on May 7, 2003
I've seen a good chunk of this on the web and other places, and all I can say is WOW.
What is the Animatrix? In a nutshell, it is a collection of short Matrix stories that are animated. And the cool thing about it is that they're all mostly animated in different ways. (A few are done in anime, another in full CG, some just plain old animation, and others a mix of 2 or a mix of three of the above.)
The DVD will have nine (9) episodes to watch. Here's a quick overview of the ones I know a lot about and/or have seen:
1) THE SECOND RENNAISANCE, PARTS 1 and 2: This is a 2-parter that fills is all of the backstory that happened before the first Matrix film. It chronciles how the machines were made, how they took control, the war between the humans and the machines, and the creation of the Matrix. (Made in plain animation)
2) PROGRAM: Most of this one is fashioned and made like an Akira Kurosawa film. It's basically a duel between two samuari-like warriors in a matrix program where the setting is ancient Japan. (Made in anime)
3) WORLD RECORD: This one is basically about an extremely fast runner that can "run out of the Matrix and in to the real world" just because of pure strength/speed.
4) DETECTIVE STORY: This story, animated in black and white, fills in the critical backstory of the Trinity character from the movies. Includes voice acting by actress Carrie-Anne Moss.
5) FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS: Basically, this is a 9-minute completely CG animated story that serves as a prequel to "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Enter the Matrix (GAME)." It begins as a blindfold sword duel and then escalates in to a ship chase with sentinels. This one has great action and great plotting, as well as convincing animation (Think "Final Fantasy," except 10 times more realistic.) I saw this one in the theatre. WOW!!!
There are a few more, entitled KID'S STORY, MATRICULATED, and BEYOND.
JUDGING FROM THE TRAILER, MATRICULATED is an extremely wierd episode with a mix of CG animation and regular animation.
BEYOND follows a group of kids in to a "haunted" house. Agents find them and capture them because of they're too close to finding out something secret.
KID'S STORY is about a boy running from agents. (That's all I could gather from the trailer.)
For more information, watch the trailer on the web. Thanks for reading!
on June 18, 2003
Careful about buying this DVD. I just finished watching 70% of it at home, and multiple times throughout the DVD my wife and I wanted to turn it off. The first short is the best. Flight of the Osiris. Everything else is terrible, and now I know why the first short is the only one released to the theatres. Pretty obvious difference in quality between that and the others. Had they shown any of the others in the theatre, there would have been a stampede to the bathroom to hurl.
Yes, the rest of the DVD is that bad.
on June 21, 2003
As I sat through these short stories my eyelids got heavier and heavier. The pointless stories had me thinking "Why do I care so much about this?" And the answer was "I don't care." I love anime. That's why I watched the Animatrix. When anime goes bad it's REALLY bad. The problem many animes have is there's too much complicated chatter that the average person will hear as "blah blah blah." The dry dialog is enough to put anybody to sleep. The animation is beautiful. So the one star I'm giving it will stand for that. But at one point I felt as if I were watching "Final Fantasy." The characters and backgrounds look like they have been ripped directly from that movie. But it is clear that they did not have as much time to develop this story as they did on Final Fantasy because the animation is choppy and doesn't flow at all. The lips never match up to the voices and the faces have no emotion at all. All in all this DVD is a waste of time. What is happening is the story of the Matrix is being ruined by all this junk coming out. Toys, video games, TV shows, short stories, and worst of all, one sequel right after the other that only tells the exact same story the first movie told. End it already will you?
on June 18, 2003
I found the Animatrix really disappointing. Part One and Two of "The Second Renaissance" was just awful! These two animations tell the story of how mankind was conquered by the machines. There MAJOR flaws from beginning to end. For example, the narration mentions that the humans dropped nuclear weapons on the machine city with no effect because radiation has no effect on a machine. Yet, every nuclear bomb creates an EMP blast that kills all electrical equipment...something that they use in The Matrix movies...duh. Another example is that the machine run on solar power. What do humans do? Black out the sky. Hmmm, let's not bomb the solar panels first, right? Finally, my favorite example: the machines build their nation in the "Cradle of Civilization." They build their city in the Middle East...and as we all know, the Middle East is just FULL of peace and love and EVERYONE is open to EVERYONE their. A machine city smack in the Middle East would last as long as a snowball. Just utter stupidity!
There are plenty more stupid moments that just do not seem possible. I mean, they are utterly ridiculous. I expected better from the Warchowski Brothers.
on March 27, 2013
...The case was damaged when I received it. I ordered new, but when it came I received the DVD in a separate little DVD package in the case, since the clasp for unknown reasons was snapped off. This is the first time I received a 'new' DVD that had a damaged case, and obviously the shippers knew this, hence the little blue package.
Other than the horrid condition of the case, I was pleased to have finally received this to add it to my collection, since I'm re-purchasing the Matrix series due to an incident that lead to me losing a lot of good movies, the Matrix Trilogy included. Hopefully the Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions DVDs will arrive in the expected 'new' condition.
The highlights of this DVD are 'The Second Renaissance', 'A Detective Story' (directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, director of my favourite anime Cowboy Bebop), and 'Final Flight of the Osiris'; though the other shorts are good too. One of the things I liked about these shorts was the dark tones each one of them conveyed. Another thing was the variety in animation styles--absolutely awesome! It's no wonder that this film's style of individual story-telling inspired greats like Batman: Gotham Knight and Halo Legends (both of which I also own), although all three of these films contain at least one short that wasn't very good.
All in all, this is worth owning for any Matrix fan. Just be warned that this film (especially 'The Second Renaissance') are absolutely NOT for kids. They'd get nightmares from this stuff, unless Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil raised them from infancy.
I rate it **** out of *****
on July 1, 2004
I figured this was just another spin off of the Matrix series. Around the time Reloaded was released, there was so much publicity and overexposure that with the video game and everything else, that I never took this seriously enough to actual watch. Now, about a year later I decided to give it a chance. I was suprised when some of the stories from this collection were actually good and explained some things that the movie didn't.
Final Flight Of The Osiris:
Explains what happened to the Osiris fleet while delivering the message about the machines digging to Xion. Amazingly lifelike 3D animation.
The Second Renaissance (Part I & Part II):
Explains the history between man and machine leading up to the creation of the Matrix and humans being used for an energy source.
Explains how "Kid" from Reloaded got freed from the Matrix. He is the one in the movie that carries Neo's bags.
A girl is forced to choose between returning to the Matrix with her love or death if she does not cooperate.
Kinda confusing, but what I gathered from it is that a runner learns to break the laws of the Matrix to break a world record and is being watched by agents to make sure he doesn't figure anything out.
A story that shows how a possible bug in the Matrix relates to a seemingly haunted building and how it gets covered up while a girl is searching for her lost cat.
A Detective Story:
A detective is hired to catch Trinity, but may find out too much.
Matriculated: My personal favorite. People capture a robot and try to get in to convert to their side using a Matrix-like virtual reality. I can imagine that being under the influence would add to this story.
Almost all of the stories are open-ended and leave you somewhat unsatisfied and right when you get involved in a story it ends as just about every one is under 10 minutes long. All of the stories have their own animation style and use an interesting blend of 3d and 2d animation.
on April 11, 2004
A collection of nine short animated features set in the world of the Matrix films. They provide some backstory and texture to the trilogy, although most of the stories are completely separate from the action of the films. The animation is uniformly excellent, making it a pleasure to watch on that level alone. Many of the stories lack much in the way of substance, but because they are short and the animation is so good, I was not disturbed.
"The Final Flight of the Osiris," which serves a direct prelude to the action of "Reloaded," is a highlight. There is nothing to the story-a session in the training simulator, followed by the discovery of the drilling machines beginning their journey to Zion and then a lot of fleeing and fighting. The computer animation, however, is absolutely stunning, so photo-realistic that there were a few moments when I wondered if they were mixing live action and animation. "World Record" raises the intriguing possibility that a pushing oneself to the limits of endurance could trigger a spontaneous awakening from stasis. "Beyond" presents a surreal glitch in the Matrix. "The Second Renaissance," which tells the story of how machines ascended and the Matrix came to be made, features some powerful and disturbing visuals, but seems very implausible.
The films do not work together to become more than the sum of their parts, but they remain very entertaining nevertheless.
on March 25, 2004
Don't be put off the the negative reviews!
First up this isn't directly relating to the Matrix films, it is a collection of animated short films set in the Matrix universe or setting.
Each is by a different animator/director and each is very different. This is it's strongest point, not a weak point.
The first is a computer gen'd short that most directly follows the matrix movies, but do be honest its more eye candy than story. On this point it is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, the quality of animation is incredible, going beyond the realism of the Final Fantasy movie computer animation.
From here there are two shorts in traditional animation explaining the truly epic history that led to the creation of the matrix and the war. It is presented as a historical report, with news like footage of different stages and events. This is the disturbing highlight because it is very logical and plausible, and quite damning of human nature. Some might not like these two because of the savage imagery but they warn us to not assume that just because we are in a "modern" and "civilised" world we are above the mistakes of oppression made previously.
The remaining are very varied, and each is strongly stylised. One is from the animators of Aeon Flux, with the same surreal and disproportioned style that makes Aeon Flux fascinating to watch. Another is a detective story with an almost 1960's black and white style, in which a private eye is recruited in the hunt for Trinity. Read the above review for a rundown on each.
Each one for me was fascinating and I've watched this dvd a few times over already. There are more tie-ins to the movies than you'll realise at first, but at the same time the stories are independant of the movies, free to explore an idea to its end without limit like any good short story or film should.
By the way I'm no Matrix freak or even a massive Anime fan, this is just genuinely fresh and fascinating veiwing, presented with heaps of eye candy and an awesome soundtrack to boot. Perhaps other reviewers were looking for straight matrix bulls**t fight scenes and action, and were disappointed with it having some actual depth?
on November 27, 2003
A logical progression, for the interim between the first and second movies, to collect a group of short films by some of the worlds most talented animators based on the world of the Matrix movies. Doing an animated film based on the world of the Matrix is like a cinematic blank check. The results range from overly-ambitious to interesting, but not fulfilling.
First the good: Animation and visuals are stunning. Each story delivers the goods with brilliant colors, design and animation. In particular, the CGI movie "Final Flight of the Osiris" is impressive and could easily fool some people into believe it's live-action, if it weren't on an animated compilation. Each movie has its own unique feel, the characters look alive and full of personality.
The Bad: Aren't so much bad as they are, disconcerting...in a way. I feel it's misleading that the first two(or three) movies deal directly with events and themes of the first Matrix movie. "Final Flight of the Osiris" is a short interim piece that ties the first movie to the second (Osiris is mentioned in M:Reloaded") and tells the story of the ship that discovered the machines' plans to drill into Zion. "The Second Renaissance (pts. 1&2) tells the story of how the Matrix came into being. Both of these movies are very well done, "Second Renaissance" is a nice background story.
From there, though, the films split off into their own direction. Most of them deal with those living in the Matrix and the haunting sense that their world is not real. Most of the films have a dark undertone to them. The exception being "Beyond", a relatively light-hearted story about kids playing around with a glitch in the Matrix. Some of the stories: "Matriculated" and "A Detective's Story" have potential, but fall short, either because of needless eye candy (the former) or not taking the story far enough (the latter). At times, the fact that the Matrix world is so flexible works against the coherence of the compilation. "Program" is basically using the Matrix as an excuse to have a big samurai battle. Once again, it's very well-executed, but you can't help but think at times "What's the point?" "World Record" is an interesting story, but it feels like it skips over its own point in a way (in addition, the dubbing seems kind of shaky on "World Record" and the animation of the coach[during his conversation with the runner]is so incredibly jerky its almost comical). "A Kid's Story" I liked, though it had a very natural, organic feel, which sort of clashed with the other stories "bio-technical" style.
Overall, the Animatrix is a great collection of innovative, very well done, and visually-stunning films. However, the films lack cohesion and, at times, relevance to the Matrix world. It would have been nice of the stories were deeper, or tied themselves in more with the movies, but it would be difficult to things like that given that most of the films fall within 10 minutes.
Aside: It would have been nice if they let Dan Hertzfeldt do a film for them.
on November 17, 2003
Any fan of the Matrix would love this collection of short movies, that is, if they would bring themselves to watch it. I have asked so many people at school if they have watched it and they haven't! It explains so much about what's going on in the main three movies. I have this feeling that those who thought the Matrix series was "too confusing" didn't watch this. Okay. If you don't believe me, here's the breakdown:
Final Flight of the Osiris: A great short that explains what happens between movies #1 and #2. If you liked Final Fantasy, you'll like this.
Second Renaissance Parts 1& 2: Two amazing animes describing how the world came to be in the first Matrix. This really helps to understand each movie.
Kid's Story: I loved this one. Remember that kid in Reloaded and Revolutions? This is his story. The animation is very original.
World Record:This was probably my favorite one. This short made me really feel for the main character. The action is great and there is a pause that will make you want to say,"Move! Run! Damn it, do something!" Really, it will.
There are others that are just as good like Detective Story and Program. I don't have time to go through each one, but I would if I could. Try this out, especially if you are a die hard fan.