Back in 1999, a movie created a cultural moment with its innovative special effects creating eye-popping images, to become the sci-fi movie event of the year, and unexpectedly, it wasn’t Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – it was The Matrix. With its incredible action, innovative 360° cameras and philosophical ideas, it is a movie that has stood the test of time. Even if its sequels turned out to be disappointing, it seems right that a fourth one – The Matrix Resurrections – is about to hit cinemas with the release date of 22 December 2021. Perhaps sensibly, it appears to be aiming for the same beats as the iconic first movie, as this video demonstrates. In the US, you could choose to stay at home and see it as it will be the last movie to come out simultaneously in both cinemas and streaming before a new deal comes into play that will give cinemas a deserved 45-day window on Warner Bros films. You shouldn’t do that though – as I’ve explained here, you should go and see it in a cinema.
The question, as ever, is which movie format should you go and see it in? As a highly anticipated blockbuster, the answer is often – and indeed usually – IMAX and you may well have already booked your tickets for that format. However, as many have noted – Spider-Man: No Way Home will still be in theatres at the same time is taking up most of the IMAX slots. (It does seem surprising that both such anticipated major movies are released so close together but it’s more of a problem for The Matrix Resurrections that Spider-Man is still going to be hanging around – if you’ll excuse the pun).
If you check the listing for The Matrix Resurrections (2021) on IMDB it currently shows it as having a 1:90:1 aspect ratio, as in a taller image than standard widescreen movies. This is normally reserved for movies that have been shot using IMAX certified cameras, but director Lana Wachowski and cinematographer Daniele Massaccesi John Toll have taken to red pill when it comes to cameras and chosen the Red Komodo 6K and Red Ranger Monstro 8K. While both are good enough to be considered large format cameras, they do not fall under the “Certified for IMAX” cameras programme.
I’ve sought to clarify the 1:90:1 aspect ratio claim directly with IMAX and can confirm that the IMDB information is not accurate – Matrix Resurrections will be framed at 2:40:1 aspect ratio everywhere – including IMAX theatres. This means that the IMAX DMR process has been used to upscale the image to ensure it still looks great on the large IMAX screens.
As such, while the size of the IMAX theatre will, as ever, produce a fantastic experience, you won’t be losing anything, as such my seeing it in a different format. Indeed, arguably the best possible format for the film will be in a Dolby Cinema. The film has had a Dolby Vision master, which means that it will deliver a high dynamic range picture complete with intense colors and the deepest black levels you can get in the cinema. On top of that, it’s mixed for Dolby Atmos, which technically beats IMAX’s 12-channel system thanks to its pinpoint sound steering as well as prodigious bass. The seats aren’t too bad either.
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If you can’t find a Dolby Cinema near you – there are five in the UK, (two in London’s Leicester Square, along with Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham) then seek out a Superscreen, IMPACT or iSense screen, which matches 4K projection with Dolby Atmos.
While a 3D version has been prepared it’s likely to be reserved for China with the format having lost its lustre in the West.
If you want something alternative you will be able to find ScreenX showings, which project extra picture to the side of the screen (gimmicky) and also 4DX, which offers moving chairs, wind, water and flashing lights (definitely gimmicky, but also a lot of fun), and it should make for a wild ride. Wherever you choose, I for one can’t wait to go back to where it all began – to the Matrix…