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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 *****
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on June 4, 2003
The Animatrix is a collection of 9 short animated films inspired by the story and concepts of "The Matrix". Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of "The Matrix", commissioned 7 different animation directors to contribute to the universe of "The Matrix" by creating short films that reflect their authors' personal styles and ideas about the Matrix. 4 of the 9 episodes were written by the Wachowski brothers themselves. Probably due to their short length, the films are more vignettes than stories. They present ideas and images and only partial narratives. The animation styles vary widely and give a nice sampling of animation today. There are so many distinct styles to choose from that every viewer is likely to find something in this collection to his/ her taste.
The choices for your viewing pleasure are:
"Final Flight of the Osiris" directed by Andy Jones, written by the Wachowski brothers: This film is arguably the most beautiful of the collection. It takes place inside a training program and on board a ship that is being hunted by sentinels. The animation is stunning, sexy and emphasizes the beauty of movement within the Matrix.
"The Second Renaissance, Parts I and II" directed by Mahiro Maeda, written by the Wachowski brothers: These are two short films by the same director which address the question of why and how humans and machines came to be at war with one another. The history of Man and Machine, from the creation of machines until the enslavement of humans in the Matrix, is recounted by a Zion Archive historical file. Since the Wachowski brothers wrote these films, I guess this is the official word on how humans came to be in the predicament we see in The Matrix. I was not impressed by the animation in these two films, but they have the strongest narrative of the collection. They also have a clearly stated moral: "Bless All Forms of Intelligence."
"Kid's Story" directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, written by the Wachowski brothers: Unlike the others, this film is directly related to "The Matrix Reloaded". It tells the story of how the young man who we see fawning over Neo a lot in "Reloaded" came to free himself from the Matrix. As Neo would say, and did say...repeatedly: "I didn't save you. You saved yourself." The voices of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are featured briefly.
"Program" by Yoshiaki Kawajiri: One of the shortest and least interesting of the collection, Program tells the story of a human who wants to return to the Matrix and tries to convince his lover to go with him.
"World Record" by Takeshi Koike: One rare human discovers the Matrix, not through his computer, but through his great athletic ability. Also pretty short, this one has an interesting premise and very stylized animation.
"Beyond" by Koji Morimoto: A young woman goes off in search of her cat and finds a "haunted house" where the Matrix is malfunctioning. There is no message or underlying theme here. It's just a glimpse into the life a someone who accidentally discovers the Matrix and does not understand what she has discovered.
"A Detective Story" by Shinichiro Watanabe: Animated in the style of a Philip Marlowe or Mike Hammer movie, this film is the story of a private detective who is hired by agents to find Trinity. The voice of Carrie-Anne Moss is featured.
"Matriculated" by Peter Chung: Humans have a plan to convert some of the machines to their cause by exploiting the fact that machines cannot distinguish reality from simulation. To machines, "all reality is virtual". That is about as far as the story goes. Much of this film is very abstract. Pay close attention to the behavior of the machine; it is the most notable aspect of this film.
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on January 26, 2004
THE ANIMATRIX is a set of nine anime all having to deal with the world of The Matrix. The nine shorts are:
"Final Flight of the Osiris"--this feature first was seen before the movie DREAMCATCHER. It shows the journey of the ship Osiris as the crew tries to plant a message in the Matrix that is crucial to the rebellion and the people of Zion.
"The 2nd Renaissance Part I & Part II"--these two shorts explain how the Matrix came to be. The story sounds a lot like THE PLANET OF THE APES. First man creates machine to make life easier for him. Then machine revolts and man tries to destroy machine, but ends up losing.
"Kid's Story"--a story that tells about how a teenage boy escaped the Matrix. The boy later plays a crucial part in the Matrix movies.
"Program"--a story involving a very lifelike simulation in the Matrix that might be more real than it's supposed to be.
"World Record"--the world's fastest man briefly escapes the Matrix and experiences moments of true freedom as he attempts to break the world's short distance speed record.
"Beyond"--a group of children discover a neighborhood where things that aren't supposed to happen do.
"A Detective Story"--a crime noir. A detective gets caught up with Trinity and is chased on a train by agents.
"Marticulated"--in the world outside the Matrix and group of rebels capture machines and jack them into a machine matrix causing them to "turn" human and fight against the machines.
The DVD includes making of documentaries on each film as well as a short documentary about the history of anime. There are also director commentaries for both episodes of "2nd Renaissance", "Program", and "World Record".
The animation in some of the shorts isn't very good, while in others it is extraordinary (e.g. "The Final Flight of the Osiris"). Some of the stories are rather lame and don't add much to the Matrix universe while others fill in the gaps in the Matrix chronology. This is a DVD that many people probably won't enjoy watching. It's more for fans of the Matrix movies of fans of anime. Still, if you're an action/sci fi fan and are looking for something a little different and don't mind Japanese anime, then it might be for you.
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on November 16, 2003
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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on October 12, 2003
I'm not one of those who eat, sleep, and breathe the Matrix trilogy -- or animation in general, for that matter -- but I do enjoy non-Disney animated art and anime, and also graphic novels, with which this anthology of nine short films has a lot in common. Larry and Andy Lachowski, the creators of the Matrix universe, put this project together as a way of elucidating various unexplored aspects of their created world and providing some additional back-story, and they brought in some of the best contemporary animators to do it. Some of the nine follow the story faithfully, especially, "Final Voyage of the Osiris" and "Program." Others are much more tangential, and I personally think those are the best: "Kid's Story" and "A Detective Story," both by Shinjiro Watanabe, are excellent, yet different from each other. "A Detective Story," especially, done in black, white, and intermediate gray shades, is very noir and reminiscent of Watanabe's "Cowboy Bebop." "Beyond," by Koji Morimoto, is a delightful piece about a girl looking for her wandering cat in a "haunted house" where physical laws are temporarily anomalous. The art itself is wonderful, very personal, not at all "heroic" (as in Yoshiaki Kawajiri's "Program"), with an incredible amount of background detail about a real neighborhood; you'll notice new things everytime you watch it. As for the rest, well, . . . "The Second Renaissance" (in two parts) had some horrific images but it tried to cover too much territory too superficially; "Matriculated" was sort of interesting in its surreal, almost psychedelic colors, but it didn't actually have much to say; and "World Record" simply puzzled me. What *was* that about? All in all, a very interesting experiment. As others have commented, wouldn't it be great to have a collection like this to poke into the narrative nooks and crannies of the Star Wars universe?
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on July 20, 2003
* Given the wild success of their movie THE MATRIX, it's not
surprising the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry, have developed
their ideas in THE ANIMATRIX, a set of nine short animated features
developed as a cross-Pacific effort and based on the same themes.
The result is something of a semi-experimental effort, with the "semi"
meaning that the eight stories (one is in two parts) all do try to
tell a real story related to the Matrix, though they jump all over the
landscape stylistically.
The Wachowski brothers wrote three of the stories, including FINAL
FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS (a pure computer graphics exercise), THE SECOND
RENAISSANCE PARTS I & II, and KID'S STORY (which are both mostly
Japanese-produced conventional animation). FINAL FLIGHT and KID'S
STORY are fairly minor excursions from the Wachowskis' original
ideas, while THE SECOND RENAISSANCE describes the War With The
Machines that led to the creation of the Matrix.
The next four stories are purely Japanese creations, including PROGRAM
and WORLD RECORD by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, BEYOND by Koji Moriomoto, and A
DETECTIVE STORY by Shinichirou Watanabe. WORLD RECORD is about a
sprinter who becomes aware of the Matrix, and A DETECTIVE STORY is a
"film noir" takeoff on the concept. I found PROGRAM and BEYOND
particularly intriguing, with PROGRAM casting the Matrix into a
samurai adventure, and BEYOND putting the Matrix into the context of a
"virtual Japan" and imagining what happens when some bugs occur in the
system.
The last installment, MATRICULATED by Peter Cheung, is one of the most
interesting of the set, a mix of conventional and computer animation
that operates on the intriguing notion that Zion does not restrict its
recruiting to humans.
Overall, this is a very entertaining DVD, though it might not be for
everyone. THE MATRIX and the Wachowski brothers tend to be more style
than substance, leaning towards amazing visual wizardry on top of
comic-book story concepts that have at least their fair share of
logical holes. I can live with that, since nobody in charge seems to
be expecting the audience to take the whole thing too seriously.
In addition, if you're expecting a thrill ride like THE MATRIX, THE
ANIMATRIX probably won't make you happy. The production teams are
tinkering with ideas and styles here, not tell an epic story. These
are all little stories, and no one person will like all of them
equally. However, if you can live with that you should find THE
ANIMATRIX a good use of your time.
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on June 27, 2003
The Animatrix consists of nine animated short films that are part of the Matrix universe. They deal with various aspects of the universe and some interact directly with the two movies. As the films are each made by different directors/animation houses, they all have different looks and feels to them. Each film is about 10 minutes long. Naturally, some are better than others.
Final Flight of the Osiris: This one is referenced near the beginning of the Matrix Reloaded. This film has the crew of the Osiris discovering the Sentinel army drilling down to Zion. Considering the title, we know what happens to the ship, but this is one of the better films of the bunch. The animation was done by Square (the makers of the Final Fantasy movie) and it surpasses their previous work. The CGI is so well done that at times you can forget that this is not real.
The Second Renaissance Parts I and II: These two films are connected. These films are a prehistory to the Matrix. We see how machines came into power and the war against Man and Machine. In the Matrix we are told that man blotted out the sun. In Part II we see how this is done. This is essential viewing as it is the history document of the Matrix. This is the how and the why the machines came to power and through it we see things that perhaps could have been done differently. If only.
Kid's Story: I didn't think this was that great of a short film, but it connects directly into the Matrix Reloaded. There is a character in that movie trying to follow Neo around and says several times that Neo saved him. Neo replies that he saved himself. This is the story of that character and how he was freed from the Matrix. I found this one interesting because of the connection to the movie, but that is the only reason. This features the guest voices of Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss.
Program: Most of this film is fight sequences between two people in what feels like a training program. The man is trying to convince the woman that she needs to forget about the Matrix and the real world because while they wanted to know the truth, it would be better to live an artificial life in ignorance. I liked some of the ideas of this film, but the presentation was somewhat lacking.
World Record: I'll admit that I'm a geek for track and field. This one features an athlete who broke the world record in the 100 meters in the prelims and wants to shatter his own record so that it will never be touched. He also becomes someone who is unknowingly able to affect the Matrix (thus the world record). It features slow motion action for the track portion as well as flashbacks of how he got to that point. Interesting for me, but I'm not sure about anyone else.
Beyond: Beyond did not connect as well as some of the films to the Matrix, but it is probably going to become a favorite. Beyond follows a young woman who lost her cat. She (and several children) discover a "haunted" house where weird things happen. Gravity and other laws of physics are able to be circumvented without any of the control that someone manipulating the Matrix would need. A sweet little story.
A Detective Story: This is my favorite short film of the bunch. This is done in black and white and is a classic detective story (like one would find in the stories of Marlowe). The dectective (truly a stereotype character) is contacted to try to find a hacker named Trinity (yes, that Trinity). It is a sweet little story and is visually impressive. Features the guest voice of Carrie Anne Moss.
Matriculated: This is my least favorite of the bunch. It did not make any sense to me. It was the story of humans capturing a machine, hooking it up to the Matrix and trying to convert it to the cause of humanity. Throughout the film there was a lot of strange visuals that reminded me of an Isaac Asimov story without any of the depth or plotting. I found this to be the weakest of the bunch.
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on June 5, 2003
I had no interest in getting this DVD until I saw a clip from it on a TV show last week. For someone like me whose only real exposure to animation (other than Chuck Jones and Tex Avery cartoons) was the film "Heavy Metal" and the "Battle of the Planets" on television in the late 70's, this type of animation seemed, well, a bit nerdy. BOY WAS I WRONG!!
This is stunning work! Creative in its execution, brave in its storytelling, and mind-boggling in its visuals!
My favorite ones are the first three, but especially "The Last Flight of the Orisis" (did I misspell that?). Animation sure has come a long way since the old days of painting on cels. The computer-generated 3D-like visuals are so realistic that you almost forget you are watching animation. Think of the film "Final Fantasy" with the benefit of a few years' worth of technological improvements.
The second two short story animation pieces are as much commentary on the surety of modern civilization collapsing as they are simply backstory for the "Matrix" films. They are morally thought-provoking and sociologically scary.
All in all, the 9 short films run the gamut over many different styles of animation, from the computer-generated to the more traditional. The separate stories are bound by a common thread, but some of them diverge farther than others. But the mixing of the numerous styles of animation keeps the whole affair from getting visually repetitive, and that is a definite plus, despite the fact that the animation is superb anyway.
The bonus features on the disc, including commentaries, b-t-s features, etc., are good for fleshing out what you get for your purchasing dollar, but I'd almost rather NOT know how they did some of this stuff. It's really more fun just to watch it and stare in awe and wonder. You animation junkies, however, will be more than pleased with the extras, I'd imagine.
Though each of these films are short (around 9 minutes each), none of them feel skimpy. They were obviously crafted with as much meticulousness and caring and talent as the "Matrix" feature films were.
Bottom line, "The Animatrix" features some solid and compelling storytelling, and the fact that these are animated features hopefully will not scare away the more traditional film fans who have yet to discover how animation has jumped forward in leaps and bounds since many of us were kids.
Rent it if you want, but you'll probably end up buying it anyway.
Highly recommended!
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on June 19, 2003
THE ANIMATRIX is a series of nine groundbreaking animated shorts designed as companion pieces to the MATRIX film trilogy, each about 5-10 minutes in length, the longest is about 20 minutes. This is also produced by the Wachowski Bros. and Joel Silver. The range of animation techniques on display here is simply astounding- which easily makes this a 5 star DVD, but THE ANIMATRIX will possibly hold the most appeal to MATRIX fanatics who know the movies inside and out (I'm not one of them so cut me a little slack, mmkay?). What I found most amusing is that the end credits to the films run twice as long as the shorts!
The features are as follows, with my personal faves denoted by an asterisk:
1. FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS (This was screened in NZ as a short film before DREAMCATCHER, which I haven't seen yet.)
2. THE SECOND RENAISSANCE PART 1.
3. THE SECOND RENAISSANCE PART 2. (Logically enough).
4. KID'S STORY*: Unlike the first three shorts, KID'S STORY actually has a good human interest plot at its core and absolutely brilliant animation. It's about Michael Copper, a geeky high school kid with an obsession with THE MATRIX movies, who finds himself the target of Agents. Best of all, regular schmucks like me can follow it with no problem. Woohoo!
5. PROGRAM*: I can't adequately put this one into words, but once you see it you'll understand why. (Yeah, because as I acknowleged in one of my earlier reviews, I'm an uncultured chump.) Anyway, this rocks. Take my word for it.
6. WORLD RECORD: In this anecdote, a World Class track sprinter tries to break his own record, but in the tradition of sci-fi wackiness this doesn't go according to plan. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that his coach looks like the World's worst (c)rapper Vanilla Ice. Mercifully, he doesn't start pumping his fist and chanting "Go White Boy Go White Boy Go!". Whew!
7. BEYOND*: A teenage girl searching for her missing cat traces her pet's whereabouts to a haunted house. There's loads of surprises and great visual FX in this short.
8. A DETECTIVE STORY*: Excellent black and white detective noir anime in which a Private Eye is hired by agents to capture Trinity. The only catch is the last Detective assigned the same case ended up going stark raving bonkers...
9. MATRICULATED*: Final short is the longest at 20 mins, but this one's a real stunner, which is why I won't spoil anything by summarising it.
All in all, THE ANIMATRIX is a dazzling showcase for a broad range of talented animators; though personally SPONGEBOB's still #1 in my book. It's just personal taste. Check it out.
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on June 11, 2003
The Animatrix was always something I intended to pick up, but after I had more cash. While I love the Matrix, the semi-disappointment of Matrix Reloaded and the over-barrage of media hype that came with it made me want to lay off anything Matrix-related for awhile. But when I found the Animatrix for an exceptionally low price, I decided to snatch it up now rather than pay more later. And I'm glad I did.
I've browsed the other reviews here and a lot of anime/DVD sites, and can understand how the hardcore anime community might dislike the Animatrix. Some really bad dialogue seems to creep in now and then, and there are probably a lot more than the few anime cliches I picked up on (the feudal Japan training sim in the short "Program" is the most blatent one). However, this release still blew me away. For someone whose anime experience has been limited to watered-down American dubs like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Ultimate Muscle, the animation in these shorts is jaw-dropping. Mind-blowing. Certain art styles fans will like more than others, but all of them have the high detail of anime AND the fluidity of American animation. It's the best of both cultures, and like the old saying goes, "I never knew it could be this way." On a side note, also to be commended is "Final Flight of the Osiris", the non-anime short that uses the "Final Fantasy" CGI graphics. I never saw Final Fantasy, and while the animation here was incredible, it still looked CG to me. However, certain shots of the main character(the Asian girl) looked so real I'd have sworn she was a live actor. Kudos to Square for making me believe.
As for the quality of the actual stories, I agree with the majority in that the four outstanding ones are Osiris, Second Renaissance I and II, and Detective Story. The others are open to a bit more criticism, and will each have their share of supporters and detractors, but I enjoyed all of them, and find that all the shorts are worth owning. Some great supplements are included too, including commentaries and an informative documentary on the history of anime. Either way, there's enough good stuff here for all anime fans to justify adding it to their collection. And if you love the Matrix, but think of anime only in terms of Pokemon, then I highly recommend you snag this eye-opening disc; you'll never view anime the same way again.
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