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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Underrated.

9/10
Author: Contatie from Canada
27 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Honestly, this short isn't given nearly enough credit for what it deserves. You take an obvious idea from The Matrix like this one (which was: "What happens if someone pushes themself so far, they free their mind by themself?") and made a story that wasn't at all as obvious or contrived as you expect.

SPOILERS. DOOMED IS YOUR MIND, IF YOU EYES VENTURE THIS FAR.

The story starts out at the day a big race for a pro athlete ready to set a world record, and basically just builds up to the instant he passes the finish line. You can see how psyched Dan has gotten and how hell-bent he is to earn this record for himself, between fatherly advice his dad gives him on the phone and Dan's ADD-stricken hip hop buddy. Being pushed this far, his muscles are at threat of positively exploding, but what does that matter in The Matrix?

Agents (who've taken on the director's completely original design) can't hope to catch up, when the call is given to keep him from waking up. He does, though, and at this moment for Dan, it is like waking from a dream you didn't want to wake up from, or having a nightmare instead, all together. The machines make short work of him, electro-shocking his brain and rendering him a lifeless vegetable, before sending him back into The Matrix. Just after his return, he sets a new record and his hospitalized.

Towards the end, Dan gets up from his wheelchair before a nurse, out of metal braces and restraints, muttering "Free." leaving the viewer to decide whether he'd just been robbed of his humanity, or he'd finally freed himself.

THOSE WITH HEART PROBLEMS CAN START READING AGAIN.

Not the best short (that's a toss-up between A Kid's Story and Beyond) but overall worth watching, if just for the stylish animation. Actually, all of them are worth watching for the animation, but this one's particular throbbing muscles in slow motion in its fluid movement is an orgiastic feast for the eyes. They should do an Animatrix 2.

9/10

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Wastes time on backstory

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
10 April 2004

Usually it takes a great mind and intuition to realise what the matrix is without assistance. However it can also happen for other reasons. For Dan it happens as a result of him pushing himself to his physical limits in an attempt to prove the world wrong in their accusations of drug abuse.

When his muscles fail during a race, Dan keeps going. He pushes his mind beyond the physical restrictions of his body and it shows him the truth - that his body as he knows it is not real. 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 and it stood out as being of a rather more basic visual style than some of the other shorts.

The plot took a minute to settle as it messed around with back story but, once it got into the race it became more interesting as I realised why the runner was able to learn of the matrix (as described above). The animation is not quite as good - by which I mean, not to my tastes. The bleak shadowy effects are interesting but at times it was a bit too extreme. The cross over into the real world was well handled but the touches added to the agents didn't work for me and over-elaborated on characters who were perfect in the film simply because they are meant to be unmemorable and blend into a crowd.

Overall this is good as it is interesting but it is not the best of the series. It is worth seeing once simply to expand on the Matrix experience but it could have used a bit more substance in place of the athlete's back story which was unnecessary and unused.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not so good? You gotta be kidding me.

10/10
Author: f_fenner from Chile
22 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's even painful to see that other people didn't experience what I experienced when I watched this short. Not so good? 5 of 10 stars? Man, if I could give 20 stars to this short I'd give it 21! Perhaps I'm being subjective, but I enjoy this short so much and it is emotionally so powerful to me that I can't distinguish the line between being subjective or objective, it's a blur.

(spoiler alert) The word "Free" at the end of the short won a place in the treasure room of my memories. There is so much passion! (spoiler end)

Wonderful short, my favorite with "Hounted House".

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beat this!

6/10
Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
17 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this Animatrix short, the debut of Takeshi Koike (who went on to direct popular anime Redline), Dan, an athlete threatens to break through the digital rain and wake up in the real world. He runs so fast, attempting to break his 9.8 second 100-metre dash, his muscles burst but he keeps going, desperate agents watching every step.

Dan does manage to wake up in his gel-pod, but is quickly put to sleep again (I guess the machines force-fed him the blue pill). Back in the Matrix he's crippled and the agents are satisfied. But he breaks the rules of being a cripple and manages to stand. It seems Dan is unknowingly realizing that there is no spoon.

A good short, if a little to sparsely drawn.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Ranks Right up there

10/10
Author: nmadhuk3 from United Kingdom
27 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am pretty surprised that this is one of the more berated of the nine episodes of the animatrix.There maybe a couple of reason why this mind set seems to manifest.

First off.A lot of people seem to be watching this series as a "part" or a sequel or a prequel.Wipe those words off your minds when watching this.The Matrix movie was good.But I would consider the animatrix to be more definitive than the movie.The movies are appendages to this anthology and not vice versa.The matrix is not spelt out.Neither are transitions or visions of the humans unlike in the movies.They are episodes that happen.With this framework the whole series turns upside down with the movies losing their importance and the animatrix gaining centre-stage.But then looking at the comments of a lot of people lamenting that they do not get an "explanation" or "addition" to the storyline or plot,I believe the Wachowski brothers have done wise to make the easy to understand,toned down movie version first and not released the animatrix to an unappreciative audience.

Okay now the world record itself.This is one of the most stylishly executed,simple themes in the series.The animation world class.The visuals highly heightened and the figures aquiline and straight.Unless you make the common mistake of saying the more human the animation the better you will be instantly captured by this short.The colours and non chronological narrative add in to change the perspective.

The slo mo graphics and the revolving angles are absolutely brilliant.The machines' sense of humour is apparent in only this series.Not in any other series or movies has this aspect been touched upon.Those of you who have not given this short a second chance would be better off by doing so.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

funky and stylized Aeon Fluxish art

10/10
Author: whatdoes1know from japan
16 June 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The grotesque caricatural art work is as captivating as it is repulsive, and makes watching world record an awkward experience. SPOILER: freeing himself of the Matrix through his physical prowess alone, Dan, the protagonist, is an even more fantastic character than Neo.

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Sports in the matrix

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
14 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The concept of sports in the matrix is actually a pretty interesting one in the face of achievements that you could describe as out of this world. Such an achievement we have here by a 100-meter runner who keeps breaking world records. Unfortunately, the execution did not really convince me. The only fairly interesting thing I took from these 9 minutes is basically the relationship between world records in the real world we live in and in the Matrix universe. Is under 9 seconds possibly anyhow? Early on, it sounded already like under 9.8 was unique, but Usain Bolt got there already. So how far can we go (or jump), how high can we get? How fast can we be. It will surely be interesting to watch this short film in a couple decades from now and see if we got close to the protagonist's achievement. Anyway, this is not among my 3 favorite segments from the Animatrix, but also not among my least favorites. The Wachowskis did not write this one here. i am not familiar with the director or writer here, but it looks like they frequently work together. Anyway, I hope for them that this may be their most known achievement, but not their best.

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Escaping bodily

7/10
Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
30 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very interesting point: what does it take, precisely, to wake up from the Matrix? Does it require that red pill, or can it actually be caused by exertion of mind or body (or both) beyond the realm of possibility in the "real world"? These are the questions asked by both "The Kid's Story" and this short, "World Record". However, "The Kid's Story" is more like a back-story introduction to the character who appears in the sequels doggedly following Neo around like a lost puppy, whereas this short stands alone.

The animation itself isn't quite as exceptional as the rest of the shorts, but it's interesting what it does with body and motion. As the narrative relies entirely on the workings of the main character's body, expressionistic use of his muscles are created by warping both while he's running and during his own backstory. It's actually a very interesting approach, and is slightly reminiscent of the much more caricaturistic "The Triplets of Belleville".

--PolarisDiB

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this one doesn't quite break 9.8

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

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this Animatrix features an athlete called Dan Davies who is trying to break a world record time in a race, even though he seems to have already qualified in a previous heat for some other race - this is not made clear, not that much is in this anime - a fact which makes his coach opposed to his taking part in this one, which he expresses to Dan in a ridiculously animated way, like a dancer in a rap video. Dan decides to race anyway, after further conversations with his dad which reveal he had a previous doping scandal and with a reporter lady during which he displays a dismissive arrogance which makes him unsympathetic. he runs the race, and his thigh muscle packs in but he keeps going, pushing himself to his limit. the narration informs us at the beginning that only the most exceptional of people become aware of the matrix but occasionally some do through different means, and three agents observe him during the race, springing into action when he freezes, the world goes pale green and his signal as the agents inform us becomes unstable.

he actually wakes up inside his pod before the machines subdue him again, and back in the matrix he collapses over the line, breaking a world record and ending up later in a wheelchair. a nurse talks to him about homemade cherry pie while agents observe him but he gets up in defiance, craving freedom. he collapses again, having glimpsed the veil and peeked beyond its facade. it's also interesting that the reporter mentions that he broke 9.8 in the qualifying heat; on Earth, that figure is terminal velocity, and the suggestion may be that he, having broken a figure that is in the context of terminal velocity a mathematical constant, is breaking rules, breaking preexisting laws. the agents are watching him because he is trying to break them again, which is indeed the point, as having woken up from the matrix briefly, he is later consumed by an unconfined desire for freedom, a single-minded pursuit of rebellion. defying his physically crippled form and trying to stand whispering freedom while his nurse discusses domestic joys expresses this nicely too.

it's a decent story animated solidly and variously by Mad House, the guys who did the Animatrix Program and the Final Fantasy 7 anime Last Order, but like them it falls flat for a few reasons, but is also interesting and well made, and some of the reasons for that are not mutually exclusive to those for its negative aspects. for example, the protagonist is entirely unlikeable, which is a positive and a negative facet. he wants to race for no good reason other then self-gratification and behaves with a distinct air of arrogance towards those around him. his superiority complex makes it difficult to enjoy his story and yet it's also a welcome challenge for the viewer in a franchise of otherwise noble or likable protagonists.

Commander Lock plays this role in Reloaded and Revolutions, but his reasons for obtuse and pragmatic arrogance are better then Dan's, more grounded in reason and reality, and his stunned silence when Morpheus' belief in Neo is finally vindicated at the end of Revolutions is the reason for his arrogance played out to its conclusion. in this short, the reasons are less clear but they are welcome as Dan's own poor humility and stunted, restrained craving for freedom shows the range of personalities people can adopt, and that they aren't necessarily always positive.

another reason for this being an interesting Animatrix is what appears to be a different, perhaps earlier version of the matrix. i think this to be the case because the numbers that appear while Dan is waking up from it are red, and more conclusively because the agents look different to their normal suited selves. this is reinforced by the fact that other Animatrix stories contain the familiar suited agents, suggesting this could be a different matrix we're watching.

World Record won't set or break any records or major impressions in anime or the matrix franchise or storytelling in general; more 6 out of 10 then 9.8. it's still a competent, well made, visually interesting effort which matrix fans should enjoy all the same.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great work! Best on the DVD!

Author: natezoid from Honolulu, HI
27 August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've looked at the other comments on this animated short and, while I do agree that the animation was bizarre and surreal, I also thought that it was complete eye candy. Furthermore, I do NOT think that the story was bad. I thought that it was that it was simple, yes, (yet not even as simple as "A Boy's Story"), but told with fearless broad strokes and SPOILER.... .... even the ending where Dan didn't succeed in breaking free of the matrix was satisfying. Not everyone who comes close to tearing their mental bonds with the matrix, gets completely loose. That explains why insane people exist in the matrix. They know something's wrong with their reality, but they can't quite think their way fully out of the box.

SPOILER FINISHED... the powerfully animated slow-mo sprint is the centerpiece for the short. The other scenes give background and depth to the characters in it. The way they intercut these non-chronological scenes was a great idea. The director, in an interview on the DVD, says that this was going to be done differently at first. I'm glad they did it this way. This way you can pack a whole lot of info in a short amount of time without losing track of what the main theme is: Dan's latest attempt to beat the world record. This short is a Demi-God of animation and should not be even slightly critiqued. I found the story even more solid and well rounded than "The Last Flight of the Osirus" (and a lot more than the super-weird, but fascinating "Matriculated"). World Record was my favorite short on the DVD.

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