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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the better shorts

8/10
Author: PlanecrazyIkarus from Wales, UK
7 June 2003

This is a very good effort, one of the most enjoyable shorts that make up the Animatrix.

The story begins with a fight, indeed the entire story is a fight, between a girl and her friend or mentor, within a training programme, or perhaps it is a recreation programme, who knows? Either way, her opponent begins to display a more sinister side: He feels just like Cypher in the original Matrix, and asks her to join him in an effort to be reinserted, or die...

The animation is great, the story is thrilling and overall this is definitely a good short movie, fitting in very well in the Matrix-universe

8/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Seven minutes of total engrossment

10/10
Author: jlovejoy from United States
10 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Speaking aesthetically, I really enjoyed the crisp, thick-lined and fluid animation and radiant pace, and overall epic feel of this short, which also took "residual self image" to a far more imaginative level than the hit and miss euro-trash style of the live action films. I particularly like how Cis's hair is so much longer in the construct. The whole look of this short was so rich and elegant it just drew you in and you lost all concept of time. Speaking thematically, we know what happens when people like Cipher get sick of the real world. Duo is almost a deeper character in this seven-minute animation. He knows how brutal the machines are, and feels like its only a matter of time before the free humans are wiped out. He also loves Cis and wants her to "escape" with him and escape the pain and certain death he feels is inevitable. I take Cis' side, however. As well-intentioned or logical Duo's argument is, the fact remains he betrayed Cis and everyone else he knows because he allowed his fear to take over. Cis won't run from the truth like he is, and she knows that the only way to survive the situation is to terminate the traitor without hesitation. In this desperate form of human existence, her action was not at all uncalled for. Those whose minds have been freed depend on one another. Fortunately, he was just a simulated character in a test program.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another fine one

8/10
Author: rbverhoef (rbverhoef@hotmail.com) from The Hague, Netherlands
25 October 2003

This is the fourth part of 'The Animatrix', a collection of animated short movies that tell us a little more about the world of 'The Matrix'. In this one two characters are in training and one of them wants to go back in the matrix like Cypher wanted to in the movie.

With a different kind of animation, some fine action and a surprise in the end this is another fine short from 'The Animatrix'.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Vivid eye candy and more.

9/10
Author: P Carr (pavel@fan.com) from Topeka, KS
6 June 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**Warning! Slight Spoilers Ahead!**

The visuals in "The Program" were excellent, as superb as any I have seen in my limited anime exposure. The color contrast stood out, as it underlined the murky battle of good and evil. Also exceptional was the visual scope of the short. Numerous shots, such as the early one that tracked the fiery arrows, spanned great distances. My personal favorite was the dolly back across the tiled roof, revealing both the protagonist and the antagonist.

The story, as in most shorts, was simple enough. But it was solid, nicely complementing one story arc from "The Matrix." Even without the twist at the end, the tale of love and betrayal, told through battle, worked quite well. The twist worked, and I was very pleased with the fitting final act by the heroine.

Bottom Line: Excluding the computer-generated "Osiris", "The Program" was my favorite anime short on the "Animatrix" DVD. 9 of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Visually and atmospherically impressive

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
10 April 2004

Inside a fight training program outside of the matrix, two warriors continue their games. When one reveals that he has struck a deal with the agents to return the matrix, he offers his female partner to come with him. When she refuses he has no choice but to begin a fight that only one of them will survive.

Part of the series of animations making up the Matrix companion piece `The Animatrix', I saw this as a stand alone piece recently at a festival of shorts and animations. The film gripped me immediately with it's visuals - very stylish, very manga in it's style. The plot was slick as well as being involving - the two protanginists talk until the point where it is obvious that there is only one way to resolve it. It is very enjoyable right until the epilogue that occurs outside of the training programme - that is poor and takes away from the short.

The film may have more in the way of style than substance but it does well enough to support the visuals with a basic premise that is interesting. It is flawed of course, but I have found that many of those who criticise the shorts that make up the Animatrix have not seen a great deal of short films or animations. With only a few minutes to do it's job, this short does well despite a rather bad conclusion that just spoilt it a bit for me.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good Matrix 'short', great samurai fighting and nice backgrounds

Author: SanchoPasta from India
26 May 2003

A story set in the Matrix world, it shows a soldier of Zion in a samurai training program (like the construct where Morpheus and Neo have a kungfu duel.) She has to choose between her loyalty to her comrades and the cause, and love for her boyfriend who wants to return to the Matrix... The backgrounds and the Japanese temples are very beautifully portrayed and the fight sequences are excellent. The overall look is like any anime action movie.

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Decent short film with a final twist

6/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
31 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Program", a sequence from the Animatrix, was directed and written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. He may be known to anime lovers, but to general audiences not really. I never heard the name either. It is an animated short film, obviously, and runs for roughly seven minutes. There was nothing truly outstanding here, but it wasn't bad either. Not at all. The beginning reminded me of "Apocalypse Now" and I especially liked the way they depicted the defeated horsemen early on as numbers when the female protagonist killed them. After that, it is all about the battle between the aforementioned Cis and her frenemy Duo. He tries to convince her to get back to the Matrix and just live there like everybody else instead of constantly fighting against it.

Pay attention to how Cis is depicted in white and Duo in black. Also goes for the horses. He is the antagonist. First he tries to convince her with words, then with swords. Of course, she refuses to and in the end, good defeats evil. Or did it really? In order to really get "Program", you should have seen at least the first Matrix movie from the Wachowskis starring Keanu Reeves. Otherwise, you will probably wonder what all this is about. Solid short film recommended. I just wonder why Cis does not wear a heavy uniform like her opponent early on and wears even less near the end of the short film.

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Exciting

8/10
Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
12 April 2009

This is the fifth on the disc of Animatrix shorts. It's seven minutes long, and thus shorter than the usual(which is about nine), and every moment is intense. This manages to not slow down for a second without overwhelming the viewer, as well as provide some food for thought, around one of the themes also explored in The Matrix(the first film as well as the franchise). The action is exceptionally well-done, engaging and fun. The animation is impeccable throughout. The visuals are stunning, and the choreography leaves little, if anything, to be desired. The dialog is well-written and also nicely delivered. The plot is well-done and the story-telling is strong, offering so much in this amount of time, and the ending adds a whole additional layer to it. The drama is powerful. The audio is well-done, with great voice-acting and sound effects. There is a six-minute making of, well-done and interesting, on the DVD, as well as a commentary track, not in English but subtitled, and worth it to hear the thoughts of those who made it. I recommend this to any fan of science fiction, Animé and anyone who likes what they watch to give them something to think about. 8/10

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The architecture of The Matrix

6/10
Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
30 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The real power of this particular "Animatrix" short is in it's visuals: going directly to the Wachowski's fascination with Japanese culture, the animators create a "program" (like of the title) of the history, architecture, and landscape. The effect decided on is kind of like an Escher drawing or a fractal, which lends a much more dreamlike atmosphere than many of the other shorts.

The story is of a woman, Cis, training in the programs who is forced to confront her fear and desire to return to the illusion of the Matrix. It's a somewhat needed psychological aside to the logic of the reality the Wachowskis created, though of course a lot of the issues presented in this short are already succinctly summed up in Cypher's character from the first one. Nonetheless, the story does allow the animators to play with space like no other Animatrix short attempts, and the result is some very fascinating imagery.

--PolarisDiB

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that was too easy! what's your problem? where's your concentration?

6/10
Author: william (willsgb) from london
22 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

maybe you regret making an Animatrix that doesn't offer anything original. this is certainly watchable, visually spectacular and crisply animated, by Mad House, prolific anime animators whose work and style i recognise from the continuity-destroying-but-pretty Final Fantasy 7 anime Last Order, competently scripted, said dialogue performed well and exciting in content and in the graceful, epic and spirited battles and physical and ideological conflict that ensues. it tells the story of a lady enjoying her favourite training simulation when a man called Duo enters the frame and locks them in, proposing a return to the matrix for them both, because he loves her and wants to stop the fighting and the struggles of the war against the machines, to which the lady protagonist refuses to co-operate and resists. they discuss the prospect heatedly while battling across a range of simulated environments.

the problem? Cypher had the exact same idea in the first Matrix movie and the issue was explored and resolved satisfactorily. this Animatrix is weak because it offers no twist or original slant on the theme, simply retelling a story that was adequately dealt with by Cypher's actions. there is a hint of tortured doubt or ambiguity at the end when, having been released from the simulation which is revealed to be just that, training, the girl shuts her eyes solemnly in the lift, but it's not worthwhile, it's simply diversionary.

it is well made and enjoyable to watch, to its credit. it features plenty of armour, environments, buildings and scenarios evocative of Japanese warrior traditions which is a big influence on the Wachowskis and which is no doubt a feature emphasised by Japanese director Yoshiaki Kawajiri, and it does suggest at the very least that perhaps as a reaction to Cypher's actions in the Matrix such a test of loyalty and whether crew members of ships are steadfast in their devotion to Zion and unwilling to betray their fellows has become a staple of training programs for crews in the matrix world. but it doesn't bring much else to the table.

still, in conclusion, this being the least original and one of the weaker Animatrix, it is still a feast for the eyes and a well made anime, and it reflects well on the Animatrix as a series.

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