros alienated their legions of slobbering fanboys faster than the Wachowski brothers did with The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions? A: Yes—George Lucas. Moving on, then. It sure would be nice if Andy and Larry popped the blue pill, rolled their Beamers over to Radio Shack, bought a few MCRs, and deigned to record a directors' commentary cuing us in to just what the hell happened in Revolutions (on disc April 6). Unsurprisingly, the recluses kept mum (maybe they're holding out till the box set), leaving this double-disc package riddled with the customary shorts on miniatures, makeup, CGI, bullet time, and motion capture that comprehensively explain the hows—if not the far more intriguing whys.
Everyone from superproducer Joel Silver to the lowliest modeler gleefully outlines their part in transforming the vision of the "poets" into reality. We see hundreds of extras outfitted with wet suits and Hugo Weaving molds for the climactic, thunderstorm-beset, "super burly fight" between Neo and Agent Smith. Animators beam at successfully injecting humanity into the schools of sentinels that swarm Zion; their enthusiasm about concocting an unprecedented cocktail of, ahem, revolutionary effects and real-world pathos goes a long way toward deflating the it's-just-a-big-video-game slams.
But what about all that gobbledygook with the Oracle and Architect? We do get a helpful "Before the Revolution" timeline, which juxtaposes cartoon stills with clips from the trilogy and provides Cliffs Notes–style expository text; yet it's still basically incomprehensible. At least a litany of Web sites are provided for additional extrapolation. Here's to the Wachowskis, George Lucas, and Peter Jackson: Kick-ass summer-movie action now requires a glossary. Andrew Bonazelli
NO STUDY AIDS are required for the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which arrives March 30 on equally gory single- and double-disc sets. John Malkovich stars in the Patricia Highsmith adaptation Ripley's Game. From the talented co-directors of American Splendor, their 1997 documentary Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasens is new to DVD. Boxing fans will dig The Last Round: Chuvalo vs. Ali, which documents a 1966 bout. On the art-film front, the blacklisted director Joseph Losey is honored with reissues of Monsieur Klein, Time Without Pity, and La Truite. Ben Kingsley, director Vadim Perelman, and source novelist Andre Dubus III provide commentaries to House of Sand and Fog. Eds.