In 2003, the The Wachowskis (formerly known as The Wachowski Brothers) wrapped up their Matrix trilogy with The Matrix Revolutions. This film was so mind-blowing that even critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times – who never liked anything else I ever liked – gave the film three out of four stars!
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Time Warner Inc.
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Just as it turned our notions of reality upside down, The Matrix trilogy, and The Matrix Revolutions also threw our notions of the cinematic uses of rain into a tizzy. This, of course, was no last-minute thought. As Quora.com tells us:
[T]he “falling green code” [for which] the Matrix is so famous, the inspiration for so many screensavers in the early 2000s, was originally designed to allude to the heavy rain in [the finale of The Matrix Revolutions even BEFORE the first movie was finished.
And what wonderful “heavy rain” it was! Because the fight between Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) and Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving) takes place in the midst of a heavy rainstorm, special effects company ESC was tasked with creating synthetic rain that looked like – and acted like – real rain.
Andy Lomas, CG supervisor, told CGW.com they started by building the rain from the level of a single raindrop. “We started by building a raindrop, and simulated light moving through it.” They then created a system that let them combine drops into ribbons of rain, then maneuver it as necessary. “We could detect how fast the rain was moving and cause it to emit spray when it hit something.”
But not just the CG rain was carefully planned. The real rain, the stuff made of water, was also carefully designed. The UK’s Sunday Express reported that the sprinklers on the set of The Matrix Revolution were fitted with special nozzles to produce “chubby rain,” a water droplet fatter than a normal drop, which, when photographed, would match the dripping CG rain. This matching was important, as the two types of rain would often be blended together. At certain times, shots had to move seamlessly from real rain to CG rain. At others, the CG rain was mixed in so that it poured down in front of or behind real rain.
Why so much work on the rain? Because this rain is not “just” rain. A number of the “raindrops” in the final fight between Neo and Smith are actually single lines of code. The implication is that the Matrix is beginning to destabilize. Although the effect was most easily seen on large movie screens, it can even be seen on television screens – look for banded rain that seems to jump like static. Look for this effect in the trailer (click on the photo below):
If your video library is collected on discs, you’ll want to order the 6 (or 10 -item description is inconsistent) disc boxed set of The Ultimate Matrix Collection on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon.com. You’ll get The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, the documentary The Matrix Revisited, and The Animatrix plus tons of special features, including:
- Written Introduction by the Wachowski Brothers;
- Three commentaries on The Matrix;
- Feature-Length Documentary The Matrix Revisited;
- Behind The Matrix Documentary Gallery: 83 Featurettes with The MTV Movie
Awards Reloaded and 3-D Evolutions Stills Gallery;
- The Music Revisited: 41-Track Audio Selection of Nearly 3 Hours of Music;
- Music Videos: Marilyn Manson’s Rock Is Dead and P.O.D.’s Sleeping Wake;
- Enter The Matrix: The Game Documentary;
- Enter The Matrix: View 23 Live-Action Scenes Shot for the Video Game That Plug into the Action of The Matrix Reloaded;
- 4 Director Commentaries and 8 Documentaries on The Animatrix, Including Scrolls to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime;
- The Burly Man Chronicles: Probe the Society of Actors, Craftspeople and Filmmakers Who Shaped the Movie Trilogy and the Enter The
Matrix Console Game in 21 Featurettes;
- Feature-Length Documentary The Roots of The Matrix: Historical, Philosophical and Technological Inspirations;
- The Zion Archive: Production Assets Developed for The Matrix Universe, Including Concert Art Storyboards, Drawings, Music Videos;
- Music Rave Reel and The Matrix Online;
- Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots
Sorry, the boxed set does not appear to be available on Amazon Video – Candy
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