The Wachowski brothers managed to create an inspiring new sci-fi
universe when they released their now-classic "The Matrix" in 1999. The
premise of a virtual world where the mind "lives" proved to be
limitless with the release of this collection of 8 animated shorts;
each one of them exploring the Wachowski's "Matrix" universe in very
different and interesting ways. With superb animation by veterans of
different styles of animation, some of "The Animatrix" shorts at times
feel even better than the Matrix series themselves.
Andy Jones, one of the minds behind "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within", starts with "The Final Flight of the Osiris", a movie done completely with computer generated graphics that shows a race against time in order to warn the citizens of the rebel city of Zion that the machines found them and are going to destroy them. The beautiful and fluid animation is very good, but overall the story doesn't live up to the expectations. It is a cold start, but very good after all.
Veteran animator Mahiro Maeda continues with a 2 part story called "Second Renaissance", a story detailing the events that lead to the creation of the Matrix which easily ranks among the best shorts of the compilation. Its fabulous animation done in anime style is visually beautiful and in a short time it tells a powerful story with a great message. True masterpiece.
Shinichirô Watanabe, director of the acclaimed "Cowboy Bebop" directs two segments, "Kid's Story" and "a Detective Story". The first one is a bit uneven, with good animation but a weak story. No wonder why it is the shortest of all as it has no place for development. On the other hand, "A Detective Story" is a brilliant segment very reminiscent of Watanabe's own "Cowboy Bebop". Mixing perfectly film noir with the Matrix universe, this superb anime is definitely a must-see.
Another big name of anime, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, directs "Program", dealing with the doubts of those who have been awakened of the Matrix. With a beautiful setting in Medieval Japan, Kawajiri manage to show true emotions through the vivid visuals. I feel this short is a bit underrated and that it is more than what it seems.
The lead animator of the world famous "Ninja Scroll" (1993), Takeshi Koike, directs "World Record"; an interesting tale of a man who manage to awake by his own means, while trying to break the 100m dash time world record. While the story is top notch, the stylish design for the characters at times looks a bit too over-the-top, however, it still is one of the best shorts of "The Animatrix".
Koji Morimoto directs one of the most most imaginative shorts in the collection: "Beyond". A tale about a place where "The Matrix" has had a processing error, turning it into a "haunted house" where some kids go to test reality and go literally beyond imagination. This short truly shows what anime really is about, with an enormous display of creativity, not only in the visuals, but also in the writing.
Finally, "Æon Flux"'s creator Peter Chung delivers the grim "Matriculated". A tale about a group of humans who try to "humanize" the machines. Despite it's dark tone, this is probably the most optimistic short, and the most humane. The animation feels like another chapter of Chung's famous miniseries, so fans of his work will be pleased.
"The Animatrix" is definitely a must-see for any fan of sci-fi, as in the tradition of "Heavy Metal", it explores different aspects of science fiction, going even beyond what "The Matrix" movies have done. 8/10
Action / Adventure / Animation / Sci-Fi
Action / Adventure / Animation / Sci-Fi
Anthology of nine short anime (Japanese animation) films tied in to the 1999 blockbuster "The Matrix" and its sequels. "Final Flight of the Osiris": The crew of the hovercraft Osiris attempt to warn their city of an imminent attack. "The Second Renaissance, Parts 1 & 2": The story behind the war between man and the machines, how mankind scorched the sky, and the creation of the Matrix. "Kid's Story": A teenager is contacted by Neo, and manages to escape the Matrix. "Program": Two warriors battle in a samurai training simulation when one decides to betray his crewmates and re-enter the Matrix. "World Record": A champion sprinter manages to break free of the Matrix by sheer physical effort during a record attempt. "Beyond": A young girl searching for her cat discovers a haunted house caused by a glitch in the system. "A Detective Story": Private investigator Ash tracks a hacker named Trinity through the looking glass. "Matriculated": A group of humans capture a machine scout and insert ...
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