The Animatrix (Video 2003) Poster

(2003 Video)

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Now THIS is more like it!
The idea of the Matrix is so full of potential and could be taken in so many, many directions. The movies decided to go in the direction of pretension but the Animatrix goes EVERYWHERE the movies don't. It is so far superior and well worth the time. It's a shame that most audiences don't consider Anime or any form of animation to be 'real' or something that they should take seriously (sadly even Matrix fans feel this way and won't watch it simply because it's animation) because they're missing out on something very special here.

It's not original to review this DVD by going thru all the shorts so I'll just stick to what I like best (which is most of it). First of all, 'The Second Renaissance Parts 1 and 2' is absolutely VITAL as backstory to the first Matrix film. And it's a zillion times more interesting than the sequels in terms of drama, irony and subtext. 'The Final Flight of the Osiris' takes place before Reloaded and leads us into story of the machines beginning to drill down to Zion. And it's very cool. 'Detective' is a story of a private eye trying to find Trinity and discover what exactly the Matrix is. But Agent Smith comes after him to put a stop to that. It's in black and white and has a wonderful atmosphere of 1950's dime novel pulp fiction. 'Matriculated' is the story of a captured machine who is taught/hypnotized into feeling what it's like to be human. It's a very clever story that manages to provoke feeling for the characters (and even the captured machine), something the movies never did. 'Kid' is about the kid from Revolutions who takes over the Mech at the end and manages to open the doors to Zion. Apparently, before being freed, he was a schoolkid who met Neo online and wanted to 'wake up'.

But the best one is 'Beyond'. A magical tale with an atmosphere so solid that it's almost tangible. It's about a girl who goes looking for her cat in an old abandoned factory with some other kids. But in this factory the Matrix is having problems and 'reality' for the characters doesn't quite work properly. It's a very interesting tale that really makes you think.

There are numerous extras on this DVD, all of them more interesting that the other Matrix DVDs. All 9 of the shorts are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. It's truly for all fans and non-fans of the Matrix universe.
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Art comes to life on this "enhancement" of the Matrix
cafesmitty8 June 2003
This was the most brilliantly interpreted, scripted and thought provoking thing I have seen in a very long time. The DVD gives you background filler for what the Matrix is and the Wachowski brothers allow some of Japan's best anime artists to interpret the 9 different stories on their own. I think, just like art, each viewer will have a different type of experience. You have 9 wonderful compelling stories and the visual style is so different that it adds much value to the telling of the stories. The brothers had a vision and clearly the Matrix affected many people and, what a wonderful gift they gave by incorporating the world of anime into the telling of their vision. But not only is it visually stunning and stylish, but the music is dead on. There are all sorts of morals in the stories. From SECOND RENNAISSANCE'S man's destructive nature and his down fall, to the sort of, don't-play-with-fire nature of MATRICULATED and the playfulness and joy of BEYOND. Plus the DVD special features take us into each director of each piece explaining his "art" and how the film the Matrix affected them. We even get a little history on the origins of anime. It was just really enjoyable to watch people who are so passionate about their craft and about the Matrix. I think you will enjoy this immensely and take something out of it yourself.
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do you need to watch Animatrix to understand The Matrix Trilogy?
deepion8 April 2004
First off, the Animatrix is not a movie, but a collection of nine animated shorts (one being CGI based) which basically delves into the world that is The Matrix. Animators come from Japan, Korea and the US and include many world renouned animators (the first animation, Final Flight of the Osiris, was made by the same team who created the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie). Below is an outline of each animated short and what relevance it has in the Matrix world.

1. The Final Flight of the Osiris: CGI based animated short involving the discovery of the machine army and the delivery of the evidence to the drop point noted in the Enter The Matrix video game.

2. The Second Renaissance Part 1: One of four of the nine animated shorts written by the Wachowski Brothers and details the creation of artificial intelligence and the rise of the machines

3. The Second Renaissance Part 2: Continuation of the previous short film based on the war against the machines and the enslaving of the human race.

4. Kid's Story: Remember the Kid in Reloaded and Revolutions? this animated short is about how he came to be in the real world, including his encounter with Neo.

5. Program: This animated short is set in a training simulation and focuses on betrayal and escaping the real world back into the matrix, just like Cypher tried to do in the original Matrix movie.

6. World Record: Based on the idea that exceptional people with exceptional skills can in effect wake themselves up without being unplugged from the matrix, this short focuses on an American sprinter who runs so fast he escapes the rules of space and time and sees the real world.

7. Beyond: A glitch occurs in the Matrix and weird things starts to happen, time slows down and one girl is caught in the middle of it.

8. Detective Story: A private investigator is hired by Agents to track down Trinity, but he soon realises that he is a pawn in a conspiracy which ultimatly will lead him to see the truth.

9, Matrixulated: This animated short is about a team of human resistance which captures sentinals and uses the sentinals to fight for them. They, however, do not reprogram the sentinals but mearly show them an alternative choice and let the sentinals make up their own minds.

Every animated short is well made and really pushes the boundary of animation. Also, the script for each one is great and the whole experience really does make you feel part of the Matrix World and does answer questions as well as raise some more. But, does it infact help the understanding of the Matrix Trilogy? Basically, yes it does, however, not all the animated shorts do, only a few. The rest are just extra stories, opening up a whole new can of worms and filled with philosophy which made the original Matrix great, but are still worth seeing. The Animatrix develops the story of the Kid in Reloaded and Revolutions and Morpheus' speach about the human/machine war in the original Matrix movie. So, only very slightly does it actually alter your view or answer any questions on the Matrix Trilogy, but that is not the reason why you should see the Animatrix, see it because it is simply an amazing ride through the Matrix and should be watched by fans of the Matrix and animation alike.
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Anime at its absolute finest.
johnnymacbest17 April 2008
Art is beautiful, beautiful as the world outside and the world inside. Such is the case with movies, which is has excelled at a purely imaginative and visual level. A concept is born, yes, but what is more important is that it is fleshed out in grand and spectacular form in uniqueness and inspiration. Art is what an individual expresses in pictures and ideas and imagination. If art is to be fully realized in a bold and grand vision, the creator must take many steps to make sure that it is unique and impressive. It must break new ground with originality and ingenuity, a long and quite arduous task, but grants rewarding results. And with that, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is felt heartily within the soul of the creator and as well in the viewer.

Movies are an expression and also an art medium, spanning decades from the 18th century and now in the 21st century. But another medium exists, born from distant lands with a different culture and different view on the take of art. In Japan, anime was born. Anime are cartoons or drawings told in Japanese style with deep and compelling story lines. Since then its popularity has exploded with Western audiences and worldwide. Unlike traditional animation, which caters to American audiences, anime is culturally different in that its characters and style is more centered on drama and dialog rather than on pure action and one-liners.

1999. A year that a remarkable science fiction film graced American and world audiences. That film was The Matrix. Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, the film was a box-office smash hit and became the most successful film in the genre. It was influenced by anime and comic books as well as philosophy. The nature of the film deals with perceptions of reality and the role in discovering the true nature of the "world". It also spawned two sequels which expanded the storyline of the Matrix, but never explored the Matrix itself; leading to some criticism from moviegoers and critics alike. However, the Animatrix is a cool gem in itself that more than garners interest in the world of the Matrix.

Told in a series of 9 vignettes, the Animatrix is a new take on the Matrix concept as it explores the back stories of the first film and features new exciting tales for fans of the films and anime lovers. As in the case of the other reviews on this site, no details will be revealed. Just like in the original film, you have to see it for yourself.

To see the Matrix universe in film version is great but to see it expanded in anime form is simply breathtaking. The visuals are so out of this world and engrossing that you can't help but be immersed in its world. It is truly something to experience and a sight to behold.

A marvelous way to tell a story from a different artistic perspective. Check it out for yourself and appreciate it all over.
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Definitely a must-see...
jluis198428 March 2006
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
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Nothing can get closer to "Ghost in the Shell" than this
Facehugger_2830 January 2008
Having never seen the Matrix, but being a loyal anime collector, I came across this high ranked animated feature.

Never in my life has I seen something as close as brilliant and poetically nightmarish that Ghost in the Shell has delivered, bringing the Matrix franchise closer to "art and soul" than "blockbuster".

Some of the amazingly dramatic episodes in this feature may make Animatrix a parallel brother to Ghost in the Shell itself. And the animation is very dreamy and expertly crafted, the second best thing that this feature will bring you.

If anime is your thing, or the matrix, or getting started to both, I couldn't recommend this higher.
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Animatrix or Matrixime
HyperPup10 June 2003
Being a long time viewer of Anime and Anime Collecting, I found myself very intruigued by the notion of an "all Matrix inspired animation project", and having seen many anime anthologies (Robot Carnival, Neo Tokyo, etc.), I knew it was a sketchy territory to say the least. Most anthologies are hit and miss but this one for me was mostly a hit. Gladly, I was not dissapointed at all. All the stories became not just history to the Matrix world but poignant, frightening, disturbing and scintillating drama that takes the blasted landscape of the machine run Earth into a landscape of incalculable possiblities. The idea of the Matrix having its stylistic touches taken from anime makes this disc an even more appropriate and evolutionary step. Bravo to all who got this project together, because expanding the scope and vison of your work to honor its concepts was pure genious. Lucas could learn a thing by this.
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Superior to "Reloaded"
danfeit31 May 2003
After loving the original "Matrix" film and hating the recent "Reloaded," my enthusiasm for "Animatrix" was somewhere between curiosity and contempt. "Reloaded" was so slow and empty I hesitated to explore the "Matrix" concept any further as a possible waste of time. Well, the good news is that "Animatrix," while far from perfect, is much more interesting than "Reloaded" as it explores the original concept rather than try to act as a sequel.

"The Animatrix" is a collection of animated short stories, each one independent of the others. Each tale has its own interesting twist and can be enjoyed in any order (except for the two-part episode, obviously). The stories are based on the original "Matrix" film so if you haven't seen the sequel(s), don't worry. The segments are (in no particular order):

"Final Flight of the Osiris" This is a CGI animated story that is a prelude to the story of "Reloaded." While I'm not a big fan of 3D computer animation, it was actually quite good and I think it should have been filmed and included in "Reloaded." It would have made a much more exciting introduction.

"Program" This was a very brief but an exciting battle between two humans in the Matrix. As they fight they argue over the merits of the fight against the Machines. The ending is a bit of a cop-out but the story is still cool.

"The Second Renaissance" This is a two-part story that explains the war between Man and the Machines. Morpheus gives a brief overview of this story in the original "Matrix" film but "Renaissance" actually details why the war began. This was my favorite part of the "Animatrix," although its armageddon-like tale is a little depressing. It also features GRAPHIC VIOLENCE which will shock most viewers, so be prepared. Still, it is a fascinating explanation.

"World Record" This was a fun idea but artistically I was unimpressed. The characters' features and motions were so wildly exaggerated that it feels ridiculous. Could have been better.

"Kid's Story" This is another story which sets up an element of "Reloaded." It is brief and fun to watch, but not much goes on here.

"Detective Story" I would have enjoyed this piece a lot more if it hadn't been so rushed. The story is interesting but it begins and ends so quickly it's actually not that good. A shame.

"Beyond" This was a cool idea and I enjoyed it. It didn't have much to say but as a short film it was good.

"Matriculation" This is probably the weakest segment as it serves up mostly eye candy and little content. There is an interesting concept behind the action but most of the time you're just staring at wild colors and patterns.

While inconsistent I enjoyed "The Animatrix" and I recommend it. I would have liked to see "The Second Renaissance" and "Detective Story" expanded into feature length films (or at least hour-long OVAs).
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If you want to understand "The Matrix" you don't want to miss this
MatrixG1 January 2009
Born from the directors(Larry and Andy Wachowski)of "The Matrix" ,this 9 part great animated movie tell's the story of what happened whit mankind before the time that "The Matrix" takes place.

Here are the titles of the nine part of The Animatrix: 1.Final Flight of the Osiris 2.Kid's Story 3.The Second Renaissance Part I 4.The Second Renaissance Part II 5.Beyond 6.A Detective Story 7.Program 8.World Record 9.Matriculated

In the first part of The Animatrix "Final Flight of the Osiris" we find out that the Osiris is the ship who informs Zion that the machines are digging direct to it.

If you don't watch the "Kid's story" you will not be able to understand what does the kid is talking about to Neo in "The Matrix Reloaded"

But the most important parts of The Animatrix are the The Second Renaissance Part's in which is told the story between man and machine.

The movie is the necessary introduction of "The Matrix", don't miss it
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The Origin of Matrix in Animes and Computer Generated Movie
claudio_carvalho5 August 2003
Animatrix is composed of nine excellent episodes, each of them of running time of about ten (10) minutes, showing parts of the concept and universe of 'Matrix'. There are at least three films that are outstanding: the first one ("Final Flight of the Osiris"), which uses the same technique as 'Final Fantasy', and the second and third movies ('The Second Renaissance I & II"), where the war between humans and the machines is explained in details. I watched this series of short movies two days ago, but I intended to see them again and again, to catch more details, especially in the extras of the DVD. The fans of Sci-Fi in general (and 'Matrix') and animes will love this DVD. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Animatrix"
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Fenrir-57 May 2003
I finally watched this short after months of people telling me it is "amazing", "awesome", etc. Perhaps all the build-up helped ruin it, but this is the goofiest thing I have seen in ages.

First, the film doesn't actually explain anything. It is simply re-telling the hoary old tale of "man makes machines, machines revolt". There is no explanation of the rise of the machines - they just rise. At the beginning of the film the machines are clearly machines. Then for a part they look like humans. Then they look like machines again. Which is it?

There's nothing new here. There's not even an explanation of how the machines become self-aware. One minute they aren't, next minute they are. And mankind is so cruel - he doesn't want to give the machines equal rights! Don't you see, that robot killed those humans because we're EVIL!

For years sci-fi has been attempting to sell us this navel-gazing, "mankind sucks" line of BS. The humans in this story are needlessly cruel - because to sci-fi geeks that's all humans ever are (why can't they accept me _and_ my wizard cape?).

It's thinly-veiled leftist nonsense. Examine the scene at the UN, where the robots come in (without human skin) dressed in a top hat, holding hands, carrying an apple of peace. Mankind will have none of this peace nonsense! Tear them apart!

Maybe that's why I didn't enjoy the film. It's like a hippie propaganda piece.

Fatalism and self-hatred are not automatically art. These shorts are just as weak as "AI". Their only saving grace is that they have some pretty cool animation.

"The Matrix" is an obvious rip-off of Dick and Gibson. What made it cool was the look and feel - there was a grittiness to the movie that made it very intense. Translated to a clean, hard-edged anime world, it doesn't retain its power. "Ghost in the Shell" is a much better handling of similar material. "Animatrix" is just a licensed knock-off.
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I actually liked this more than the live action films Warning: Spoilers
I never liked those "Matrix" films, I found them boring and overrated (I don't even liked the first one) However, this brief anthology of short was much, much more interesting than those boring and pretentious movies: The Final Flight of the Osiris": This short was done using a photo-realistic Cgi. It wasn't bad, it was funny to watch.

The Second Reinassance, Part 1 and 2: Those shorts are a prequel of "The Matrix" and reveal many unknown details about the war between mankind and machines. I really this shorts, that give a completely new perspective of the franchise. The animation was quite good and story was quite interesting.

Program:The story was interesting and the animation was nice to look at. That is all I can say about it.

Wolrd Record: This short had a weird story and weird visuals as well. I still liked, even if less than the others.

Beyond: The visuals in this one were quite impressive, and the story was mysterious and fascinating.

Matriculated: This was my less favorite short. The animation and the designs were great, but the story was predictable and uninspired. This was directed by the creator of Aeon Flux, an animated show that I like.

A Detective story: This was my favorite story, directed by Sinichiro Watanabe, the creator of great shows as "Cowboy Bebop". It had a great atmosphere, great animation and a great story too.

Kid's Story:This was one excellent short. Like "A Detective story" it was directed by Sinichiro Watanabe, but the story and visual style were completely different from each other. The animation was very good and the story was simply amazing.

Overall: I think than even those who don't like "The Matrix" should try to give a look at this. Like in many anthology films, some parts are better than others, but the overall result is more than satisfying.

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ed-anderson-114 April 2004
After hearing that the Animatrix added to the trilogy I was excited to finally see this. I was hoping that it would fill in some gaps for me. It started out great, the first few stories were informative and entertaining. But, after that, it was all downhill. The majority of the stories did NOT "add" anything to the Matrix trilogy. They were just side plots of dubious value. Some of the shorts looked like they were created by huge fans of the movies. They were certainly creative, but again, didn't add anything to the overall legend. Some of them reminded me of Pink Floyd's The Wall; They were quite disturbing sober. Bullet-time is a cool concept in a live-action movie, but it doesn't add anything to an animated film. Overall, very little value. Maybe the computer game will be better.
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Could have been even better
mrnettek20004 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I gave this a 7/10, but there is no reason it shouldn't have been 10/10. I'm a Matrix fax, but the flow of the Animatrix is all outta wack. They startoff with a scene where the people are in the Matrix/where the Matrix already exists...I don't believe that should have been the first animated movie/scene. The whole story would have been better if they started off with just humans...building the AI, and slowly, and gradually the AI took over. That's my only real gripe...lack of even flow of the storyline. But, nonetheless, it was good; must see.

There are multiple scenes that are just stunning...especially the graphics.
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The worst piece of crap I've ever seen in my life.
jtenos21 June 2003
After the first program (Final Flight of the Osiris), I was impressed with the animation, and not too disappointed with the story. However, the next 8 features got progressively worse and worse, with horrible animation and terrible plots, mostly having nothing to do with the Matrix whatsoever. I watched it for the purpose of learning more about the story of the Matrix, as the advertisements promised, only to find a bunch of amateur nonsense from a variety of untalented artists and terrible storytellers.

The first story was reasonably exciting, and the second (Second Renaissance) had a fairly decent story which let you forgive the bad animation. After that, each story was worse than the previous one. The drawings look like they were done by children, and the stories seem like they came out of an elementary school.

This movie makes me sick.
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What happens when you try to explain the inexplicably stupid
GreenReaper5 December 2005
OK, the Matrix was cool. Set the bar way up on fight scenes, and the story was clever, or at least cleverly disguised. That disguise wore off a bit with the 2 sequels, but i was happy to overlook all the silliness of the movies because i liked the actors and the effects.

So now that the disguise is gone i found Animatrix unwatchable. The "backstory" of the Matrix is something that should not be told, because its incredibly stupid. the whole "oh...those poor tortured robots, mankind deserves it!" thing was outrageous, as was the notion that mankind was\is so powerful and intelligent that he can create something more powerful and intelligent than himself.

Animation wise it looks good, but i've had enough Matrix. WAYYY enough.
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Lots of eyecandy, but little substance
dementos1 June 2003
First off, I have to emphasize that I love 'The Matrix', the movie. But these shorts only bored me and at times even tended to get on my nerves.

Why? Because it's all eyecandy and no substance. These shorts don't add anything to 'The Matrix'. On the contrary. After the fourth or fifth variation on the theme, the whole concept gets very old (nothing is like it seems, reality vs. virtual reality, the evil machines, etc.) In fact, by repeating everything over and over and by trying to 'explain' everything, these shorts manage to destroy all the mystery and uniqueness that made 'The Matrix' so special.

Furthermore, these shorts are bursting with spectacular camera movements, cool sound effects, and non-stop action. But that's not a good thing. Because here again the problem is that repetition and the overuse of these elements is counter-productive. It's like a small child telling the same joke over and over again: You might be amused the first time you hear the joke. But the n-th time you have to endure the same lame joke, you just wish the kid would shut up.
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A mixed bag, but it's probably only for Matrix fans in the first place.
Li-110 June 2003
** out of ****

The Animatrix is a collection of short animated films related to the The Matrix universe. Of the nine shorts featured, I enjoyed four of them, and found the rest either dull or disposable.

The Second Rennaissance, parts 1 and 2, is the most compelling segment of the bunch. The story reveals how war broke out between man and machine. The rivalry is riveting and packed with memorable visuals, particularly the battle scenes, which are vividly gruesome and terrifying. True, this story is essentially little more than a Terminator rip-off, but it provides an interesting background for the trilogy, and works sufficiently in explaining the origins of The Matrix.

The Final Flight of the Osiris is directly related to The Matrix Reloaded. It opens with a playful swordfight between two individuals in a dojo, a black man and an Asian woman. They're in a simulated program, and are actually part of the crew of a ship called the Osiris. The title says it all, so you know what to expect from this short film, plot-wise. The attention-grabber is the computer animation, which is stunningly realistic and life-like.

A Kid's Story also relates to The Matrix Reloaded, focusing on a kid who finds himself doubting the world around him. His questions lead him to contact with Neo, who informs him to escape before the Agents get him. It's an enjoyable segment with a strong ending, and it would probably hold more suspense for those who haven't seen Reloaded.

I won't waste time going into details over the rest of the anthology. There are various reasons why the other stories didn't appeal to me, whether it be the art or the plots. The Wachowski Brothers wrote these stories, which puts on display ideas they would rather choose not to execute for their films, which is mostly mired in kung-fu, gun battles, and car chases. But that's another review altogether.
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Works best when it focuses less on the direct mythology of The Matrix
refresh_daemon22 August 2009
The Animatrix is a compilation companion piece to the Matrix films that collects nine short animated films set in the world of the Matrix. While it helps broaden and inform the world of the Matrix, the individual segments vary in their success in storytelling.

"Final Flight of the Osiris" opens up the film and is the CG animated number. In itself, it's just a short story about events that occur off- screen during the second Matrix film. At it mostly acts as backstory, it doesn't lend itself very much dramatic weight and spends a whole lot of time at the beginning showing off CGI attempts at life-like animation as well as CGI skin. While the visuals themselves are fairly impressive, I was ultimately underwhelmed. 5/10.

"The Second Renaissance Parts I & II" are two short films that chronicle the events leading up to the dystopia of The Matrix. An animated fauxcumentary, it sets the background of the Matrix world, step by step, showing how humans created the machines and the machines beat the humans after tons of abuse. While it's all quite well drawn (and contains dozens upon dozens of references to other films), I found it about as interesting as reading a poorly written history textbook. It does contain more interesting text than "Final Flight", especially as it deals with humanity's errors, but I have to say that despite it's strong visual style, it edged on being a yawnfest. And it doesn't pull punches. Another downside is that the more it exposed some of the backstory about how the world of the Matrix happened, the harder I found to buy it, which consequently had a negative effect on how I view the original Matrix movie. 6/10.

"Kid's Story" is really where this collection begins to pick up. I found it's hand-drawn blurry style to be rather catching, especially in capturing the waking-dream-like world of the Matrix. While the story mostly just deals with a kid's escape from The Matrix, it holds some interesting subtext about the nature of dreams (even within dreams) and ideas of fate. Not to say that this is masterful, but rather, it's a decent little piece, for what it is. 7/10.

"Program" is a piece that left me unsatisfied, because it raised questions that it failed to resolve. Essentially set within a swords- and-samurai simulation, the protagonist encounters a friend-as-adversary in the program. They talk about the nature of reality as they fight and as her friend lets her in on a dark secret. But the ending creates serious doubts in the believability of the confrontation within. Again, interesting art, but the story has large enough issues that it was hard to enjoy. 5/10.

"World Record" was actually kind of interesting. It deals with a world class runner who, in breaking records, begins to see cracks in his reality. It's quite simple and fortunately it's short, so it doesn't overstay its welcome. 7/10.

"Beyond" is by far my favorite piece of the bunch. A teenage girl starts looking for her cat, Yuki, and meets some boys who she follows to a local "haunted house", where she discovers both Yuki and an apparent glitch in the Matrix. The glitch makes some rather strange things happen, like gravity working weird and reality fading in and out. It works as an exploration of finding the strange and wonderful things in life and how reality/society/etc tries to "erase" these mistakes. Fantastic, even if it has the least to do with the Matrix mythology. 8/10.

"A Detective Story" deals with a detective named Ash who gets hired to find the hacker Trinity. His explorations lead him to some rather strange discoveries about reality. Working as an homage to hard-boiled detective films, I found it pretty interesting and it very strongly reminded me of Cowboy Bebop, including it's protagonist, who sort of reminded me of Spike. 7/10.

"Matriculation" left me with mixed feelings. Reminding me strongly of Aeon Flux in its art style (I'm guessing it's the same director), the film ultimately deals with the attempts of Zion to create machine "rebels". The Zion folk capture a runner-robot and plug it into their own Matrix and interact with it in a somewhat strange world. Unfortunately, for me, not much happens narratively within this machine- Matrix except for a series of somewhat interesting visuals and this segment goes on for quite a while. I got bored. But then it gets interesting and darker at the end and I found the ending to be rather interesting itself. So a mixed bag. 6/10.

All in all, the Animatrix is mostly watchable, but doesn't have as many highs as it just sits in the middle. The art is mostly gorgeous, but many of the stories overstay their welcome or reveal gaps in logic, whether inside the story itself or in the mythology of the Matrix. As a companion piece to The Matrix, it works all right, even if it might show off huge cracks in the Matrix mythology. As such, I have to say it's really more of a work for fans, although I think "Beyond" is solid enough in itself to watch on its own. It's okay.
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Very confusing
Angels_Review17 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's rather hard to talk about a show like this because it's mostly like a range of different episodes. They may all contain the Matrix like style but there really isn't much that connects them. From the story to the animation, each part is different and told in its own way. The movie gets more and more confusing as the stories keep going, making it hard to get what is going on. There isn't an indication of if you are inside the Matrix or outside it. All I could understand was how pretty the animations were at points and how 'crappy' they were in others. The whole mix of samurai to space age, to computer simulations that look so real that it could be live action, all of that just seemed a little overboard.

Question, why does it start out with a man and women undressing each other with katanas? Is it just for sexual looks or is there actually a reason for it? Can someone answer this part for me? The animation was all over the place from CG to Cartoon, to whatever. I felt rather bombarded by all the different art styles just as it happened in 'Dante's Inferno: An animated epic'. The only thing that saved this a little was that the stories were not all linked to one storyline like Dante. When I say Crappy artwork, I don't mean bad artwork. I just mean stuff that really doesn't look right in my eyes. The style that is so loaded with detail that you can see almost every line in the face right next to stuff that is very simplified. I may not be using the right word for it but I have no other idea what to use for it. Now the detail work pretty much is nice in the CG part, but I thought it never worked in the cartoon part of the show.

The voices are actually pretty well done and one of the only fluid parts of the show. They have voices that work out rather well for the mood that the 'scene' is trying to show. If it's intense, it sounds intense, if it's slow, it has that feeling. Some of the characters sound like they were voiced by some of the voice actors that were even in the matrix itself.
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Not really what i expected 2 / 10
kennethqvarfordt4 January 2004
Ok so there I was full of expectations and thought wow, an animated version of the cool Matrix movie! This should be awesome! As we all know when Japanese people get involved it usually turns out pretty cool. But unfortunately this is NOT the case with this movie. This movie was EXTREMELY boring and I had to force myself to continue watching the movie. Basically it was a HUGE disappointment. What was in the movie anyway? A couple of short movies put together. And out of all of them only two were directly connected to the Matrix story. The rest was about what? Some weird dream maybe? And only the first was nicely animated. The rest looked like newbie-animators-in-the-works! Sigh. Totally crap and absolutely not worth any money at all! I rate this movie 2 / 10 because the first two clips were actually not that bad. But they weren't any special either. I guess it was cool to see some nice animation but in the end, the whole movie feels unfinished and just put out to make quick and easy $$$ on the Matrix name.
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jzavaleta79 November 2005
I rented this video with great enthusiasm. I thought a matrix based movie couldn't be bad, but I was very wrong.

The first chapter was very good (thats why I put a 2 to the movie and not a 1), greatly done, interesting, great plot and very well directed. This first chapter made me think that I was going to have a very good time watching the rest of the movie.

But they put the best chapter first, after this one, there wasn't any good one, they were all very boring!!!!! I almost fell asleep. Very disappointing.

I have to say that some stories were very interesting, but they were very badly told, some times too long, or very over reacted. Some times it took too much to say to little.

So it wasn't at all what I expected. As I said before, boring, frustrating and poor.
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It was far better the way I had imagined, i was disappointed
kessingler1 April 2006
My older brother told me most of the stories on the animatrix, he was really enthusiastic about it and in my head the stories ran with a huge luxury of visuals, symbolisms and other things.

Yet my disappointment when i saw the movie was indeed big, most of the visuals on the movie leave a lot to be desired, and in comparison were not as good as anyone would imagine (for example the part were the machines are studying the human body and experiment with the emotions of a guy with little machines and cables, that sounds so much better in anyones head than what it is seen on screen). The stories could really had been a lot better, with stories like "the kid story" being unsatisfying, simplistic and overly cliché (specially the dialog in it).

Not all stories are like that, some do work in their own way, such as the last flight of Osiris, which is visually striking and most importantly, lacks of any sort of pretension.

To be honest, i believe anyone would had made a better movie than this, instead of 9 fairly mediocre little stories. Its an interesting concept, yet it lacks the attention on details, so important, specially for the short stories, and yet lacking here.

I would recommend them for the concepts in the stories, yet not for anything else.
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tedg18 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I'm not sure I understand why this is being made. Presumably, the goal is to advertise the upcoming matrix sequel in such a way that sets the stage for game and doll marketing. Industry studies show that the type of fantasy that drives the commerce targeting teens and younger does best when `real' images are not used. So I suppose this animated project has the same relationship to the already mature Wachowski corporation as `Yellow Submarine' did to that of the Beatles. It may be the one remembered as well, just as the Disney `Alice' is.

I saw this in New York attached to the dreary `Dreamcatcher,' and was really impressed. The snippet I saw was `Flight of the Osirus.' It consists of three segments: a distinctly video-game-like martial arts encounter between two sexual stereotypes, a chase of a `space' vehicle by a multitude of mechanized deathbugs, and the `fall' of that same girl from the vehicle as she goes to send a warning to others. The last two are shown simultaneously.

Of these, the first and last are trivial, simple titillation. The chase scene was remarkable though. The `camera' didn't do things that a physical camera would not (contrary to `Treasure Planet') which I assume was an effort to make this more real and accessible to TeeVee-bred young minds. But the action was truly well choreographed so far as the colors and motion. There was a deliberate attempt to make some elements `Akira' - like in having few facets and bold outlines, so that other elements could seem more dynamic and chaotic by heavy blurring.

A pretty good few seconds.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
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mentalcritic8 August 2004
Comprising nine short animated features, the Animatrix could best be described as a stop-gap measure to satiate rabid Matrix fans. It could also be seen as a measure to remind the world that messers Wachowski are still here. Either way, my one-word summary says it all. These featurettes are redundant, containing not a shred to justify their existence. While it is true that there are some details contained in here that satisfy the curiosity of even those who are sick of the whole thing, the reality is that such things should have been explained at some point in the main story. There was ample opportunity, especially if you left out the numerous fight sequences that went beyond their welcome by a factor of twenty minutes.

When the featurettes fill in a little of the back-story, they work well. The story of how human society fell into darkness and went to war with the same machinery it created to enhance its own comfort in an unspecified future succeeds solely because precedents in our history have alreadt been set. I'm reaching a bit here, but it sounds a little like the story of South Africa before and after the fall of the Apartheid system. Alas, two featurettes do not sustain the other ninety or so minutes.

The featurette detailing one ship spotting a horde of machines digging into the Earth and trying to get back to relay the news had potential. Sadly, it was sunk by the same things that all Wachowski-related films are sunk by. It dissolves into irrelevancies and endless "look how cool I am" moments. The rest of the featurettes add absolutely nothing to the story, and like passages from the actual Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, probably just seemed to the editors like a good idea at the time.

In case you're wondering how bad it is to have "look how cool I am" moments, there is a saying among people who care about things more important than how cool other people think they are. Basically, if you have to tell people how cool you are, you aren't cool. And that's where the entire Matrix franchise has fallen down. The brothers Wachowski keep tellings us how cool they are, and expect us to just swallow it. When we said "okay, prove it", they came up wanting. Recruiting at least half a dozen directors to try and bolster the message has not worked in this case, either.

Like the live-action trilogy, the Animatrix comes across as a case of tokenism gone rampant. Critics who think they are in tune with modernism praise the franchise for including numerous actors of African-American origin while deriding frachises like The Lord Of The Rings for being exclusively white. Ignoring for a second that the Dwarf skin tone more resembles a sunburnt orange-pink, ethnicity is hardly a ground upon which to praise anything. The live-action Matrix films only succeed in highlighting the worst qualities of the "minorities" it tries to turn into majorities ("look how cool I am"), and that unfortunately transfers into some of the featurettes here. Like the recording industry's Afro performers of modern times, all the Animatrix and its live-action companions do is highlight the lack of substance beneath the surface. Much like that which exists in the "aren't these exclusively-European films so terrible because they don't include other peoples in their mythologies while the Matrix is so great because it includes non-European peoples for the sake of it" diatribe.

In all, I gave the Animatrix a one out of ten. Its sole purpose is to bilk gullible fans out of money. I still hope that one day filmmakers will realise that allowing fans to fill in blanks with their imagination is far more effective than spelling it all out for them. This collection, much like the franchise it forms part of, can be described as the MTV of film.
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