Matrix Revolves on DVD

Warner Home Video lets fans complete their Matrix collections with today’s North American release of The Matrix Revolutions on DVD and VHS. The CG-laden trilogy ender follows the white rabbit even deeper into the rabbit hole with a two-disc DVD set filled to the brim with extra features. Fans of classic special effects can also pick up the rare 1962 Kerwin Mathews adventure Jack The Giant Killer, featuring Harryhausenesque stop-motion animation.

If there was ever a film franchise that verified the commercial success of the DVD format, it’s The Matrix. Tailor made for tech-savvy young males with disposable income and obsessive tendencies, the series of sci-fi actioners has been one of the biggest sellers in the fairly short history of digital video distribution. Even those who believe the sequels failed to live up to the original are snatching up copies for the plethora of cool bonus materials.

The Matrix Revolutions comes complete with a number of featurettes examining the intricate special effects that went into the film. CG Revolution looks at the digital side while Super Big Mini Models offers a practical view of the challenges of filming with models and miniatures. There are also effects breakdowns for the final Neo/Agent Smith showdown, the evolution of "bullet time" and the flick’s many eye-popping stunts. An overall behind-the-scenes peek is offered through Matrix Recalibrated and the usual offering of storyboards, concept art and pre-visualizations.

A nice counterpoint to the super high-tech visual assault deployed by the Wachowski Bros. is a little-known fairy tale film that did its best to wow audiences with the cutting-edge effects technology of its time. In the mid-’50s, MGM producer Edward Small turned down Ray Harryhausen’s pitch for The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, a film that went on to make a lot of money for Warner Bros. Small then hired Sinbad star Kerwin Mathews and director Nathan Juran and set out to make a blatant knock-off with a lower budget and without the brilliance of Harryhausen’s handiwork. Still, the animation by Gene Warren Sr., Jim Danforth and Howard Anderson is fun and the film is a must-see for fans of old-school fantasy. Since it has been a rare find on VHS and laserdisc, the DVD release has been highly anticipated in certain circles. It carries a suggested retail price of $14.95.